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Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society    
zakk wylde's black label society

Zakk Wylde has to be one of the coolest guys I've ever talked to in my life! He's practically worshipped by fans and guitarists in almost all Metallic circles, he's headlining a world tour in support of his new album 'Stronger than Death', he's played along with and supported one of Metal's most illustrious of gods, Ozzy Osbourne, and he is one of the lead actors in the upcoming movie, Metal God [the title is said to be changed to 'Steel Dragon' - mu]. You'd think he would have an ego the size of Manhattan-but he doesn't! He's more down to earth than a lot of other guitarists in bands that I know-and they're not even signed! Never at a loss for words and extremely insightful, full of practical wisdom and colloquial charm, with his words he will move you and with his music he will astound you. Long live Black Label Society and Hail Zakk Wylde!

Promethean Crusade: So what are you up to man? Chilling? Kicking back a few brews?

Zakk Wylde: Man, I'm just sittin' here on my front porch with the fuckin' garbage truck, watchin' it go by.

PC: I was wonderin' what that noise was. Yeah, man. so I was telling one of my friends yesterday that I'd be talking to you and he nearly fainted; the dude worships you! And I gotta admit, I'm kinda nervous, too; I mean, you're Zakk Wylde. But he's got everything you've ever put out!

ZW: Oh man, that's cool (laughing). It's nothin' really. You dig people like that 'cause they're the ones who put the beer in the fridge. Know what I mean? Man, you gotta dig it. I mean, shit, with me I dig stuff, too, so I know where your guy's comin' from. It depends on whether or not if that's what you got into at four or not.

PC: Yeah, I guess for you, you grew up mesmerized by Ozzy.

ZW: Oh yeah, totally. I mean, when I went down for that audition I just wanted to get an autograph, let alone end up in the band. That's the whole thing, man. I don't think I really think about it [people worshipping me]; it's just a fucking waste of time. Cuts into drinking beer, you know?

PC: (laughing) So, what's up with Black Label? Are you serious about the microbrewery thing?

ZW: Oh yeah, definitely, man. Why not?

PC: So what's it taste like? Can you draw any comparisons?

ZW: Well, I just brewed up the first batch the other day and I brewed up another one not too long ago. Me and Philth [his drummer for Black Label Society] are probably going to brew up another batch. Oh, well, maybe down the line anyway, but that's the main goal. We're talking about getting an endorsement deal with Sierra Nevada, and maybe they'll make a Black Label beer for us.

PC: Dude, that would kick ass.

ZW: Oh yeah, without a doubt.

PC: So I take it that it's pretty kickin' shit?

ZW: Oh yeah. It should be a fuckin' total high on alcohol. Drink a six and you should be blasted!

PC: So everything relates to beer for you?

ZW: Oh yeah, why not? God put us here to be happy.

PC: Man, you would totally get along with my brother. To him, it's all about drinkin' beer, smokin' cigarettes, and workin' in the garage.

ZW: Exactly, man.

PC: And he's happy, you know?

ZW: Totally.

PC: And he's a family man, too, and by reading all your lyrics and credits, I take it you're all about that, too; you're a family man.

ZW: Oh yeah, totally, man.

PC: How do you balance everything, because I'm sure you work your ass off?

zakk wylde

ZW: Yeah, but I think it's like anything. If you wanna learn how to play guitar, you make time for it and you'll make it happen. That's all. And there might be times when it seems that there aren't enough hours in the day, but you know, tough shit; you gotta make it happen.

PC: What about the worldwide Zakk Wylde fan base? In June you're launching a world tour, so where do you expect your biggest shows to be and who are your biggest fans?

ZW: Well, definitely Japan rocks. Still, though, when we come over here, mind you we're not doing arenas, but the turnout's always been real good. But it'll be interesting because we'll be going out with Crowbar and Sixty Watt Shaman; it'll be a three-act bill so we'll see what it's like.

PC: So your Japanese sales are the highest?

ZW: Well the Japanese and over in Europe as well, because they got all the festivals and they're still into the Metal over there. Over there there's this big market for Metal, you know, or just like Hard Rock in general.

PC: And we have the perennial question: why is Metal so much bigger over there than it is here?

ZW: Well Rap isn't as big in the rest of the world as it here in the States. I mean, here the music is definitely more Rap orientated. Go over to Japan - I mean it's there - but the same thing in Europe: it's rare. Definitely not like it is over here.

PC: I wonder why? That's definitely fucked up.

ZW: Exactly. Oh, the brutality!

PC: How is the movie, Metal God, coming along. Aren't you working with Jennifer Aniston and Mark Wahlberg?

ZW: Oh, it's coming along great, man. It's definitely hysterical.

PC: What's it like working with Mark?

ZW: Oh, Mark's cool, man. Obviously, from his past, you know, he was doing the Rap thing, but he's really this closet Metal freak. It's hysterical, man! Like old Maiden and Priest you know, for the movie, but he's really gettin' into it.

PC: What about Jennifer? Is she into the Metal?

ZW: No, I don't think Jennifer is a Metal chick (laughing)! I think the hardest she's goin' is probably early Aerosmith.

PC: So what's the basic premise of the movie and when's it coming out? Isn't it about Ripper Owens?

ZW: No, no; it's not about him. It's more about. well, it's that story but it's not "The Ripper Owens Life story" or whatever. It's about this kid in this tribute band and ends up in the band he really digs. It's just like me lovin' Sabbath and Ozzy and endin' up in the band. It's that type of movie. And December is when I believe it's going to be coming out.

PC: So is Metal pretty prominent throughout or is it called Metal God just to put a title to it?

ZW: Well, it's Metal God, but I think they're gonna change it to Rock God or something like that.

PC: Well that would suck, but it's still pretty cool to have a movie related to Metal somewhat. Couple that with the new Heavy Metal movie coming out soon and it's all good. Do you think Metal might be making a comeback here in the States?

ZW: I don't know, but I think it's definitely making a resurgence. Everything that's old is new again, you know, which is good, though, because shit's gotta change all the time, otherwise it gets boring as all hell.

PC: Yeah, I just have nightmares about people wearing spandex and makeup and shit!

ZW: (both laughing) Oh God! For this movie, this is classic, they were like, "Zakk, would you mind layering your hair?" And I was like, "Let me think about this for a second [two second pause]. how about no fucking way! Just fuckin' make me a little poofy wig and I'll wear that." God! (both laughing hysterically).

PC: That wouldn't go well with your image.

ZW: No, not at all. I weigh about 185, 190 lbs. from liftin' weights. You know, back when I was with OZZY I must've weighed about a buck-45, buck-50, so I've been getting heavier and heavier just from liftin'. But I'm between havin' facial hair and with this layered hair I look like this transvestite with makeup on (both laughing). God it's fuckin' scary! Hold on a second, bro?

PC: Yeah sure.

ZW: (blows his nose and sneezes)

PC: Man, you got the allergies bad. You takin' any medicine for that shit? You should drink a lot of water.

ZW: Oh, I gotta do that, man. Gotta take care of the fuckin' liver. You gotta take care of the team players, you know, the liver and the kidneys!

PC: Fuck, with all that Black Label you've been drinkin'!

zakk wylde's black label society

ZW: Fuckin' A, man, you gotta stay true to the brew, and you gotta support the team players (both laughing)!

PC: Was there a time in your life when you don't remember drinking, or were you drinking straight from the womb?

ZW: I was drinkin' even when I was in my dad's nuts! Oh, the brutality, man (I'm rolling on the floor now)!

PC: So do you drink anything else or take other drugs, or is it straight up beer?

ZW: It's just beer, man. Fuckin' A, if you drink a shitload of fuckin' beer, how much more fucked up can you get? Know what I mean? It's like I don't understand other people, but everyone's got different preferences for different things. With me, I just like the taste of beer; I don't really even like all that much alcohol.

PC: So for you it's not an acquired taste? You just always loved it?

ZW: Yeah, I mean I think you get an acquired taste over the years, obviously, but when you're a kid, you'll drink fuckin' rat piss to get a buzz. But as you get older. well, what the fuck, you can drink a fuckin' case of warm, fuckin' Stroh's out in the middle of a field, on a 90-degree day, in cans, and be like, (in a drunken, slurred voice) "Man, this is the best shit I've ever had!" You know what I mean?! "We're drinking beer!" That 's what you do when you're fifteen.

PC: Speaking of teenagers and shit like that, what do you think about music censorship? You know, about Congress trying to pass laws with age restrictions on the purchasing of certain CDs? I mean, we already have the sticker thing.

ZW: Well, I remember this one guy making a big stink out of it. But I'm like, well first off, it helps sell more records because kids are gonna want to buy it. And like, give me a fuckin' break, you see some kid that's fifteen walking into a store buying a record with explicit lyrics, I don't think anyone's ever stopped him and were like, "Let me see some ID please." That's not gonna happen because the music store wants to get rid of the product. They're not gonna to be like, "No, we can't sell this to you." I mean, if it was like porn or something, that's different. But what the hell, what, are they saying "fuck" a few times? Big fucking deal! Like a normal fifteen-year-old doesn't hear that around his friends and in his house, you know what I mean? To me, it's like you have "X" ratings, R, PG, G, whatever. And, I mean, with this it kind of does make sense with like, what does this music sound like: it's Heavy Metal, it's Rap Metal, pure Rap, whatever, adult contemporary, so at least you know what the fuck you're buying. That's the only way I look at it; I don't think it'll ever stop anybody from buying the fuckin' record. If anything, it'll make them wanna buy it even more. You might as well just stick it on there for some extra sales! It's like, "There 's nothing offensive on here; you guys aren't even cursing." "Yeah, I know, but still we're hoping to get that market." You know what I mean? So just say "fuck" a few times for no reason whatsoever!

PC: Well, a lot of people are concerned about the kids, and they feel that it will help the parents become more involved with their kids and what they' re listening to, because I think parents need to be taking more responsibility for their kids. I'm not pro-censorship, I'm pro-parents.

ZW: Well I agree. I have two kids, and I talk to them. You keep an eye on them and talk to them and see what the fuck's goin' on. I mean, if your kid goes away and doesn't come home in two days, you shouldn't just be like, "Well, haven't seen Junior in a while." That's just wrong.

zakk wylde

PC: So it starts in the home.

ZW: Without a doubt. I mean, I fuckin' listened to Sabbath records all my life, fuckin' Ozzy, and I only killed three people. You know what I mean?! It's not like I went on a killing spree!

PC: Oh, well that's not too bad. Only three people.

ZW: Right, right! I don't think it's that bad! But I mean, what the fuck, I listened to all that shit, devil worship and all that, and I was never like. well, you know, people would like tell me that's fuckin' devil fuckin' music. And I'm like, all I know is that when I have a shitty fuckin' day and I listen to those records, I feel better. What does that mean? You know, and this is before I'd be goin' out and gettin' wasted with my friends, you know? You have a shit day at school, I'd come home and crank my Sabbath records and be like, "Fuckin' A, it's good to be alive." And that's a bad thing?

PC: Fuck yeah! That's the way I look at it, too! The problem is you have these yahoos in Columbine blaming shit on Manson and like -

ZW: You know, that's just two guys who were a bunch of dickheads anyway. They could've been listening to fuckin' Carpenters records; they're still a bunch of cocksuckers.

PC: Well, people try to blame the music and-

ZW: You can't blame the music. Put it this way; we've all had that shit happen. It happened when I went to school and I wrote a song about it. It's on the import, called "Bullet Inside your Head". I wrote it about this kid I went to school with. I guess I was in eighth grade and he was a senior, so I never knew him really, but this kid was getting' picked on a lot and shit, and one day he bought a bunch of pot from the school bully and his buddy. So he gave him about $500, but the guy kept the shit and wouldn't give him any weed or nothin' like that. And they were like, "Fuck off" and they wouldn't give him his money back and they just kept pickin' on him. So sure as shit, and this is the quiet kid, too, the kid went out and got a gun, went back to the apartment complex and shot the one guy, just emptied six bullets into him and shot the other guy in the hand, but he just killed the other guy. But you know, this was the quietest kid in high school. And he was getting' picked on and finally was just like, "Fuck this!" And it wasn't because of any music he was listenin' to; he was just getting picked on and he fuckin' snapped. I don't think it has anything to do with the music; you wanna blame somebody. Put it this way, if my kid starts fuckin' doin' heroine, I won't be like, "Oh yeah, it's gotta be because of the music." It's like they were probably hangin' out with a bunch of friends, they wanted to fit in, and they did fuckin' drugs. You know what I mean? That's what I would blame it on. Or maybe all they wanna do is try it. I mean, I can raise them the best I can, but if they're gonna fuckin' do it, what can I do? All I can do is tell them that anyone who does heroine is pretty much dead or broke, so I wouldn't invest any money in it. Why don't you go buy some stock in the WWF or something!


review of Black Label Society's 'Stronger Than Death'






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