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Black Label Society
Zakk Wylde Vocals/Guitar
John DeServio Bass
Dario Lorina Guitar
Chad Szeliga - Drums
Back in their heyday, Black Label Society was bigger, more widely recognized, twice as beloved and infinitely more iconic
than the trailblazers in One Direction. But then something momentous, diabolical, career altering and earthmoving happened:
somebody, somewhere, lent Black Label Society band leader, guitar-squealer and verbose vocalization terminator Zakk Wylde
a very, very twisted record collection. (Records, of course, are ancient artifacts from a bygone era of wondrous sound).
As soon as the needle hit the grooves, Wylde was transported to another world by the spellbinding power of Queen of Pop Helen
Reddy, the soothing sounds of Barry Manilow, The Velvet Fog himself Mr. Melvin Howard Tormé and obscure, little known British
invaders Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Wyldes formidable beard sprouted instantaneously, his bench press jumped from
50lbs. to 500lbs, and the Vespa beneath him transformed into a mean, gas-guzzling, Ford F350 SuperDuty.
Catacombs of the Black Vatican will stand as an enduring testament to Black Label Societys sheer force of will and mastery
of each and every musical neighborhood the hard rock titans choose to stomp through. The aggressive bite of the barnstorming
BLS banger Damn the Flood sits comfortably right alongside the stripped down, emotionally searing Angel
of Mercy, Scars and Shades of Gray. The albums opening tracks, Fields of Unforgiveness
and lead single My Dying Time, drop the throttle into swampy, down-tempo menace that wouldnt sound out of
place in a Classic Rock bands catalog nor at the creative height of the grunge era.
Now over 15 years into their storied saga, Black Label Societys music is heard at the finest of backyard BBQs and has
earned the bands founder accolades from Revolver, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer and every guitar magazine on the planet. The
BLS biker kutte is as ubiquitous at hard rock and metal shows as a black t-shirt. Long before Sons of Anarchy
or Duck Dynasty, Black Label Society manhandled the wishy-washy status quo and forced brotherhood, machismo and
loyalty oath-making back into the culture, across a mountainous catalog, countless international tours.
Where has BLS been since Order of the Black entered the Billboard 200 at #4? Besides bringing world peace, curing cancer,
splitting the atom for the third time and cleaning up after the dogs before brunch, we made a new record, he says. We
were able to squeeze that in before Valhalla Java. That beverage, of course, is Wyldes signature pairing with
Deathwish coffee, Valhalla Java Odinforce Blend.
Jersey boy Zakk Wylde picked up his first guitar before hed even left elementary school. Before he was 20, he got a
demo tape in front Ozzy Osbourne, beginning his legendary career. His tenure with The Ozzman includes co-writing and recording
several studio albums, three live albums, a Grammy for I Dont Want to Change the World and countless world
tours and television appearances. Wylde co-wrote the multi-platinum No More Tears, Ozzys largest selling solo album
(including the classic hit single Mama, Im Coming Home) and the bulk of the double platinum 2002 set, Ozzmosis.
In addition to his years of loyal service to the man he affectionately calls The Boss and whose wife/manager he
calls Mom, Wylde had his mitts imprinted on Hollywoods Rock Walk of Fame; had his signature bullseye Les
Paul inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame; guest-starred alongside Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston in the movie
Rockstar; performed the National Anthem at multiple major sporting events; wrote the 2013 Major League Baseball
theme for ESPN and even momentarily joined Axl, Slash and Duff in Guns N Roses.
But nothing offers the pure expression of Zakk Wyldes animalistic id like Black Label Society, the stomping,
heavy, bluesy, recklessly unhinged hard-rock-metal quartet as quick to rip up a solo as to dip into a piano-fueled anthemic
ballad. We approach every Black Label Society album like its the first one weve ever made, he says.
We just go in there with the most slammin songs we can.
Zakk Wylde is father to four children with his high-school sweetheart, now wife, Barbaranne. Given that his kids names
are Hayley Rae, Jesse John Michael (named after his Godfather, John Michael Ozzy Osbourne), Hendrix Halen (whose
godfather is Mike Piazza) and Sabbath Page, its clear that despite his comedic gifts, he takes his study of rock n
rolls greats very seriously. Hes boiled down the essential elements necessary to make his own contribution to
hard rocks rich legacy. After all, Zeppelins The Ocean can be played on two guitar strings. Deep Purples
Smoke on the Water? Sabbaths Iron Man? One string. Stillborn, the BLS anthem from
The Blessed Hellride (2003)? Another one-string headbanger.
Theres a beauty in caveman like simplicity, in the break-bottles-and-break-necks gusto of a loud power chord. To many
listeners, Wylde invented pinch harmonics every bit as much as Chuck Berrys dreamt up the duck walk. When the Guitar
Hero franchise was all the rage, Wylde was a playable character in the game.
Every time youre going to make a new record, its exciting, he says of the run-up to the creation of
Catacombs of the Black Vatican. When youre in the studio you can approach it like Salvador Dali where youve
got a blank canvas in front of you. You can paint a little bit, sit back and look at it and go, Oh man, lets add
a little more red over here, lets make this darker over there. Because live? Its a free-for-all. People
are bleeding. Theres fire going on. Youre getting attacked by grizzly bears
Each album is another opportunity to top the last one, in terms of production value. But like all the great bands from AC/DC
to The Rolling Stones, BLS isnt here to reinvent the wheel. If it aint broke, dont fix it. The BLS brand
is a brand you can trust. We approach it like lifting weights. You want to see if you can beat your bench from last
time. Its about beating what you did last time, sonically. If you ask me, the difference between this album and the
last eight or nine? Its the song titles.
With another Black Label Society banger in the can, the rest of the work is for the marketing flacks. Wylde fully expects
the eOne family (and folks like VP of Metal Father Scott Givens) to use payola, cocaine, ice sculptures, strippers
and hookers to make sure Catacombs of the Black Vatican is bigger than Eagles Greatest Hits (37 million), Thriller (66
million) and Back in Black (36 million) combined. Mind you, this torrent thing might put a little dent in that,
he admits. Maybe by 10 million.
Meanwhile, it cant be forgotten nor overstated that Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society equates to more than one
man, more than a band, more than a brotherhood. In truth, BLS is the Illuminati. At the end of the day, Black Label Society
is sure to be remembered as a fine Irish-Catholic bowling fraternity. They were good Catholics, the history books
will write. But they couldnt bowl very good.