Zakk Wylde is one of the many greats to hold onto the guitar spot in Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band, but it didn’t come without challenges. In this edition of Gear Factor, Wylde reveals how he carved his place in Ozzy’s player history and delves into some of his favorite guitar riffs that initially inspired him.
When Wylde started with Ozzy, he knew he wasn’t interested in replicating what other popular players were doing at the time. This led him to rule out the styles of influential players Yngwie Malmsteen and Eddie Van Halen, but it didn’t stop there.
“No harmonic minor, no tapping and well I won’t do the classic either because it’s Randy’s. [Rhoads] thing, and now I’m with Ozzy so we’re going to get rid of that, ”Zakk recalls. “Then we’ll get rid of the whammy bar. So that was kind of getting rid of three notes and a string, all the diatonic stuff. So basically what was left? Pentatonic scales and chicken picking. And I love the sound anyway. “
Wylde describes his approach during this time as follows: “It would be like taking 60 pencils to work and leaving me with four pencils and see what you can do with four pencils. This is what I obviously did in the beginning with Ozzy. I forced myself to see what you could find. “
Reflecting on his time with Ozzy, he remembers “Miracle Man” as the first riff he wrote for an Osbourne recording, comparing the song’s strumming pattern to Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxey Lady”.
He also shares some of his favorite solos from former Ozzy Osbourne guitarists Randy Rhoads and Jake E. Lee before delving into his own playing. Some of the highlights seen in the video below include Zakk showing you off clips from “Set You Free”, “End of Days” and “Gospel of Lies”, all from the new Black Label Society. Doom Crew Inc. album, scheduled for November 26, along with tracks from “Stillborn” and material dating back to Pride and glory album.
Speaking of solos, Zakk says, “Usually what I do is sit down with my homework CD and just sit down with the backing tracks and work on a solo. It’s like at St. Rhoads University in Soloing. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. “
He shares some of his favorite solos, while also naming the Eagles’ “Hotel California” and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” as two of his favorites among other artists. And he looks back on his early days as well, sharing the impact AC / DC’s “Back in Black”, Led Zeppelin’s “Tangerine” and Rush’s “The Spirit of Radio” had on his debut.
Check out the full episode of Zakk Wylde’s Gear Factor below and be on the lookout for Black Label Society. Doom Crew Inc. coming November 26. Pre-orders are available here. Plus, as Zakk points out, he’ll be touring with Ozzy Osbourne in early 2022. Check here for Ozzy’s dates, and here for Black Label Society shows.