OZZY Talks About Originally Hiring Zakk Wylde, Thinking He Was A Randy Rhoads Clone
Ozzy and Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde go way, way back. Ozzy originally hired Wylde after Jake E. Lee quit in 1987, and Wylde would stay in the band until 1992. Of course, he'd go on to be in and out of Ozzy's band throughout the 90s and 2000s, and eventually rejoin in 2017, but Ozzy still remembers how he ended up hiring Wylde.
In a dual interview with Guitar World, Ozzy says his wife Sharon essentially forced him into listening to some demo tapes and was totally blown away by Wylde. He also says when he met Zakk in person after thinking he looked a ton like Randy Rhoads, "he was a lot different than Randy. And then I heard him play, and that was that."
Ozzy, let’s go back to when you first hired Zakk. You had already been through a few guitarists—what was it about Zakk that made you go, “He’s the one”?
OSBOURNE Here’s the story: When Jake E. Lee left, I put the word out that I needed a guitar player. You can imagine how many guitarists sent in their résumés—it was fucking mind-boggling. So after a while, Sharon started bugging me—“When are you gonna listen to these tapes?” I just didn’t want to deal with it. I’d tell her, “Whatever, whatever.” So one morning I decided, “I gotta do this.” I stuck my hand in a bag and pulled out a tape, and Zakk’s tape was the first and only one I listened to.
WYLDE It was a good tape. I had the “Mr. Crowley” solo on it and “Crazy Train.” And then I did a bunch of improvising and jammin’. I did it on my buddy’s Fostex.
OSBOURNE But then I looked at his picture that came with the tape, and I said, “Oh…another Randy Rhoads clone.”
In related news, Ozzy might possibly do a new solo album with Zakk Wylde, but he's not 100% sure that he wants to do one.