Off The Record Live: Zakk Wylde Talks Guitar Hero, New Black Label Society Album, What He’s Thankful For and More

“I thank God every day for this incredible, blessed life I have,” Zakk Wylde told American Songwriter on a recent episode of Off The Record Live.

Appearing on the Twitch program ahead of his band Black Label Society’s new record—Doom Crew Inc., due this Friday (Nov. 26)—Wylde wasn’t afraid to let the full breadth of his appreciation show. Whether he’s speaking about his career, his bandmates, his favorite bands growing up, or simply how fun it was to be involved in the Guitar Hero video game series, the mood in the air was one of gratitude. 

“I think if you ask any musician—once you get in a band and start going out on the road with your friends, there’s a plethora of insane comedy that you’ll experience,” he said with a chuckle. “You’re road tripping with your friends and it’s like, ‘You’re making these stories up.’ Sadly, I’m not making any of them up—I don’t even need to embellish them. But that’s the joy of being in a band and having a good time with your friends.”

Even Black Label Society’s new album is an expression of appreciation—its name comes as an homage to the road crew that’s been helping the band come to life around the world for decades. 

“The title was originally an endearing term for the crew,” Wylde explained. “They’re the first to bleed and the last to leave. It doesn’t matter how banged up we got the night before, drinking or whatever, they’re running on 20 minutes of sleep and always get the job done. They’re truly the power behind the throne. So, when we were doing the new record, I was thinking about that and said ‘Well, why don’t we just name it after them?’” 

Beyond that, Wylde spoke about his morning routine, his home studio (dubbed the Black Vatican), and, of course, Guitar Hero.

“I was horrendous at the game,” Wylde said. “But I remember when they started doing all the Guitar Hero stuff and people were going ‘Oh, this is the worst thing.’ I was always like, ‘How can this be a bad thing? This is great! It’s promoting guitars. You never know, you might get the next Jimi Hendrix or Eddie Van Halen or Randy Rhoads or Allan Holdsworth, or Joe Pass coming out of this thing. All it is is a win-win.”

Watch the full interview with Zakk Wylde below:

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