Zakk Wylde Recalls The ‘Painful’ Rehearsals He Had With Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne’s former guitarist and songwriter, Black Label Society star Zakk Wylde recently talked about the recording process of his songs. He stated that with Black Label Society, it’s easy and painless, but with Ozzy, it was more difficult.
Wylde became Ozzy Osbourne’s lead guitarist and co-writer to replace Jake Lee. It was the moment for him to shine at the spot where one of his influencers Randy Rhoads had once stood. After working with Ozzy for years, he formed Black Label Society in 1998 and released 11 studio albums to this day.
The guitarist recently talked about the process of recording a song and compared Black Label Society’s ways with Ozzy Osbourne’s. The band seem to have established a good rhythm together as their recording sessions flow smoothly and‘painless.’ Every member knew what to do when it was recording time and most importantly, they don’t rehearse a lot beforehand.
Here are Wylde’s words about the recording process:
“The way we end up doing the records now, I’ll do everything. For this one, I recorded all the rhythm guitars before the fellas came out.
Adam [Fuller, engineer] and I went up to my studio and did it to a click track. If there are certain parts where the tempos are changing, we’ll stop right there, up the tempo on the click, and then I’ll play the riff. Then when it slows back down, we’ll stop again, slow the click down and keep going.
So by the time JD [bassist John DeServio] and Jeff [Fabb, drums] get out here to track the bass and the drums, I’ve already doubled the guitars, and it sounds exactly like what you’re hearing on the record. Jeff will listen to it, and he’ll play air drums to it, and then he’ll go, ‘All right, I know what I’m going to do.’ And he goes into the drum room and lays it down. It’s the same with JD. That’s pretty much the way it works.”
According to him, this is the most ‘painless’ way to create something. Hence, if the band rehearses more and more, the magic of spontaneity doesn’t appear in the track and perhaps becomes more robotic. He confessed that with Ozzy Osbourne, they rehearsed a lot, and therefore, it was possibly more painful.
Here is how he compared it to Ozzy:
“To me, it’s just the most painless way to do it. I mean, the way we used to do it with Ozzy on No Rest for the Wicked and No More Tears, we’d just rehearse and rehearse these songs, and it’s just like, ‘What are we doing? We know the songs, right? We know Miracle Man. We know No More Tears. We know Mama, I’m Coming Home.’
Rehearsing is what you do when you’re getting ready for the tour, you know? Because when you rehearse too much before recording, you take away all the spontaneity, all the magic, all the fire. You’re sucking the life out of the thing.“
It didn’t make sense to play the songs they already knew over and over again in order to have a perfect recording. However, each musician’s recording process is different, and their fanbase is there to judge the quality. For Wylde, Ozzy’s way seems more painful for the creator than Black Label Society’s technique.