“No matter how banged up we got the night before, Ozz would just get up there…”
Zakk Wylde talked about Ozzy Osbourne’s dedication to his fans, explaining to Hatebreed’s Jamie Jasta how despite the mellow attitude, Ozzy used to do everything in his power to be able to perform and not cancel a single gig.
“I remember Ozzy getting shots into his neck – with steroids and stuff like that. He would never cancel a show. I mean, you wanna talk about the fortitude of rock. The pillar of strength. [Laughs]
“No matter how banged up we got the night before, Ozz would just get up there… He’s feeling like a prison ass, but when he got up there he’d still knock it out.
“And then after the show is when he’d reward himself with a drink. Ozz would never even have a touch of cocktail… Even in his drinking days, he would never touch a cocktail before the show. After the show though, it was game on.”
Did you get IVs and stuff like that?
“I’ve done that before, getting IVs before the show. I was just really sick or dehydrated or whatever. Just get the IV before the show. Without a doubt. And just laughing about.
“I thought all I had to do was like practice. I didn’t realize this was all part of it. At that point you’re laughing about it. It’s just that we gotta do a rock show. But, you know, you just get up there and you do it.”
During the rest of the chat, Zakk discussed his creative process, explaining how he prefers writing fresh riffs for every new album instead of looking into his “vault” for older stuff:
“What’s funny about that, with the vault stuff or whatever… Like, if you’re gonna do a new record, the excitement of doing a new record is writing new riffs and new stuff. Maybe you can revisit them or something like that, but you can’t come up with any new stuff? That’s the way I look at it.
“You do the same thing with Hatebreed [as noted, the interviewer is Jamie from Hatebreed]. You write a ton of stuff and 12 or 13 or 14 songs that you like the best – you’ll focus on those. But you may have written 20 songs for the last Hatebreed record, like there’s six of them just floating around. You never mix them or anything, but they’re recorded.
“Yeah, I can go back and revisit. But this last album we were out doing Zakk Sabbath, I was talking to father Blasko I was like, ‘How much time do I have when I get home before the fellows go out, before they come to the Vatican, and we start making the next record?’
“Like if we get home with Zakk Sabbath on January 2nd the guys get out on January 22nd. We’ve got 20 days to write a record. And we’re starting tomorrow. So, that’s it! We just start writing tomorrow. Tomorrow morning I wake up and start writing riffs. I write as soon as I get home. It’s like me writing a book.
So you write everything?
“Yeah. Like if you were my agent and I’m Stephen King, I’ll write it from the beginning, the middle, and the end.”
What about drum loops? Do you jam to drum loops or do you just set the tempo?
“No, no drum loops. I just sit down with an amp and start writing riffs. No drum machine, no nothing.
“I pretty much know… Like we’ll say if it was never written before, if I wrote ‘Into the Void’ like this is the intro and then the band comes in, then we’ll have the rest of the intro, and then the band will drop out and there will be just be doing a riff.
So you do arrangements and everything ahead of time, and then when the band comes then you’re ready?
“Yeah. And like, before that morning I’ll be writing a song and the guys come out for like two weeks, JD and father Jeffy [John DeServio and Jeff Fabb]. It’s just like the guys will be out and then if I ‘Free Bird’ and ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven’ before the guys get over we’ll record it right then. Like, ‘Hey, I’ve got this new one. I wrote this one just this morning. There you go, there’s another one.'”
What about the melodies?
“Pretty much do the music first and a lot of the times the music will inspire you to sing something over. And then I’ll just go and make a CD copy and we can go sit in the truck and just crank it. And we’ll sit in the truck and I’ll just think of something to sing over. And then I’m ready to go.
“And the same thing, if I got a melody for it I go sit out in the truck while I’m having coffee and I’ll just start singing and start figuring out what I want to sing about. And then I’ll write the lyrics. And then – we’re done! Next song!
So you don’t stress? You just let it flow?
“You know, like father Axl [Rose] says, it’s a good theory – *sings GN’R’s ‘Mr. Brownstone’* ‘Worrying’s a waste of my time!’ [Laughs] Seriously, put it this way – if you get stressed out that you’ve got writers block or anything, or you’re not happy with anything you’re doing, don’t worry about it! It’s like going fishing – eventually they’re gonna show up.”