At only nineteen, Zakk Wylde was hired to play guitar alongside Ozzy Osbourne, lasting 5 albums, countless tours and over 20 years.
Since 1998, Zakk has played alongside his own band – The Black Label Society, releasing their eighth album “Order of the Black” this month.
BBM’s very own BEN HARLUM caught up with Zakk just before he took the stage at OzzFest 2010 to discuss the new album.
I guess the obvious first question to ask is what was it like working with Ozzy for so long, because I read it was quite a dream come true for you?
Oh without a doubt, I’ve been with Ozzy for twenty-three years, I’ve known him since I was nineteen and I’m fourty-three now. I’ve been blessed because I’ve been able to play with Ozz for all that time and I’ve gotten to know him, he’s the coolest. Without Ozzy, there’d be no Zakk Wylde, no Black Label, now I’m about to launch my own label so I can sign acts. All of that stems from the boss, who’s also the godfather to my son. I’ve been so blessed.
You mentioned the bunker, and I have to ask what it was like to record the new album in your own studio?
It was great, we actually recorded and mixed the album in there so we can make the donuts, wrap them up, box ‘em and ship ‘em out. I’m so happy, there’s nothing I can’t do in there. I think the album speaks for itself, how sonically good it is, so I couldn’t be happier.
When you do get into the studio, do you have everything mapped out and planned?
Nothing – I have nothing when we get into the studio. As soon as we get in there, we start writing and that’ll be the record – no rehearsals. I’ve been down the road with Ozz where we would, lets say, rehearse “No More Tears” and I’d think, ‘we know these songs, what exactly are we analysing here? Let’s go in and record it!’
“Order of the Black” is your eighth album. After 12 years with the band, is it easier or harder to come up with new material?
There’s no shortage of great songs, It’s like Led Zeppelin after Zeppelin III, they write Whole Lotta Love. And people ask “What are you gonna do now?” After that they write Stairway to Heaven, and then Kashmir. Just because you knock it out of the park one time, doesn’t mean there’s no more milestones to reach for. You can always try and knock it out of the park again.
You have custom guitars and amps, you are writing the Guitar Bible at the moment – it must feel awesome that somebody can go out and buy a Zakk Wylde custom set of equipment?
I mean, if somebody buys an amp and says “This is an awesome amp, is it Marshall?”, they say “No, Zakk Wylde” and they have no clue who I am, that’s what it’s all about – they buy it because it’s a quality product, not just for the name. It’s like with a Les Paul guitar, I just thought that was the model of the guitar – they were like “Jackass! His name is Les Paul, he invented the guitar!”
“Order of the Black” is available right now.