Zakk Wylde: When Ozzy Tells Me To Jump, I Ask, 'How High?'
David Priest of OnTrackMagazine.com recently interviewed Zakk Wylde. Here is an excerpt of his interview:
In light of your success with Black Label, recently there was an announcement made that Ozzy is seeking a new guitar player to work on his next solo effort. He also stated that he knows you would be on board for anything that he does but he didn’t want to pull you away from Black Label. What are your feelings on this?
Zakk: Ozzy knows I’ll always be there for him. What comes around goes around, ‘cause I remember Ozzy, awhile ago when he was lookin’ for a guitar player, he goes, ‘Zakk, it’s a nightmare.’ When I first arrived on the scene I was comin’ in at the end of the 80’s and guitar players were a lot better, then the solos kinda went, but what’s old is new again and what’s new is old. I’ve just always figured that you just gotta know how to play your instrument, you know what I mean? As far as today goes there’s a lot of potential within the rest of the Black Label Chapters. There’s a whole bunch of kids, and they’re all like seventeen years old, eighteen years old, and they all play, like, ten hours a day and you love jammin’ again, you know what I mean? When I got the job with Ozzy, there were actually some decent guitar players around, I just happened to fall through the cracks.
OT: So are you gonna pursue writing with him and recording with him again?
Zakk: Um yeah, I mean the bottom line is, with Oz, he makes the calls, he’s the boss, you know what I mean? Whenever he tells me to jump, I ask, ‘how high?’ With us it’s real easy, Sharon calls Barbara Ann, my wife, and goes, ‘Tell the idiot to be down at rehearsals on Wednesday.’ ‘What time?’ ‘Tell him to be there at 1 O’clock.’
OT: Right, right. Lately there have been a couple instances where some of your actions have caused some controversy, namely the episodes in Hollywood and Boise. Now I understand that these indents were pretty much blown out of proportion, but it has been awhile since something so ‘Rock Star’-like has taken place in the industry. I mean it may not have been a hotel room getting trashed, but it definitely registered on the charts.
Zakk: It was just definitely gay. In Boise we walked into the club and grabbed a few wooden bar stools and started blasting them with a bat to see who could reach the stage with them. We could have gone to Ikea and we could've bought these chairs, they're nothing fancy, and we’re blastin' them with an aluminum bat. So the owner comes in and starts in on me - 'What the hell are you doin?’ And I'm like, 'Dude don't worry, I’m Zakk, I’m playing here tonight and I'll pay for all the damages, I'll give you the money right now…' Now understand, he's going to make a lot of money off me that night, right? Black Label likes to drink; he'll make his money back. So then he starts going off on me and I said, 'Dude, you're the owner of the bar I know you've got to deal with a lot of stress. Here, this one's on me, blow off some steam, whap one of the chairs.' He says 'F*ck this, I'm calling the cops…' And he calls the cops. That pissed me off and I headed for the door. On the way out there were three display cases hanging on the wall with guitars and basses in them, and I smashed all three of them on the way out of the club - the glass shatters, and the guitars fall out of all three of 'em. Next thing you know, there are nine cops, and a cop on horseback! (Laughing) I’m telling you, you couldn't make this shit up! So he comes out there, and I'm all pissed and irate that I might be goin' to jail for bustin' up three fucking bar stools. I explained to the cops that I offered to pay for the damages and that he was just being an asshole. Anyway, he ended up dropping the charges, but pulled the plug on the show, even though I was still willing to play. Then he says that I did $60,000 in damages, and wanted me to come back and play a free show for him. I said, ‘F*ck you, motherf*cker!’ As for L.A., it was the end of the tour and the sound was shit. The monitors didn’t work through most of the show and I got pissed and launched a guitar into the audience and then Craig shoves his set over. We just ended the show. I’m sure there’s a lot of shit talking goin’ on and if everyone thinks I’m drinkin’ from the minute I get up ‘til the minute I go down… it’s like cool, let ‘em think that, I don’t give a shit. I just laugh my ass off at it, who am I kiddin’, who drinks from the minute we get up ‘til the minute we go down?
OT: Right, right. But you do come across as a pretty intimidating character sometimes, although I have talked with your wife and she puts that all to rest and says it’s not true; she says you’re just a great big teddy bear.
Zakk: Ha ha ha ha ha! Oh the comedy, bro.
OT: But I’ve seen people just kind of part like the red sea when you’re walkin’ across the grass at Ozzfest, or whatever. People are like, ‘Oh shit get outta the way.’
Zakk: Naw that’s just because I never bathe and that’s the stench that is blowin’ through. (Laughter) They don’t go, ‘Oh it’s Zakk Wylde.’ Or it’s ‘Icky Bulby,’ or whatever the heck my name is. They just go, ‘What is that f*ckin’ rancid stench? I’m gettin’ the f*ck outta here!’ (Laughter) It’s just all a facade, man, it’s all smoke and mirrors, I just smell like prison cunt so everyone just walks outta the way. And people go, ‘Man, look at the pure power!’ Behold the power of the ass! (Lots of laughing) Holy shit!
OT: (Laughing) Right on! Y’know, I know that you’re a big supporter of our troops and, in passing, I’ve found that there are some who are offended that there are recruiters on site at this year’s Ozzfest. What’s your take on their presence being there and also on those who feel it’s out of place.
Zakk: Well, put it this way, a bunch of my buddies ended up in the service, they were all older than me that at the time they were like, ‘Dude, I don’t know what I want to do with my life.’ The military, for a lot of those guys, it’s an awesome place to go. I’m just saying, war time’s war time, but I’m talkin’ like, recruitin’, ‘cause a lot of times you go into the service and a lot of people just think you’re goin’ in ‘cause you wanta go shoot people. But ya learn a trade, it’s like goin’ to college, you’re doin’ something that you wanta do. It’s better than sittin’ around on your Mom and Dad’s f*ckin’ couch ‘til you’re 38 years old, you know what I mean?
OT: Yeah absolutely. I guess the report was they felt that Ozzfest attendee’s would make good soldiers.
Zakk: I don’t believe that, but the bottom line is - if you don’t know what you wanta do with your life then the military’s a great thing. It’s just like, it’ll give you direction and focus, you know? If you don’t have any drive… ‘cause I was gonna have my nephew go into the military just ‘cause he’s sittin’ on the couch all day. I’m like, ‘Dude, what are you doin’?’ I mean ya can’t play video games all day, sumin’ wrong with it.’ I’m all, ‘Matt, unless you’re gonna be makin’ a couple hundred grand playin’ video game competitions, man, I go, ‘Dude, ya ain’t sittin’ on my couch eatin’ food all day, you and your buddies.’ ‘Ya need to get a f*ckin’ job or do sumthin’ with your life.’