Zakk Wylde ~ Bringing on the Black Vatican!

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Written by:  Tracy Forsyth-Lundy

2014 brought a long cold winter to my world this year, thankfully Zakk Wylde & Dario Lorina of Black Label Society came through the city in February and turned up the heat!  Being a BLS fan for so many years, I have waited for the opportunity to see Zakk perform as he calls it “the mellow stuff” in person.  We all know Zakk IS the God of electric hellfire, always has been & always will be in my opinion.  He is also hypnotic on the piano and just as mesmerizing on the acoustic guitar as he is on an electric  guitar.

I had the privilege of having front row seats for the entire show right in front of Dario with Zakk just off to his right.  How Dario sat his ass on that tiny little stool for the entire set is beyond me, well done Dario!  Perhaps a hazing from Zakk?  A welcome to the mother chapter of sorts?  HA!

Now with the release of Black Label Society’s newest masterpiece ‘Catacombs of the Black Vatican’ the men of Black Label Society have embarked on yet another world tour taking metal to the streets & rocking your world.

Guitar heavyweight, producer, pianist, vocalist, husband & dad; Zakk Wylde is one hell of a busy man!  As he always does, he took some time out of his crazy schedule to sit with me and chat about what his legions of fans can expect from Father Zakk!

TFL: Hey Zakk, how’s it going buddy?

ZW: very good, very good just changing diapers.

TFL: yours or Sabbath’s? (laughs)

ZW: Laughs

TFL: You are crazy man, why do you come here when it’s so damn cold, every time you do this?

ZW: (laughing) We’ve had good weather when we’ve been up there with Black Label you know.

TFL: ahhh…yeah Ok I’ll play your game (laughing) It’s NOT nice now, it was -47 with the windchill last night my friend.

ZW: WOW!  Ow, that’s insane.

TFL: Bring the wool diapers! (Laughs)

ZW: (Laughs)

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TFL: Hey, so tell me what we can expect set list wise, are you going to be digging way back into ‘Book of Shadows’ & ‘Hangover Music’ or what are you going to do?

ZW: Yeah well we’ve been blowing out ‘Book of Shadows’, ‘Pride & Glory’ everything.

TFL: Nice!

My dearest readers, one thing you have to understand is Zakk IS hilarious.  He will have me in stitches if I don’t stay on track with my questions, he is like a lion waiting for weak prey!  Hesitate, stumble and he has you!

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TFL: I had mixed emotions in one day with the news that was released .  I read that Nick was leaving the band and was all AWWWW, then I read you were coming to Canada on this tour and was YAY! (laughs)

ZW: (laughs) Nick is doing his own thing now, we love him and we are always here for him, go whoop some ass know what I mean?  Without a doubt Nick is like the rock of Gibraltar, we all love Nick and we want him to do well and we want him to have a good time while he’s doing it.  He’s family, we all love Nick.

TFL: Did you know who you were going to use as a new guitarist?

ZW: The unique thing about Black Label is everybody that plays in the band is always a Black Label brother afterward.  We still talk and everything like that but once you relinquish the throne of what your gig is, the new guy comes in and it’s his gig until he’s like ‘Nah Zakk I’m going to go back to being a gynecologist or what ever the hell it is’.

TFL: (uncontrollable giggling)

I mean heart-felt laughter…seriously people  what the hell do you say to that?!!  Did I not tell you he is hilarious?  I’m working along, going through my conversation with him, and he throws Gynecologist at me.  Good thing I’m a professional!  LMAO, at least my laughing became contagious right back at him.

ZW: (laughing) Then you can always jump back in and have your gig back.  Like if JD was out doing COP (Cycle of Pain) I could be like guys, you want to do like a 6 week run while JD is doing what ever.  It’s like, yeah yeah no problem, give me the set list and we’ll do it.  That’s the beautiful thing about it.

TFL: ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’, tell me why you chose that song to redo?

ZW: When ever we do any of the cover songs, I listen to classic rock radio all of the time.  Whether we did ‘Bridge Over Troubled water’ or ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’, any of the cover we have done over the years; it’s like you & me could hear it on the radio and I’d be like Trace I’d like to do a piano version of that and that’s how it comes about.  JD was jamming to Midnight Special one day and it was Bill Withers playing on the Midnight Special and we were talking about how bad ass he is and all that & how amazing he sounds, that’s how that came about.

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TFL: Well you have to keep recording because one day Black Label is going to take over an entire side of my CD tower, it’s getting there!

ZW: (laughs) Oh the brutality

TFL: I love it, there is so much variety in every album there is so many different grooves.  It depends on my mood what I’m going to get.

ZW: It’s the same for me with Zeppelin, as much as I love listening to Neil Young when he’s doing the mellow stuff, Elton John or Bill Wither or any of the Motown stuff when we’re driving 18 hours just kicking back listening to mellow stuff of the Eagles, but then when we want to hang out and listen to some heavy stuff we put on some Sabbath or what ever when I’m lifting weights I listen to Ministry or Dimebag or whatever.

TFL I hear ya, never enough Dimebag!

ZW: Never!

TFL: I know you are a busy man so I won’t keep you.  Thanks as always Zakk & see you in a few weeks!

ZW: Thanks doll!  We’ll see ya!

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It was indeed a stellar performance!  The acoustic show is a memory now engraved into my mind of Black Label Society’s many live performances & will always be reflected upon fondly.  As a full patched Bezerker, I could not have asked more from a man who gives his all every time he sets foot on stage.

The set list was all of my favorites with a few surprises such as Neil Young’s ‘Heart of Gold’ & a live performance of his cover of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’.

Dario’s debut & introduction as the newest Black Label brother was welcomed by all who attended & we all welcome his talent to the band.  Keeping up with Zakk cannot be an easy task & Dario’s passion for playing the guitar oozed from his finger tips and flowed out the amps with ease.

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The new album is out and is burning up the charts, it is without a doubt the latest version of Zakk’s musical genius combined with years of passion for what he does best; rock our world!

Support great music, support a legendary band & for the love of metal go to the live shows!

SDMF is not just a saying people, it IS a way of life!

Horns up Zakk!  Here is to Black Label Society dominating 2014!

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