While we are used to witnessing former Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde do unimaginable things with his Gibson Les Paul Custom, until recently we have only been privileged with a glimpse of Wylde’s acoustic techniques. On Black Label Society’s most recent offering, The Songs Remains Not The Same, the entire album is unplugged, giving one of guitars most incredible talents and sought after shredders, a far bigger platform to demonstrate his capability with a steel string.
In a recent interview with Revolver, Wylde talked about how the idea for an acoustic album came to be, as well as the prospect of performing the songs live. “Well, the Order (of The Black) hadn’t been out that long, and when we were talking about putting out the next single, we were like, “Why not just put out something new to listen to?” And we had a lot of stuff lying around. And people always talk to me about [BLS' 2004 album] Hangover Music, how much they love that mellow shit at the end of the night to chill out to.”
Wylde is mulling over a few potential ways of playing the songs live, which include the use of some very high profile guests; “We’ve got a lot of tours coming up—we’re doing all the festivals, and then South America, Asia, and Australia—but then we were talking about coming back and doing something, with the songs being performed acoustic but with me playing electric solos and stuff, and maybe having Father Cantrell and Father Slash in, have my buds sit in with me. I thought it’d be cool, like Neil Young’s unplugged stuff. We could get some strings in there with me playing piano and Jerry singing with me, make it sound totally f@#$ing insane. Do a real “un-blackened” thing.”
Wylde also stressed the importance of mixing it up when performing live; “If we have a song with four choruses, we only play two. I’ll play Dime’s song, or a song like “Darkest Days,” but that’ll be the mellow song of the set. If you have four mellow songs, you’re losing the crowd. If I go see the Eagles unplugged, I know what I want to see, and if they don’t play “Hotel California,” the crowd gets lost. It’s no good losing a crowd.”
Black Label Society are currently touring Europe and will be hitting the states along with British heavy metal legends Judas priest for the Farewell Judas Priest tour in October.