Zakk Wylde still feels like a relative spring chicken of heavy metal, even though his band Black Label Society -- which plays Friday night, Jan. 16, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre -- turned 15 last year.
"It doesn't feel that long," says the hirsute guitar hero, who came to prominence fronting Pride & Glory before serving three tenures with Ozzy Osbourne. "I think about someone like Jimmy Page; Led Zeppelin was, like, 12 years of his life, and he's still going. But that's still his life and still his band; those 12 years must've gone by in the blink of an eye, y'know?"
Wylde, 47, has kept Black Label Society plenty busy during its tenure, however, to the tune of 10 studio albums -- including last year's "Catacombs of the Black Vatican" -- three live sets and enough road miles to re-tread a model year's worth of vehicles. The group has also covered a lot of sonic ground, even exploring acoustic arrangements on last year's "Unblackened."
But Wylde says "Catacombs," BLS's first set of new material since 2010, is "the normal Black Label, the heavy stuff again." Wylde says recording "Catacombs" in the Black Vatican studio on his 10-acre spread outside Los Angeles "was easier this time. They're rock songs; these aren't Mahavishnu Orchestra tunes with several parts and you've got to be tight. They're rock songs; it's that easy. There's no, like, four months of pre-production. If you're rolling with guys who know how to play their instruments, it takes two seconds."
The set also marks the debut of new guitarist Dario Lorina, who was hand-picked to replace longtime sidekick Nick Catanese. "We weren't gonna do an 'American Idol' cattle call or anything," Wylde says. "We flew him out to the Vatican and met him and had him do the Chippendale dance routine. I said, 'Is that a spray tan or a real tan?' and he goes 'That's a real tan,' so he was in.
"That's a vital element to a good guitar player," Wylde adds with a laugh.
Black Label Society, Hatebreed and Butcher Babies
Friday, Jan. 16. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St.
Tickets are $27.50 in advance, $35 day of show.
Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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