Zakk Wylde Discusses Pride & Glory, His New Band (and Album), in 1994 Guitar World Interview
Here's an interview with Zakk Wylde from the July 1994 issue of Guitar World, which featured the Allman Brothers on the cover. To see the Allman Brothers cover -- and all the GW covers from 1994 -- click here.
Zakk Wylde crosses his arms behind his head and leans back into the grassy backyard of his suburban Los Angeles home.
"Some people just don't understand," he sighs. "They say, 'You're crazy to leave Ozzy, Zakk. You could have played arenas forever. Now you're going to have to play small clubs.' Well, fuck you. I'm not in this for a rock star lifestyle. I'm in it to play my guitar. And I'd play it in a toilet if that's the only place people would come hear me."
A noble sentiment, to be sure. But if Pride & Glory, the self-titled debut of Zakk' s new band, is any indication, don't expect to see him in a men's room near you anytime soon. The album is a wild, wide-ranging romp: Headbanging heavy metal stampers rub shoulders with swampy Southern rockers; an Ozzy-style power ballad segues into a lushly orchestrated Elton John-style piano number; gentle country rock tunes explode with distorted heavy metal harmonica breaks. All are part of Pride & Glory's odd musical equation.
"I just love so many types of music," Zakk says with a shrug. "I love the Allmans and I love Sabbath. I love the Eagles, and I love Zeppelin. And I don't see why other people shouldn't also like all this stuff."
Pride & Glory's musical hybrid may seem perfectly natural to Zakk now, but it's actually a testament to the growth he underwent during his eight years with Ozzy Osbourne. In 1987, when he was plucked from a bar band in his hometown of Jackson, New Jersey, and thrust into Osbourne's exalted guitar seat, Zakk was a Black Sabbath fanatic and an eager young guitarist who gravitated towards "anything fast."
As he matured as a player and a person, however, Zakk became more and more obsessed with country chicken pickers like Albert Lee and Southern rock bands like the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Soon Zakk formed "Lynyrd Skynhead" with the rhythm section of White Lion, who opened for Ozzy in the late-Eighties. Like Zakk, bassist James Lomenzo and drummer Greg D'Angelo were looking for a musical outlet from their day gigs; Skynhead, which played strictly covers, was just the ticket.
A series of club gigs followed, as did "Farm Fiddlin,'" an outrageous country metal cut that was a highlight of Guitar World's 1991 compilation CD, Guitars That Rule The World. Somewhere along the way, Brian Tischy replaced D'Angelo and Lynyrd Skynhead became Pride & Glory.
After Zakk completed work on Ozzy's Live & Loud album last year, he bid his mentor farewell and began to concentrate on his new band. "Oz is like family," Zakk says. "I still talk to him all the time and I've already recorded stuff that will be on his next album. But it's been over a year since I toured with him and I didn't want to be in a rocking chair before I made my own record. He understood what I had to do."
Pride & Glory journeyed to Seattle to record their debut album with Rick Parashar (Temple Of The Dog, Blind Melon), who helped the band capture the raw, spontaneous sound they sought.
"The recording went great," says Zakk. "But that was last fall and now I'm just itching to get out there and start jamming again. Since we finished the record we've been doing all the promotional stuff -- interviews, photo shoots, meetings. I’ve had it with all that; I just want to play my guitar.
GUITAR WORLD: Do you think you'd be doing the kind of material you do in Pride & Glory if you had never hooked up with Ozzy?
No way; my music would never have ended up like this. Before I was with Ozzy, all I listened to was Sabbath. I was familiar with Southern rock because a couple of my buddies and their older brothers listened to it when we were hanging out together. When I heard the Allmans or Skynyrd on someone' s Panasonic tape recorder, I thought they were cool, but I didn't own any of their records. I was a Sabbath man all the way.
But once I was in a band with Ozzy, I couldn't listen to Sabbath all the time anymore -- l wanted to listen to other things. Also, being on the road, away from home for the first time, I missed my buddies, and listening to Skynyrd and the Allmans reminded me of hanging out and drinking beer with my buds down at the sewer plant.
And now you've put it all together on Pride & Glory. It's a very ambitious album. For one thing, it has 14 cuts ...
Yeah. Some people told us that we should "save something for next time." What next time? I'm not arrogant enough to even assume that we'll have a second album. And I have to have enough faith in myself to assume that when the time does come I'll be able to come up with another batch of good songs. Plus, albums have gotten so expensive now that I think you owe it to the buyer to include a lot of music. If someone’s busting their ass to come up with 15 bucks for your record, you should give them their money's worth. So I didn't hold back. If you don't like a song, skip to the next one.
The album begins with a banjo riff on "Losin' Your Mind." Did you write that on banjo or guitar?
I did it on acoustic guitar first and then realized that it would be cool on a banjo. I don't really know how to play a banjo, so I just tuned it like a guitar. I tuned it so that all the fingering was in one spot -- on the third fret. And that about sums up my banjo skills. I can struggle along with Irish folk songs, but that's about it. I mean, I couldn't kiss Roy Clark's ass. If he asked me, "Can you play banjo?" I'd be like, "What's a banjo, dude?"
The banjo riff is joined by a heavily distorted guitar line, both of which run throughout the song. You could say that sort of sums up what Pride & Glory is all about.
Yeah; I think that's a pretty good representation of the band. It's got the heavy guitars and the serious Marshall sound as well as my Southern bit. That's why we're making it the first single, instead of something like "Horse Called War," which is very heavy. I could have done that on an Ozzy record.
It could have been on an Exodus record; it's got virtually a thrash rhythm. Did you ever get into thrash?
Not really. When I was teaching guitar, Metallica was just getting really big on an underground level, and kids were always bringing me tapes and asking me to teach them Metallica licks. So I learned how to play their stuff pretty early. But I always found the slower stuff -- like Sabbath -- to be heavier