Zakk Wylde: No More Beers
GW If you were already on medication, why did you end up having to go to the hospital in Eugene, Oregon, 11 days later?
WYLDE I went to the doctor [so they could check on my condition], and they did a CT scan, and the doctor said, “Well, you’ve got three blood clots that have already moved up and gone through your heart. They’re in your lungs now.” I said, “Are you kidding me? What happens if they go to your heart?” And he goes, “Well, pretty much you either live or you die. You should have died probably about a week and a half ago, or whenever these things went through your heart.” And then he goes, “If you say you’ve been drinking all your life, since you’ve been 14, and you’re 42 now, the alcohol was probably thinning your blood, acting like the Coumadin.” I turned to the wife and said, “See, alcohol is good.” She’s like, “Oh, shut the fuck up. The party’s over for you, buddy boy.” All my buddies go, “Zakk, you’re 42. It was a good run. The fuckin’ bar’s closed for you, asshole.”
GW Have you really stopped drinking?
WYLDE Yeah, since this stuff happened, I’ve been fuckin’ chillin’. You know what I think is so hysterical? You go to these AA things, and everyone’s so tortured about drinking, and they can’t stop and all that. But for me, it’s just a question of willpower. It’s just like anything. If you want to learn how to play guitar, I can show you how to play “Stairway to Heaven,” but you’re the one who’s gonna have to sit and practice the thing. You’re the one who has to put your mind to it. I mean, trust me, I’d love to have a couple cold ones right now and sit around and practice or watch a football game. But, I mean, you gotta have willpower. So it’s just down to water and Gatorade.
GW You were in the hospital in Oregon for three days. What kind of treatment did you receive?
WYLDE They had me on a Coumadin drip for 24 hours, and they gave me more shots. They also gave me something that’s called an “umbrella”: it goes into the main artery going up your leg [the inferior vena cava], and it’s almost like a strainer, so any new clot can only go so far.
GW The doctor gave you the thumbs-up to play the Halloween show to promote your new Epiphone Graveyard Disciple guitar. Are you in the clear now, healthwise?
WYLDE I’ve gotta take this Coumadin shit for at least a year, and he’s gonna see after that. I’ve got a rare clotting condition, and if it’s hereditary, I may have to take Coumadin for the rest of my life. But it’s no big deal. I already take vitamins every day. It’s just throwing one more thing into the mix.
GW You had a pretty scary brush with death. Do you appreciate life more now?
WYLDE Yeah, I got no problem paying $18 for a 12-pack of Becks now. [laughs] Dude, whenever musicians start getting high and mighty and talking about the meaning of life and shit, I’m like, “Man, seriously, please—just shut the fuck up and sing one of your songs.” It’s like, if you’re a tool and a douche your whole life, do you have to get into a near fatal car crash to go, Maybe I should start acting cool to people? I’ve always thought every day is a gift. And when bad shit happens, there’s two ways of looking at it: the glass is either half empty or half full. I always look at it like, Dude, there’s half a beer left there. Fuckin’ bring it on. The party ain’t over yet.
GW You’ve had other recent health problems.
WYLDE It’s crazy. Over the last two years, I had to have throat surgery for my vocals. And then I had an umbilical hernia from hitting the gym and lifting all the time. My belly button popped out, so I had to get surgery for that. I got fatty liver disease and pancreatitis. And now I got blood clots in my lungs. It’s like God’s going, “Now for your next mission, if you wish to accept it…” I’m like, “Hell no, I don’t accept.”
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