Zakk Wylde recalls battle to beat the booze

A picture of Black Label Society frontman Zakk Wylde
Zakk Wylde (Image credit: Getty)

Zakk Wylde says he quit drinking using the cold turkey method and didn’t try to fill the alcohol void with anything else.

The Black Label Society man gave up booze after a health scare in 2009 and recently joked that his life backstage was boring since he got sober.

Asked whether he looked to fill the gap left by alcohol with other pursuits, Wylde tells Oregon Music News: “Nothing. I know people say that you have to replace it with something. I have friends that go to AA.

“I also have friends that just stopped. I never went to AA. I didn’t do anything. I just stopped.

“I have a friend that was mid way through a pint and he said to himself, ‘Man, I’m done with this.’ I asked him, ‘Darren, you drinking anymore? He says, ‘No, I stopped. I was getting silly but not to the point that I’m losing my wife, my family, I just think it’s time to stop.’

“He wasn’t getting ridiculous but he felt it was time to stop. That was it. It was that way for me. I just stopped.

“Then you have the other half that are on and off the wagon. It’s like you run into them and they say they haven’t had a drink in months… but I saw them or someone saw then the other day and they were smashed.”

Despite being happier without booze in his life, Wylde says it’s not for him to preach to others about their relationship with alcohol.

He adds: “Just because I’m not drinking doesn’t mean that other people shouldn’t. That’s for them to determine.

“I had these blood clots when I was 42. I’m 49 now. My doctor comes in and says to me, ‘Listen Zakk, I don’t want to be a party pooper, but by you drinking it’s like adding blood thinner on blood thinner. Your use of alcohol is thinning your blood that much more.’

“He went over my blood count and my liver count and said that if I continued the way that I was going I would have needed a liver transplant by the age of 45 and he said my pancreas wasn’t that far behind.

“What more did I need to be told? I stopped. I didn’t replace it with anything.”

Wylde recently released Book Of Shadows II – his first solo effort in 20 years. He has a number of tour dates still to come this year.

Zakk Wylde 2016 tour dates

Jul 13: New Orleans House Of Blues, LA
Jul 15: Orlando The Plaza Live, FL
Jul 16: Atlanta The Masquerade, GA
Jul 18: Millvale Mr Small’s Theatre, PA
Jul 19: New York Webster Hall, NY
Jul 20: Norfolk The Norva, VA
Jul 22: Charlotte Amos’ Southend, NC
Jul 23: Louisville Mercury Ballroom, KY
Jul 24: Chicago Concord Music Hall, IL
Jul 26: Minneapolis Skyway Theatre, MN
Jul 28: Detroit The Majestic Theatre, MI
Jul 29: Cleveland The Agora Theatre, OH
Jul 30: Philadelphia Theatre Of Living Arts, PA
Jul 31: Boston Royale, MA
Aug 02: Baltimore Rams Head Live, MD
Aug 04: Uncasville Wolf Den At Mohegan Sun Casino, CT
Aug 07: Montreal Heavy Montreal, QC
Aug 08: Toronto Phoenix Concert Theatre, ON
Aug 10: Milwaukee The Rave, WI
Aug 11: Lincoln Bourbon Theatre, NE
Aug 13: Sturgis Full Throttle Saloon, SD
Aug 15: Denver The Summit Music Hall, CO
Aug 16: Salt lake City The Depot, UT
Aug 18: Missoula The Wilma, MT
Aug 19: Calgary Flames Central, AB
Aug 20: Saskatoon O’Brian’s Event Centre, SK
Aug 21: Winnipeg The Garrick Centre, MB
Aug 23: Edmonton The Ranch Roadhouse, AB
Aug 25: Vancouver Commodore Ballroom, BC
Aug 26: Seattle Showbox SODO, WA
Aug 27: Spokane Knitting Factory, WA
Aug 28: Portland Roseland Theater, OR
Aug 30: San Francisco The Regency Ballroom, CA
Sep 01: Las Vegas House Of Blues, NV
Sep 02: Tempe The Marquee, AZ
Sep 03: Los Angeles The Fonda Theatre, CA

Zakk Wylde for Pantera? Phil Anselmo on replacing Dimebag

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.