Black Label Society strips down for ‘Unblackened’

Posted by on August 8, 2013


Photo: Ken Pierce

Zakk Wylde is a guitar god. We know this. But what you may not know is that he cares about what you think about his music. You may also not realize that he is more than just a guitar virtuoso. Wylde stood intently Tuesday night (6) during a press conference, giving a glimpse at the new material for Black Label Society’s upcoming DVD Unblackened, set for release September 24 by Eagle Rock Entertainment.

As he stood through the playing of the band’s recording of a cover of Bill Withers’ “Aint No Sunshine” he later joked that his wife thought he wrote it, but not to tell her that he didn’t. Through the playing of tracks such as another cover, this time of Leon Russell’s “Song for You,” he looked like he was taken back to a place of utter focus while also waiting to see what the reaction might be on the material that most would think is not typically of his Black Label Society.

While Unblackened may throw you some curve balls, it will also give you the chills at the same time. The sound that made Wylde and Black Label famous doesn’t get stripped down in an acoustic sense per se, but given another spin to show the band’s roots in a variety of rock genres. The DVD, to be released simultaneously with the CD (which will be on his label eOne), shows the band in a different light, sitting down to shred, still showing that Wylde and crew command the genre with their technique.

Despite Wylde’s three years without a drink, the down and dirty rocker says his creative process hasn’t changed. While he  still meets with  Ozzy, this time over dinner rather than lines of coke, he also still refers to him as “The Boss.” But their talks of a newfound cleanliness don’t mean that Wylde doesn’t still meet with “the guys” in Black Label late nights to mull through ideas and recordings.

Filmed in Los Angeles earlier this year, Unblackened shows more than Wylde’s Ozzy beginnings, with the frontman driving a blues guitar sound at times and trotting his fingers across a baby grand piano. The DVD also shows some social graces, including footage of him visiting a prison, which he says was a gesture towards people being detained for misdemeanors to give them some hope to turn their lives around.

As he joked about retirement, he gave no indication that it will ever happen. When Unblackened comes out in September, Black Label Society fans will feel grateful he hasn’t gone that route but is still exploring and stretching his already grasping reach.

[photo courtesy of Ken Pierce]

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Categorised in: New Music