Zakk Wylde is fascinating for many reasons, but one thing you can count of is when he gives an interview, it's more like a wicked cool history lesson. Or, so was the case when he and Anthrax bassist Scott Ian hooked up via Zoom for a session of Consequence's Two For The Road series. Ian's Anthrax and Wylde's Black Label Society just kicked off a summer jaunt with good friends Hatebreed in tow, so the pair caught up for a chat in advance of the occasion.
As is to be expected with Zakk, he got to speakin' the gospel quick. Of course, when you're as talented as Wylde is, advice is something he's asked to dole out often. Usually, parents want to pass the advice along to their kids, and naturally, Zakk Wylde is a top guy to ask. He's got several accomplishments under his belt already—the most recent of which is having the honor of celebrating the music of Pantera in a newly formed version of the group featuring original members Phil Anselmo (vocals) and Rex Brown (bass), along with Wylde on guitar and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante standing in for the late Abbott Brothers.
Wylde said, "People go, 'Oh, Zakk, you got any advice to give my son or my daughter or whatever about being a musician?' And I'm, like, either get in a van and start building your mom-and-pop shop now, and build your Anthrax, build your Black Label, build your Soundgarden, build your Led Zeppelin, build your Sabbath, build your Fleetwood Mac — whatever it is you love.
"I was talking the other day. I was doing an interview and I go, 'Things are different now.' But I go, 'You cannot stop driven people,'" he continued. "What I'm saying is if Arnold Schwarzenegger never became Arnold Schwarzenegger, the body builder, Mr. Olympia, and all that stuff, and then became a movie star and did all the action movies, if that never happened, if he owned a donut coffee shop in Austria, it would be the most popular donut coffee shop. He would be successful and have nice things.
"What I'm saying," Wylde continued, "is he would go, 'I refuse to be miserable.' [Led Zeppelin]'s Jimmy Page looked at success… like a bird in a cage watching them flying around outside, looking and going, 'I definitely want… I can taste that from here. And I'm gonna have that.' And then he had to wait his turn… he just bid his time until he got the right guys around him and then it was time for him to do it….
"After The Yardbirds, [Page] was, like, 'Alright. What am I gonna do? 'Cause I want some of that. And I'm gonna figure it out. I'm in the middle of the ocean right now. I can't see land anywhere and I don't have a compass, but I will find land.' There was no quitting him. He was gonna figure out how to become successful."
You can check out the entire interview with Wylde and Ian below.
Wylde also sagely pointed to the internet as an extended lifeline for the creative mind.
"When Bon Jovi was the biggest thing on the planet when Slippery When Wet hit, and being from [New] Jersey, if you didn't make it by the time you were 30 years old and had a record deal, the dream was over, bro. It really was," he said. "You might as well get a real job — as in something you're miserable [doing] and can't stand. It's over; the dream's over. But nowadays, you can literally put… stuff up on YouTube… and start building the empire — each day, put another brick on, and another brick, and another brick and another brick, and just keep building it. Which I think is great for all bands, especially the younger bands [that haven't been signed.]"
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