Zakk Wylde on Tony Iommi: “All of us that are working in this field of music, this guy has actually employed all of us.”

“He’s the Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart of riffs.”

Tony Iommi and Zakk Wylde

Image: Tim Mosenfelder / Gina Wetzler

When you purchase through affiliate links on Guitar.com, you may contribute to our site through commissions. Learn more

Zakk Wylde has opined that metal musicians and those working in the field would not have jobs if it weren’t for “Lord” Tony Iommi.

Speaking to Revolver magazine in a new interview, Wylde discusses some of the genre’s greatest guitar heroes and their indelible influence on heavy metal music.

“We gotta have Lord Iommi in there,” Wylde said (via Killer Guitar Rigs). “I mean, obviously, he’s the creator of it all. So he’s the Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart of riffs.”

“We all wouldn’t be here right now… Like, this magazine exists because of this guy. Like, everybody has jobs at the magazine, I can make a living playing music…”

“All of us that are working in this field of music, this guy has actually employed all of us,” the musician said with a laugh. “That’s how massive his impact is.”

Wylde’s personal top guitarist list also featured some of the more unusual picks from the Jazz world, such as Allan Holdsworth and fusion icon John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

“Another great guy to listen to would be Allan Holdsworth,” Wylde began. “You know, guys in Meshuggah like Allan Holdsworth. And they’d be the first ones to say ‘Yeah, Holdsworth is the man.’ I mean, King Edward [Eddie Van Halen], that was his guy as well.”

“The ‘I.O.U.’ record… I’m just saying for somebody who’s like ‘I’ve never heard of him,’ check that out. That record, you can just hear out. And that will lead you to all the other records.”

“I don’t think you’ll ever speak with one guitarist who isn’t blown away by Allan Holdsworth,” Zakk concluded.

As for John McLaughlin, Wylde explained that many guitar players themselves “listened to Mahavishnu Orchestra [the McLaughlin-led band] and stuff like that.”

“All musicians in that band are just mind-blowing,” he said. “A lot of metal guys listen to fusion just because… Eventually, you find yourself there because you’re always trying to improve on the instrument. So you’re listening to better and better and better and better musicians. Which always leads you to all these guys I’m talking about.”

“The first album, ‘The Inner Mounting Flame’… If somebody’s like ‘I’ve never heard of John McLaughlin and Mahavishnu Orchestra’ — that was the first album that they did.”

“It’s just really eerie, very dissonant, dark, but just like uplifting at the same time. Just really, really insane writing. And just performances, obviously, from the guys. And live albums, their live recordings, are ridiculous. It’s just everybody going insane.”


The world’s leading authority and resource for all things guitar.

© 2024 Guitar.com is part of NME Networks.