Zakk Wylde Discusses Wylde Audio, His New Line of Guitars, Amps and Effects — Video

“This is my new paper route!” Wylde says with a laugh.

And while the notion of the mammoth metal guitar legend slinging newspapers from the back of a 10-speed bike offers up an intriguing visual, the reality is that Wylde is announcing a very different type of business venture: Wylde Audio.

Call it your one-stop-shop for all Zakk-related gear; with Wylde Audio, the 47-year-old musician, who over the years has become synonymous with signature equipment like his bull’s-eye Gibson Les Pauls and JCM-800-style Marshall amps, is unveiling his own line of guitars, amplifiers and effect pedals.

“It’s the next logical step for me,” Wylde explains. “I’ve been blessed in my career so far; all my years with Ozz, all the companies I’ve worked with—it’s like putting the pinstripes on and playing for the Yankees. But I’ve always been a player. Now it’s time to go out and own a franchise.”

Among Wylde Audio’s first offerings will be a diverse line of guitars featuring distinct body shapes with both modern and retro twists. “I’m known as a Les Paul Custom guy, and then I also have the [Gibson] Vs and Moderne [of Doom], the signature things,” Wylde says. “But I want to do all different types of body shapes, because I’m a fan of all guitars.”

There will also be high-gain and vintage-style amps, and stomp box effects like Analog Chorus, Overdrive and Analog Delay. “We’re going to have a lot of different things, and at all different prices,” Wylde says. “Because you have to. I mean, we’re going to be doing Trainwreck-type amplifiers for 25 grand a pop, but I don’t know how many of those we’re gonna be selling.”

One thing Wylde assures is that no matter the price point, the quality will be top notch. “Why would you make anything that’s a pile of shit?” he says. Plus, he adds, “You can’t roll with companies like Gibson, Marshall and Dunlop all these years and then use anything less than the best.”

To that end, Wylde reports that despite being so closely linked with these companies, in time he will be strictly a Wylde Audio man himself. “Eventually all my Gibsons will be retired. All my Marshalls will be retired. All my Dunlop stuff, too,” he says. “I love it all, but it’ll be phased out.”

As for his collaborators in Wylde Audio, he says, “It’s all people I’ve had relationships with over the years, and who I know and respect. And the stuff we’re coming up with is slamming.”

Eventually, Zakk envisions Wylde Audio expanding beyond guitars, amps and effects. “Whatever it is we feel like creating—studio outboard gear, Pro Tools plug-ins—we’ll do it,” he says. “That’s why it’s called ‘Wylde Audio.’ It’s not just, ‘Oh yeah, Zakk plays guitar so it’s going to be guitar-related stuff. It can be anything.

“That’s the most exciting thing about this—we can do whatever we want,” he continues. “You can’t even say the sky’s the limit. Because there are no limits.”

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.