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Zakk Wylde Advice: ‘If You Wanna Stop Drinking, Just F—ing Stop’

Zakk Wylde
Mary Ouellette, SheWillShootYou.com

Zakk Wylde kept quite the rock star lifestyle for years, but the now sober guitarist says his drinking wasn’t as hard to give it all up as you might think.

He tells Guitar International, “If you wanna quit smoking, just f—ing stop. If you wanna stop drinking, just f—ing stop. It’s that f—ing easy! You just grow up and out of it. Hey, we don’t throw rocks at cars anymore either. Enough is enough.”

Wylde gave up drinking after suffering a health scare with blood clots a couple of years ago. The guitarist admits that there may have been a few times while playing with Ozzy Osbourne toward the end of his run with the singer that he maybe had one too many, but never to the point where he was “smashed” onstage. He adds, “I did notice it creeping into the Black Label Society shows and when I was Ozzy. After 20 years of playing with him, I’m sure he knew a few times. When it starts getting in the way of things, then you have to put a lid on it.”

The guitarist says that even when he was drinking, he always maintained an amount of professionalism when it came to the music. He explains, “I was never wasted. I was never f—ing hammered until the end of the night when we were done doing our thing or when we had a 16-hour drive to the next city. I never got to the point where I didn’t remember what we talked about or what crazy s— we pulled.”

Of those days, Wylde laughs, “Even during the ‘Animal House’ years when we were wall drinking heavily, everybody always answered the bell when the time came. No matter what they did. If we drank like a bunch of Navy Seals, we answered the bell like a bunch of Navy Seals. There was never any of that whinny crap, ‘I don’t wanna go onstage, I’m tired.’ If you have to be up at 8:30AM and you are walking in the door at 6AM, you take a nap and get your ass up and ready to roll. That’s just the way it goes.”

He adds that things haven’t changed much in terms of how much fun is had on the road. The only difference now is that he’s doing it without drinking. Wylde says the way people act around him on the road hasn’t changed either, with everyone still taking advantages of the excesses they did before. But it’s because of his strong will that the transition hasn’t been difficult. He laughs, “I rule with General Patton and I got a set of balls. Everyone has so many lame motherf—ing excuses, it’s ridiculous.”

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