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Interview:
Zakk Sabbath at the Fillmore, 5 Things To Know
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Zakk Sabbath is a cover band. And proud of it.

The trio features Zakk Wylde, veteran of two stints in Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne's solo band, current Osbourne bassist Rob "Blasko" Nicholson and drummer Joey Castillo from Queens of the Stone Age and Danzig. As the band name indicates, they specialize in Sabbath covers, a heartfelt tribute that has the authenticity of musicians who are not only influenced by the music but have also played with one of its creators.

Wylde and company shoehorn Zakk Sabbath in amidst their other projects -- in Wylde's case the band Black Label Society, his own solo work and a regular spot on the Experience Hendrix tribute tours -- but this fall it's on the road opening for Clutch. And Wylde is always happy to head "Into The Void" when he can...

Zakk Sabbath was an opportunity rather than a plan, according to the guitarist. "Me and Blasko were doing these metal all-star jams, which were always a lot of fun to do, just like summer camp," Wylde recalls by phone. "(Black Sabbath) is obviously a meeting ground for everybody, so we would always end up playing Sabbath songs -- 'Fairies Wear Boots,' 'N.I.B.,' whatever we could think of. One day I asked Blasko, 'What tunes do you want to do?' and he said, 'We'll just do the Zakk Sabbath stuff,' and it stuck."

Besides replicating Tony Iommi's iconic guitar parts, Zakk Sabbath also puts Wylde in the position of singing lead, which he relishes. "People ask me what it's like playing and singing at the same time. It's awesome; I get to ruin both!" Wylde says with a laugh. "It's the same thing I did when I was doing these covers when I was 15, 16 years old; I ended up being the one singing it then, too. It really is the same as playing in a friend's basement or playing keg parties in the backyard when I was a kid, except now I'm 49 years old. That's pretty much the difference."

Wylde isn't intimidated by taking on Iommi's material, either. "Not at all," he says. "I mean, Tony's like the Bach, the Beethoven, the Mozart of hard rock riffs. Obviously it's part of you're education; If you're gonna play this style, you're definitely going to learn about Tony, y'know. But what we end up doing with the songs is turning them into these, like, Allman Brothers 'Whipping Post' jams, just going on for about 20 minutes. That's a lot of fun to do, man, stretching out the songs and stuff like that."

Black Sabbath, which is currently on its The End farewell tour, has approved of what Zakk Sabbath does -- and with good reason. "We notice everywhere we play there's a spike in Sabbath sales and their albums go up the charts again," Wylde says. "So our plans is we continue. We're gonna keep speaking the gospel that is Sabbath."

Wylde will be moving from Zakk Sabbath to his home studio, the Black Vatican, to work on the next Black Label Society album. "That'll always be heavy stuff, more riff-oriented stuff," says Wylde, who spent most of the year promoting his more sedate "Book of Shadows 2" solo album. "Any time you're in a recording studio, I look forward to it 'cause you're making new stuff. That's always a good time." Wylde will also be part of the 2017 Experience Hendrix tour going out in the spring.

Clutch, Zakk Sabbath and Kyng

Friday, Oct. 28. Doors open at 7 p.m.

The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.

Tickets $25-$39.95.

Call 313-961-5451 or visit thefillmoredetroit.com.

Web Site: www.thefillmoredetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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