Zakk Wylde is holding a vintage copy of Guitar Player magazine with Rolling Stones icon Keith Richards on the cover. “It says ‘16 years’ since that’s how long the Stones were around at that time (1978),” Wylde said while calling from Southern California. “That was a massive milestone back then. The Beatles were around for eight years. That’s all. A lot of great bands were only around for a few years back then.”
Despite the loss of drummer Charlie Watts, who died in August, the Stones are rolling on just months away from their 60th anniversary.
Wylde, 54, the vocalist-guitarist of Black Label Society, recently celebrated his band’s 20th anniversary. “We only have 40 more years to go if we’re going by the Stones standard.”
What Wylde has noticed is that Black Label Society, which will perform Tuesday at the Knitting Factory, is moving up the rock food chain. “We’re getting better spots on festivals since some bands are retiring. It’s cool for us. We’re about to win the rock World Series because the other bands are dropping out due to the equivalent of food poisoning.”
However, the rise of Black Label Society has less to do with attrition and more to do with the band’s ability to craft an amalgam of 1970s Southern rock and muscular metal.
“This is the sound I make with the fellas in the band,” Wylde said. “We play what we love.”
Black Label Society, which also includes bassist John DeServio, guitarist Dario Lorina and drummer Jeff Fabb, consistently churns out urgent, celebratory and often hedonistic rock. Expect the band to preview a few songs from its forthcoming album, “Doom Crew Inc.,” which drops in November.
“We’re excited about touring again,” Wylde said. “We were in Milwaukee when everything was shut down. I thought we would be on break for a month, but that wasn’t so. It’s been too long, and it’s been difficult with the pandemic since this is what we do. But we’re back to some level of normalcy, and we have another album coming out, and we can’t believe we make a living at this. We make music and keep the folks at the label (eOne) heavily sedated.”
Wylde learned a great deal from his mentor, Ozzy Osborne, after two stints as the Prince of Darkness’ guitarist. “Ozzy is the greatest,” Wylde said. “Whenever he would talk about how Black Sabbath did this or that, it was just so fascinating hearing about what this incredible band did,” Wylde said. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that Ozzy is one of the funniest people in this business. He’s hilarious.”
There has been a substantial amount of coverage of Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” which dropped three decades ago, but Wylde is reminding fans of another notable album that was released in September 1991.
“I can’t believe that ‘No More Tears’ is 30 years old,” Wylde said. “It’s one of Ozzy’s greatest albums. Don’t forget about ‘No More Tears.’ There’s nobody like him. I love his music and what he created with Black Sabbath.”
Wylde is looking forward to a good cup of Joe when he returns to Spokane. “I love the coffee in Spokane,” Wylde said. “I go for the coffee there just like I go to the Brazilian steakhouses when I’m in Brazil. The fans like to rock hard in Spokane, and we’ll give them something to get excited about.”
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