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Zakk Wylde on Ozzy Osbourne’s Reaction to His Baby Son’s Name, Why Performing Live Is Like Football

Paul A. Hebert, Getty Images

This Wednesday night (March 6) in Los Angeles, Black Label Society, fronted by guitarist/singer Zakk Wylde, will be performing ‘Unblackened,’ a one night only concert experience at Club Nokia.

The concept is to feature some of Black Label Society’s biggest songs as well as a selection of Wylde’s best-known solo tunes and Pride & Glory, the power trio he fronted in the early ’90s as a side project during his time in Ozzy Osbourne‘s band.

The concert will be held in an intimate setting that will also feature a four piece string section and some special guests. The performance will be broadcast live on AXS TV and later this year, a CD/DVD will also be released.

Noisecreep had a chance to speak with the wildman of rock a couple of days before the show.

Zakk, is there any added pressure on a night when you’re recording live?

My wife just said, ‘If you mess it up, don’t bother coming home. Oh, and the kids will not want to call you daddy more’ [laughs]. I remember doing this, taping live, with the boss, Ozzy, back at the Tower Theater in Philly. It was just the third show of the tour and I wondered why we were doing it so early. But Ozzy’s voice was so fresh and we were too, and so I got it then; we did it early because we were sharp. And that’s how it is for us this week.

So no pressure?

Nah. Look, for one thing, people are taping every show every night anyway with iPhones and stuff. The other thing is, for me, every show is like a football game – it doesn’t matter who you are playing or where. Whether it’s New York, L.A. or the middle of a cornfield in Iowa, I don’t care. Why bother showing up if you’re not gonna kick ass? You play every night like it matters. Why psych yourself out? Every show will always matter to me, the same, no matter what. Go big or don’t show up at all. Those that don’t show up are full of shit, in my book.

Watch ‘Unblackened’ Commercial

Do you like the process of stripping down some of your heavier tunes for a show like this?

I do. I was thinking about it the other day. It’s like when Led Zeppelin would slow things to do an acoustic set, to break it down with a little ‘Going to California’ or something. When we roll that piano out and slow it down, it’s really a chance for us to explore and experiment a little. And it makes fans appreciate when you start rocking out again. But we’ve planned this thing for a long time and we’re all really excited. The rehearsals are kicking my ass. This is gonna be a great show.

You still like to talk about Ozzy. Do you remember the very first time you met?

Hell yeah. Man, I was such a huge fan, it was just mind blowing. It’s really like the movie Rockstar. That main character could’ve been me. I just love Black Sabbath and Ozzy so much. And I wind up in his band. First time we met I could have shit my pants. I couldn’t believe it was him sitting there. I walked into the rehearsal room and he’s just there and he introduces himself and I can’t believe it’s him. He said, ‘I just want you to play with your heart.’ And then we just got jamming. ‘Bark at the Moon,’ ‘Suicide Solution,’ – we did them all. Ozzy was rocking out and Sharon [Osbourne] was there and she gave me a thumbs up. It was an amazing moment.

Do you still see Ozzy and Sharon often?

Abso-fucking-lutely! We went out to dinner with them recently. And Ozzy was at my son’s christening recently. And he says to me (imitating Ozzy): ‘You named him Sabbath Page? Oh come on! How could you?!’ And I said, ‘Look, boss, we decided to name him after things his dad loves, okay? And if there’s something I’m always gonna love, it’s Sabbath and Page!’

Zakk’s ‘Unblackened’ performance is going down on Wednesday, March 6 at Club Nokia which is located at 800 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles, Calif. Tickets start at $28.50 each.

Watch ‘Suicide Messiah’ Video

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