Zakk Wylde, Scott Ian and Gary Holt on the furious riffs, high-octane gear and lifer philosophies that shaped their careers – and why everyone cheats with downpicking

[L-R] Zakk Wylde, Scott Ian and Gary Holt
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When Guitar World connects with Zakk Wylde, Scott Ian and Gary Holt, the metal guitar titans are a week and a half into their North American tour: Anthrax and Black Label Society co-headlining as they did last summer, this time with Exodus roped in as special guests. 

Their show in Penticton, British Columbia a few nights earlier made headlines for an attendee referred to by the music press as ‘Angry Jesus’ – thanks to his long hair, beige robe and violent moshing – being escorted out of the venue by local police officers. It was, by all accounts, an unforgettable night which perhaps saw one bearded metal fan enjoying just a little bit too much of that holy water...

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Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences as a guitar player. He's worked for magazines like Kerrang!Metal HammerClassic RockProgRecord CollectorPlanet RockRhythm and Bass Player, as well as newspapers like Metro and The Independent, interviewing everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handled lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).