Barely a couple of months since wrapping up Black Label Society’s latest extensive round of dates in Belfast, guitar hero Zakk Wylde is back out on the road again, this time in his on / off ‘day job’ with Ozzy Osbourne. Hooking up with “the boss” once again for a trek around the globe on his farewell run, Wylde is back where his career began back in 1988. On hand at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods to present Ozz with his ‘Golden God’ honour, we caught up with Zakk to discuss ‘No More Tours 2’. The road to nowhere; Eamon O’Neill & Neil Jones.
Hi Zakk, how are you this evening sir?
Very good, very good. Getting ready for the big presentation for the boss.
How good is it to be back out with the boss, standing next to him on those big stages like Download festival?
It’s great. I enjoy doing all my old chores for the boss; the dishes, the linens, you know, things like that, vacuuming up and doing the dog run. Yeah, it’s all good, it’s great; I enjoy every second of it.
It’s going to be a long tour; how far does it stretch that you know about?
Well, we’re supposed to go like two years, and everybody keeps asking; “Well, where is this thing going? It’s ‘No More Tours 2’; is there going to be a ‘No More Tours 3’, ‘No More Tours 4’?”, and I go; “No, no, no; this is it, it will end here, and we’ll wrap it up”. And then right after that, because Ozz loves singing, what he’s going to do is, he’s going to become the new lead singer in Zakk Sabbath, so this way, it’ll be Zakk Sabbath featuring Ozzy Osbourne. He’s slightly familiar with the material, so it’ll be kind of an easy shift from his solo career, into Zakk Sabbath. So we won’t even need that much rehearsal, it’ll just be like, slide right into it!
The current set list focuses highly on the ‘No More Tears’ album.
You know, I suggested ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Free Bird’, but Ozzy said; “Zakk, maybe we’ll just stick that up on the refrigerator and maybe we’ll get to that later on!” No, with the set list, I mean, that’s where we are right now, because obviously we’re going to be out for a while, so I’m sure it’ll change, it’ll mutate into other things. Who knows, maybe ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Free Bird’ will get in there.
There were some nice teasers during your guitar solo, with riffs from ‘Miracle Man’ and ‘Perry Mason’ thrown in there; is it nice to be able to break out those solos for the hard core fans?
Well, yeah, exactly. I mean, we know them, so it was just like instead of doing a normal solo, let’s just do a medley of all these tunes that were part of me playing with the boss.
Do you still enjoy playing those Randy Rhoads solos, given that you’re a massive fan?
Yeah, I always tell everybody, it’s like the coolest band to be in because it’s like the ultimate cover band to be in, and then you get to play your own stuff. I mean, the funny thing is, I’ve been playing these songs in bands with my buddies in keg parties in people’s back yards or in their kitchens and stuff like that, since we’ve been 15 / 16 years old, playing ‘Bark At The Moon’; actually, all the songs that are up there, I’ve actually played in a cover band when we were teenagers. And now we’re 51 years old, except there’s more people, but they’re still keg parties, so nothing’s pretty much really changed. But no, I’m truly blessed, and I look forward to it every night.
The easiest way to expand that set would be to record new music; What are the chances of a new Ozzy Osbourne studio album?
That would be up to the boss. If he’s just like; “Zakk, have you got any riffs laying around?”, it’s just like; “Yeah”; like it’s pretty much that easy. That’s how we’ve always done it in the past. ‘Miracle Man’ was the first thing I ever wrote. Ozzy was like; “What’s that?”, and I was like; “Ah no, it was just a riff I’ve got laying around”, and I went [*sings ‘Miracle Man’ intro riff*], and he said; “Well, what part do I sing?”, and said; “You’ll sing on that bit”, and that’s that, you know what I mean? It’s not rocket science, we’re not making Mahavishnu Orchestra records here, you know what I mean?
This may be the ‘No More Tours 2’ tour, but couldn’t it be followed by the ‘Retirement Sucks 2’ tour?
Well, we did do the ‘Retirement Sucks' after that. I remember, it was like ’96, when that one came out, and yeah, you could have the ‘Retirement Sucks Again’ tour, and ‘Again and Again and Again’ tour! You know, it’s like ‘Dumb and Dumber’, and ‘Dumb and Dumber and Dumbest’; it just keeps going.
With the two-year tour, does this mean that Black Label Society are on a two-year downtime?
No, in between spots with the boss, we’re taking a break and getting ready to go out with C.O.C and Eyehategod. As soon as we get off this run, I’m not even going home; I’m just flying right back out to Minnesota and then we start firing up for a month with the fellas. So yeah, it’s in between.
Are you going to get any time off at all?
No, no vacations; I’ve got four kids, we’ve got dogs, and bad investments, and we use payola for our success, so you need the payola fund!
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