Zakk Wylde promises a show resembling “Romper Room on steroids” Friday night at the Diamond Ballroom.
And that's just the kind of outrageous line — and live performance — his devoted fans (known as “Berserkers”) have come to expect from the Black Label Society leader since he first broke big as Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist back in 1988.
“It's time for Black Label church services to begin,” Wylde said from his home outside of Los Angeles last week. “Black Label family dysfunctional fun.”
He's a funny dude, but he's also a seriously successful musician, having followed in the footsteps of Tony Iommi, the late Randy Rhoads and Jake E. Lee as Osbourne's right-hand man, serving as lead guitarist in the metal mad man's band for nearly 20 years, and playing on Osbourne's biggest-selling album “No More Tears” (for which Wylde wrote all the music) and “Ozzmosis.”
And since 1998, Wylde also has flourished fronting Black Label, which released its eighth album, “Order of the Black,” in 2010, and “The Song Remains Not the Same” earlier this year, featuring acoustic versions of songs from the previous album.
“I love the heavy stuff, listenin' to Sabbath and Zep, or when I'm liftin' weights listenin' to the Dimebag or Messhuggah or Ministry or whatever,” Wylde said. “But it's just like we'd be sittin' on the bus and we got an 18-hour drive. I mean, the last thing I feel like listenin' to is heavy music. I mean, I'll listen to the Eagles, I'll listen to Neil Young, Elton John. You know, just all the good mellow stuff; Bad Company or whatever. I'll make a compilation just of awesome, a---kickin' mellow (stuff). Crowded House, you know, just all the good mellow stuff.
“I listen to everything. Even classical. I've been playin' tons of classical guitar.”
Ozzy and beyond
Of course, Wylde will be playing tons of what he's best known for — string-shredding, plugged-in, heavy metal guitar — on Black Label Society's current tour, which includes headlining dates like the one in Oklahoma City and supporting gigs with Judas Priest and Thin Lizzy.
The days with Ozzy are behind him now — at least for the time being — since Osbourne announced in 2009 that he was replacing Wylde. But Wylde harbors no hard feelings. On the contrary. Osbourne simply decided his band was starting to sound like Black Label.