Skip to main content

Zakk Wylde would like to open a dildo boutique

Zakk Wylde with guitar
(Image credit: Jen Rosenstein)

"Hello deeeeaarrrr," drawls an elderly woman’s voice on the other end of the phone. Except it’s not an elderly woman, it’s a characteristically high-spirited Zakk Wylde calling from Biloxi, Mississippi, where his band Black Label Society are playing a show this evening ahead of the release of their eleventh album, Doom Crew Inc. 

“It’s good to be back out on tour,” says the singer/guitarist/sometime Ozzy Osbourne sideman, reverting to his gruff Noo Joisey accent. “You have pictures of guys like Jimmy Page on your wall growing up, cos this is what you want to do."

Alt

What’s been the best thing about being stuck at home for the past two years? 

This was the longest I’ve been at home for twenty-plus years. I loved it. When people ask me: “Are you going on vacation?” I go: “The amount I tour, being at home for ten days, that’s a vacation for me.” I did a lot of stuff I usually don’t do, like walking the dogs every day. 

Who are the ‘Doom Crew’, and why are you celebrating them? 

It’s a loving reference to Black Label Society’s actual crew. Every band will tell you the same thing: they’re the first to bleed, the last to leave. It doesn’t matter how banged up they get, the job always gets done. It’s a nickname I gave them right at the beginning. It was like: “You know, we should just name the record after them, man.” 

You gave up drinking years ago. Are the Doom Crew still flying the flag for the rock’n’roll lifestyle? 

Of course. Somebody has to do it. You can’t let all that beer go to waste. 

Given the people you know and have played with over the years, you must have met some legendary roadies. Who’s the one with the best stories? 

All of them! There are guys who rolled with Ozzy since the seventies – you pull up a chair next to those guys, and it’s like talking to a World War Two veteran. Some of the stories, it’s like: “You gotta be kidding.” 

The last track on the new album is called Farewell Ballad. Who are you saying goodbye to? 

That’s about somebody I know. But the cool thing about lyrics is that they could mean something completely different for someone else. That’s the power of music.

You knew Eddie Van Halen. It must have hit you pretty hard when he died. 

Yeah, it was crazy. I’d always text him on his birthday, or when I saw one of his guitars being sold: “Hey Ed, somebody said they’re auctioning off this guitar of yours.” And he’d go: “Nah, Zakk. I’m looking at it right now, it’s hanging on the wall in my studio.” But I didn’t know he was getting that bad. He pretty much kept it from everybody. But we’re truly blessed that we had him for sixty-five years, man. 

What’s your favourite memory of him? 

Getting hammered with him and him playing my mirrored bullseye Les Paul. He was sitting there playing [Led Zeppelin’s] Heartbreaker. My fourteen-year-old self was going: “This is amazing. I have Jesus Christ sitting here playing Led Zeppelin songs on my guitar.” 

You’re on the new Ozzy album, along with Tony Iommi, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. That’s some company you’re keeping. 

It’s pretty mind-blowing. I’m doing the rhythm guitars on the tracks they’re soloing on. If you’d told the fourteen-year-old-me that I’d be playing guitar on an Ozzy album with Tony Iommi, Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, I would not have believed you. 

Years ago you had a pop at Dave Grohl about writing songs for Ozzy. Isn’t it a bit awkward when you bump into him at festivals or parties? 

Nah. Dave’s awesome. That was before I met him. It was like: “Why is someone on the outside of our camp coming in here to help us out?” That’s what I was thinking back then. It’d be like me stepping in to write songs for Nirvana or Foo Fighters. We had a chuckle about it after I met him. I got up and jammed at his birthday a couple of years ago. Dave’s an amazing musician and a sweetheart. I love him.

Do kids still want to be guitar heroes, or do they just want to post videos of themselves dancing on TikTok? 

People are always saying the guitar is over, and I just say: “Go and look on Instagram.” The amount of insanely good young guitar players out there is awesome. The electric guitar is alive and well. 

You’ve got your own range of coffee. You’ve done hot sauces. What’s the ultimate supermarket product you’d slap your name on? 

It would have to be dildos. That’s next on the list, obviously. 

Wow. What kind of supermarkets do you shop in? 

Hey, it’ll be a first. It’ll be in the ‘Boutique’ section – the ‘Very Boutique’ section. 

You appeared in the movie Rock Star with Jennifer Aniston. Did you get an invite to the Friends reunion last year? 

Nah. I haven’t spoken to her or [co-star] Mark Wahlberg in a while. Jen’s good people, Mark’s good people. Doing that movie was great. When they asked me, they went: “This character drinks, he plays guitar, he fires shotguns.” I’m like: “And you’re gonna pay me for this?” 

Do you ever think about knocking rock’n’roll on the head and walking the dogs full time? 

No. Here I am at fifty-four years old, and I don’t feel any different from when I did when I started with Ozzy. I look at what Keith Richards said: “What am I gonna do, retire from something I love?” Why would you retire when you can still do it?

Black Label Society's Doom Crew Inc is out now via Spinefarm.

Dave Everley has been writing about and occasionally humming along to music since the early 90s. During that time, he has been Deputy Editor on Kerrang! and Classic Rock, Associate Editor on Q magazine and staff writer/tea boy on Raw, not necessarily in that order. He has written for Metal Hammer, Louder, Prog, the Observer, Select, Mojo, the Evening Standard and the totally legendary Ultrakill. He is still waiting for Billy Gibbons to send him a bottle of hot sauce he was promised several years ago.