Zakk Wylde talks about how almost joining Guns N’ Roses led to Black Label Society

The famous axeman almost became a guitarist for the legendary band.

Zakk Wylde with Black Label Society.
Image: Frank Hoensch/Redferns via Getty Images

Zakk Wylde has opened up on how he almost joined Guns N’ Roses in a new interview, and how that led him to co-found the band Black Label Society.

The year following Wylde’s 1994 recording of Pride And Glory saw him almost joining up with LA rockers Gun N’ Roses. However, what started with an invitation to jam ended up bearing no fruit. “After a while it felt like nothing was happening and Ozzy was telling me, ‘Zakk, if you can’t find out what’s going on with the fellas, I gotta get another guitar player,’” Wylde recounted to Guitar World.

“So I remember calling the Guns guys, asking them if we were going to do this because I couldn’t let [Ozzy] down. That would be unfair,” Wylde mused. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t even have been talking to them.”

Ultimately, the incident led to a crossroad in Wylde’s life, which resulted in him forming Black Label Society with Alice In Chains bassist Mike Inez and drummer Phil Ondich, and recording the band’s debut album Sonic Brew. The current line-up consists of Wylde, Dario Lorina (rhythm guitar), John DeServio (bass guitar) and Jeff Fab (drums). 

Wylde joined Ozzy Osbourne’s band at the age of 19, co-writing and recording Ozzy’s No Rest For The Wicked (1988) and No More Tears (1991). He also founded a project in 1992 called Lynyrd Skynhead, which would later evolve into Wylde’s southern rock-influenced heavy metal outfit Pride And Glory.

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Looking back on his time with Pride And Glory, Wylde told Guitar World about how the improvisational approach the band took to their eponymous album stood in stark contrast to his experience with Ozzy and his own solo record, Book Of Shadows. He compared the latter two experiences to “building a house”, where a step-by-step approach to recording the different layers was the norm. 

“But Pride And Glory felt more like Cream, three guys in a room doing some improv, meets The Allman Brothers. Or even The Jimi Hendrix Experience, a power trio going through a tonne of jamming,” Wylde said.

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