Zakk Wylde: Seven Things We Learned from His New Loudwire Podcast

(Image credit: Mark Horton/Getty Images)

Loudwire just launched its new Loudwire Podcast!, with Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde as its premiere guest.

During the hour-long chat, hosts Graham Hartmann and Joe DiVita got Zakk’s thoughts on a range of topics, including his August 15 opening slot on Guns N’ Roses’ reunion tour and which lineup he prefers: Ozzy-era Black Sabbath or Dio-era Black Sabbath.

Zakk also shares a classic Ozzy Osbourne story at the end of the podcast, so stick around for the whole thing.

A new Loudwire Podcast! will be released every other Thursday. The podcasts are available on iTunes.

Zakk is currently on tour in support of his latest album, Book of Shadows II.

The interview begins at 2:40.

Zakk continues, “Axl would say [AC/DC former singer] Bon Scott was my guy, when we were talking about all the musicians who inspired us. So it’s a perfect fit… For Axl, I’m sure he’s beyond honored that he’s up there jamming with Angus and the guys. And he’s singing his ass off. How is this a bad thing?”

2. He Thinks Angus Young Should Keep AC/DC Going Despite Cliff Williams’ Departure at the End of This Tour.
“I got some of my buddies that are huge AC/DC guys that are just like, ‘Dude, there’s nobody in the band left if Cliff walks away.’ I get that, but it’s like, if we manage Angus and he’s like, ’I wanna still keep making music; I just wrote a whole ton of new riffs and a whole ton of new songs,’ the whole thing will be like, ‘Well, if you wanna keep rolling, let’s keep this thing going.’ I support him either way.”

3. In the Debate over the Ozzy vs. Ronnie James Dio Era of Black Sabbath, He Chooses Ozzy. (18:52)
But he also points out that both Ozzy and Sabbath changed their sound so much after their split that they essentially became two different acts. “The sound changed so dramatically and drastically,” Zakk notes. “[The breakup] was pretty much the best thing that could happen to both of them. It was almost like you hit the reset button on both of them, on Ozzy and [on] Geezer and Tony and Bill. It was like you hit the reset button and all this freshness just came out again—Ozzy with Randy [Rhoads] and when Saint Ronnie joined Tony and Geezer and Bill. But the music was so drastically different from when the Boss [Ozzy]was in Black Sabbath.”

4. He Doesn’t Think Down Tuning Has Much to Do with the Power of Tony Iommi’s Riffs. (23:08)
“The down tuning’s fine and all,” Zakk says. “But if he was still playing in A-440 and he’s playing ‘Into the Void’—it’s what he wrote. It’s those riffs, man. I mean yeah, down tuning is low and I get it, because it just sounds heavier sonically. But if he was still A440 and playing ‘Into the Void’ on an acoustic guitar, that’s still, like, the heaviest riff.”

5. He Thinks Judas Priest is the Defining Metal Band. (24:45)
“Judas Priest is more metal than Black Sabbath. Sabbath is more blues and stuff like that, where Priest to me is the defining metal band.”

6. Vocal Chops Are Overrated. (27:20)
In a continuation of the Ozzy-vs-Dio debate, Zakk says Ozzy’s lack of vocal chops is inconsequential. “Half the guys we love wouldn’t even make it on American Idol. I’m talking whether it’s Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen….any of these cats. These guys that are legendary artists would last about two seconds on American Idol and they’d get laughed out of the place.”

7. He’d Put Ozzy’s vocals on Sabotage up Against Any Other Heavy Metal Vocal Performance.
“It’s one of the hands-down top three greatest vocal rock performances of all time,” Zakk says. “His vocals on Sabotage are beyond stellar. It’s just the blues licks in his voice, the rasp in his voice, and how much he’s pushing, and the emotion and everything like that. Hands down, I’d put it up against all his peers, whether it’s Ian Gillan, Robert Plant...all the guys that are known for having amazing vocal chops. Hands down, I’d put that in the ring against anybody.”

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Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World, a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.