Alex Skolnick Once Tried To Replace Zakk Wylde, Now He Explains Why He Failed

Alex Skolnick of Testament recently joined an interview with Eonmusic and reflected on his past attempt to replace Zakk Wylde in Ozzy Osbourne’s band in 1996, explaining why he didn’t make the cut.

Recalling the audition, the musician described being flown to London amidst a wave of confusion and mystery. He realized it was an audition process where several well-known guitarists, including himself, were evaluated. Skolnick detailed his week-long journey, which involved rehearsals and even a live performance with Osbourne in Nottingham. He then talked about how he felt it went, saying:

“It’s kind of a long story. I’ve told it before, but it seemed like it went really well, and the crew and everybody said he looked really happy on stage. But I just always got a sense from Sharon [Osbourne] that, you know, she was really looking to replace Zakk Wylde.”

Skolnick’s Style Versus Sharon’s Expectations

He continued, explaining why he might not have matched with Sharon’s approach to guitar:

“And, you know, she made suggestions about how low, how to hold the guitar and lowering the guitar, because Zakk, and Slash and other players, they play with the guitar down, and that’s never been my thing. And just knowing what I know about the entertainment business now, I think, yeah, I think she was used to that.”

Additional Insights And Final Decision

Skolnick elaborated on his audition for Ozzy in a 2021 interview on Waste Some Time With Jason Green. He mentioned that while the audition seemed successful, and he was initially told he had the gig, the final decision rested with Sharon. Despite positive feedback, Skolnick sensed hesitation from Sharon, as he disclosed:

“She didn’t seem disappointed, but I kind of got the sense of, ‘Alright. It’s not decided.’ Anyway, a bunch of time goes by, and I don’t hear anything, so I kind of assume nothing’s happening. And then I find out they got the guitarist Joe Holmes, who had auditioned for them earlier on. He had been a candidate at the time Zakk Wylde had tried out.”

The quest to find a replacement for Wylde saw many renowned guitarists auditioning, including Richie Kotzen. Ultimately, it was Joe Holmes who was chosen for the role, a decision that came after a considerable wait and uncertainty for Skolnick.