IN THIS extremely revealing and totally non-serious interview, Zakk Wylde reveals all about his split Ozzy, why he doesn’t booze any more and his sex change operation. (Note: This was done just before his prison performance at Changi.)
Hi Zakk, I’m Chris. Could you just say something into the recorder? I need to check the levels. Hi, I’m Zakk, I wear women’s underwear.
Great. How’s your day so far? I’m great! Havin’ a great day so far. Is that a brace on your wrist? What happened? Too much whackin’ it, huh?
Well, no, but… Well, let’s do this interview then I can catch a few zzzs before we get to the prison. How far is it? About an hour?
No, actually about 30 minutes. Oh.
Anyway, let’s get on with the interview. Is there any question that you don’t want us to ask? Don’t ask about my women’s underwear and my sex change operation. We’ll keep that on the down low for now.
Right. Well, you’re in town to promote your signature range. Yeah, the guys at Epiphone did a great job with the Graveyard Disciple, and with the new chambered-out Les Paul BFGs – they’re both slammin’ guitars.
You’ve had an eventful 2009. Aside from the botched-up sex change operation? I mean, I got butchered man, And I paid top dollar for this s**t too. You think your hand’s bad? You should see what happened down here!
I heard you were in and out of hospital a lot. But it’s always funny. I always laugh about it. It’s always something. It could be with jazz musicians or something. It’s shit you can’t make up. Whenever this stuff happens, you have to laugh. It’s par for the course. I’ve broken my back, ribs, messed my neck up, my shoulder’s tweaked, then there were the blood clots, I’ve had two hernias, a throat operation… They just glue me together and ship me out on the road. And when I come home, the kids call me “Uncle Frank”. They don’t know who I am, I’m just some guy that comes around the house once in a while and gives them money. They’ll go like “Uncle Frank!” and I’m like, “No, it’s Daddy!” Then they’ll go like, “Whatever man, just give me the money. I’m getting ready for college.”
And you had to give up booze. What’s your poison now? I’m drinking like 6,000 cups for coffee. I’m probably going to have a stroke from drinking that much coffee! I like to chill and have a beer and watch the game with the guys, but the doctor said that if I continued drinking, I would bleed internally. So it’s like, “Let’s weigh the options here: Do we really need to go to AA for this? Internal bleeding or chill out?” So I was like, what the hell! I just boost the heroin intake and the pain pills.
The other big thing that happened to you was that Ozzy Osbourne replaced you in his band with Gus G. He’s jamming with Gus G, who’s a great guitar player. Oz was like, “Zakk, you’re doing the Black Label thing”. Our relationship is bigger than music anyway, he’s the godfather of one of my kids. And whenever he needed me, like if Gus had to go home because his wife was pregnant or something, I’d come out on the road and fill in for Gus until he can get back out.
Well, you have three kids… I do? First I’ve heard!
But you’re on the road a lot. How does make you feel as a dad? The way I look at it: Even if I had a normal day job, I’d still have to go out to work. My two oldest are teenagers and my little one, Hendrix, is seven – and they’d probably rather be spending time with their friends than with me. But whenever I get any breaks, like if I’m home for a month or something, then I actually spend some quality time with them. When I’m on the road, the kids sometimes come out, but they have school so they’ll come out for a bit and then go home. You make it work, whatever it takes.
And you’ve been married for the longest time. In celeb years, that’s 100 years. How do you guys do it? To me, everything that happens, it’s all part of the job. You know going in, this is what you’re going to get. If you’re a porn star, you can’t really go “The sex is killing me” – it’s part of the job. It is what it is.
You’ve been doing this for a long time. You were 19 when you started with Ozzy… I’m 42, but that’s in dog years. I’m really 526 years old – in my liver, pancreas and kidneys.
What’s the biggest life lesson you’ve learned? Why did I do this? Why? Please make the pain stop!
What’s the best thing or worst thing about being Zakk Wylde? It’s awesome. I’m a musician, I travel the whole world, I meet new people… well, the drawback would obviously be not being able to spend time with your family but that’s how it is with every household right? The dad’s not home because he’s at work trying to put food on the table so that your kids can have nice things. I love what I do – I don’t treat it like a job, but as I said, everything has a drawback to it. But even if I didn’t do this, I’d be bitching or moaning about something else.
What advice do you have for fans who want to do what you do? Don’t. Run! Far away! No, the whole secret to life is do what you love and do it to death. Find out what you like? If you like whackin’ it, do that for a living, we’ll figure out a way to make money from it. If that’s what you like, knock yourself out.
Any new Black Label music coming out soon? Yeah, we’re going to start on Friday at the Black Label bunker. I’m having a state-of-the-art studio built in my place in California. And once that’s done, we’re figuring January and February we record the album, mix it in March, and in April we’ll be out promoting it, and in May, that’s the next step in Black Label global domination. We’re going to be back over here with the band. And when I get back I’m going to be working on a book, a rock and roll survival guide. So get ready for some comedy on that one!
Okay, quickly before it starts: Your thoughts on doing this prison gig. Well, we got the offer to do the prison show because they said the gang there like the sweet, soothing romantic sounds of Black Label. I hope they like the performance otherwise this could been the last recorded interview for me! So, enjoy it, kids. But, seriously, you have to take care of everybody, don’t you? That’s the reason why you’re here, right?