Heart of Steel: Interviews

Zakk Wylde

Interviewed on Nov. 13/03
Interview By Celtic Bob 

How's everything?

It's going kick ass man. We're getting ready to go into the studio with Black Label on the 19th and after that get out on the road with Ozzy in January/February over in Europe.

I guess that means you're still in Ozzy's band despite the online rumours that you were kicked out?

I guess so. I don't know.



I recently picked up the DVD (Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society - Boozed Broozed & Broken-Boned) and I gotta say I really enjoy it.

I really appreciate it brother, Thanks.

It sounds really great. Raw and live and not overdubbed.

If there's some mistakes on it that means it's a live show, ya know? Go see an awards show - you watch MTV or anything like that? You gotta be kidding me, it's not live. When you see the acts it's not live, they're lip syncing and shit. You see all the bands like Justin Timberlake and crap come out. It's physically impossible to sing and dance at the same time. You just can't do it. The whole audience is just going crazy. It's like what are you going crazy for? You didn't even see a live performance. It's just a bunch of fluff. Let's do a Black Label show and stick on the God Damn CD and I'll be throwing the guitar up in the air and there'll be solo's coming out of the guitar and my hands aren't even on it. People will be goin' "Man - Zakk must've really been practicing for this tour" (Laughs)


I found the "Stupid Shit" segment really hilarious.

That's exactly what it is. Stupid Shit (Laughs).

I was pissing myself at the "Suck My Ass" part.

(Laughing) There was definitely some goofy shit going on.

Anymore of that around that may come out down the road?

Definitely. Just go out a week with us on the road. There's a ton of it.



Any plans to play Canada on the next tour?

Hopefully. The plan is right now…the Ozzy tour in January. Then who knows? March, April, May, next thing we got Ozzfest going around again. Depends if we go over to Europe. Ozzy comes back and wants to do another theatre tour, just fire Black Label up and do a run & go out on Ozzfest. It's just a matter of trying to cram everything in.



Not much ever hits to Eastern Canada.

It's always the major cities. Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal.



What can we expect from the next album?

I don't know if it's gonna be a full blown heavy thing. We're just sitting around just listening to mellow stuff all the time on the Ozzfest…After I get done blasting my brains out with a Marshall and a Les Paul. I'm not saying I wanna be doing all this heavy shit. So when you're sitting on a bus for 18 hours just listening to Neil Young, Eagles…shit like that. I got a bunch of mellow stuff. Just sitting around with an acoustic and piano - I got a ton of stuff. Maybe I'll just do Hangover Music Vol.1 (Laughs). After you go out with THE BLESSED HELLRIDE Saturday night and get completely annihilated when you wake up in the morning feeling like prison ass you need hangover music to ease you back into THE BLESSED HELLRIDE.



So we may get a BOOK OF SHADOWS or PRIDE & GLORY type album?

Yeah it may be like that. It may have a different vibe to it like when Alice did ALICE, Alice In Chains did JAR OF FLIES and GnR did LIES record. Just to hold it over till the real thing.



Will this be out early in the New Year?

Yeah I guess so. We're gonna knock it out now cause my schedule - between the tour and everything - just whatever opportunity I get to go into the studio, I gotta do it. Ya can't exactly make the record on the road between all the traveling. It'll definitely be out before I get out on the road.



Any release date set for the Dimebag album you appear on?

Who knows? I talk to Dime all the time. It'll be slammin' if we could get out on the road. He's got the Damageplan thing going on. We could get out on the road with somebody.



Any plans for another album with Ozzy?

Yeah - hopefully. That's Ozzy's call. It's all up to him. I never bother him about any of the stuff. His schedule is beyond insane. The way it works is just Oz will call me up and go "Zakk, ya wanna get together?". I'm like "C'mon Oz, let's do it".



You've been in Ozzy's band since 87/88. A lot of members have come and gone but you remain to hold on to your spot. How do you manage that?

I don't know. I never rock the boat or anything. I just show up and do what I got to do. There's no negotiations with us. Oz just goes "Zakk can you show up here?". Sharon will get on the phone with my wife Barbara Anne and just go "When do you need him?" and (Sharon goes) "Tell him to show up at rehearsals on Tuesday". And I'm there.

Total loyalty to Oz.

Without a doubt. He's always takin' care of me.



What was it like the first time you went into the studio with Ozzy?

I had a blast doing the record. I know Ozzy was worried, he didn't know if I could cut it or not.



Must've been a bit of a head-trip?

Yeah, I was like we got these cool tunes. Fuckin' lay 'em down.



Any cool memories from that time you'd like to share?

The whole thing for me is like…… The whole studio experience, studio or live. The way I was brought up is you gotta play your instrument weather studio or live. It's either you can play or you can't play. I don't know how to separate the two. It's the same shit. There is more freedom in the studio to create more stuff and overdub and you can do this and that, double the guitars, but you still gotta know how to play your guitars.



Anyone in the music industry you'd like to work with?

Singing-wise - Chris Cornell. He's unbelievable. Audioslave is a great record. I'm happy doing what I'm doing. Me and Dimebag are talking about doing a guitar record down the road. Just find another guitar player and just do a flat out instrumental guitar record. That's like me and Dime trying to cram 80lbs of shit into a 2lb leaking bag (Laughs). There's only so many hours in a day.



Do you listen to or keep up on any new music coming out?

Obviously my kids will listen to stuff like Simple Plan, I think they were into Good Charlotte and now they're not even into them anymore. My kids are like 10, 11 and 1 (years old). Between Rae Rae and Jesse they listen to all the new shit coming out but it's like hysterical how like… I just said to them the other day "This band like Simple Plan is kinda like Good Charlotte" and they go "We don't like Good Charlotte anymore" and I'm like "But they just came out".



I never even heard of them till this past summer.

I know. And now the kids and their friends are going: "We don't like them anymore". It's like you gotta be kidding me? They just came out. The turnover…

Here today and gone before the day is over.

Exactly (Laughs). A one-album career. It's not like in the 70's when Zeppelin had a 10 year career. Stones had a…what are they going on?

40 years.

Yeah, Sabbath had a collection of records. Sabbath, Zeppelin - all the bands. Nowadays ever since the grunge thing there hasn't been any. Well with GnR came out with APPETITE and USE YOUR ILLUSION 1 & 2, the other was a cover record & LIES was just kinda a mini EP. They coulda been around as far as I'm concerned. The only band that's had a career and kept going is Metallica. You know - bands that are still around today.

I gave up on them after the black album.

Awww man, the brutality, the brutality!!!

I really liked them till then and that is where I gave up.

I think that got some kick ass stuff on it, man. I think the production on that album is phenomenal. But then again I know a lot of Metallica fans that can't stand that album. Stone Temple (Pilots) are great but now they're gone. Scott just got arrested again for drugs.


Drugs and shit again! I remember Slash was talking to me about Axl saying "I must've been a Nazi in my last life or something. I don't know what the fuck's going on?" Here he is, Axl doesn't show up for shows just cause he doesn't wanna and Scott just can't even show up (Cracks up laughing). Slash is like 'God can I get a guy to do some fuckin' shows?'.

Time for some to toss the towel in.

You mean Axl?

He's one of them.

It's nuts. No matter how good the records gonna be…the expectations on it.

If it's done just release the thing.

If it's out in 10 years and got like 300 songs to choose from. How you gonna choose which ones to use? What did BACK IN BLACK have on it? 10 songs?

I think so.

Just write 10 songs and put the damn thing out. That's what they did back in the day. Zeppelin did it between touring. Bands never had time to do pre-production, rehearsals & wait 4 years for a record.

And albums were better.

Without a doubt. They never had the time to over analyze anything, cause no matter what you do you're gonna look back on it and go "I coulda done that better or that better…"

Zep did what, 10 albums in 10 years?

Look at it from 68 to 79. Hell - the first 2 records came out in 68 & beginning of 69. They put out 2 friggin' albums in 1 year. Then they tour behind all the records. Mind you, the tours weren't as insane as they are now where you go out for a year and 3 months. Back then it was 6 months then back in the studio, record a record and back out for another 6,7. Back in studio.

Ozzy told me Sabbath would write 8 songs and that was it. Just put em down and put the album out.

And the albums were always great.

Without a doubt. There was no time to over-analyze anything. When you got into that over analyzing shit your done man.

Over-produce it to the hilt and it don't sound real.

Nothing does anymore. Now you got pro-tools and everything. All me and you gotta do is find some dumb stripper in a strip bar and make a fuckin' trillion dollars. As long as she can dance and shake her ass & tits, we're good to go. Just make all the videos showing ass. Where's Britney Spears gonna be in 15 years from now? She's huge now. It's like N-Sync and Backstreet Boys, that shits done.


Same as New Kids in the 80's.

Where are they fuckin' now? Not one of them had a career. Donnie Wahlberg is an actor now. Musically, do they do anything now?

Not to my knowledge.

It's just pop-tart shit. Then again you always had that crap around anyways. Even when Sabbath and Zeppelin were around it was around back then too.

The 70's AM radio stuff.

You always had that cheesy crap back then but at least you had enough cool music to balance it out.

…Just a bit harder to find the good stuff nowadays.

It's cool when you hear a Backstreet Boys song followed by "Welcome To The Jungle" or something cool, (like) Stone Temple Pilots. Now it's like you gotta be like 10 and listen to all that goofy shit. They say it's Punk Rock but I'm like: "Punk Rock?" Punk Rock was like really pissed-off music. There's more friggin' hooks and choruses There's more of that in this shit then there is in BonJovi.

At least BonJovi wrote their own stuff & were a real band.

I know. That's another thing - nobody writes anything anymore. It's like buying a Salvador Dali painting to find out he never drew the damned thing.


Tell us a bit about the BLS Drag Car.

It was insane! In pure Black Label fashion Dean didn't even qualify that day. It just makes perfect sense. Then the BLS monster truck was ass kickin' too.

How did that come to be?

They just came up to me and said we want to do a BLS car and I'm like "Knock yourself out. Cool, can't wait to see it."



How did the idea for all the different chapters for BLS come about?

Even with the idea of the 3-Piece patches. I was reading a thing on Sonny Barger one day with the Hells Angels, the MC club. We just started clubs & different charters everywhere, it was just like guys that were into the same; riding bikes and doin' things. Instead of just being weekend warriors, just love riding so we said "Let's start a club with the same like minded people". This way the New York chater can hang out with the Boston charter and the Boston charter hangs out with the Seattle charter. I said man this would be a cool thing to have for a band. The Seattle chapter calls up the Vancouver chapter and goes "Dude wanna roll down to a show? Black Label is playing a show in San Fran. We'll hook up with the San Francisco chapter and we'll go party, tailgate and have a good time and see the show". You got friends all over the place ya know?

Great idea.

Yeah, cause it's bigger than a band.

Similar to the Kiss Army of the 70's.

Yeah, it's way cool. It's like a Harley Davidson. It's bigger than a motorcycle, it's a lifestyle. Totally!



How would a fan go about getting a set of "Patches"? Will they be available again?

I had to make sure they were right. Blue Grape Merch company are like: "Zakk we keep getting all this mail" , and I was like……it'll be cool to go to a show and you got 6000 people with the 3-piece patch sets with leather vests on. It would be a show of power right there. We're gonna sell them like the one's we got. Mine say Black Label Society Los Angeles because that's where I'm at right now. Mike Inez that's what his says Los Angeles, Tim our tool manager is Tennessee so the whole thing is like… so everyone is gonna have the patches and shit like that.

Great, seems a lot of people want them and I've seen them go on Ebay for like $300.

The whole thing is they're gonna be available and they ain't gonna be that much. Blue Grape did a good job on 'em. They're gonna come out Ass Kickin', they gotta be like the band's shit. It ain't gonna be like that Ebay thing man. I think somebody got a set, I don't know where they got a set so…somebody was makin' 'em. To hell with that. We might as well make 'em right and Ass Kickin' and don't cost a fuckin' arm and a leg.


I think it was $300…

(Laughs) I can't even afford that and I'm the chairman and cannot afford to buy my own colors. That's nice.


Good to hear they'll finally be out.

Yeah - Blue Grape is gonna put 'em up on the site soon.



How does it feel to have your guitar in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame?

It's definitely Ass Kickin' man. It's definitely an honour, for sure. You never start playing one day and say it's gonna be there. It's definitely awesome.



A few years ago you mentioned to us about brewing your own beer. Is that still a future plan?

I'd definitely make more money than doing music. It's supply and demand. I've brewed some stuff and you caught a pretty decent buzz off this shit but it tasted like prison ass. I got a buddy of mine that brews. He has his own microbrewery. I can just go to Rob and just have him make batches of brew and just put the Black Label logo on it ya know?

That would be cool.

Black Label Blood Red, Black Label Pale Ale. The elite ale's like Liver Launcher, you drink 1 pint & you blow your liver right out. Kidney Crusher….

I believe there is a Black Label beer out already up here in Canada.

Actually there is, I think its Carling Black Label. Black Label is just a generic term. What Black Label means is 'supreme, your best shit'. Your Johnnie Walker Black Label, Carling Black Label…anything Black Label is your best shit.



What is your favourite place in the world for beer?

Obviously Germany ain't too bad. We were over there one year during Oktoberfest and that was pretty slammin'. There was some beer & Braut's going down that time. I don't know, hell a lot of the micro brewery's in America now, just the small places make some great beer. Once it turns into… goes from a micro to a macro and they get bought out by big companies. It's all about making as much of the shit as you can and they water the crap down.


The smaller places do have better quality.

The smaller places definitely. They don't have to make the massive mass quantity. Sierra Nevada and all that stuff.

Haven't seen that up here.

It's really good stuff.

How do you find Canadian beer ranks with the rest of the world?

Obviously I'll drink Molson & all that shit, but the beer in Canada kicks ass man. Better than the beer in America. The big breweries in Canada are better than the ones here in the States, that's for damn sure. It has more flavour. Down here you pretty much got Bud & Miller.


Bud is getting big up here along with Coors Light.

Yeah, Coors as well. The grass is always greener on the other side everyone says. To think they'll drink that shit over in England. England's got great beer but they'll drink Bud. I'm going "You gotta be kidding me? You got all these ale's and lagers and you're gonna drink Budweiser?" They're like: "Oh yeah, we're getting a taste of Americana" I'm like "Yeah I know. CRAP".


You prefer to drink out of a bottle or can?

Just bottle's, that's for sure. Beer's definitely better.


Do you do the customizing of your guitars yourself?

Well Gibson wants to release each one of them I got. I'm like yeah sure man. The Buzzsaw, Camo, Bull's Eye, Mirror Bull's Eye. I said yeah go ahead, knock yourself out.


I really like the sanded down Rebel Flag one.

I just lit that on fire, beat the snot out of it, put beer caps on it. You can see how my evolution of beer drinking goes on the guitar. It goes from like Miller & Samuel Adams then Sierra Nevada. The beer just keeps getting better and better the more God Damn beer caps that are on it.



How did the rivalry with Fred Durst and Limp Biscuit start originally?

Some record exec told me "If you change your image Zakk and be more like Limp Biscuit you'll sell more records". I'm like " You gotta be kidding me? Limp Biscuit, they're the Apex? " I said said good, it's on. War has been declared. I go ''let me get this straight. If I start wearing shorts and a backwards Yankee hat that's gonna fix everything?'' I said ''are you kidding me?'' He said "Well this whole biker thing with the vest and wristbands and the whole 9 yards". Well I go "What do you want me to do? Alright, I'll cut my hair off, shave the beard. Is that gonna make me sexy? Whatta ya high?" Fuck this!! It's on Now!

The whole thing with Fred Durst, he's the antithesis of everything Black Label stands for. The day I start dating supermodels …I've been married almost 20 years. The thing is I got 3 kids. With him its all about being famous, everything has got to be a career move. That's why we can't stand him. The pure fluff, cheese dick, he'll show up for the opening of a box of chocolates that motherfucker. Any premiere, this, that, that, any photo opportunity he's there. Hell when we did that movie Rockstar he was there for that. Everybody showed up for the thing. I wasn't even going to show up for it cause I was in the movie. Fuck this is cheesy, this red carpet shit. He eats it up.

Personally I wouldn't be able to name one of his tunes.

Remember the record company exec that was telling me this? I said "see if he's around as long as I am." Fuck 'em, we'll go for it. Who fuckin' cares about him? He's already hung himself already. He's given himself all the rope he needs.

Just give him enough rope and he'll hang himself.

He already has. (Laughs) Why do you think Wes left the band? Everybody in Black Label fuckin' hates the fuckin'…ya know! Doin' meet and greets and hangin' out. Cool! At least somebody says it cause we fuckin' hate that motherfucker too. We're just sayin what everyone else fuckin' thinks.


Hopefully we'll get to see you up here in Canada next year.

Hopefully we'll be up there. The schedule is so fuckin' crazy, hopefully we'll be able to get up there man.

Anything you'd like to say to the reader's of Metal-Rules?

Stay strong, keep bleedin' Black Label & fuckin' hopefully we'll be up there. Make sure you save some beer for us.

Will do.

You got it Bro'

Thanks for your time.

You got it man.

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