Jared James Nichols Recalls How He Reacted to Hearing Zakk Wylde Live for the First Time, Reveals Amps He Used on Last EP

Blues rock and blues-filled heavy metal might not seem that difficult to pull off. But, in all honesty, there aren’t that many bands or solo musicians today who can really do it well, all while keeping true to both blues and rock sides and still managing to make it sound unique. However, one musician who certainly fills all the criteria is Jared James Nichols.

Jared James Nichols Live at Sweetwater

Of course, it’s also impossible not to notice that he was inspired by Zakk Wylde. What’s also interesting is that he does all that without even using a plectrum. In a new interview with Guitar World, Jared looked back on being a teenager and seeing Zakk perform live for the first time. He explains:

“One of the first concerts I attended as a kid was Ozzfest. I was 14 and already in love with rock ‘n’ roll. A friend and I were determined to get as close to the stage as possible, and we ended up sneaking to the front row.

Ozzy Osbourne - Ozzfest @ Camden 2003

“I’ll never forget the moment I first saw Zakk playing in the flesh with Ozzy – it was beyond powerful. I was mesmerized. I had yet to start playing guitar, but the moment I picked one up months later, I was already influenced and had a lifetime guitar hero in Zakk.

Jared then reflected on his playing and writing style and how it’s all a combination of blues and hard rock. He adds:

“There’s still huge parts of me that are so rooted in playing that really lowdown blues. But there’s also so much more that I grew up listening to, from Black Sabbath and Mountain to grunge to some funky stuff, all of which you can hear on the record.

“Really, my biggest goal with all of this was to just be me, and to open up and say, ‘This is what I’m feeling, this is what I’m digging, let’s see if we can make it work.’ It was a beautiful experience. And the coolest part is when you listen to the EP [‘Shadow Dancer,’ 2021], you’ll hear it exactly as it was laid down. There’s no trickery.

Jared James Nichols - Skin 'n Bone (Official Music Video)

Elsewhere in the interview, Jared James Nichols also recalled the recording sessions of his latest EP “Shadow Dancer” and some of the gear used on it. He said:

“When we were recording, our producer, Eddie Speer, said, ‘Guys, this is the loudest record I’ve ever made. [Laughs] I’ll tell you, we were in the room, and man, I swear I have hearing damage.

“I had a Blackstar Artisan 100 and a 1969 Marshall Super Lead 100, both running together and full-on. When I stood in my spot in front of the cabs, it was so loud I couldn’t hear the drums. It was insane.

Photo: Summerissweet2021 (ImaniGivertz JJNStudio-65), chascar (Zakk Wylde 1)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.