Sakura photo courtesy of jensen communication
Zakk Wylde checked in fresh off a South American tour with his Black Label Society to talk rock folk lore,
Jersey shore and more.
He’s slung axe for Ozzy, talks sports on Sirius, and recently released a signature Guitar Apprentice instructional collection on DVD. Seated at his “Black Vatican” home studios in L.A., Zakk Wylde (zakkwylde.com) was willing to discuss all of this and more during a recent interview with yours truly.
Nightcrawler: There is one bit of housekeeping I would like to start with. I know you are a Jersey boy. I trust all is okay with your friends and family in the wake of the storm?
Zakk Wylde: They are, and I appreciate you asking. Of course, I called back home and have been talking to people, and it’s just brutal, man. I mean, I remember sitting on the boardwalk, or out at Point Pleasant, watching these storms as a kid that I thought were epic at the time. To think that this storm was so powerful that those places I would sit to watch storms are gone is just mindblowing to me.
I know you just came off a South American tour with Black Label Society and you’re eager to spread the word about your new Guitar Apprentice collection. How did that come about, by the way?
Well, you know, it’s a series, and they asked me to do it. So I was psyched to, and recorded it right here at Black Vatican.
Is it a generic guitar instructional video or specific to you and your style? Does it include your signature harmonic squeals and the like?
No, no, it’s definitely instruction specific to me and my sound and techniques. And you need to have a basic knowledge of guitar and some scales to be able to follow it, I would think. But more important to me than all that is that I break everything down so you know why and how certain things work. It’s like, instead of showing you some hot rod car peel-out, we go under the hood, examine the gears, how it shifts.
I always think of an assembly line. You can show the employee, “Here is your station—when the piece comes, you do this this and that.” But it is so much more helpful to say, “This is the finished piece. Here is how your piece fits into the big picture.”
Looking ahead to 2013, what can we expect from the Black Label camp?
Probably the biggest thing on the horizon is the filming of Unblackened, where we strip the songs down acoustically and add strings and such, but the solos are still electric. We’ve been talking about it for some time now, but it’s finally going to happen March 6 at the Nokia in L.A.
Speaking of talking about things... you also talk sports on satellite radio with your brother every Monday night, I hear.
We do. It’s a lot of fun. He’s a friggin’ encyclopedia of sports knowledge.
And through it all, you still find time to make hot sauce?
Those are my Jersey boys. They wanted to make a signature Zakk Wylde sauce and sent me these samples. I open one, and it has a sticker on it—“Do not apply to skin.” I’m like, “Dudes, this stuff is safe to consume, right?” But it is. And tasty, too!
In other news, celebrated singer/composer Sean Altman (best known for penning the theme song to PBS’ now defunct Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? show) brings his satire-laden Jewmongous production to the Hooker Dunham Theater in Brattleboro Dec. 27. Tix are $18 and available at brownpapertickets.com.
Last but not least, while there is no shortage of First Night festivities in the Valley this Dec. 31, the biggest—featuring more than 50 acts over 16 venues—remains First Night Northampton. For ticket info and full performance schedule, kindly point your browser to firstnightnorthampton.com.•
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