Zakk Wylde Interview
Zakk Wylde is a busy man at the moment. Currently he is recording a new album with Zakk Wylde’s Black label Society and preparing for a quick world tour. I had a chat with him about the new album and the upcoming shows. Full of energy and enthusiasm he blurts out:
‘I am doing great. We’re doing different mixes for the ‘Book Of Shadows’ record. Then we’ll get out on the ’round the world in 26 days crusade in about less than a week. ‘
Marc: Before you come to Australia you’ll play OzzFest in Japan with Black Label Society and as part of Ozzy’s performance. It seems that you and Ozzy are still good friends.
Zakk: Yeah, totally. Ozzy is the godfather of our oldest boy. I love Ozzy. We are family. They call me up to get some groceries, some milk and eggs and I just do it. It’s awesome, man.
Marc: Have you discussed recording a new album with Ozzy at all recently? Is there any chance that this will happen in the future?
Zakk: I don’t have any idea about that. I mean Ozzy is in the middle of doing Black Sabbath. I am good buddies with Gus (Gus G, current guitarist in Ozzy solo band). He is an amazing guitar player and a great buddy.
‘What more can I ask for. We are recording and touring. I am living the dream.’
Marc: Your last album ‘Catacombs Of The Black Vatican’ is out for about 1.5 years now. How does the new material work for you on stage?
Zakk: It’s always a mixture of playing old stuff and new stuff. Before you know we will be playing ‘Book Of Shadows’ stuff. What more can I ask for. We are recording and touring. I am living the dream (laughs).
Marc: How is the work on your new album ‘Book Of Shadows’ progressing?
Zakk: We are working on ‘Book Of Shadows’ right now. We recorded about 40+ songs. We are mixing 15 Of them right now. When we get back from the tour we’re gonna mix some more. The new record will come out in 2016.
Marc: How do you write songs these days? And how do you record them then?
Zakk: It depends on what I want to achieve. Obviously with the ‘Book Of Shadows’ it’s more the mellow type stuff. I just sit behind the piano or use my acoustic guitar and just knock out some ideas. I’ll show it to the band and we structurally create the song and we record right there, no rehearsal, no pre-production. It’s like a sports team. Everybody knows what they do best.
‘We are working on ‘Book Of Shadows’ right now.’
Marc: It’s been a while since you played in Australia. A lot has happened since. What can you fans in Australia expect from the upcoming shows?
Zakk: A lot of people ask me ‘Hey Zakk, what do you do before a show? Do you warm up? Do you do exercises like push ups? What do you do?’ And I’m like ‘I pretty much worry about whether my lip gloss and my eye shadow and my nail polish are ok?’ (Laughs) Other than that it will be an intimate family affair when we come down to Australia.
Marc: What actually made you start playing guitar?
Zakk: I went to my coach’s house. I was playing football at that time. There was a guitar sitting there and I asked him ‘do you play guitar?’ He came out and started playing and it was just mind-blowing. He played everything from Led Zeppelin to Black Sabbath and Ozzy stuff and Hendrix. Physically seeing someone doing that stuff I thought was the most interesting thing in the world. I thought that’s what I wanna do with my life. I was 14 years old. That’s when I dedicated myself to a life in music.
Marc: That obviously was the key moment for you. Did you know you were going to be a professional musician from there on?
Zakk: Without a doubt. I have the Black Label family now. Otherwise I would be playing guitar regardless. Whether I would be playing in a cover band, teaching, having my own music store, whatever I would have to do I’d be playing music. For sure. Without a doubt.
Marc: What are your main influences?
Zakk: It’s the music that you grow up with. Obviously Tony Iommi because of his writing. And then Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page, also Al DiMeola and Frank Merino from Mahogany Rush, John McLaughlin. There so many great, amazing musicians. I like everything from Elton John to Neil Young to Dimebag.
Marc: Is there any new music you listen to at the moment?
Zakk: Usually I listen to my staple stuff. The kind of stuff you were listening to when you were 15, 16. I am still on a steady diet of classic rock.
Marc: Will your upcoming performance with Ozzy at OzzFest Japan mainly be around the classics?
Zakk: Yeah, without a doubt. It’s always a great time playing with Ozzy. It’s a great act. You and a bunch of your buddies having fun.
Marc: Do you have a message for your Australian fans?
Zakk: Stay strong, keep listening to Black Label and I’ll see you soon.