Zakk Wylde (born Jeffrey Phillip Wielandt, January 14, 1967), is an American musician, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and occasional actor who is best known as the former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, and founder of the heavy metal band Black Label Society. His signature bulls-eye design appears on many of his guitars and is widely recognized. He was the lead guitarist and vocalist in Pride & Glory, who released one self-titled album in 1994 before disbanding. As a solo artist he released Book of Shadows in 1996.
The Early Life of Zakk Wylde: From Teenage Guitar Hero to Heavy Metal Icon
Zakk Wylde was born Jeffrey Phillip Wielandt in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1967. He grew up in a musical family and started playing guitar at a young age. By the time he was a teenager, he was already a skilled player and had developed a unique style that would later make him famous.
Early Musical Influences
Zakk Wylde was heavily influenced by Southern rock and country music, as well as heavy metal. He cites artists such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Hank Williams Jr., and Black Sabbath as some of his biggest inspirations. He also watched videos of British pop singer Elton John, who he credits with teaching him how to play piano.
Starting His Career
After graduating from Jackson Memorial High School, Zakk Wylde worked as a bellhop at the Silverton Hotel in New Jersey. He played in several local bands before getting his big break in 1987 when he was hired as lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne’s band. This project would launch his career and make him a household name in the world of heavy metal.
Equipment and Techniques
Zakk Wylde is known for his signature guitar, the “Bullseye” Les Paul, which is oddly patterned and decorated with concentric circles to differentiate it from other models. He also uses a variety of other implements in his playing, including a wah pedal and a pinch harmonic technique that he calls “squealing.” His playing style is characterized by high-speed runs and heavy riffs.
Personal Life and Recent Events
Zakk Wylde has released several solo albums and has also been featured on tracks by other artists. He has toured extensively and is known for his high-energy stage presence. He has also appeared in video games and has a playable character in the Guitar Hero series. Recently, he was forced to cancel a tour due to poor health and was hospitalized for blood clots. Despite this setback, he remains a beloved figure among fans of heavy metal music.
Unleashing the Ultimate Heavy Metal Conquest: Zakk Wylde’s Career
Zakk Wylde is best known as the lead guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne’s band, but his career extends far beyond that. He is a songwriter, producer, and founder of the heavy metal band Black Label Society. Wylde’s career began in the late 1980s when he was just a teenager, and he quickly made a name for himself as a talented guitarist.
Joining the Madman’s Tour
In 1987, Wylde was discovered by Ozzy Osbourne, who was looking for a new guitarist to replace the late Randy Rhoads. Wylde auditioned for Osbourne and was immediately hired. He went on to tour with Osbourne for several years and played on several of his albums, including “No More Tears” and “Ozzmosis.”
Exploring the Universal Label
After leaving Osbourne’s band in the late 1990s, Wylde formed his own band, Black Label Society. The band has released several albums and has toured extensively. Wylde has also worked with other artists, including Guns N’ Roses and Lynyrd Skynyrd. He has also produced albums for other bands, including Black Veil Brides.
Keeping a Diary of the Sin and the Rhoads
Wylde is known for his distinctive guitar style, which combines heavy metal with blues and Southern rock. He has also developed a signature guitar sound, which he calls the “bullseye” sound. Wylde has been featured in several guitar magazines and has written a book about his experiences with Osbourne, called “Bringing Metal to the Children: The Complete Berzerker’s Guide to World Tour Domination.”
The Man Behind the Music: Zakk Wylde’s Personal Life
Zakk Wylde has been married to his wife Barbaranne for a long time and together they have been blessed with three children, including a daughter named Hayley. In fact, Zakk is the godfather of Ozzy Osbourne’s son Jack. Family is clearly a big part of Zakk’s life, and he takes pride in being a devoted husband and father.
A Tragic Loss
Zakk’s personal life was rocked when his close friend and Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darell was murdered in 2004. This tragedy prompted Zakk to dedicate his new album “Mafia” to Darell’s memory. Zakk and Darell had collaborated on many projects over the years, and their friendship was a big part of Zakk’s life.
Reunited and Touring
Zakk has been a part of many big tours over the years, including a reunion tour with Ozzy Osbourne in 2006. He has also released several solo albums, including “Book of Shadows” and “Book of Shadows II.” Zakk has always been a hot lead guitarist and vocalist, and his fans love to see him perform live.
A Love for New York and the Yankees
Zakk is a big fan of the New York Yankees, and he has been known to wear their gear on stage. He also loves the city of New York and has released a hot sauce called “Wylde Sauce” that is sold at a restaurant in the city. Zakk’s love for the Yankees and New York is just another part of his big personality.
Zakk Wylde’s Gear: The Ultimate Power for Guitarists
Zakk Wylde is known for his love of custom guitars, and he has designed a number of them over the years. Here are some of the most famous ones:
- The “Bullseye” Les Paul: This guitar is black with a white bullseye on it. It was inspired by a design that Wylde had painted on a practice amp when he was in high school. He later decided to include it on his guitar. The guitar is equipped with EMG active pickups and is known for its high output and easy playability.
- The “Vertigo” Les Paul: This guitar is red with a black and white swirl design. It was originally designed by Phillip Kubicki and later modified by Wylde. The guitar is equipped with EMG active pickups and is known for its solid tone and easy playability.
- The “Grail” Les Paul: This guitar is white with a black cross on it. It was designed by Wylde and is equipped with EMG active pickups. The guitar is known for its high output and easy playability.
- The “Rebel” Les Paul: This guitar is black with a Confederate flag design on it. It was designed by Wylde and is equipped with EMG active pickups. The guitar is known for its high output and easy playability.
- The “Raw” Les Paul: This guitar is a copy of Wylde’s original Les Paul. It is equipped with EMG active pickups and is known for its solid tone and easy playability.
The Signature Series
Wylde has also designed a number of signature guitars for various companies, including Gibson and his own label, Wylde Audio. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- The Gibson Zakk Wylde Les Paul: This guitar is based on Wylde’s “Bullseye” design and is equipped with EMG active pickups. It is known for its high output and easy playability.
- The Wylde Audio Warhammer: This guitar is based on Wylde’s “Grail” design and is equipped with EMG active pickups. It is known for its high output and easy playability.
- The Wylde Audio Barbarian: This guitar is based on Wylde’s “Rebel” design and is equipped with EMG active pickups. It is known for its high output and easy playability.
The Audio Gear
Wylde’s audio gear is just as important as his guitars. Here are some of the most important pieces of equipment he uses:
- The Metaltronix M-1000 amp: This amp was designed by Wylde and is known for its high output and solid tone. It is equipped with quadraphonic stereo and graphic EQ to differentiate the signal path visually.
- The Dunlop Zakk Wylde Signature Cry Baby Wah pedal: This pedal is designed to Wylde’s specifications and is known for its high output and solid tone.
- The EMG Zakk Wylde Signature Pickup Set: These pickups are designed to Wylde’s specifications and are known for their high output and solid tone.
The Tour Rig
When Wylde is on tour, he uses a complex rig to achieve his signature sound. Here are some of the most important pieces of equipment he uses:
- The Metaltronix M-1000 amp: This amp is the backbone of Wylde’s sound and is used for both rhythm and lead playing.
- The Dunlop Zakk Wylde Signature Cry Baby Wah pedal: This pedal is used for lead playing and adds a lot of character to Wylde’s solos.
- The EMG Zakk Wylde Signature Pickup Set: These pickups are used in all of Wylde’s guitars and provide his signature high output and solid tone.
- The Wylde Audio PHASE X pedal: This pedal is used to create a swirling, psychedelic effect on Wylde’s solos.
- The Wylde Audio SPLITTAIL guitar: This guitar is equipped with EMG active pickups and is known for its high output and easy playability.
As a result of his gear, Wylde has become one of the most famous guitarists in the world, and his equipment is sought after by beginners and professionals alike.
Zakk Wylde’s Musical Legacy: A Discography
- Zakk Wylde’s first album with Ozzy Osbourne, “No Rest for the Wicked,” was released in 1988 and featured hits like “Miracle Man” and “Crazy Babies.”
- He later appeared on Osbourne’s albums “No More Tears” and “Ozzmosis.”
- Wylde also played guitar on the song “Stairway to Heaven” for the tribute album “Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin.”
- In 1991, he released his first solo album, “Book of Shadows,” which showcased his bluesy and acoustic side.
- He also formed the heavy metal band Pride & Glory, releasing their self-titled album in 1994.
Black Label Society
- Wylde started Black Label Society in 1998 as a side project, but it soon became his main focus.
- Their debut album, “Sonic Brew,” was released in 1999 and features the popular song “Bored to Tears.”
- Since then, the band has released numerous albums, including “1919 Eternal,” “The Blessed Hellride,” and “Order of the Black.”
- Wylde’s guitar work and songwriting are widely recognized in the heavy metal community, and he has been voted one of the best guitarists of all time by numerous publications.
Collaborations and Guest Appearances
- Wylde has played guitar on albums by artists such as Megadeth, Derek Sherinian, and Black Veil Brides.
- He also appeared as a guest guitarist on the song “In This River” by Black Label Society, which was dedicated to the deceased Dimebag Darrell.
- Wylde has performed live with a number of other musicians, including Slash, Jake E. Lee, and Zachary Throne.
- Wylde continues to tour and record with Black Label Society, having released their latest album “Grimmest Hits” in 2018.
- He also played guitar on the song “Close to You” by the band Shadows Fall, which appeared on their 2007 album “Threads of Life.”
- Wylde has been recognized for his contributions to music, having received the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Award and being inducted into the Guitar Center RockWalk.
Overall, Zakk Wylde’s discography spans decades and includes a mix of heavy metal, blues, and rock. His advanced guitar playing and unique style have made him a recognized star in the music industry, and his dedication to his craft is evident in his numerous albums and collaborations.
Zakk Wylde has done so much for the world of music. He’s influenced so many musicians, and his style has been copied by many. He’s been a part of some of the most iconic bands, and his solo work has been just as successful. Zakk Wylde is a true legend and a pioneer of the heavy metal genre.
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Neaera and a content marketer, dad, and love trying out new equipment with guitar at the heart of my passion, and together with my team, I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2020 to help loyal readers with recording and guitar tips.
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