By Callum Doig
Where do I begin? Well, we all know whom Zakk Wylde is, all thanks to Ozzy Osbourne taking him under his wing. Since being recognised as one of metal’s greatest guitarists alive, Zakk and his brainchild Black Label Society have been thrashing and bashing the scene all over the world with a whole lot of killer tours and albums in their years. Hitting our Australian shores for their first headline tour in ten years, the Wylde child himself is feeling pretty keen to fire it up once again, down under with his ensemble of thrashy troubadours.
“We’re really excited,” he says. “We haven’t stopped touring since Catacombs of the Black Vatican came out. We just got back from six weeks over in Europe, and we did a number of shows in the US and Canada at the end of December and January. I can’t believe it’s been ten years since we did a headline tour in Australia. So, to be able to do our own gig there again, it’s pretty awesome.”
Zakk and the band were last here as part of the Soundwave Festival in 2012. And while it was a festival appearance, Zakk seemed to have enjoyed his time at the festival three years ago, and also mentioned how amazing each and every show can be, whether it is in someone’s house or at a massive arena.
“It was a great time. It’s really cool to do festivals, because I’ve run into a lot of friends over the years ever since I start BLS. Usually, everyone’s working and touring, so festivals are a good time to catch up with friends, but it can also be good to do our own shows as well. And the shows I prefer are the ones where anybody shows up,” he laughs. “Back when I was sixteen, we’d be playing cake parties in someone’s kitchen, and now we’re playing tours in front of hundreds and thousands of people. The kitchen gigs are pretty insane too, but they have their own unique experience. I’d even ask any band the same thing, and they’ve said the same thing too!”
Zakk Wylde has seen many members of his project come and go, every now and then. With two new members currently in the band – Dario Lorina on guitar and Jeff Fabb on drums, Zakk states that anyone in his band is free to go and come back as Black Label Society continue.
“Black Label is more than just a band or a brotherhood. The guys always have the creative freedom to leave and do their own thing, and eventually come back. There are no arguments or anything, but as far as the team is going right now, it’s been really crushing, and they’ve been having a blast so far.”
Every BLS fan would be aware than Zakk Wylde has been under Ozzy’s wing since he did his first round of shows with Mr. Osbourne. While Zakk has Black Label Society going on as a full time thing, he’s still in contact with Ozzy, and has stated that Ozzy is the only reason he’s ever been able to get this far with Black Label Society.
“Without Ozzy, I wouldn’t be talking here with you right now. I’ve always loved Ozzy, he’s always been one of the coolest guys and he’s like an older brother and it’s truly blessing. I still talk to Ozzy cos he’s family to me. Just because Black Label is full time, it doesn’t really matter. Because if Gus G.’s wife was having a baby and Ozzy wanted me to fill in, I’d do it. The thing is, with Ozzy, he introduces you to the world, and whatever you want to do is up to you. What are you gonna do? We all gotta have jobs and pay bills. Ozzy offered me an opportunity and introduced me to the world, and you just gotta role your sleeves up and get to work instead of sitting on the couch, talking about how you’re gonna be bigger than McDonalds” he laughs.
Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society will be heading to Australia in late November.
25 November – Metropolis, Fremantle
27 November – HQ, Adelaide
28 November – Roundhouse, Sydney
29 November – The Tivoli, Brisbane
1 December – 170 Russell, Melbourne