Zakk Wylde

While on tour in the run up to the BLACK Friday release of 'DOOM CREW INC.', Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society (and Ozzy Osbourne) talked with QRO....
Zakk Wylde : Q&A
Zakk Wylde : Q&A
Black Label Society - DOOM CREW INC.

DOOM CREW INC., the new album from Black Label Society will be released appropriately on BLACK Friday, November 26th. The is the hot item for the year in the Metal World. Black Label Society has laid down some intense music for the album intensely heavy and intensely melodic. It is classic Black Label Society but like none that has been heard before. The DOOM CREW has pulled out every tool they have to create the most innovative Heavy Metal in 2021 and will carry on thought 2022.

New arrangements with Zakk Wylde and Dario Lorina; dueling solos, doubling solos, harmonies with extremely heavy backing from John DeServio on Bass and Jeff Fabb on Drums.

Two tracks have been released on music streaming Services and two videos have been released on YouTube.

“Set You Free” –

“End of Days” –

Being a fan of Black Label since their inception and a Zakk Wylde fan of 33 years, this is by far Black Label’s finest work.

Zakk Wylde

QRO: How’s the touring going and to be back on the road after this craziness and phreaking COVID for you and the band?

Zakk Wylde: It’s great to see everything’s kind of getting back to normal and everyone’s going back to having a good time and going live shows, going to Black Label shows, going out to restaurants, and getting back to normal.

We’ve had vaccinations, but you know, everybody’s had to get vaccinated because we can’t travel. So, it’s like, when we went to South America, when we would go down there you got to get a yellow fever shot, otherwise, you can’t go in the country. Which was kind of like, alright, well, I guess we got to get the shot by doc. I got 2 Pfizer’s, I got the booster and a flu shot. So, I basically have gamma radiation flow.

QRO: Any interesting changes from when you were touring two years ago to now other than having to be cautious?

ZW: We get up there, the crowd is just as kick ass was when we were playing before. I mean to me it just seemed like business as usual or just it’s like, we were home for a month. And now we’re back at it. We just played The Rave in Milwaukee with the Milwaukee Chapter. That was the last show we did before the world shutdown. And we just played there again, and it’s just seemed like, wow, there’s almost two years ago already. It’s just pretty mind blowing.

Dario Lorina

QRO: What the heck do you do when you got time off the between shows? Do you just rest? Do you go out and see things? What’s the schedule when you’re when you’re touring and have a break?

ZW: I just enjoy time with my family. So, when I get home, I like lifting weights and walking the dogs. My routine when I’m home, I just enjoy the quality time with my family, before we start another Black Label Crusade, otherwise I’m touring with The Boss – Ozzy, Generation X with the fellows, Zach Sabbath, Experience Hendrix. So, I mean, I love doing all that, it’s a love, I wouldn’t change my situation. When I’m home, I love spending time with my family.

QRO: You just talked about The Boss, any plans in the future with him?

ZW: Yeah, well suppose, what’s on schedule right now is in January, we start getting ready for Ozzy boot camp. So, you know, getting ready for a tour over in Europe? Yeah, that’s the plan right now. So, we’ll, we’ll see how the boss is feeling if he’s ready to go. We’ll go. If we need some more time, then we just wait till he’s ready. He’s the Boss!

Jeff Fabb

QRO: On DOOM CREW, the best work you have ever done. There’s something different about it. And I can’t put my finger on it. But I think there’s a new arrangement right is a little bit more dueling guitars, Dario gets more involved in some leads some dueling? That’s the case, right?

ZW: We got you know, Dario, for me, it’s just an evolution to get Dario more involved, you know, the fact that he’s an amazing player and he plays piano he can sing great, he does dishes, laundry, makes an amazing chicken piccata. Over the years that Dario has been here, he’s been getting more involved with doubling solos with me, and Dario do this here, try this over here, let’s double this; when we did this album, I just went in with the intention of doing harmonies and things and having Dario play more of a role.

So, you know, all I did was when I tracked everything at the Black Vatican and I just sent it over to his studio, the Dark Chapel, and I said solo here, I’ll solo there and throwing unison line together at the end or whatever, you know. Sent it to Dario, got it done in ten minutes later, he sent it back, and it was just like, wow, that sounds awesome.

QRO: I had heard that that in the recording in this new album, it was done in separate locations, and you put it together up in your shop, right?

ZW: Yeah, I tracked all the guitars before the guys even came out. So, everything was to a click track and exactly the way you hear it on record. And then Jeff would say Zakk, lets figured out the arrangement. I go, this part here, that part here, Okay, we stop here. Okay, then we go here, and Jeff will just play air drums to it, like two or three times and alright, let me go in there and track it. And then next thing, you know, Jeff would record it and was done.

Zakk Wylde

QRO: I think you go back to what is classic Sabbath in DOOM CREW INC. and think you may have gone to a garage sale at Sir Iommi’s?

ZW: Yeah, without a doubt. I totally bought that riff for about $8.23 It was awesome. Well worth every penny.

QRO: But then we got the classic Zakk ballads in there that are just again amazing stuff. “Farewell Ballad” sounds important. Is there some behind that?

ZW: Well, that one that that’s been floating around on like YouTube since about 2011 or 2010 something like that because I remember I did a guitar techniques magazine, but it was just an instrumental just for the magazine. So I ended up recording that and it was just the instrumental you know a thing and I was called “Farewell Ballad”, people have be tagging me on it for years on Instagram or whatever it is, copying the solo and playing it you know, me responding back and just oh man, that kicks ass or whatever, you know, so it just on this album was kind of like, why don’t I just finish this thing and instead of just being a little instrumental, it’ll be an intro to a song and then it goes into a song. So, so we’ve wrapped that one up.

Then “Love Reign Down”, I wrote that, like 30 years ago when my mother passed away and I was sitting around when I was writing the piano stuff for the song “No More Tears”, the middle section before the solo. So, I ended up in the studio by myself one day, and I just started I write that song. I mean, it was good to finally get around to releasing, you know, finishing that one up, we were going to put it on the box set. And then I said, we’ll just hold off on that one. I want to put it on a new record.

Zakk Wylde

QRO: So, you know, the COVID you spent a year and a half at home with the family walking the dog. Is that when you spent a lot of time writing this music? Or is that stuff you had been just waiting to record?

ZW: You know, my wife, after we were working on a box set, she said it is probably time to work on another record. Why don’t you? I said, well, when are the fellows is going to come out here to the Black Vatican? She said, probably be out in a month. That means I have a month to write a record. Wake up every day. I go into gym, and sit down with the amp, I have a cranked in my gym. It sounds like I’m in Madison Square Garden by myself, just writing riffs with a reverb on it and everything like that. So, I just start writing riffs until I’m happy with something, you get inspired and just start writing. The way I write, I write from beginning to middle to end. I don’t just have a riff and then I don’t know what to do with it. Just like you start writing and then you finish it.

Very rarely if I come up with a riff, something like, “Set You Free”, I have that main riff, I’ll figure out what I want to do with it. I’ll finish it later that day or whatever, but it’s not like I just have a riff laying around and then just say never completed or any song. I mean if I start you know, farewell ballad, I finished the whole thing. You know what I mean? So, anyways, but it’s just usually it’s always the music then then the melody, you know that the musical inspires a melody and then, and the lyrics are always last.

QRO: Do you write the lyrics?

ZW: Yeah, who else would? It’s more it’s more or less like a Neil Young technique Crazy Horse. Yeah, that’s how Black Label is pretty much designed.

Zakk Wylde

QRO: You your vocals, you’ve always been a great singer, or is that something that’s come about?

ZW: Well, since I was younger, you know, just singing in cover bands when we were 15-16-17 years old. Doing Sabbath songs, I would sing the Sabbath songs, Hendrix, I sang Cream, and my other buddy Tommy would end up singing the Rush songs, it’s almost kind of like a wedding band. JD sang all The Doors songs and singing Lou Rawls because he’s got a low voice. That’s why I’m Zach Sabbath cover band, sort of makes sense. I was playing these songs when I was 16 and I’m playing them now when I’m 54. So, it just goes to show you how good the music is.

Black Label Society

QRO: Your influences, certainly, you know, King Edward, I know you look up to him and his work in the past, Sir Iommi, obviously that makes sense. Who are some of the other people that you draw or have been inspired by in the past?

ZW: Obviously, Jimmy Page, Frank Marino of Mahogany rush and obviously Hendrix, Trower, Al Di Meola, John McLaughlin. These are all the guys who I still pictures on the walls in the Black Vatican, except now they’re in frames as opposed to just taped to the wall. Obviously, Saint Rhoads and I love Steve Morse a lot of other players like you know, Scott Henderson, Allan Holdsworth, Joe Pass, Pat Martino, Ted Green those are all like jazz guys. Paco de Lucia, there’s so many amazing players to listen to, to draw from that, you get inspired by. And just when you hear somebody that’s great at what they do, I can’t help but inspire you.

QRO: On that same idea. Who were the who were the younger ones that that you’re impressed by that are up and coming that have it?

ZW: I think like Jared James Nichols, he toured with us, Tyler Bryant, he’s great, too. There is a ton of younger guys, amazing young up and coming players, like I see on Instagram all the time, which is like really inspiring. It’s great, it’s just good for the whole guitar community.

Zakk Wylde

QRO: You are 16 years old, you’re up in New Jersey playing clubs in a cover band? Where in your head, where was your future going?

ZW: Music without a doubt without having been blessed with Ozzy in my life and our Black Label family. Me and JD would have opened a music store we would have cut out a wedding band a cover band or own band write songs, but everything would have revolved around music we would have been paying the light bills some way or another doing music for sure. It wasn’t like a hobby or just like this is what I’m gonna do with my life. You know I mean regardless no matter what we’re gonna make this happen

QRO: You sent in an audition to tape to The Boss, but you I can’t have imagined in your wildest dreams that this is how it’s gonna turn out?

ZW: You want the store to be successful, but you know us to grow up and go on and grow into this massive successful thing. That’s just icing on the cake, but I mean, no right from the beginning, no, me and you mowing lawns, or you know, and it grows from there and then eventually me and you own our own landscaping company. We started out mowing a couple lawns around the neighborhood and then we turned it into having tons of employees, we have this massive company, but it started small. You got to be determined to make it become successful.

QRO: What is Zach? What’s Zach’s name? If Eddie is the King and Tommy is Sir Iommi, Randy is Saint Randy and Ozzy The Boss.

ZW: If you go by what JD he just he refers to me lovingly as a Fucking Moron or just Useless Idiot.

-words & photos: Neil Peek

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