Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society – Across The Ocean

Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society

It was an upbeat Zakk Wlyde on the other end of the phone in the early hours of the morning speaking to Across The Ocean about all that is going on ahead of their November national tour. Zakk Wlyde has just about done it in but has plenty of fire in the belly to keep on doing what he loves doing as Zakk explains with a Book Of Shadows II in the pipeline as well as forging ahead with Wlyde Audio featuring a custom range of guitars and amplifiers.

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Back again! There’s a lot of people eager in anticipation of this tour. Are you looking forward to coming back?

Yeah, without a doubt! Every time we come down there, I think it was for some festival shows, was a hell good time. We’re looking forward to get down there and putting in a good showing. Australians are passionate about their rock ‘n roll. Every time we go down there we’ve had an ass kicking good time. The people just wanna rock and we like that.

What can fans expect on this tour?

We’ve just got back from an acoustic run and that covered a lot of the Black Label stuff from the first album up to now, it’s like nine records, we don’t have quite the same problem as The Stones coming up with a set list but there is enough stuff to choose from.

Catacombs Of The Black Vatican was a rocking album, were you happy with how fans reacted to it?

I don’t worry about what is popular at the time, I just make records on how I feel that day. It’s a bit like what side of the bed did you wake up on and you just roll. I just make the records I want to make or what’s popular at the time and whether we should do this or do that or change my clothes or shave my beard off. Whatever I get inspired by and whatever I write that day is what I’ll write.

How does the process work for you? Do you have the bare bones of songs scoped out before heading in to the studio?

Put it this way, with Vatican it’s up there! It’s not like I’m living everyday in the studio tracking. When we’re getting ready to do another record we just go in there and just start knocking some stuff out. It is like a concentrated explosion of come up of ideas, you could be sitting in the car listening to Neil Young’s Heart Of Gold and then come back and start jamming on an acoustic guitar then I have this idea. Who would have thought that Heart Of Gold would have inspired that? It just depends on how well we get inspired and just pick a guitar or play the piano, for me it is always music first then add a melody and I usually leave the lyrics until last.

Is it still a buzz when you record that killer song and you think fuck yeah we nailed it?

I don’t know, I wonder that but then I wonder whether Zeppelin sat back and listened to Stairway To Heaven? Did they listen to it and think they should just quit now? Any of our favourite bands such as Black Sabbath know they’re pretty good but like every record I’ve ever done I was always excited about what I was writing and recording. The most excitable person was me! No one ever goes n with the intention of making a shitty record, the whole thing you have a five hundred bench press on the last record you go in and try to beat the five hundred bench press on the next record by at least doing five hundred and five or five hundred and ten. If you can do five twenty that’s great! The goal is to beat whatever you did last. Song writing isn’t a sport and each album has its own magic about them so that’s the way I come across it.

Has there been much thought given to what you might do on the next album?

When we come back from the road we’ll start putting bits and pieces together and put a new Book Of Shadows II album out. I’ll keep playing the music I want to play and I’ve never had the record company tell me what type of music I should play. Then look again at all the bands I love Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Black Sabbath  all making great albums. Punk rock records were big for a while and they didn’t tell us to make one of those. Can you imagine Black Sabbath making punk rock records? Look at AC/DC, it doesn’t matter what’s going the only thing that matters is that AC/DC keep on making great AC/DC records, that’s it! You don’t need to go on and make things more complicated so whatever side of the bed I wake up on I’ll get up and record it.

Having a close affiliation with Ozzy Osbourne who do you feel about Black Sabbath touring for the final time?

That’s the way the guys feel so be it but those guys are heroes of mine. Obviously they’ve called time on a great career.

How proud are you of Wlyde Audio?

It definitely is exciting and the next progression like moving out of your parent’s house. It’s like we have our own place, now we have our own company. As far as I’m concerned we run with the best tour company, best amp company and best pedal company. Now it is a matter of taking the integrity and the quality and use that with our own company. It definitely is a lot of fun!

With all your career achievements how does featuring in Guitar Hero rate in importance to you?

That’s pretty hysterical! It definitely is cool and an honour!

Are you still planning to do more on TV?

It seems to be the way when someone I know is working on a TV show they’ll ring me up and say I want you to play a drug dealer or something. For me, it’s like what do you want me to do, yeah no problem I’ll come out and have a good time.

What is the next big challenge for Zakk Wlyde?

A lot of my peers are not even working any more, they’re just tired of the road and don’t want to tour any more. To me I love doing what I’m doing and I’m blessed and very fortunate to have the Black Label family and we can do whatever we want to do. Do what you love and make the band our job is the best advice I can give anyone. You have to have a job if you want to eat even if its macaroni and cheese. Every day is geared around Black Label and there’s never a moment where I go I’m bored or have nothing to do. It never ends!

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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