For the first time in more than a decade, Ozzy Osbourne and Zakk Wylde are together again.
Known as one of rock's most lethal singer and guitarist pairings, the two will hit the road for a series of Ozzy headlining shows in the U.S. this summer and fall, beginning July 14.
While they've performed together over the years, these shows are the first collaboration for the duo for a full tour since 2006. These dates also mark Ozzy's first solo tour in the U.S. in years beyond one Ozzy & Friends performance at the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience in New Orleans, Louisiana in October 2015.
Ozzy and Zakk first teamed up 30 years ago when Zakk (whom Ozzy describes as "a fucking absolutely amazing guitar player") joined Ozzy's band in 1987; they last recorded in 2007 on Ozzy's acclaimed "Black Rain" album.
In addition to reuniting with Zakk Wylde on guitar, Ozzy's band will include longtime collaborators Rob "Blasko" Nicholson (bass),Tommy Clufetos (drums) and Adam Wakeman (keyboards). Ozzy's tour dates kick off in July at the Rock USA festival in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with additional dates to be announced in the coming weeks.
"I'm so happy to be getting back on the road with Zakk, Blasko, Tommy and Adam," says Ozzy Osbourne. "This is what I do. This is where I belong, on the road."
"I'm really looking forward to the hardcore powahlifting training sessions with Ozzy as well as playing music in between sets of heavy squats, benching and deadlifts," Zakk Wylde adds.
Next up for Ozzy: prepping for a new solo album for 2018 on Epic.
Ozzy's initial 2017 tour dates are as follows:
Jul. 14 - Oshkosh, WI Ozzy at Rock USA
Jul. 16 - Chicago, IL Chicago Open Air Festival
Aug. 09 - Sturgis, SD The Legendary Buffalo Chip
Aug. 21 - Cartersville, IL Moonstock 2017 Festival
Asked in a March 2016 interview with the SiriusXM show "Dirty Sexy Funny" if he had spoken to Ozzy about possibly playing together again, Zakk said: "Well, my relationship with [Ozzy]… He's the godfather of [my] oldest son, so I mean… And Sharon [Ozzy's wife and manager], I love her like a mother. So, our relationship is bigger than the music. If they called me up and asked me to come over, bring some eggs and milk over to the house and clean the dog run 'cause they had company coming over, I'd do it. But if Ozz ever wants to do anything, we'd do it. But Gus [G.], who plays guitar with him now in the solo band, I'm buddies with Gus, and Gus is a phenomenal, shredding, awesome guitar player and awesome dude. But, nah, I mean, Gus is the guitar player now, but if Ozz ever asked me… Like I said, if Gus's wife was pregnant and they were having kids and he was, like, 'Gus is gonna be down for three months, 'cause he wants to be home. Can you come out on the road?' I'd do it. That's the way we roll."
In a 2010 interview with Metal Insider, most recent Ozzy guitarist Gus G. said that he "wouldn't be surprised" if Ozzy one day felt like playing with Zakk again. He said: "For me, when I was growing up, Zakk was there. The first time I ever saw on TV, Zakk Wylde was on guitar. From my generation, Zakk Wylde was the man. As a fan above all, I know these guys, they're like family more than just a team. So I definitely wouldn't be surprised if one day he would jam again with Ozzy. I know these guys love each other."
He continued: "Don't take what I'm saying the wrong way, but as a fan, trying to look from the outside, I mean I grew up watching Ozzy and Zakk together and that's all I'm saying. I also know that Zakk's been in and out of the band as well a couple of times. But with all that said, I'm very happy and feel very honored that I have this position right now and am there doing it."
Ozzy first announced that he was looking to replace Wylde in his solo band in June 2009 interview with Classic Rock magazine.
As for why he wanted to break away from Wylde, who had played with Ozzy on and off since 1988, Ozzy said, "I haven't fallen out with Zakk, but Zakk's got his own band, and I felt like my stuff was beginning to sound like BLACK LABEL SOCIETY. I just felt like I wanted a change, y'know?"
In an interview with a Eugene, Oregon radio station in July 2009, Zakk slammed Ozzy over his Classic Rock comments, saying in part, "I've gotta be honest with you. The boss hasn't even given me a phone call, so I mean... I'm just like... I don't know what's going on over there. Are we doing this thing or are we not doing it?... I mean, it's like, dude, you don't wanna play with me anymore? Fine. Play with whoever the hell you wanna play with. I couldn't give a rat's ass. Like I'm gonna get all jealous or whatever. But you know what?! Man up and give me a phone call and tell me what the hell's going on."
Wylde's answer after that abruptly turned into an obscenity-filled rant directed at Ozzy that had to be heavily bleeped by the station.
Zakk reportedly quit drinking and has been sober since being diagnosed with blood clots in 2009.
Photo credit: Mark Weiss Photography