Today we were very lucky to have the chance to sit and chat with rock guitar legend Zakk Wylde. With almost three decades of metal music under his belt first as the lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne and starting in 1998 Black Label Society, Zakk has forged a place in metal and hard rock history. Here we will get a chance to talk to him about his upcoming Unblackened unplugged event, his advice for people just starting out in the entertainment world and a few other titbits thrown in.
Examiner (Keith Ashley) : Thanks for this interview, it’s very nice getting to talk to you
Zakk Wylde : Oh no problem brother
Examiner– For the casual fan or readers who are new to your music, can you tell us a little about yourself.
Zakk Wylde: Well I’m a generous guy, kinda look like Maude..that’s a handsome woman, I don’t know if that’s a complement (laughs as does the interviewer)
Examiner: You have a very big event coming up on March 6 2013, called Unblackend, an unplugged show of your songs. Can you tell us about it and how it came to being?
Zakk Wylde: Well this came about since we had the two heavy DVD’s out instead of just doing another heavy one, let’s do something different. People have asked if we’d ever do an acoustic tour like with the Book of Shadows, Pride and Glory stuff, I mean we do the mellow stuff live headlining , we bring out the piano, like on the last tour we did Dime’s song, and you do too much mellow stuff you can lose a crowd at a normal show. As much as I like listening to Zeppelin doing “Black Dog” I like listening to “Going to California” or any of the mellow stuff too. You just got to change it up a bit.
Examiner: How are the songs people love from Black Label Society, Pride and Glory and Book of Shadows going to sound with a string section, pianos, backup singers and steel pedal?
Zakk Wylde: I’ll just start out singing the melody of those songs over them and you get a mellow version of that song and well you can take any heavy song and make a mellow song out of it. You take any cool heavy song and it’ll work if you put it on the piano really.
Examiner: What advice would you give to people just starting out in the music and entertainment world?
Zakk Wylde: Umm, I don’t think it’s ever changed, wither its Fran Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Zeppelin, Guns n’ Roses or anyone today, the reason why you get into music is because you love it and if you’re good at it that’s a plus. A lot of people tell me what would I do if I wasn’t blessed to have played with the boss, Ozzy Osbourne, I was talking to JD (John DeServio, BLS bassist) and I told him, I’d probably own a music store, teach, be in a cover band, there’s no way I’d have a crappy job just sitting there being miserable. It’s part of you, it’s not just like a hobby where you’re like you go one summer I like to, you know what I mean? As far as the business part of it, just do what you’d do with any job. Instead of just saying we hate the business and are getting screwed, try paying attention. You have to pay attention, like with tours and expenses; you have to factor that all in. You want to play music for the rest of your life you have to pay attention to all the things. You want to know what’s always going on.
Examiner: What musicians from the past would you have like to perform with?
Zakk Wylde: Umm I’m really blessed with the fact I’ve met all my heroes, I’ve played with the Allman brothers, played with Ozzy, had the chance to play with Geezer and Tony of Sabbath for the No More Tours show, I’ve jammed the Skynyrd guys, I met all the Judas Priest guys, Glenn and them, I’ve never met anyone where as they say you should never met your heroes, these guys were great, they were exactly what I expected, very cool without a doubt.
Examiner: Over the years you’ve had some pretty iconic album covers with great artwork. The first album had the debut of the BLS logo with Skully on it, then we had Mafia and of course the nuns playing pool. How much input do you have on album cover design or your very memorable tee shirt designs?
Zakk Wylde: I come up with all of it. I enjoy doing it, I love doing it. You take a break from practicing; you know how your parents tell you when you say I’m bored? Well you always can have things to do.
Examiner: People love your Wylde on Sports show, tell us about it.
Zakk Wylde: Well yeah, it’s good. All of the guests who have been on it have won the week after. The kicker for Atlanta was on, we joked about him winning the game with a field goal and you know what he did.
Examiner: What are your thoughts of the new Black Sabbath album and how is Tony Iommi’s health?
Zakk Wylde: Ozzy says Tony is doing ok, he’s going through his chemo, he’s doing ok, Ozzy says Zakk, the riffs are great, he’s doing great. Ozzy’s really digging it. Rick Ruben is producing it. Of course any Sabbath fan is looking forward to it. Like with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant getting back with Jason Bonham in Zeppelin, it’s always good. Anytime with more Sabbath is always good.
Examiner: Any chance of a Sabbath and Black Label Society tour?
Zakk Wylde: Hey you never know, people touring with them may get sick, you never know.
Examiner: Anything else you want to mention about the Unblackened event?
Zakk Wylde: No, not really, it’s a big event, I posted a thing on Twitter with Willie Wonker saying “If you take my Unblackened tickets I’ll have the Oopa Loompa’s break your legs!” (laughs), the tickets are getting hard to get so people should try to get them when they can.
Examiner: Thanks for your time, it’s been very good talking to you and getting the readers up to date on your upcoming Unblackended show as well as some other fun topics.
Zakk Wylde: Anytime man.
Black Label Society will be playing their Unblackened show at L.A.’s Nokia Club March 6, 2013 at 9 p.m. and this event will be taped for a CD/DVD to be released later in the year. The concert will also be broadcast live on AXS TV. Some tickets may still be available and it is advised to check the box office or a link on the bands website. Check out Zakk Wylde’s Twitter, Facebook and official site for all updates, merchandise and tour information.