Wylde blasts the crowd at the
Pearl Room in Mokena, Illinois, with his
BFG Les Paul and a wall of Marshalls.
Photo by Joe Coffey
Now that you’re working as a producer,
do you tend to listen differently to some
of those classic albums that inspired you
as a player?
Without a doubt. A record is about making
everything sound amazing—not just the guitar.
The fidelity, from the bottom to the top,
has to be in place if the whole thing is gonna
be slammin’. And the more you do this, you
definitely start to see how the pieces of that
puzzle come together.
You’ve done some TV work. Is it appealing
to record music that isn’t tied to Black
Label Society or Ozzy? Certainly cuts like
“Chupacabra” on the new album could
work as a film score.
Oh yeah, I did some riffs for ESPN—stuff
they’d play when they cut to commercials
or before a football game. That was fun. It
didn’t feel too much like work. Obviously,
we’re interested in getting our songs in
films. I’d love the challenge of doing that.
But man, if someone said they needed me
to write music for Britney Spears, I’d be up
for that challenge too. I love the idea of
doing projects outside the context of what
people expect me to do. I wish I could write
a song for the Eagles. It’s all music to me.
That’s what’s beautiful about it.
Where does your songwriting inspiration
Everywhere. I mean, we’d be driving down
to the studio and hear something, and that
would kick off a whole new idea. One time
we heard “Whole Lotta Love” in the car and
that structure—where the riff comes in, then
the vocals, then the drums come slamming
in—that’s how we ended up doing “New
Religion.” If you have writer’s block, you just
have to listen. Put on “Heart of Gold” and
rip it off—just to get you started again—and
then twist it, bend it, and turn it around until
it’s your own. That approach can really help
get you back on the wagon. You can’t be
afraid to listen to really great artists like Neil
Young and let them get you back on track.
The songs on the new album have a certain
economy and punch—almost like punk
songs. Do you consider that one of your
Well, we’re always ready to trim the fat. And
certain things just work—and work well—
when you say your bit and get outta there.
Randy Rhoads taught me a lot about that
just through listening to his solos. You have
35 seconds to establish a riff, get a cool
scale thing going up, another one going
down, and you’re done. Bang
Does that mean you guys tend to jam less
in the studio?
I’ll go in and jam away by myself—just me, a
Marshall, and an octave pedal so everything
sounds fat as hell—and just screw around
with riffs. Then I’ll bring in Will [Hunt, Black
Label Society drummer] and we’ll track the
thing. If it’s working, we’ll get the song
together, bring in JD [Black Label Society
bassist John DeServio], track some bass, and
we’re done. It’s like baking a cake.
Do you like working fast like that?
Yeah. Rehearsing and jamming is for the tour.
I don’t like tinkering with a song too much in
the studio, once it gets going. You can suck
the life out of a thing. These guys know what
they’re doing. Black Label is a great bunch of
musicians, and when you know what you’re
doing, you end up working fast. When we had
the Seattle Symphony in to do some things, I
swear they did everything we wanted them to
do in two passes. And at first you’re amazed.
Then you realize they know what the hell
they’re doing. If you get caught up in crap like
needing 10 days
to get a guitar tone,
especially if you’re doing
things simple—just a guitar and
a JCM800—you’re in trouble. What
the hell do you need 10 days for? C’mon!
You have a really wide set of influences.
Is it ever hard to reconcile that with the
expectations of fans that expect a certain
sound from Black Label Society?
I’ve never felt trapped by Black Label
Society. This is the kind of music I want
to play. I mean, if Jimmy Page felt like he
wanted to do an acoustic piece, he’d put
“Bron-Y-Aur Stomp” on there or something.
It’s still Zeppelin. I feel the same way about
Black Label—whatever we do is gonna be
and sound like us.
Wylde in the crypt with a Gibson ZV and a Les Paul.
Photo by Clay Patrick McBride
I’ve heard you express admiration for
jazz players like Al Di Meola and John
McLaughlin. Do you have a favorite
“Meeting of the Spirits” on The Inner Mounting
blows me away. The Shakti stuff is incredible,
too. You have to check out McLaughlin
on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show
YouTube. Just McLaughlin and an acoustic
with the Doc Severinsen band, playing straight
bebop all over the place—just killing it!