When I got home last Friday night, I informed my 16-year-old son, Kane, that our favorite viking-sized guitar hero, Zakk Wylde, was putting out a book in September.
Without hesitation, he said what will probably be on everybody’s mind when they hear the news: “Gee, I didn’t think Uncle Zakk could read, let alone write!” (For the record, Zakk is not really my son’s uncle, it’s just what he calls him. And yes, I find it a little disturbing.)
While I can’t say for certain that Zakk has ever actually put pen to paper (It appears he had some assistance from somebody named Eric Hendrikx), there is no doubt that the contents are 100 percent Wylde.
I’ve known Zakk for close to two decades — back when his arms were as skimpy as his chord progressions — and my preview copy of Bringing Metal To The Children: The Complete Berserker’s Guide to World Tour Domination (William Morrow) captures his voice and hilarious worldview to perfection.
If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s really like to tour with a big-time metal group, this is the definitive statement. While most rock bios focus on the “sensitive inner-workings” of the artist, Zakk dispenses with all that comedy and gets down to the drinking, the vomiting, the disgusting pranks and non-stop jackass behavior that describes actual touring life.
Or, as he explains in the book’s intro, “You lucky motherfuckers are gonna learn what it takes to tear through shows on the road in pure Black Label fashion, rollin’ though hell and destroying everything in your path.”
While the memoir has many, many moments that had me snickering out loud like Beavis and Butthead, I particularly enjoyed one surreal bit where Zakk’s beard literally highjacks the book to complain about the lack of credit it gets for Wylde’s larger-than-life image.
“When Zakk makes all his crazy faces at the crowd, I’m the one who kicks that shit into gear,” the beard pathetically whines.
On the subject of his domestic life, Zakk says: “Around my house, I won’t even speak to my family unless they first address me by my official Berzerker name, Godred Crovan, Victor of Sky-Hill and Ruler of Man and the Isles. And now that I think of it, that’s probably why nobody speaks to me unless it’s time to feed the dogs or take out the garbage.”
In short, Bringing Metal To The Children is an epic rock 'n' roll book that refuses to take itself seriously, and thank god for that.
Brad Tolinski is editor-in-chief of Guitar World.