Dan Epstein of Guitar World magazine (web site ) recently conducted an interview with BLACK LABEL SOCIETY/OZZY OSBOURNE guitarist Zakk Wylde. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:Though he's typically produced his own records in the past, Zakk shares production credits on "Shot to Hell" with Michael Beinhorn, who's previously worked with KORN, the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, SOUNDGARDEN and OZZY OSBOURNE. "The record company said, 'We know you've produced all the records, but we want a big-name producer on this,'" Zakk said. "I told them, 'You're fuckin' high if you think I'm going to work with someone who's gonna tell me what to do.' But I'd worked with Mikey on 'Ozzmosis', and we had a blast making that record, so I told them, 'Find out what Mikey's doin'! get him down here!' "If I'm gonna have anybody with me," he continued, "it's gonna be someone who I can ask, 'You think I oughta take a left here, or go straight? Should we go over Laurel Canyon, or go down Highland?' With Michael, I can go, 'Was that good?' and he'll go, 'I think you've got a better one in ya.' That's all. And I'll be the first one to tell you if I think I can get it better — the 'pings' [artificial harmonics], the double-tracking, my vocals… whatever. We're all here for the same goal: we want to win the World Series championship, you know? And it was so easy working with Mikey. We just bounced ideas off each other, like, 'Let's try this guitar tone or that one.'" Zakk also revealed that he recently found himself in the unusual position of having to lengthen a guitar solo in an attempt to garner radio airplay. "The record company is talking about making 'The Blood Is Thicker than Water' the single," he said. "But they told me that, at 3:28, it was actually too short for rock radio formats — it needed to be around 3:40. We just went back into the studio, and made the guitar solo two bars longer. The solo is the thing that usually gets its ass kicked in an edit, but this time it was, 'Ooh! I get to make it longer!' I never thought I'd ever hear that in my life! That's like if [porn star] Rocco Siffredi's pounding a chick in the ass, and she's saying, 'Y'know, I could use a little more!'" Next May, it will be 20 years since Ozzy took the teenage gas station attendant from new Jersey into the limelight, and Zakk is still generally more than willing to drop everything whenever his old boss needs a hand. "I'm about to go up to Vancouver to mix 'Shot to Hell'," he said. "But Oz wants to start doing some jamming pretty soon for his new record. We've already got, like, 20 songs. It's gonna be a piece of cake, though obviously that record's not going to be done until after the summer. There's just no way." When asked what he means by "a piece of cake," Zakk explained, "Me, Blasko [bass] and Mike [Bordin, drums] go into the studio and bang all this shit out. Except for the solos. Usually I overdub the solos after Ozzy puts down his vocals, because you've gotta hear the vocal lines. You know where the solo section is, but if you want to put some guitar fills in here and there, it's gotta be around the vocal. The vocal line is the most important thing." Guitar World's entire interview with Zakk Wylde can be found in the magazine's September 2006 issue, available on the newsstands right now.
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