How Ozzy Osbourne Once Saved AC/DC’s Malcolm Young’s Life

Members of Black Sabbath and AC/DC shared a hotel room together while on tour. Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler, the band’s bassist, was severely intoxicated and exhausted after a protracted period of travel. Butler said that one would ultimately feel anxious and worn out when he ran into Malcolm Young, the AC/DC guitarist, but Young disagreed. Butler pulled a knife intending to cut Malcolm during their confrontation. Ozzy Osbourne stepped in to settle things when he saw the two arguing.

Young and Butler both had different perspectives on the events, which they later shared in a variety of interviews. Malcolm said that Geezer was intoxicated and that he disliked Young for disagreeing with him. Butler allegedly had too many beers and attacked Young with a flick knife. Fortunately, Ozzy was there to “save the day,” although Geezer said that he did not draw a knife on him and that he was only flicking it when Malcolm approached and began disparaging Black Sabbath.

Young claimed that Butler was quite inebriated and went crazy whenever he disagreed with him, wanting to stab him with a flick knife. Ozzy Osbourne then intervened, telling him to go and go to sleep.

During the interview, Young remarked:

“We were staying in the same hotel, and Geezer was in the bar, crying in his bear, ’10 years I’ve been in this band, 10 years — wait till you guys have been around 10 years, you’ll feel like us.’ I said ‘I don’t think so.’ I was giving him no sympathy. He’d had too many drinks and he pulled out this silly flick knife. As luck would have it, Ozzy walked in and says to Geezer, ‘You fuckin’ idiot, Butler, go to bed!’ Ozzy saved the day, and we sat up all night with him.”

Butler’s reply was:

“No, I didn’t pull a knife. I always had flick-knives when I was growing up because everybody used to go around stabbing each other in Aston. Flick-knives were banned in England, but when we were playing Switzerland, I bought one. I was just flicking it when Malcolm Young came up to me and started slagging Sabbath. I was just playing with the knife. I was really excited to get one again. I was having a drink and flicking my knife—like you do—and he came over and said: ‘You must think you’re big, having a flick-knife.’ I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And that was it. Nobody got hurt.”

Geezer Butler stated that when Young insulted Black Sabbath, he was only messing about with his new knife. Butler’s account of events, on the other hand, is entirely different. Both parties appeared to want to maintain their own versions of events, which Osbourne may only explain if he decides to share his version in the future.