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Interview – ZAKK WYLDE – Christmas 2011

| 27 September 2012 | Reply

By Shane Pinnegar

I spoke to Zakk Wylde 2 days before Christmas about the upcoming 2012 SOUNDWAVE FESTIVAL tour of Australia, and although we veered off-topic somewhat, it’s clear he and his Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society bandmates are chomping at the bit to get back Down Under after spending a nice Christmas at home with family…

Shane: Hey Zakk, good to talk to you again – how you doing?

ZW: I’m good – how you doing buddy?

Shane: All good – what have you been up to?

ZW: Well, just getting ready for Christmas of course, and mapping out what the next Black Label assault is gonna be

Shane: We’re excited that you’re heading back Down Under for Soundwave in 2012

ZW: Without a doubt, we’re looking forward to it man

Shane: What can Australia expect from your Soundwave shows?

ZW: Obviously we’re looking forward to coming back down there – we had a great time last time we were down there with Ozzy, and we were doing our own shows with Black Label then too… we’re looking forward to it man

Shane: What is it about Australia that keeps bringing you back?

ZW: Every time we come down there – last time we were down there with The Boss we had a great time, and we have a lot of Black Label family down there, so we’re looking forward to kicking ass with everybody again

Shane: When do you think Black Label might do your own full headlining tour of the country again?

ZW: Well besides the festival we’re gonna be doing 3 or 4 straight up Black Label gigs

Shane: You have a new Christmas EP out – what can you tell us about that?

ZW: Well we thought about putting some tunes together for a Christmas EP, and we just put up a bunch of Christmas songs and said let’s do that one, and that one, and that one. I just kept it acoustic guitar, learnt what the chord progressions were and Black Labellised them

Shane: It’s a bit different for you in that it’s not only totally acoustic but also instrumental. How has the response been to that?

ZW: Well that’s the whole thing – everyone was asking like, how are you gonna do it, are you gonna sing ‘em or what? And I just wanted to keep it like a stripped back Jeff Beck Les Paul kinda thing, you know

Shane: Yeah, I really like it – it has a really good feel to it and it shows that softer side of your playing

ZW: Yeah

Shane: Were you tempted to do anything full on electric?

ZW: Nah I just wanted to keep it mellow – like background music, man

Shane: Last time I saw you live you had your Elton John moment with the piano for some mellower songs, as well as the full on heavy metal BLS is synonymous with. Do modern audiences see that as slightly schizophrenic? It doesn’t seem to happen with most bands nowadays but it was the norm in the 70’s…

ZW: Yeah I guess so – but like I said, I love all that sort of Classic Rock. Zeppelin would do ‘Black Dog’ then they would do ‘Going To California’. It’s no difference to me. Guns n’ Roses do ‘November Rain’ and they do ‘…Jungle’, you know what I mean?

Shane: Interestingly, when I mentioned on Facebook that I was interviewing you – and please don’t take offence to this, I’m sure they were tongue in cheek – but there were some comments wanting to know if you washed, and if your kids were bear cubs. [Zakk laughs loudly] How do you feel about that perception of you as a man mountain, sort of Grizzly Addams character?

ZW: [Still laughing] I think it’s hysterical man – I mean, no-one around here takes themselves serious, so I just think it’s hysterical!

Shane: Having spoken to you a couple of times now, you’re a lovely guy to talk to, you’re a devoted family man, a very talented musician – yet people seem to think you’re this big scary biker dude…

ZW: Yeah but you know, they also think… well, they haven’t seen me in the strip club wearing lingerie and women’s high heels either!! [We both roar with laughter]

Shane: THAT would be one for the cover of a magazine – an exclusive for sure!

ZW: [Still laughing] I’ll mention that to the guys…

Shane: [Also laughing] The cover of the next album, perhaps!!

[After we’ve both regained our composure enough to carry on]

Shane: So talking of the next album – can we expect a new BLS album in 2012?

ZW: Ahhh yeah, I’m sure at some point. What we’re gonna do is, we’re talking about doing a DVD – the “Unblackened” DVD, we’re gonna be doing it with a four piece string section, piano, pedal steel, maybe a Hammond, you know – the acoustic thing. But still with an electric guitar. We were just scouting locations for that the other day, to do maybe sometime March or April. So we’re gonna come down and hang out with the Australian Chapter, then go down to see the South American Chapter, maybe go do some gigs over in Europe… you know, before we go back in and start blasting away on another heavy Black Label album.

Shane: Wow, the “Unblackened” idea sounds great – I certainly thought “The Song Remains Not The Same” showed the musicality and diversity of the band better perhaps than on some previous albums…

ZW: Yeah, with Black Label it kinda depends on which side of the bed you wake up on that day, you know…

Shane: Yeah, sure! So, onto the festive season – what’s Christmas like in your house?

ZW: Oh, well we always have a blast with the kids – the two oldest ones are 19 and 18 now, but Hendrix is 9, so it’s still awesome for the little guy, you know, waking up in the morning and just going nuts! So yeah, we just enjoy it with the kids, you know

Shane: Do you do the whole dress up as Santa thing?

ZW: Nah nah, haven’t done that before. But we do the cookies and milk [for Santa], and we put all the footsteps in mud on the front porch so it looks like the reindeer came up to the house… it’s awesome, it really is – I love it!

Shane: What is your favourite Christmas song of all time?

ZW: Oh they’re all good, man. Christmas music in general is always cool

Shane: What’s the best Christmas present you ever got?

ZW: Ahhh Christmas for us is all about family and watching football games and stuff – I mean, my parents always used to have amazing Christmases, so it’s more about that [than presents]

Shane: How do you see the difference between your kids’ Christmases now compared to yours growing up?

ZW: I dunno, I mean you just make it as special as you can and about the right things.

Shane: When we last talked I asked you about the meaning of life, so this year instead I will ask you this – what for you is the meaning of Christmas?

ZW: Well the whole thing is about Jesus’s birthday, so it’s all about giving and caring for others – that’s the lesson!

Shane: Zakk Wylde, thanks for your time – Merry Christmas!

ZW: Alright – have a merry Christmas and a happy new year brother, tell the rest of the Australian Chapter to stay Black and we’ll see you down there in a little bit

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