OZZY OSBOURNE On ZAKK WYLDE: 'It Was Hard For Me To Be Around Someone Who Is Actively Drinking'

Ozzy Osbourne was interviewed for the August 2010 issue of Guitar World magazine, which features the former BLACK SABBATH singer and his new guitarist, Gus G. (real name: Kostas Karamitroudis), on the cover. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Guitar World: Was there any material [on "Scream"] left over from [2007's] "Black Rain" that Zakk [Wylde, former OZZY OSBOURNE guitarist] had worked on?

Ozzy: No. Zakk came in at the beginning of the new one, but he was still drinking. When you're drunk and somebody else is drinking, it's okay, but when you're sober and somebody's blabbering away in your ear, it ain't. I mean, Zakk's a great player and I love him. I love his playing. But in the end, it came to the point that I had to get another guitarist. Not because I fell out with Zakk, but it was hard for me to be around someone who is actively drinking. I heard he's not drinking anymore. I don't know if that's true or not.

Guitar World: How are things between you and Zakk?

Ozzy: I would never slag the guy off. We're good friends, and we're like family. I feel that the whole thing was partly my fault, because Zakk was doing his own band, his own tours and helping me out when he got back. On the last tour he was with his band opening the show and my band closing the show, and that's really hard. So I'd been thinking of getting a replacement for a while, but I was procrastinating.

Guitar World: In one interview you said your band was beginning to sound like BLACK LABEL SOCIETY.

Ozzy: Very much so! But that's not a surprise because Zakk is BLACK LABEL. I love his playing; he's one of the greats. But it was the drink getting the better of him. I couldn't watch him die. In one sick respect, it was good for me to see, because that's what I was like, and worse. Believe me, if I started drinking now you'd think, "Fuck, this is bollocks! I've got to get out of here." That's how I felt around Zakk toward the end.

Guitar World: What made you pick Gus?

Ozzy: There was something about him that shone for me. He's a great player, and I'm looking forward to recording something from scratch with him, because most of the groundwork was done on the album by the time he arrived. There's a part of Gus that I don't know. I've never worked with him full time on the road. I've done a couple of gigs with him in Los Angeles for a charity thing. When you work and live with someone on the road, you always find out some weird shit about them.

Guitar World: How are Gus and Zakk different?

Ozzy: They're worlds apart! Zakk is established and successful in his own right. I said to Gus, "You've got big shoes to fill." I really hope the fans give him a chance and remember that Zakk was like Gus at one point he was a new boy.

To order a copy of the August 2010 issue of Guitar World magazine, visit GuitarWorld.com


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