15 Minutes with Zakk Wylde

Zach Silva

Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde has had a rough couple of years: he was informally cut as guitarist for rock legend Ozzy Osbourne in 2008 and then was diagnosed with blood clots in his leg in 2009, which some think was a result of his heavy drinking and heavy metal attitude. Fortunately, the guitar virtuoso has regained strength with the release of “Order of the Black” over the summer.


TW: How are you doing healthwise?

ZW: I’ve had two cardiac arrests and an ass operation. Besides that, everything’s cool. I’m just taking the blood thinners. It is what it is.

TW: What was the inspiration for “Order of the Black,” and did you guys have any plans going into the studio?

ZW: Every record depends on what side of the bed you woke up on that day or what you were listening to on the way to the studio, whatever music you’re digging. When we get in the studio, (we) start doing the heavy stuff, and once we start getting bored with that, I’ll sit behind the piano or acoustic guitar. It took 94 days to write the record, record it, mix it, master it, and play it out. We just go in there and in true Black Label fashion, just knock it out.

TW: Before “Order of the Black,” you guys put out almost one album every year from 1999 to 2006. Can we expect Black Label Society to resume that rate of production? And what future projects do you have in store?

ZW: Yeah, I don’t see any reason why not, but I want to start getting involved in other things. I’m writing some scripts right now. I thought about doing a sports bar with live entertainment. We’ve also got beef jerky, hot sauces, coffee, all this other stuff going on. We plan on being out for 18 months. So, there goes us doing an album once a year. Nowadays, with downloading, it’s more (about) live. Bands nowadays have to tour more than ever. The days (are gone) where Michael Jackson put “Thriller” out and had videos on all the time.

TW: Do you have any bits of advice for college musicians looking to make it big in the music industry?

ZW: Yeah, anybody can do it. It’s just a matter of hard work and not getting discouraged. If you believe in what you’re doing, then I tell them “I’ll f***ing do what I want to do.” You have to have that attitude. Everybody forgets that at one point, they weren’t this mass entity and f***ing powerhouse that they are now.

TW: I saw a mention in your media director’s press release about how Justin Bieber’s guitarist, Dan Kanter, uses the custom guitar you designed.

ZW: Dan Kanter kicks ass. I got the Bieber fever! It’s awesome, I love it. I’ve sold more of those frickin’ guitars ever since Kanter started playing them, man.

TW: How hard does Black Label Society plan to rock the Congress Theater November 6th?

ZW: When it starts, it’s game on. Until November 6th, keep bleeding black and we’ll see you then.