Zakk Wylde is famous for playing a signature model Les Paul guitar with a bull’s-eye graphic.
Appropriately, on January 19, 2012, a hoard of rock heavyweights descended upon the City National Grove in Anaheim, California, and put the Viking shred god squarely in their sights.
The occasion? Guitar World’s first-ever Rock & Roll Roast. The result? Two-plus hours of some of the most merciless one-liners you’ll ever hear about Wylde, event emcee Sharon Osbourne and the rest of the celebrity dais, which included Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor, former Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan, wrestler and Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho and comedians Jim Norton, Jim Florentine and Brian Posehn.
Presented by Epiphone, the event benefited MusiCares, which provides emergency financial, medical and outreach assistance to people in the music industry in times of need.
Given his status as the founding member of Black Label Society and one of Ozzy Osbourne’s most famous guitarists, Wylde is among the most beloved members of the metal guitar community.
But on this special night, nothing was sacred, including his history of heavy drinking and substance abuse, one of the evening’s motifs. Almost every roaster pointed out how messed up someone has to be to get a substance-abuse lecture from Ozzy Osbourne.
“It was fuckin’ brutal,” Wylde says, a week after the Roast, after some of the sting has had a chance to wear off. “But I was laughing my balls off the whole time.”
The evening started outside the Grove as roasters and assorted guests — including Ian, Taylor, Sharon Osbourne, Slayer guitarist Kerry King, Black Label Society bassist John DeServio, Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple/Black Sabbath/Black Country Communion), Richie Faulkner (Judas Priest) and others — ambled down the red carpet, pausing briefly to muse on the plight of the evening’s guest of honor.
“If I were in Zakk’s place, I’d actually feel very confident,” Ian says. “I would’ve gone out and gotten [insult comics] Jeffrey Ross and Lisa Lampanelli to write my jokes. After everyone tears you down, you've gotta come back strong!” Was Ian afraid of Wylde’s rebuttal? “No! What's anyone gonna say about me that I wouldn't say about myself? I get it: I'm short, I'm bald, I'm Jewish. Who cares?”
Apparently Wylde does: As he took the podium when it was his turn to fire back at the roasters, a replica of the mini-Stonehenge monument from Spinal Tap descended from the Grove ceiling to the tune of Tap’s “Stonehenge.” “Hey, Scott,” Wylde said. “Can you do me a favor and dance around that fucking thing?”
The night also included video roasts from Steel Panther, the Ultimate Warrior, Stone Cold Steve Austin, current Osbourne guitarist Gus G, Judas Priest singer Rob Halford and William Shatner.
“Someone on the red carpet asked me if there will be more roasts,” Wylde said. “I said, ‘Are you kidding? It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Look at everybody on this red carpet. Who can’t we make fun of?’ Next time, just make sure I’m sitting in the grandstand up there. I wanna take the piss out of everybody.”
Below, we proudly present the greatest hits from Guitar World’s Rock & Roll Roast of Zakk Wylde — or at least those we could print!
“I love all your songs, Zakk. Or, as I like to call them, ‘really mediocre Ozzy songs with shitty vocals.’”— Chris Jericho
“You know, Zakk, when I think of the great legends of metal, I’ll always think of you…filling in for them … then getting fired.” — Sharon Osbourne
“As a young musician, Zakk hitchhiked to L.A., blowing minds … and truck drivers.” — Scott Ian
“Duff, you really are such a boring fuck. You were one of the last people to see Kurt Cobain alive when you sat together on a flight. Sitting next to Duff for four hours is enough to make anyone want to blow their head off.” — Zakk Wylde
“Ozzy Osbourne has repeatedly talked to Zakk about getting help for his drinking. Think about what I just said. How fucked up do you have to be when Ozzy Osbourne tells you that you have a substance problem?” — Corey Taylor
“Zakk and Ozzy. What a pair. They’re so close, Ozzy didn’t even show up tonight.” — Chris Jericho
“Look at this dais. I’m sure you can see the same exact people Friday, Saturday and even Sunday signing autographs to no one at NAMM.” — Sharon Osbourne
“Sharon, your plastic surgeon is amazing. He makes you look almost lifelike. Now if he could only remove your horns and hooves.” — Scott Ian
“Jim Florentine is here. It’ll be interesting to hear what Florentine has to say without Eddie Trunk’s hand up his ass.” — Corey Taylor
“Corey Taylor is a big-time rock star who stays close to his white-trash roots. He still brings his uncle out on tour to molest him.” — Chris Jericho
“Chris Jericho. Why is he here? A guy famous for fake fighting. I guess it’s appropriate, since we’re here to honor the fake Randy Rhoads.” — Scott Ian
“Scott [Ian] has been playing a lot of poker lately, and like Anthrax, they both rarely manage to pull a full house.” — Zakk Wylde
“Zakk Wylde is a true rock legend. Musically he has the Midas touch—his playing always sounds like it needs a massive tune-up.” — Chris Jericho
“As I came in, I was surprised to see a member of Slipknot backstage. Then as I got closer, I realized it was just Sharon without her makeup on.” — Zakk Wylde
“Corey Taylor is the frontman for Slipknot. He chose the name because a slipknot is the knot you use to tie a noose, and because his music makes you want to hang yourself.” — Sharon Osbourne
“Corey Taylor used to be in a Tenacious D cover band called Audacious P. But now he’s currently fronting a Nickelback cover band called Stone Sour.” — Zakk Wylde
“Come on Scott [Ian], you guys are such drama queens you should be called ‘The Real Housewives of the Bronx.’ ” — Chris Jericho
“Brian [Posehn], I don’t care what everyone says. You’re really funny and talented, and it’s not your fault that you have a face made for podcasting.” — Zakk Wylde
“Duff, let me just say that you were hot in the Eighties. You looked like a pudgier Melanie Griffith. And now you look like a skinnier Cryptkeeper.” — Chris Jericho
“Jim Florentine is proof that anyone with a New Jersey public school education and a shitty stand-up act can make it all the way to VH1 Classic.” — Zakk Wylde