Zakk Wylde: Why and How I Was Asked to Rejoin Ozzy's Band

(Image credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

On April 28, we announced that Zakk Wylde would reunite with his old boss—Ozzy Osbourne—for a 2017 summer tour that happens to mark the 30th anniversary of the duo's first collaboration. The news marked the end of Ozzy's nearly decade-long collaboration with guitarist Gus G.

But—and we remember the many comments on Facebook—a lot of fans wondered exactly why the shift had taken place. As it turns out, the reason is rather, well, simple.

"Oz called up; he said at this juncture Gus couldn't do it," Wylde told 98.9 The Rock this past Saturday, June 3.

"And he said, 'Who else could get the dishes as clean and the linens as fluffy as they were back in the day?' So that's the reason why. It really has nothing to do with the guitar playing. It's just 'cause Gus couldn't do it. So they're, like, 'Well, we'll let him play guitar while he's here anyway doing dishes and linens.'"

Back on April 28, Gus was quick to release a statement wishing Ozzy and Zakk well.

"It's been an honor and a privilege playing by your side since 2009," Gus wrote. "Nothing but great times and an experience of a lifetime. As a fan, it's great to see Ozzy and Zakk back together. It's been long overdue."

Ozzy's touring band will be rounded out by Rob "Blasko" Nicholson on bass, Tommy Clufetos on drums and Adam Wakeman on keyboards.

"If I wasn't working with Ozzy I'd probably be back home playing with a good band, but mentally I'd be nowhere near the level I'm at today," Wylde told Guitar World in 1990. "Ozzy gives me immediate feedback. He'll tell me whether something blows or if he thinks it 's good; he also gives me hints on what to do on stage. If I was hanging with my friends, probably nothing would be said.

"[Ozzy] would always say, 'That sounds like Hendrix—just be Zakk.' The first few times he said that, I didn't know what to do. I mean, how do you get your own style? There aren't any manuals. I'd try to defend myself by saying, 'Well, this is the way I play, this is Zakk!' Then I'd go home at night and practice until I was blue in the face, trying to figure which way to turn, but never sure whether I was on the right track. I eventually realized that Ozzy was right, and he helped me weed all those copycat licks out of my playing. But it was a little frightening.

"Ozzy helped me get through the stage where I idolized people; now I simply appreciate their playing. I love a lot of other guitar players, but now I'm happy with myself."

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums. He now plays in two NYC-area bands.