Zakk Wylde turned down the chance to join Guns N' Roses because he needed to buy pizza and soda pop for his girlfriend

Zakk Wylde
(Image credit: Kevin Nixon)

Zakk Wylde has revealed the reason he didn't join Guns N' Roses in the mid-90s, and it's food-related.

Famously, Wylde auditioned for Guns N' Roses in 1995, the year after fronting his short-lived solo project Pride & Glory, and during the recording sessions for Ozzy Osbourne's Ozzmosis project. And in a new interview with SiriusXM’s Ozzy’s Boneyard, he reveals more about what went down. 

"Axl called me up and he was just like, 'Hey Zakk, it's Axl,'", Wylde tells show host Mark Strigl. "I was like, 'Hey, what's going on man?' He just goes, 'I was just wondering you want to get together and jam with me and the fellas because I was asking, you know, Slash. I was like, well, who would you want to get to jam with?' and you know, he goes, 'Your name came up because we were all talking about why don't we give Zakk a call,' or whatever and I was like, 'Yeah, of course man.' 

"You know, because obviously I love, the guys are great guys and an amazing band, so we were jamming stuff at this rehearsal place that they had. We were jamming there for a while, just jamming ideas, and then we were gonna go do some stuff over at Duff's house, and then, you know, nothing was kind of happening, like, are we gonna do this or what are we doing because I need to save up for pizza money and a soda pop to take out my girlfriend. You know what mean?"

Strigl then asks Wylde if the musicians were actually coming up with new ideas rather than merely jamming (in 2019, Wylde told Guitar World that some of the sessions had been recorded). 

"Yeah. Riffs and everything like that," says Wylde. "So I just, you know, we had all these riffs laying around and I was just like, nothing was happening, then Oz was like, 'Zakk, I can't be sitting around waiting.' You know, because it was after we did Ozzmosis and everything like that, he was like, 'I'm getting ready to tour,' whatever and I mean, without Ozzy there, I wouldn't even be in a conversation with Guns N' Roses, you know what I mean? 

"Because I owe everything to Oz, so the Guns thing was just lying dormant, you know, just nothing was happening and I was like, 'I need to raise some pizza money and soda pop money for my girlfriend, Barbaranne.'"

Wylde would head out on the road with Ozzy in support of Ozzmosis on the Retirement Sucks! Tour later in 1995, providing Wylde with a regular source of income with which to support his girlfriend's pop and pizza habits. And three years later, in 1998, he'd form Black Label Society. The couple would never go hungry again.  

Listen to the full interview with SiriusXM's Mark Strigl.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.