Brady Lavin of Guitar International recently conducted an interview with Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Guitar International: "The Song Remains Not The Same" finds you playing most of the instruments yourself, like the earlier BLACK LABEL SOCIETY albums. What was the recording process like, and did the acoustic nature of the album change how you approached it?
Zakk Wylde: JD did all the bass work, and obviously JD mixes. The way we got it down to a system, it's just like preparing a meal. It's just like, "JD, I'll leave you to mix the record." This way there's not too many cooks in the kitchen, and then at the end of the night, I'll come in and just listen to it. Then I'll go, "Dude, bring up the kick drum a little bit and we're gonna need a little bit more of my guitar," you know what I mean? This way you guys can get attached to it. You really get your hands dirty with the thing, and then I can come in with fresh ears at the end of the day. It worked out great that way. JD can do his thing and not be bothered by anybody. Mind you, I do like coming in and pouring like if he asks for a cup of coffee, I'll just come in and pour it scalding hot right into his crotchal area. Just to liven things up. [Laughs]
Guitar International: Zakk, you have a dedicated army of fans, affectionately known as the Berserkers, who are used to BLS rocking out and melting faces. What has been their reaction to this much more toned down sound on "The Song Remains Not The Same"?
Zakk Wylde: Well, on every BLACK LABEL album, we've always had mellow stuff on there. You know just like ZEPPELIN had "Black Dog", and then they'll do "Going to California". Then we did Hangover Music". That was the only BLACK LABEL that we had the intention of going in and making a mellow record from beginning to end. And I did that "Book of Shadows" record 'cause I had a bunch of mellow songs laying around. A lot of people are always asking, "When are you gonna do another one of those types of records?" like a road trip record. This is definitely one of those mellow records that you could just kick back to. When we were just over in England, I listened to that BECK album, "Sea Change" or whatever. That album is amazing, but it's mellow from beginning to end. So I'll just be chillin' out and put that on and pass out.
Guitar International: It's funny you mention that people are always asking when you'll be going another "Book of Shadows" kind of thing, because that was literally my next question. What are the chances of something similar to that, an acoustic album of all original material, happening in the future?
Zakk Wylde: Definitely, without a doubt. Musically, with BLACK LABEL, we just piss where we want to piss, we're THE ROLLING STONES. With ZEPPELIN, they just pissed where they wanted to piss, musically. People were like, "Well you can't do that," and they were like, "We can do whatever we want, man." That's the beauty of the band. And like I said, I love Neil Young, and you don't even know what kind of record he's gonna be putting out next, whether he's doing the electric thing or he's gonna do the "Harvest Moon" thing. That's what's always awesome about Father Young up there, and the same thing with ZEP, they were always mixing it up. As far as a whole other record, I'm sure we'll definitely do one in the future. "The Song Remains Not The Same" is out right now, and probably in December we're gonna go in and do a DVD, a "Live Un-Blackened" DVD. It's gonna be the band and bunch of guests, with some of my friends like Slash, a pedal steel guy, some background singers, a four-piece string section and stuff like that to really blow it up.
Guitar International: How well do you think Gus G. has filled your shoes in Ozzy Osbourne's band?
Zakk Wylde: Gus is doing awesome, man. Anyone that goes to their show is just like, "Gus is amazing, man." He is. And he's super-cool. Gus is in FIREWIND, which is ridiculously slammin', too. I think Gus is doin' awesome. And everybody in the BLACK LABEL family is behind Gus, anyway. We're all rooting for him.
Read the entire interview from Guitar International.