Zakk Wylde's Black Sabbath Tribute Band Honors the Iconic Masters of Metal

For 48 years, Black Sabbath have toured the planet over and over; from the band’s origin in Birimingham, England, to selling out stadiums and arenas spanning the continents. But in 2017, the band will perform it’s final set of concerts, in the UK ending in Birmingham where it all began, in February.

For those poor saps who never got a chance to see the mighty Sabbath live, there are tribute bands that will have to suffice. One in particular worth checking out is Zakk Sabbath. But this is more of an all star band, rather than a tribute band. Featuring onetime Ozzy guitarist and Black Label Society Doom Crew leader Zakk Wylde, this trio of musicians is rounded out by drummer Joey Castillo(Danzig, Queens of the Stone Age) and “Blasko”(Rob Zombie, Ozzy).

Just before the NAAM convention takes over Anaheim later this month, Zakk Sabbath will perform a very intimate set of classic Sabbath Tunes and possibly some rarities for fans, at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, on January 20th.

Wylde recently took time to briefly chat with the Weekly about Zakk Sabbath, the show in Long Beach, and his love for the band who are directly responsible for the evolution of what is known as Heavy Metal Music, Black Sabbath.

OC Weekly(Alex Distefano): Does Zakk Sabbath play only the hits, or your personal favorite Sabbath songs?

Zakk Wylde: With a band like Sabbath, you have the classics everyone wants to hear, and those rarities as well that you don’t hear all the time. It would be extremely difficult for me to pick favorite songs, I really love them all and look at them as albums more than individual songs. But as far as Zakk Sabbath, well, we mix it up of course, we will play hits and might throw in obscure song; but the way I look at it, it’s a win-win situation no matter what songs we pick to play.

What is your favorite Black Sabbath album?

Oh jeez that is a tough one for me. I love all the band’s albums, you know people always talk about the first six Sabbath albums. And it’s a hard one to chose they are all great but to me, I’d have to go with Sabatoge, it’s one of my favorite records. Everything about it is just amazing man. But, Ozzy’s vocal performance on that album, is one of the best on ever on record, and I mean in all of rock, not just metal. I joked with Ozzy and asked him. “What did you eat Wheaties for that record?” And he told me, “Nah just a bunch of drugs and booze.”

Which do you find harder to perform vocals for, Black Label Society or Zakk Sabbath?

Neither. I enjoy ruining both bands with my attempts to sing. No one can ever replicate Ozzy, he just rules and no one will ever have a voice like the man, so I don’t try to copy I just get up there and play the songs I’ve loved since I was younger. As far as the vocals go, just like when you learn to play guitar, you do have to warm up and use techniques to get started, so I warm up my throat and voice, but I don’t know if I would say I'm a singer. But I love what I do, it’s what I enjoy in life. I had a vocal teacher once who took my money, but told me, “There is no hope helping you, please leave now.”

Zakk Sabbath is playing Alex’s Bar in Long Beach on January 20th. How do you feel about playing smaller venues?

As far as small venues New Year’s Eve we played a tiny place in Brooklyn, and St. Vitus Bar as well, those are like tiny holes in the wall, super small places, and we dig those shows as much as we dig the festivals and arenas we get the chance to play. It’s just great to be able to contrast those shows with the festivals we play with tens of thousands of people. I think you can ask any musician, it’s not about how many people show up, when you’re playing and people are there you’re always having a good time. At least we are when we are up on stage, otherwise we wouldn’t be up there. We’ve never played Alex’s Bar, but we’re sure as Hell looking forward to it.

What else do you have planned for the NAAM convention weekend in Anaheim?

Not too much, I don’t think. I mean I will be in town and be doing the NAAM thing of course, I might be running around. But mainly this show with Zakk Sabbath, which we are all excited for. But, I do like to take my time I don’t to feel rushed or things to be frantic. I want to take my time with this; before the shows we’re having all these Satanic rituals, then we do the show, then after the show we convert back to Catholicism. But it’s all about the production, it’s all about the art, and really it’s all about the music. We can’t wait to rock out in Long Beach, we always have members of the Doom Crew with us and it’s always a blast.

Zakk Sabbath and The Shrine Play at Alex’s Bar (2913 E Anaheim St, Long Beach, CA 90804, (562) 434-8292 www.alexsbar.com) on Friday, Jan. 20th.


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