Zakk Wylde Recalls Being Considered To Replace Slash In Guns N’ Roses

Black Label Society lead singer Zakk Wylde spoke to Metal Hammer about his career in the ’90s when he was playing for Ozzy Osbourne and auditioned to replace Slash as Guns N’ Roses guitarist. He revealed what he decided to do next about his career back then.

Following their successful ‘Use Your Illusion II’ and ‘The Spaghetti Incident?’ albums, Guns N’ Roses started working on their next record, which caused never-ending tensions between the band members and eventually led to many departures. Slash wrote a couple of songs for it, but Axl Rose and Duff McKagan didn’t like it. Therefore, they couldn’t collaborate as they used to, and the disagreements led to problems.

In 1996, Slash announced that he had to part ways with the band because he couldn’t work with Rose anymore, and the personal and creative differences grew bigger. GN’R needed to find another lead guitarist to continue their performances and works for the album. Rose auditioned many musicians, and one of them was Wylde. The band’s frontman wanted to invite the guitarist to an audition, and they began jamming.

During his interview, Zakk Wylde reminded the reporter that he was also playing with Ozzy Osbourne for his seventh solo album ‘Ozzmosis,’ released on October 23, 1995. However, Gun N’ Roses members didn’t hire him, and they chose Nine Inch Nails touring guitarist Robin Finck instead. Moreover, Osbourne stated that he wanted to work with Joe Holmes as his guitar player, so it was the beginning and end of many things for Wylde.

Wylde shared his ideas, saying:

“I knew Slash and loved that guy’s playing, so I’d met him and Duff a few times. When he left, they were tossing around names, and even though I’d never met Axl, he goes, ‘Why don’t we just ask Zakk?’ So he phones me up and asks if I want to come over and knock it around a bit. We were all jamming, and I was also working on ‘Ozzmosis’ at the same time.

I’d not had any answer from those guys, but Oz goes, ‘Zakk, we’ve gotta move on here,’ and that’s basically when Joe Holmes came in. Joe Holmes was playing with Oz, and I’d got nothing happening, so that’s basically how Black Label Society was formed. I’d got these riffs lying around and thought, ‘I’ll just do it myself.’”

Consequently, even though Wylde probably felt disappointed after Ozzy Osbourne hired another guitarist and Rose didn’t recruit him as the new GN’R guitarist, it helped him think about founding his band, Black Label Society. The group gained great fame and commercial success through its works.