When Odin, Norse god and ruler of Asgard, sent one man from the highest peaks of Valhalla to deliver a sonic message to all mankind that would restore order across the globe, he didn’t choose his son Thor. Instead he sent Zakk Wylde, the twenty-five year veteran of the Ozzy Osbourne band and frontman of Black Label Society. And when this battle ready Berzerker sought to construct a metal-frenzied legion that would spread across the globe on a course of global domination, a family was created – the Black Label Society. “It’s much more than just a band,” says Wylde, who has dedicated his life to his passion for music and family, “it’s about family, unity, and mindset.”
In the two decades since Ozzy Osbourne hired him away from his job at a New Jersey gas station, Zakk Wylde has established himself as a guitar icon known and revered the world over. Wylde has won nearly every guitar award imaginable and graced countless magazines’ covers and is a major influence to a new battalion of rock guitarists.
Writing and recording with Osbourne led to multi-platinum success, inspiring him to create the now iconic Black Label Society in 1998. In the decade plus since, BLS has turned the notion of what a rock band should be upside down by inspiring legions of fans known as Berserkers, all over the world to follow the mantra Strength, Determination, Merciless, Forever (SDMF for short). Wylde and his Berzerkers have established a heavy metal institution true to the vision of uncompromising, unfiltered and unrestrained Rock ‘n’ Roll. To date, Black Label Society has sold more than 3.5 million albums worldwide and continues to be a massive presence on the worldwide touring and merchandising circuits.
Check In. Rock Out.
On February 4, 2010 Zakk Wylde stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego to promote the launch of their partnership with Gibson Guitars for the Check In, Rock Out. “I think it’s awesome,” said Wylde, “Anyone staying at the Hard Rock Hotel can borrow a Gibson guitar, headphones and an amp for free. You can’t beat that.”
Wylde also one of his guitars to dedicate to the Hard Rock Collection – a Gibson Custom Zakk Wylde Les Paul Bullseye guitar. Wylde gave an impromptu speech to an entourage of media and Black Label Society fans who came to watch him stroll Hard Rock’s infamous black carpet and commit one of his axes into one of the world’s greatest rock memorabilia collections.
The Black Vatican
Instead of recording his eighth album at another studio on the road, Wylde decided to build his own studio atop his own Valhalla home above Los Angeles. The Black Vatican, as it came to be known, features a complete recording studio, kitchen, lounge and bathroom, the latter of which was designed in tribute to the 1973 film The Exorcist
. “The bathroom will literally
scare the shit out of you, no laxatives required around here,” Wylde laughs, “Although it backfires on me sometimes. Like when my eight-year-old goes to the bathroom in there, he covers his eyes and ends up pissing all over the place.”
Starship Enterprise visits the Black Vatican
January 24, 2010 “Star Trek” icon William Shatner paid a visit to the Black Vatican, Zakk Wylde’s recording studio to collaborate on a song for William Shatner’s forthcoming record Seeking Major Tom – a compilation of his favorite rock songs where Shatner and friends have recomposed songs including a cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’ that they recorded together.
“Zakk is one of the great guitarists who played with Ozzy Osbourne. A master playing a cover of Iron Man. He’s fantastic! I’m energized,” exclaimed Shatner.
On September 13, 2011 HarperCollins will release the handbook to all things heavy metal: Bringing Metal to the Children by Zakk Wylde and Eric Hendrikx. Inspired by his encounters with the Viking god Odin, Wylde assembles legions of Berzerkers worldwide for tales of glory, debauchery, and mayhem.
In Bringing Metal to the Children, Zakk Wylde, the man who turned heavy metal touring into a journey of fantastical excess, shares what really goes on behind tour bus windows, backstage doors, and in the recording studio. Beginning with his very first gig, Wylde details his epic ride through the music business, offering both sound and not-so-sound advice to young Metal Loki everywhere. The book chronicles many riotous stories from the road with many of heavy metal’s gods including; Ozzy Osbourne, Eddie Van Halen, and Dimebag Darrell, as well as testosterone-fueled appearances by professional wrestlers Chris Jericho, Bubba Dudley and Stone Cold Steve Austin.