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Interviews : “The world is going to end on the day when all Zeppelin and Sabbath records are no longer available” – An interview with Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society)

By on February 12, 2018

Black Label Society – Zakk Wylde

The great Zakk Wylde… is an introduction really necessary? Promoting his new album under the Black Label Society moniker, Grimmest Hits, it was also a great opportunity to have a chat to him about underappreciated personalities and albums released through his storied career.

I’m watching ‘How the World Ends with Nostradamus’. The one thing I’m noticing they haven’t mentioned is that the world is going to end on the day when all Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath records are no longer available, that’s what I’m going with, that’s my prediction”

Cue laughter and an exchange that leads to my proclamation that as long as Wylde is string-slinging, the music of the masters will be kept alive and well.

Wylde has been the ‘go-to’ guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne since No Rest for the Wicked (’88), so the originators of heavy metal and hard rock are more than just important influences. Wylde’s tenure with Ozzy has been punctuated by outstanding solo-themed releases and tours but it is his thoughts on a lesser-celebrated partnership from early in his career that deserves special recognition.

I love Bob. I mean working with Bob is awesome, and (he) is hysterical. There was no shortage of us cracking up and laughing all the time. Bob is super creative, it’s a shame all the things that have gone on between he and Ozzy. it would be great if they’re still buddies, because they’re a great team together. Bob’s lyrics and stuff like that. Those first two records with ‘Saint’ Rhoads are legendary, classic records for sure. There’s a template for the Ozzy sound, that is the Ozzy sound.”

Bob Daisley is the Australian bassist and unassuming voice behind so many of the lyrics sung by Ozzy that fans know and love. Wylde and Daisley enjoyed a superb partnership that yielded hidden gems such as “Fire in the Sky” and one of Ozzy’s finest solo cut’s, “Breaking all the Rules”, both from No Rest for the Wicked. 

Wylde is the perfect candidate to offer some deep insight into his view on the Ozzy ‘sound’ and Daisley’s contribution to Ozzy’s career and beyond.

Bob’s bass playing is cut from the same cloth as James Jamerson (Motown Records bassist and R&B, soul and funk genius) where they all come from… Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones and you have Bob. Bob is cut from the same cloth of all those guys, his bass playing is so musical. His lyric writing with Ozzy is phenomenal. That’s all you got to do, just listen to those two records (Blizzard of Oz- ’80 & Diary of a Madman- ’81) and all the records that we did together…. No rest, and Bob played on No More Tears (’91)”

Another wonderful partnership is the one he formed with former White Lion and Megadeth bassist James Lomenzo in Pride and Glory (’94). Does Wylde see a reformation of the lineup?

Yeah, you never know. I mean James is rolling with (former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty). I still talk to Brian (Tichy – drums, percussion). We’re all still friends… (Pride and Glory) is obviously my love for Sabbath, Zeppelin and the Allman Brothers. Skynyrd, Bad Company, The Band, Elton John and Neil Young. Some of it is reminiscent of Percy Sledge and Sam Cooke, like the chord progressions. But it’s just my love for all that style of music, which it still is today. “

With a title like Grimmest Hits one could be forgiven for thinking the new album is themed in the same way that Type O Negative offered The Least Worst Of (’00). Steeped in Wylde’s humour it’s a brand-new compilation of original material styled just how BLS fans like it.

That’s the reason why it’s Grimmest Hits, because people are like, ‘Zakk, is this the greatest hits record?’. I say no, because in order for it to be a greatest hits record, you need that one important special ingredient and that’s hit songs, we don’t have any of those. The record company asked, ‘Zakk, is there any hit songs?’ I said, ‘Now, the answer to that question is rather bleak and grim’. So that’s why we named it the Grimmest Hits

Grimmest Hits is out now via Spinefarm Records. Available from JB Hi-Fi and iTunes.

About

Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of QLD. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @i_c_e_man