Rob Cavuoto of Guitar International recently conducted an interview with Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Guitar International: In your book [“Bringing Metal To The Children”], your antics are pretty insane coupled with all the drinking. Was it difficult during those times to stay focused and follow the BLACK LABEL mantra of Strength, Determination, Merciless, Forever (SDMF)?
Zakk Wylde: Not really. Even during the “Animal House” years when we were all drinking heavily, everybody always answered the bell when the time came. No matter what they did. If we drank like a bunch of Navy Seals, we answered the bell like a bunch of Navy Seals. There was never any of that whiny crap, “I don’t wanna go on stage, I’m tired.” If you have to be up at 8:30 a.m. and you are walking in the door at 6:00 a.m., you take a nap and get your ass up and ready to roll. That’s just the way it goes. I’ll give you a six-pack just so your body doesn’t go into shock. [Laughs]. It will wean you down so you are good to go.
Guitar International: Was it difficult to quit drinking?
Zakk Wylde: If you wanna quit smoking, just fucking stop. If you wanna stop drinking, just fucking stop. It’s that fucking easy! You just grow up and out of it. Hey, we don’t throw rocks at cars anymore either. Enough is enough. When I wrote all the music over the years, I was never wasted. I was never fucking hammered until the end of the night when we were do doing our thing or when we had a 16-hour drive to the next city. I never got to the point where I didn’t remember what we talked about or what crazy shit we pulled. People ask me, “What you are going to do when you get out on the road now?” I tell them, “Pretty much that same fucking thing I do now, just won’t be drinking.” [Laughs] “Hey, Zakk, what are you going to do when everyone around you is drinking?” I guess look at them and then watch the game or the fight or look at some ass when we’re at Hooters.” What am I going to do? flip the table at Ruth’s Chris Steak House because someone is having a glass of wine? Someone told me, “Zakk it’s a long road to sobriety and you’re just fooling yourself.” Well maybe for you because you’re a weak sack of shit! I rule with General Patton and I got a set of balls. Everyone has so many lame motherfucking excuses, it’s ridiculous. It’s like when people ask Ozzy, “Do you regret all the partying?” How can he say, “Yeah, it was terrible; it ruined my whole fucking life.” [Laughs] When artists quit whatever they are on, and they start to write, it’s the lamest piece of crap. It’s like, “Dude, you need a drink or a line because your music sucks and you’re killing me.” How can you say that THE BEATLES would have done “Sgt. Peppers” without all the stuff they were doing at that phase of their career with all that hippie shit.
Guitar International: Did you ever take the stage with Ozzy drunk and if so was he aware of it?
Zakk Wylde: There was a couple times at towards the end of my drinking that I maybe had one too many. I was never smashed on stage. I did notice it creeping into the BLS shows and when I was with Ozzy. After 20 years of playing with him, I’m sure he knew a few times. When it starts getting in the way of things, then you have to put a lid on it.