Zakk Wylde

Brand name guitar heroes were common currency during the 1970s and ‘80s but, today, Zakk Wylde stands as one of the last six-string wizards who can boast the name recognition to stand on his own, instead of several feet behind their band’s singer — though he’s been known to do that, too for portions of his career. Born Jeffrey Phillip Wielandt, on January 14, 1967, in Bayonne, New Jersey, the future Zakk first picked up a guitar at the age of eight, and played with several local bands before being plucked out of obscurity to fill the big shoes of Randy Rhoads and Jake E. Lee (among others) as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist. Their first collaboration, 1988’s ‘No Rest for the Wicked,’ performed well enough and confirmed Wylde to be more than worthy of the gig, but it was their second, ‘No More Tears’ (1992), that categorically cemented the partnership, as it was one of Osbourne’s most commercially and critically acclaimed efforts. But when Osbourne announced his intention to retire in 1994, Wylde turned his attention to southern metal power trio, Pride & Glory and even auditioned for Guns n’ Roses, before returning to the Ozz Man for his 1995 ‘comeback,’ ‘Ozzmosis’ album and tour, then recording his only solo album in 1996’s ‘Book of Shadows.’ Wylde wouldn’t tour with Ozzy again for over a decade, but he continued performing on his studio albums and, in 1999, launched his next group, Black Label Society, which has remained his primary musical vehicle ever since, churning out nine studio albums by 2015. And, to cap it all off, Wylde has made more guest appearances on fellow rockers’ albums than one can count, and has also dabbled in acting, both on television (‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force,’ ‘Californication’) and the silver screen as the lead guitarist of fictional metal band Steel Dragon, Mark Wahlberg’s ‘Rock Star.’


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