Steven Rosen of Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: [BLACK LABEL SOCIETY] rhythm guitarist Nick Catanese has left and was replaced by Dario Lorina.
Zakk: Yes. It’s all good. We just spoke with Nick and he was like, “Man, Zakk, I want to put a thousand percent into this project I’m workin’ on. Whether it sinks or it swims, I just gotta do it, man. I don’t know if I’m gonna hold you up.” I said, “We spoil ya and whatever you want to do, brother. Go knock it out.” So that’s what he’s doing right now.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: How did you find Dario?
Zakk: Blasko (Ozzy‘s bass player) hooked it up. Blasko was like, “Well, let me see about Dario. He’s a young kid and he’s a killer player.” I’m at the point where I don’t need to sit here and we don’t have to do “American Idol” cattle call with 5,000 singers coming in to hear them sing. Either I know really good guitar players that are either lookin’ for a gig and it’s just like, “Dude, you wanna join the band?”
Ultimate-Guitar.com: You heard Dario Lorina play and knew he was the right guy?
Zakk: I just saw him playing. He sent a video in and he was just shredding. Then after that, we just flew him out to the Vatican (Zakk‘s studio) and met him. He did his Chippendales dance (famous club that features male dancers) and I said, “Is that a spray on tan or is that a real tan?” and he said, “No, it’s a real tan.” I said, “Obviously you’re committed to the project” and right then and there I knew he had the gig. Because you have to have passion.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Does having someone like Lorina in the band kick you in the butt at all in terms of your playing?
Zakk: No, I practice every day, man. It’s awesome because I know he jams every day too. And like I said when Nick was in the band, Nick was killin’ it as well. With anything I needed Nick to do — solos, double solos with me — Nick killed it all the time.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Can you talk about any of the other music on “Catacombs Of The Black Vatican”?
Zakk: People go, “Oh, do you have stockpiles of riffs and this and that?” and I say, “Well, no.” Basically what it was is when we end up workin’ the records, I’ll be like, “Steve, how much time ’til the guys come out?” and you’re like, “Zakk, the guys will be out here in about 25 days.” It’s like, “Oh, well I got 25 days to write a record. So that’s that.”
Ultimate-Guitar.com: And what is that writing process like?
Zakk: I just put my BLACK LABEL imagination thinking cap on and turn into Doug Henning and go write a record. “It’s magic” (spoken in soft tones ala Henning). I dig it that way so there’s just an explosion of writing and you get it done.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Is there an actual approach you take to writing?
Zakk: If I’m gonna write anything, I’ll sit in the morning and come up with something. I’ll just jam something in the morning whether it’s acoustic or something because I’m always running scales when I wake up in the morning. I’ll grab some Valhalla Java (the coffee brand Zakk endorses) and I’ll just sit down and go duhdit duh dit ditditditdit (mimics fast guitar riff) and just going over morning scales.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Where does it go from there?
Zakk: Then if I start noodlin’ on guitar, it’ll be somethin’ mellow where it’s like a Neil Young thing or a Bob Seger thing or THE EAGLES or ALLMANS or in that vein. Whether it’s “Melissa” or “Midnight Rider” or like an acoustic-type thing ’cause that’s what the instrument lends itself to.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: How do the electric songs get written?
Zakk: The whole thing is as far as riffs, I’ll sit in my garage with a JCM2000 I have at a low volume with a Super Overdrive pedal and an Octave pedal on so it just sounds massive like I’m in Madison Square Garden with reverb on it. The guitar tone sounds huge at a low volume and I’ll just start writin’ riffs and that’s how it comes about.
Read the entire interview at Ultimate-Guitar.com.