ZAKK WYLDE: 'I'm Truly Living The Dream'

November 22, 2018

Guitarist Zakk Wylde (OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, ZAKK SABBATH) recently spoke with Deathwish Coffee's "Fueled By Death Cast" podcast. The full conversation can be seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET and Deathwish Coffee).

On returning to Ozzy's band:

Zakk: "It's business as usual. I always said back in the day [that] it was a miracle anything ever got done, because everybody is always cracking up laughing. All's I got to do is hang around with the boss for about five minutes... he's always taking the piss out of himself, and whatever current events are going on in the world or whatever's going on. He's hilarious, man."

On his reasons for founding Wylde Audio, his line of guitars, amplifiers and other musical equipment:

Zakk: "For me, it was just a matter of the next progression of where things go. Derek Jeter, he played with the Yankees; then, let's say, Derek Jeter was managing the Yankees; then he was the GM; then Vice President of Operations. The only next logical step for Derek would be to be a team owner. For me, I couldn't be treated any better than everywhere I was at. And I consider them all family to me — being with Gibson and Marshall and Dunlop. All the companies I've been with, I have great relationships with everybody there and they're all great people, so I love them all. It's just a matter of that. I mean like with Ozz, I couldn't be treated any better, and you have all the freedom in the world as a guitar player. Ozzy just lets you do whatever you want to do. But if you want to write lyrics, you want to come up with melodies, you want to do the artwork, you want to produce, then you have to start your own thing outside of that. Your parents aren't gonna let you put your LED ZEPPELIN posters up in the living room. You need to get your own apartment at that point, you know what I'm saying?"

On his long-term goals for the company:

Zakk: "I think it's just like with everything — you start the band and you play in front of 10 people at the pub, and then you play in front of 15 people, and then 20 people. Eventually, we're making a living with the band. I think with all bands, that's how you start out. Obviously, it'd be, like, 'Oh, man, it'd be great if we could do this for a living,' and if you get anything on top of that? Then it's gravy. It's just icing on the cake. You start off small and you just [go] brick by brick and you keep building. You have to embrace the process. It's just like learning guitar or... lifting weights or working out or somebody that wants to lose weight or anything like that. If you're going to get frustrated after a week if you didn't lose 20 pounds... if you don't lose that weight and people get discouraged and they quit, but if it's just a slow build... That's the whole thing, is embracing the process. If you're learning guitar and you're practicing, the whole thing is you just have little goals and you set them and then you try and reach them. I think that's where a lot of people have problems, if you're not embracing the process. [It's the] same thing with a band. If your band isn't as big as THE [ROLLING] STONES after putting the band together after eight weeks... come on, man."

On mixing engineer Adam Klumpp's role in BLACK LABEL SOCIETY:

Zakk: "JD [DeServio, bass] and Adam, they'll end up mixing, and then I'll come in at the end and I'll do the soup tasting at that point.They pretty much knock it out of the park all the time anyways and I'll just [add] a little more cilantro, a little more sour cream and then it's just, like, perfect... Anything you don't know, you hire somebody that does know. You delegate the power. Obviously, Adam knows the console way better than I'm going to. I'd rather spend more time running scales and writing songs. I can obviously take a course at MI on mixing on a console, but I'd rather just have my buddy who knows what he's doing do that."

On juggling working with Ozzy, BLS, ZAKK SABBATH and his periodic tours as a solo artist:

Zakk: "I love it. I wouldn't change [anything]. This is the reason why you have posters up on your wall when you were 15 years old. I'm truly living the dream."

On the origins of ZAKK SABBATH:

Zakk: "That started with me and Blasko when we were doing the Metal All Stars [tour]. What happened was whenever we'd get together and do those things, we'd [find] the common ground. I mean, if you're a classical musician, part of your education is gonna be Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. Somewhere you know a piece of their [catalogs]. It's part of your education and learning how to play. As far as hard rock goes, part of your education is gonna be BLACK SABBATH, LED ZEPPELIN or DEEP PURPLE. You're going to know something in there, whether you know 'Iron Man', 'Whole Lotta Love' or 'Smoke On The Water'. At some point, at one time or another, we've all played these songs in cover bands. It's part of your education. The common ground would always be like, 'Well, let's see if anybody knows — if the drummer that we're gonna be playing with, if he knows any SABBATH.' It would always be, 'Yeah, yeah, what do you want to play?' And then it would always end up being like 'War Pigs', 'Fairies Wear Boots', 'Into The Void', 'Snow Blind' or whatever we were going pick. When there was another drummer that we'd have to play with, I'd say [to Blasko], 'What do you want to play?' And he'd just go, 'Well, do you want to just do the ZAKK SABBATH set?' That was the running joke. That's how basically ZAKK SABBATH was born, out of those Metal All Stars sessions that we used to go and do... The whole thing is, it was just a great excuse to go out and jam. It's basically the same thing like when we were 15 years old, except now I'm 51 years old and we're still playing these songs, but instead of my buddy's living room or the kitchen, we've done those gigs."

On ZAKK SABBATH drummer Joey Castillo, who has also played with QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, DANZIG and EAGLES OF DEATH METAL:

Zakk: "I think Blasko knew him, so he just called Joe and said, 'Hey, Joe. We need a drummer right now. You want to come jam?' Ever since then, Joe's been our guy. Joe's amazing — the cannonball. It's just like cannonballs going on back there, you hit so hard. On top of it, he's, like, the sweetest guy on the planet... Playing with him, it's just awesome. He's a force to be reckoned with. That's why I call him the cannonball."

On his fans:

Zakk: "It's not fans — we have fams. It's the BLACK LABEL family of doom or the ZAKK SABBATH family or the Ozzy family o'doom. I've known people now with BLACK LABEL for over 20 years. They've had kids, and now their kids are, like, 19 years old... Everybody is like one gigantic family. It's almost kind of like THE GRATEFUL DEAD. It's bigger than a band. Everybody has a common ground where everybody meets and they have a good time and everything like that. It's definitely way cool."

On interacting with his fans:

Zakk: "Just be nice to people... I'll be sitting and going to get something to eat, and it's just like, 'Hey, Zakk, will you take a picture? It's like, 'Yeah, no problem man.' It'll take two seconds. Just don't be a tool bag."

Wylde is currently on the road as part of the "Generation Axe" tour, which also features Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt (EXTREME) and Tosin Abasi (ANIMALS AS LEADERS).

Each tour stop will include a variety of collaborations by the five players, including everyone performing together as one cohesive band with a shared rhythm section.

Wylde will spend much of 2019 on tour with Ozzy Osbourne, whose "No More Tours 2" tour resumes on New Year's Eve.

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