During a recent fan Q&A at the MI, Zakk Wylde was asked what were some of the first records that he fell in love with.
He responded, where he also revealed how he met legendary BLACK SABBATH frontman Ozzy Osbourne: “Obviously, Elton John. I saw him play doing “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” on The Sonny and Cher Show, I guess that was 1975, he was promoting the Captain Fantastic record, Brown Dirt Cowboy.
“I remember seeing that. It was, like, the first time I ever got chills, you know, the power of music. After that, I just wanted to get every Elton John record and everything like that. And after that I remember, I think I was, like, 12 years old, we were sixth grade, my buddy Tommy, he drew a skull, basically like a black-labeled skull – he drew the skull with a lightning bolt going through it and said ‘Black Sabbath 666.’
“And I was just, like, ‘What’s that?’. He just goes, ‘Oh, it’s a band, my older brother listens to it.’ I said, ‘Oh, wow, really cool.’ I was at a record store with my mom, and my mom was, like, ‘You can get a record,’ and I said, ‘Cool.’
“She can only get one record, so of course, being the tool bag that I am, I ended up getting [BLACK SABBATH‘s] We Sold Our Souls for Rock N’ Roll, that’s a double album. I remember just putting a needle on it – I’d never heard them, so I’m just going based off of that skull and the lightning bolt going through it, and the cool band name.
“And I remember ‘Black Sabbath’ came on, I was, like, beyond terrified, shat my pants. To this day, when I hear it, when I’m around Ozz, I sh*t my pants as well, so there’s a lot of that going on.
“When I auditioned for Ozz, I remember he was, like, the first thing I did was I shi*t my pants and met him, and then he said, ‘Zakk, just play with your heart and then make me a ham sandwich and go light on the mustard.’ I said, ‘Okay,’ ‘And definitely change your trousers, ‘cuz something stinks.’
“There’s been that ever since, 30 years of shi*ting my pants and making ham sandwiches and going light on the mustard.”
He also spoke about the time when he first heard Eddie Van Halen play: “I mean, how could you say anything? I mean, he changed – he completely changed the world man, without a doubt. You got to figure, aside of the guitar playing, it’s the tone – he changed how people viewed amplifiers, you know, modifying amps.
“And then guitars. You got to remember, I mean, the only show in town when King Edward came out was Gibson and Fender, and this whole movement was going on out here in California, you had all these amazing guitar luthiers and young guys, it’s like this booming guitar thing going on.
“All those guys were doing it at the same time, which was a crazy, really magical time in guitar at that time. When you look at – from Chuck Berry and Duane Eddy, because those guys were the ones that inspired Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Jeff Beck and all the guys that we love, and then they influenced King Edward, Saint Rhoads, George Lynch.
“So you had the Big Three – Clapton, Page, and Beck – back in England, and here [in the US] you are 10 years removed, you had King Edward, Saint Rhoads, you had Pontiff Lynch over there. Those were the next big three.
“They really were out here in LA, they were the Beck, Clapton, and Page, hands down. It was really an amazing time for guitar, just that whole span. He changed everything.”