Zakk Wylde Explains One Reason Why New Musicians Have More Chance to Make It Today, Talks What It Takes to Be Successful

As years go by, trends in the music industry change. And if you’re a musician, you need to follow them one way or the other in order to make it as a professional. However, one thing still remains ­– there’s a lot of hard work and determination involved. That’s exactly what Ozzy Osbourne guitarist and Black Label Society frontman Zakk Wylde explained in a recent chat with Scott Ian over at Consequence of Sound’s “Two for the Road” series.

While discussing various topics, Zakk Wylde touched upon the topic of success in the music industry and what it takes, explaining (transcript via Blabbermouth):

“People go, ‘Oh, Zakk, you got any advice to give my son or my daughter or whatever about being a musician?’ And I’m, like, either get in a van and start building your mom-and-pop shop now and build your Anthrax, build your Black Label, build your Soundgarden, build your Led Zeppelin, build your [Black] Sabbath, build your Fleetwood Mac — whatever it is you love.”

He also added:

“I was talking the other day. I was doing an interview and I go, ‘Things are different now.’ But I go, ‘You cannot stop driven people.’ What I’m saying is if Arnold Schwarzenegger never became Arnold Schwarzenegger, the bodybuilder, Mr. Olympia, and all that stuff, and then became a movie star and did all the action movies, if that never happened, if he owned a donut coffee shop in Austria, it would be the most popular donut coffee shop. He would be successful and have nice things. What I’m saying is he would go, ‘I refuse to be miserable.'”

Black Label Society - You Made Me Want To Live (Official Video)

“Jimmy Page looked at success… ‘Cause he’s the same age as The [Rolling] Stones and The Beatles. He was like a bird in a cage watching them flying around outside, looking and going, ‘I definitely want… I can taste that from here. And I’m gonna have that.’ And then he had to wait his turn. ‘Cause they made it in ’62, and he just bid his time until he got the right guys around him and then it was time for him to do it… After The Yardbirds, he was, like, ‘All right. What am I gonna go? ‘Cause I want some of that. And I’m gonna figure it out. I’m in the middle of the ocean right now. I can’t see land anywhere and I don’t have a compass, but I will find land.’ There was no quitting him. He was gonna figure out how to make this… ‘I’m gonna will this thing to become successful.'”

Going deeper into this discussion, Zakk talked about how the business side of things has changed in music, explaining one thing why some of the new musicians today could have it easier compared to the older generations. He offered:

“Yeah, it’s definitely changed, and it always is evolving. From when Ozzy [Osbourne] started, from watching Elvis [Presley] to The Beatles to when Sabbath [was around] to when he had to start with Randy [Rhoads] again to where it’s at now.”

Zakk Wylde rips amazing guitar solo over Andy James track, EMGtv

“When Bon Jovi was the biggest thing on the planet when ‘Slippery When Wet’ hit, and being from [New] Jersey, if you didn’t make it by the time you were 30 years old and had a record deal, the dream was over, bro. It really was. You might as well get a real job — as in something you’re miserable [doing] and can’t stand. It’s over; the dream’s over. But nowadays, you can literally put our… We can put our stuff up on YouTube and start our own mom-and-pop shop and start building the empire — each day put another brick on and another brick and another brick and another brick and just keep building it. Which I think is great for all bands, especially the younger bands or anybody that… if you’re not getting signed.”

Photo: MrPanyGoff (Black Label Society 2015, Sofia 10)


  • 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, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.