Zakk Wylde Interviewed On "Shot To Hell", Touring And Ozzy Osbourne
Band Photo: Ozzy Osbourne (?)
X-Press Magazine have posted an interview with guitar virtuoso Zakk Wylde online. Zakk has recently finished headlining Ozzfest with both Black Label Society, on second stage, and Ozzy Osbourne's band of the same name on first, and is now laying down tracks for Ozzy's next studio album, whilst releasing BLS's new album, "Shot To Hell", and DVD, "European Invasion: Doomtroopin'". Excerpts from the interview follow:
DH: On the new album, Shot To Hell, did you record everything yourself again in the studio?
ZW: As always, you know how it goes, you get in the studio and you just start writing. We never do pre-production or anything like that. As soon as we get in there it's game on.
DH: A go-with-the-flow kind of thing?
ZW: Totally. I've done it the other way with Ozzy, you know, rehearsed with the producer we have and it's like produce, go over it again, go over it again, let's see what the kick drum's doing. It's like, 'does it really matter? Just let us play dude we know the goddamn songs, just let us get in there 'cause we're like sucking all the fire out of these songs'. Rehearsals to me are like getting ready for the tour.
DH: You obviously don't use the band that you tour with on the records?
ZW: Yeah, totally. I just get in the studio and knock it out. I didn't have any ideas before we got in there, eight days later I had 23 songs. Got all the riffs, start doing the guitars, because I record like everything on the bass, going through a Marshall, so this way you're going to have to come up with riffs. You've got four strings - I mean that's it, it's going to start riffing out on the damn thing.
DH: You're doing double duty playing with Ozzy and headlining Stage 2 with Black Label Society at this year's Ozzfest. Is it tough going out there every night and keeping the energy level up?
ZW: I'd be on stage at like 3pm. I get up every day about 10.30-11am, something like that, go into the hotel just grab something to eat, lift weights.
DH: You train hardcore, Dorian Yates style?
ZW: Without a doubt that's my guy, man. We just lift then come 12 o'clock crack my first beer and then it's just like sit on the bus 'til about 3pm, just noodle on the guitar, watch TV for a bit, just chill out. Then 3 o'clock comes rolling around we're on stage with Black Label right after we get done with that I come walking out on the bus put my Black Label colours on the bus put my Ozzy colours on go right back on stage at 4 o'clock and then we gotta knock out another hour. It was like hysterical, there's like a heat wave going on over here. I'm figuring it's just going to be hot in Arizona or something in the south or whatever, everywhere we played it had to be like 110 degrees outside everyday. You could drink like two kegs of beer everyday, eating burgers, pizza, hot dogs and you're still going to drop 30 pounds.
DH: Is Ozzy more fun to hang around sober or when he's tanked?
ZW: It's not one of those things where he can just drink a beer, you know, have a couple of beers with the guys and then call it a day. With him it's a beer then he starts doing the weed and then right after that it's the cocaine, then he's gone for three days and we can't find him.
DH: Your lineage is with the all-time guitar greats such as Rhandy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee and Tony Iommi, all the players connected with Ozzy. When you go in the studio with Ozzy do you enjoy playing songs co-written by guys like David Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Nirvana?
ZW: When all that stuff went down I was just like… no! I mean, first off it was cheesy, horrendous stuff. You know, 'why are we using this? Just because we're paying this guy, this is like they wouldn't even put this stuff on their records… what are we doing'? You know what I mean? I go, 'I could piss shit out of my dick better than this stuff in a New York second'.
DH: To get as musically proficient as someone like Eddie Van Halen, Rhandy Rhoads, Uli Roth, Dimebag or even yourself takes the hard yards of commitment. In doing double duty gigs do you still put in the practice hours to keep the chops up? What's your practice regimen like?
ZW: I still got to practice every day, but I enjoy doing that. I love it. You can always keep getting better. It's like being the heavyweight champion of the world, like Dorian Yates the reason why he won six Mr Olympias was every year he came in bigger and more shredded. You can't just go just because you're there now you just show up and get the trophy. If you are the heavyweight champion of the world, dude, if you don't keep doing what got you there, you're going to get your ass handed to you.
DH: So what were your feelings in the '90s during the whole grunge/nu metal scene when playing solos was being somewhat uncool for the cool school?
ZW: I just figured everything's full circle. Everything just got to the point when it couldn't go any higher with the shredding thing, then Nirvana came in with great songs, then Soundgarden, Alice In Chains. You know, those guys were still doing some solos, not to the extent, but I mean Jerry Cantrell was still putting solos in Man In The Box. He still always had solos.
DH: What was it like being in the Rock Star movie?
ZW: I had a great time doing that. It was just funny. 'Let me get this straight, what is it you want me to do?' They said, 'basically you just be yourself really, just hang around play guitar all day, lift weights, drink beer'. I go 'and you're going to pay me for this? Alright, I'm in'. I had a good time doing it man, it was a lot of fun.
DH: Anything else you would like to say before I leave you alone?
ZW: To the rest of the Australian chapters down there, just to tell them to stay strong, keep bleeding Black Label and we'll see them in a little bit.
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