Zakk Wylde, Black Label Society: The End Is Just The Beginning

"Black Label is twenty years old now - thirty four more to go and we catch the Rolling Stones".

­­­Magnetic is an apt description for the man known as Zakk Wylde, a boisterous fun loving musician who has inspired tens of thousands of aspiring musicians and one who without fail will pay homage to his own with (now) ten studio albums of musical fusion. The band Black Label Society is in fact a brotherhood and to many, more than just a group of guys playing music – Zakk Wylde’s stature in this playing field is well earned. So on a very early morning for one a very late night for another – I found myself chatting with the one and only Mr Wylde about the band’s latest release Grimmest Hits, touring Zakk Sabbath and closing out a career for his biggest influence. This is Zakk Wylde for Metal As Fuck

A lot of hype surrounding the band at this time, the band is on the verge of releasing their tenth studio album Grimmest Hits did you anticipate Black Label would hit a milestone such as this? “Black Label is twenty years old now, we had birthday cake – happy twentieth birthday, thirty four more to go and we catch the Rolling Stones [Laughs] we have a ways to go”

How are you feeling at ten albums – what are the bands thoughts right now, knowing that you’ve come this far? “This new record, I’m really excited, no rest for the wicked. To me its still all brand new – the enthusiasm hasn’t waned. I still love getting on stage each night – I feel like I’m on a roller coaster. We are truly blessed for sure” It’s a brand we can trust; an institution. I’m curious as to where the latest album came from, the collaboration of ideas – where did it all start? “We were out of the road with Black Sabbath with a tone of shows, I thought to myself, well we need to make another album, I asked how much time I had – you have about twenty days I was told [Laughs] if you’re told you have twenty days, you’re gonna finish it. I work well with this. It’s not really a rush; it’s always a creative process, stay positive and work”. Your anticipation for this release is pretty high – so with this album in particular where did you like to venture out from the norm of the Black Label material? “To me, if you want to stretch out that’s fine – but with me, with Black Label – you need to look at the songs, look at the genre and see what’s working. How you develop them and how they convey the sound you want.  That one cool riff inspires the melody – and this is where I find what kind of instrumentation I want to use, be it the piano or whatever”.  

How does this album represent where Black Label Society are today? “It’s exactly where we are and the exact reflection of ours influences as of today. I hear all these influences in the work and it culminates what Black Label are”. What plans does the band have in store for touring the new album? “Back in the day we were releasing an album a year, sometimes two albums a year and touring like crazy people in between. Now we release an album and tour for like three years, all around the world and the tours are so tight, sometimes we are home for just one day and then we pack up and set out for another continent. And there are so many chapters in between, not just Black Label but Zakk Sabbath and shows with Papa Bear (Ozzy Osbourne) it’s a blessed life, truly – we’re hoping to of course include Australia and New Zealand on our next run of tours with Grimmest Hits and we can’t wait to see you guys!”.