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Black Label Society’s Zakk Wylde on ‘Catacombs of the Black Vatican,’ Meeting Ozzy Osbourne + More

Zakk Wylde
Liz Ramanand, Loudwire

Things are starting to pick up for Black Label Society. The group just released their ‘The Catacombs of the Black Vatican’ album and are just about to launch their massive ‘Golden Gods’ trek with Down, The Butcher Babies and Devil You Know.

But before hitting the road, frontman Zakk Wylde took a few moments to speak with ‘Loudwire Nights’ host Full Metal Jackie about why he feels spontaneity is important in recording, how new guitarist Dario Lorina compares with him at that age and he also spoke about the upcoming trek. Check out Full Metal Jackie’s interview with Zakk Wylde below.

Loudwire Nights Full Metal Jackie. On the show with us this week, very happy to say, I’ve got good friend Zakk Wylde with us. How are you my friend?

Oh my!! [laughs]

[Laughs] Oh my goodness!! How ya doing Zakk?

Just getting ready for Black Label boot camp and getting ready for the big, you know, ‘The Catacombs of the Black Vatican’ crusade, so getting ready to roll.

Awesome. ‘Catacombs of the Black Vatican,’ the record is out now. And Zakk, almost all of the songs on the record were written pretty quickly. Why is spontaneity such an important part of the Black Label Society music?

Well because it cuts back into, I got to fit my time slots in between, you know with  [my wife] Barbaranne, between the children, and everything like that she can fit me in for an appointment. So that’s pretty much it. And that’s pretty much the whole reason why we got to pump these albums out pretty quickly. I have zero time. You know she has to fit me in for a little … I guess, for some relations.

Conjugal visits?

Yes. [Laughs] Yes, after 28 years of loving and groping, yes it’s come down to that.

Zakk, your approach isn’t much different from your heroes and their classic albums. No master plan, just channel the creativity and whatever comes out is what you record. What happens to music when there is too much planning and forethought?

Put it this way, when we … not so much when we did ‘No Rest for the Wicked’ with Oz, but when we ended up doing like ‘No More Tears.’ I mean it was kinda funny, I mean you know when Steve Thompson and Mike Barbiero, when they came in when we were up in Bearsville. Great guys and everything like that — super cool dudes. All of them, we were jamming and I mean just going through these songs —  ’No More Tears,’ ‘Mama, I’m Coming Home,’ I mean everything that’s on that record and it’s just like playing it over and over and like going — are we going to record these any time soon?

I don’t understand, what is pre-production? Either you know how to play or you don’t know how to play. I mean, put it this way, when you’re working with a string section when those cats come down and they’re going to play, because obviously they know what their doing. They play. They will never have heard the song, and then they have have sheet music in front of them and they start playing. They play it like maybe twice and then they are like, “OK, we’re done.” And then they leave; their check’s in the mail, right, ok good.

I mean they don’t sit around practicing for 10 hours, or 10 days, or two months. It’s just like if you know how to play you just get in there and you do it. So I mean, and not only that — you’re sucking the life out of everything that — you never want to hear these songs again anyway. Then, being done like playing them like 6,000 times, it’s just that we haven’t even recorded these songs yet. This is usually what you save for when you get in a band rehearsal and you start getting ready for a tour. It’s just pretty funny. The whole thing is just go in, record it. If you write it right there on the spot, just record it and then you’re done. And then we’ll record it.

I’ll go out in the truck with a CD and I’ll just sit in the truck, crank it and then I’ll come up with some melodies and I’ll write some lyrics right there. And we’ll go in and do it. That’s it, done. And then I can get back to sniffing glue. That’s how it works. I don’t have time beating around the bush.

Zakk, Dario Lorina just joined Black Label Society recently. What similarity is there between him and you as a 19-year-old kid from Jersey joining Ozzy Osbourne’s band?

Well I mean he’s 24 years old, Dario. So I’m trying to think — so between from 19 to 24, he’s probably slept with that many more women than I ever did from between 19 to 24. So I would have to say thats the big advantage. I mean he’s an amazing — he can play his ass off, he’s a monster guitar player and he’s super cool, you know what I mean. He’s a good kid and I mean, he gets it. Because I always just say – lions hang out with lions, and it’s the truth. We don’t roll with any hyenas or anything like that. So it’s just the truth. It’s the same thing when I was hanging out with Ozzy, I mean I’m 20-years-old and everyone I’m hanging out with is in their 40s. So you know, they all treated me cool and everything like that and it was all good.

It’s Full Metal Jackie, Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society with us on the show again. ‘Catacombs of the Black Vatican’ is out now and Zakk, what comes easier for you now compared to when you were a kid recording for the first time with Ozzy?

Well I don’t know, I’m trying to think. I mean, as far as excitement goes definitely between recording ‘Miracle Man’ to recording ‘My Dying Time’ on the ‘Catacombs’ record, the excitement’s still there. I’m just saying, I still love the whole thing. Going in, and creating, and hearing it when it’s finished, and the whole nine yards. But, I mean — so I still get this buzz when I did when I was 20 years old. And now I think as far as like recording though — because on the first album with Oz you know I didn’t have a recording studio. I didn’t have recorded or have any experience but I mean — over the years and just when you’re rolling with great engineers and people who know what their doing. It just makes everything that much easier.

I know you have a million and one Ozzy stories and I’ve managed to see some video and read some interviews. There’s got to be something that is your top favorite memory of all time during your time of Ozzy.

Well I mean it would have to be meeting him. You know what I mean, just being such a huge fan. And I mean actually meeting him. Because you know a lot of other guys there to them it was just a gig, you know what I mean. It’s not like they were massive Sabbath guys or they loved Randy Rhoads and Ozzy and Jake and everything like that they were like, “Yeah yeah, I hear the gig pays pretty well or whatever,” you know what I mean. To me it’s just like, getting a gig with Ozzy is like me being a huge New York Yankee fan and then I have posters of these guys on my walls and then I’m a huge Thurman Munson guy and then I’m catching for the New York Yankees in the same spot where my hero stood. So I mean that’s the way I look at it and that’s how much pride I take in it. So, and that’s how much it means to me. So you know, obviously the day I met Oz. And then, put it this way not only is he being a hero and everything like that, he was being who he is and being so cool. He just made everything that — that much cooler.

Black Label Society is headlining the Golden Gods Tour that also features Down and Devil You Know. Zakk, it’s a good cross section representation of hard rock and metal after everything that you’ve done. Do you still learn new things by watching other bands on the bill?

Well don’t forget about the Butcher Babies. You know well The Butcher Babies will be out there so, you know. I can learn some things from the girls. I mean they’re super cool and then — well I don’t know I mean like you said everybody that we have going out with us on the road or everybody that’s on there between the fellas in Down and Phil and Howard and Devil You Know and then obviously with The Butcher Babies and they’re all super cool people.

I don’t know, it’s just weird I mean as far as learning things from other people. You know, you can definitely be inspired if you see some band that’s kick-ass or whatever. I mean like stuff like that. Or amazing musicians or anything like that — that you hear or whatever. No but I mean I think — I don’t know. Usually when we would go out on the road and we would roll with whoever we were rolling with. We would become friends with everybody and we’d just hang out so you’d just appreciate them as friends and then obviously great musicians or whatever. But you know usually there is always just a friendship thing there now.

Full Metal Jackie with Zakk Wylde, again, pick up the latest record ‘Catacombs of the Black Vatican.’ See Black Label Society out on the Golden Gods Tour. Zakk, really appreciate you being on the show and I’ll be seeing you at the Golden Gods Awards Show.

Without a doubt. Alright Jackie, well you take care of yourself and I’ll talk to you in a bit.

Thanks to Zakk Wylde for taking the time to chat. Black Label Society’s ‘Catacombs of the Black Vatican’ is currently available at iTunes and you can see them on the Golden Gods tour at these locations. You can listen to ‘Loudwire Nights’ with host Full Metal Jackie Monday through Friday at 7PM through Midnight on more than 20 stations across America. To find out where you can hear ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.

Zakk Wylde Tells a Funny Ozzy Osbourne Story

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