Zakk Wylde: No More Beers
GW Were you upset that Ozzy didn’t ask you to play BlizzCon?
WYLDE I can’t be mad at him. Over the years, we’ve never gotten in one fuckin’ argument. The way I look at it is like this: My dad just passed away in December. He was 89, and I’m just glad I had him that long. I didn’t go, “God, how could you do this to me?” It was more like, “Thanks for letting me be able to share so much shit with him.”
It’s the same with Ozz. Like, what would have happened if years ago Ozz had said, “Zakk, I don’t want to tour anymore? I’m gonna do select dates once in a while. I might want to make records, but I’m done with this shit.” He doesn’t have to go on tour. He has nothing to prove to anybody. And besides, I’ve got Black Label.
GW You wrote a bunch of new songs for Ozzy last year, right?
WYLDE Yeah. We played Ozzfest in Dallas, in June. Right after that, we went home for about a month, and then I just kept going over to Ozzy’s. I must have written 16 tunes. There was enough material for him to work on while I was gone. I said, “Ozz, I’m getting ready to go back on the road with Black Label. Why don’t you sit there and come up with melodies all day long. You guys write lyrics and, boom, we’re done.” But I don’t think Ozz put any vocals on it or nothing. It’s either that or he’s just gonna start writing with the new guy or he’s been writing with somebody the whole time while I’ve been out touring.
GW Would you be angry if Gus G. wound up retracking the rhythms you recorded or playing solos over the songs you wrote?
WYLDE I don’t give a fuck, just as long as the check’s in the mail. I wrote the shit, so if someone wants to play it, knock yourself out. I’ve got no shortage of songs.
GW Do you think you’ll be back in the Ozzy camp after this period with Gus G. blows over?
WYLDE You’ll have to talk to Ozz. If he wants to jam with other people, I’m like, “Ozz, go for it, bro. I love you, man.” He said something like, ‘Well, you know, Zakk’s so busy doing Black Label he doesn’t need me anymore.” Well, I tell ya, man, it doesn’t matter if Black Label were selling 60 million records, if Ozz said, “Zakk, would you want to record with me?” I’d be like, “Yeah, no problem. I’ll be right there.”
GW There was a period in 1995 after Ozzmosis when you left and Joe Holmes came into the Ozzy Osbourne band. What happened there?
WYLDE I was jamming with Guns N’ Roses at the time. It was me, Slash, Axl [Rose], Duff [McKagan], Izzy [Stradlin] and Matt [Sorum]. Ozz was like, “Zakk, I gotta get another guy who’s gonna be there.” I said, “All right, dude, I understand.” And that’s when Joe came in, and he’s a slamming guitar player. But nothing panned out for me with the Guns guys. I had all these riffs lying around, so I was just like, Fuck it, I’ll do it myself, and that’s when Black Label was born.
GW Holmes toured with Ozzy for Ozzmosis, but you came back in 2001 to record Down to Earth. What happened with Holmes? He co-wrote three songs for the album but didn’t play on it.
WYLDE I dunno. They just said, “Hey, Zakk, you wanna come down and jam some riffs with Mike [Bordin] and [bassist] Robert [Trujillo]?” and I was like, “Yeah, no problem. When do you want me there?” It’s almost like I was a studio musician, which was weird. I still had fun putting sick guitar playing on there with the solos, but I didn’t write anything, so it was a different kind of thing.
GW Do you remember the first gig you played with Ozzy?
WYLDE It was at Wormwood Scrubs Prison in [inner-West London] England. I had long blond hair and weighed 144 pounds. I said, “Dude, I’m about the closest thing to Farrah Fawcett that these motherfuckers are gonna see for the rest of their lives. If I don’t pass this audition, are you gonna leave me in this hellhole?” Ozz wanted us to play there so no one would be able to see me audition, and if things didn’t pan out they’d get another guitar player. But it went well. The inmates loved it, and I got the gig.
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