Zakk Wylde's gut punching distortion and furious guitar solos have caused plenty of irreparable damage to our ear drums in the name of metal since his days touring with Ozzy Osbourne. Even after the heyday of old-school metal, his riffs remain savage, his leather jacket game always on point. These days, this father of four is still dedicated to passing on the glory days of metal on to future generations of head banging Hessians. You could say it was his key motivation for writing his newly released book Bringing Metal To The Children: The Complete Berzerker's Guide to World Tour Domination. In it, Wylde delivers hilarious rants, stories from the road, and hygiene tips (or at least advice on what to do after infection sets in). Right now, there's a special giveaway on our Heard Mentality Facebook page for anyone who wants to get into the show tonight!
Unlike most authors, his idea of a book tour still involves him strapping on a guitar instead of standing at a podium. So for the purpose of translating some of his stories for a live audience, Wylde has swapped his trademark black and white Bulls Eye Les Paul for an acoustic axe in an effort to sit down with you, campfire style, and share a few depraved tales in between tunes. Before the book tour ends tonight at the Coach House down in San Juan Capistrano, we talked with Wylde some of the rules of the road while on tour, including the most important one: Never take a shit on the bus.
OC Weekly (Nate Jackson): What inspired you to write this handbook to heavy metal at this stage in your career? Zakk Wylde: Me and [co-author] Eric Hendrikx would always be at a bar talking to each other or something just rehashing our goofy-ass stories about being in the music business. And it would always just be us sitting around laughing our balls off. And at the end of our conversation, we'd always say "We gotta write a book someday about all this goofy shit." In Black Label and obviously rolling with the boss [Ozzy Osbourne] for so long, you sit in a room with him for five minutes and you're rolling on the ground crying you're laughing so hard. You're gonna need some Depends that's how hard you're laughing. Do we take stuff seriously? Well, yeah of course we want the music to come out as great as it can be, but aside from that, it's too easy not to take the piss out of everything.
A big part of the book revolves around being on tour. How's the tour bus treating you this time around? We just got on this submarine that were rolling in right now and as soon as you walk in it smells like a giant Port-o-John. I was like "Dude we're not rolling on this bus for two weeks with it smelling like this." It's not even that it smells like shit, it smells like piss. And there's no escaping it. It's everywhere. People who haven't been on a tour bus they don't realize that it's not a five star hotel.
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I remember this one hot looking chick came on the bus one day and she wanted to use the bathroom. We let her on and we're all going back to talking about the Monday night football game or whatever and next thing you know, this stench starts filling up the bus. I'm looking at you, you're looking at me, the guys are all looking at each other and we're like "No, please, they already took Santa from us, the Easter Bunny, no...girls don't do that. She went in looking like Raquel Welch, she came out looking like John Goodman [ laughs]. Of course she was embarrassed of course. And she left and the driver's just like "are you fucking kidding me? Now I gotta put a glove on and get that shit out." It was brutal, dude. Don't ever take a shit in the tour bus, because there's nowhere for it to go. You might as well just do it on the floor.
Do you start to have any personal space issues after being on a tour bus for too long? I like hanging out with the guys I role with. It's like Monday Night Football games, Hooters, hitting whatever Irish pubs we can find and whoever wants to go out, we'll go out, otherwise we'll see ya tomorrow, man. When I was first started touring with Ozzy, I was 19 years-old rolling with guys who were in their 40s. People are like "You don't get in arguments on the road?" And I always say "No because I tour with grown fucking men, none of this candy-ass bullshit. I just don't have time for it. Lions hang with lions, dude. What's it like for you turning your metal songs into acoustic jams? Is that different for you? I love it man, it's almost like a Story Tellers type of thing, then we're talking about the book and we get to jam. It's real relaxed, kind of like a Black Label family gathering, like I'm playing at the Knights of Columbus or some shit. We're of course getting ready to fire the band back up after this tour and we're working on mixing the new album when this is over.
You also have a section in the book on tour hygiene (or your lack thereof). What's the dirtiest you've ever let yourself get on tour? One time we did this tour and I went for like 77 days without brushing my teeth or didn't showering. So it was like play a show, sweat your balls off, towel off, put on some deodorant and I'm good to go. Let's be real, I'm married and I'm not out here to get fucking laid anyway.