Steve Johnson of Icon Vs. Icon recently conducted an interview with Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Icon Vs. Icon: You just released a Christmas album. Wow! That’s a hell of a segue! How did the concept for this come about in the BLACK LABEL camp?
Zakk: It was years ago. Father Vai, Stevie called me up. He was like, “I’m putting together this Christmas album. Brian Setzer‘s on it. Would you be interested in playing guitar on it?” I was like, “Yeah! Of course, Stevie! Whatever you want us to do.” So I had plans for recording that. Anytime you go in to record it’s always a good time. Especially when we were drinking. It was an excuse to drink, and record, and have a good time. Like I’m going to turn that down. I think if you ask anybody, if you’re going to go in and record it’s always a good time. You always have fun. We ended up putting “The First Noel” last year for Christmas on iTunes. They called again and said, “Would Zakk mind putting together two songs or something like that?” So I was like, “Yeah! Of course!” So we knocked that album out right before we did the PRIEST run. Now that I got the Black Vatican Studio, I can go in and record. We went in, sat down, and our engineer mixed it with me. We knocked out the songs in no time at all.
Icon Vs. Icon: What can you tell me about the songs themselves and what made you choose them?
Zakk: We just looked up stuff on YouTube like Sarah McLachlan. I really love her. So we just pulled up a bunch of things Sarah was doing. She was killing it. Every one of those things sounded amazing. I was like, “Let’s hear Sarah do this one, or that one, or this one.” I learned them and then the next thing you know we recorded them.
Icon Vs. Icon: BLACK LABEL SOCIETY always seems to have something up its sleeve musically. What is happening in regard to new material?
Zakk: We did “The Song Remains Not the Same” with all of the blackened versions of the heavy stuff. We’re probably going to do a blackened DVD. That’s what we have in the works coming up after we roll with JUDAS PRIEST and GUNS N’ ROSES. So we’re going to put that together and we’re going to blow that thing up, almost like Neil Young‘s “Unplugged” thing. We’ll have a pedal steel guy, some of my guest musician buddies, a four-piece string section, piano, cannon, the whole nine yards. We’ll have background singers. We are really going to blow it up.
Icon Vs. Icon: Speaking of this industry you say is run by complete maniacs, what advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in the music industry?
Zakk: Well, you’ve got to love music. Sometimes the music doesn’t love you. I’ll put it this way. All of my musician buddies that I know … It’s in your blood and you love it, whether you’re playing Madison Square Garden or you’re playing … I played with the boss when we did that Russian thing. There were over 100,000 people each day. Then I am in a van with Nick touring around when we were doing “Book Of Shadows” at Sudsy Malone’s. It was a bar with about eight people and three of them were doing their laundry. They had washing machines in the back, a bar to the left, and the stage right there. It was hysterical, dude. There were eight people there. Four of them were beyond blitzkrieged and the other three were loaded while they were doing their wash. I still had just as good a time doing that as rolling with the boss. The reward … We got the big house on Valhalla Mountain up there, with the 10 acres and the whole nine yards. The bottom line is, when Barb and I got our first apartment, we had a little TV room with the TV on a box. We had cable so I could watch football. I had my guitar. When I first joined Oz … We had just as good a time in that thing as we did in the big house on the hill. It’s all about what you make it. Whether it was me and Nick piled up in a van or you got the million-dollar tour bus. It’s all what you make it dude.
Icon Vs. Icon: You have been sober for quite a while now. Has that been a big adjustment to make when you are out on the road?
Zakk: The whole thing is not drinking anymore sauce. Everybody goes, “Well, Zakk. Let’s analyze why you drink.” I go, “Really? Seriously? I’ve gotta be honest with you, you don’t need to go to jail for 12 years for drinking this amount.” I go, “Let me tell you why the world drinks and the reason why people smoke weed, and do anything to get high. Because it feels good! I don’t know what to tell you man.” I go, “Listen. When my wife’s giving me a blowjob I don’t look down and start analyzing it! I just know it feels good!” [laughs] There is really no need to analyze this. When I’m getting a massage because my back is killing me. When my lower back is blowing up nuclear. If I go in there and get a massage and some chick is walking on my back and it feels amazing, I don’t analyze it. It just feels good. The reason why I love LED ZEPPELIN is because I do. [laughs] You don’t really need to analyze why I idolize Jimmy Page. He’s awesome, I don’t know what to tell you. [laughs] Here … I’ll tell you why I really dig Jimmy Page, he’s a graduate of Fonzarelli University. OK! Because he’s cool, man! [laughs]
Read the entire interview from Icon Vs. Icon.