Originally published in Guitar World, June 2010
Zakk Wylde puts the finishing touches on the latest Black Label Society album, recorded in his new home studio.
Zakk Wylde may have lost his gig with Ozzy Osbourne, but the change in circumstance has given him more time to work with Black Label Society. To that end, Wylde constructed a studio in his home. Dubbed the Black Label Bunker, he’s been holed up there, finishing the group’s latest opus.
“This place is so cool, I don’t ever want to leave,” he says. “I think I’ll become like the Beatles and just release records from now on.”
Comprised of three iso rooms (one for drums, one for amps and another for piano), the Bunker is a state-of-the-art facility. “It’s got Pro Tools and all the other bells and whistles,” he says. What it also has, the guitarist notes with more than a trace of irony, is a plush bar and lounge area. This is where Wylde would have spent considerable time had his health not been endangered by life-threatening blood clots in 2009. Since then, he’s had to stop indulging in all things alcoholic. “Now I actually have to look at the studio as a workplace,” Wylde says dryly. “It’s not just a second pub anymore.”
Sobriety, however, has its benefits, and Wylde claims that he’s had “more energy and focus than ever during the past few months.” Of the new album, his first for E1 Music, he says, “It has everything you love about Black Label. It’s heavy, it’s mellow, and it’s got great tunes. Great tunes are the only things that matter.”
Eyeing a June release for the disc, Wylde and BLS will appear on this summer’s Ozzfest. When asked if it will feel weird sharing the bill with Osbourne—whose new guitarist is former Firewind axman Gus G.—but not sharing the same stage with him, Wylde says, “Nah, I can’t wait to see what Ozzy and Gus G. do together. I hope they made a slammin’ album together, too. There’s no bad blood here. Ozzy and me are family. Family conquers all.”