Zakk Wylde is known throughout the music world as one of the most prolific guitarists in modern music history. His chops are unequalled. That he’s been part of fellow legend Ozzy Osbourne’s camps only adds to his reputation. Now, the man who heads up the Black Label Society worldwide can add one more title to his resume. That title is author. And his new book, Bringing Metal to The Children: The Complete Berzerker’s Guide to World Tour Domination is an amazing look behind the scenes at life on the road for Wylde and his BLS bandmates.
Wylde opens the book fittingly with an introduction to the Black Label Society creed: SDMF. Strength, Determination, Merciless, Forever. SDMF isn’t just some random marketing scheme. For both fans and members of BLS, it’s a way of life. It’s a creed. It’s a motto of self empowerment. Wylde writes of Strength that it relates to mental, physical and spiritual strength. For those who don’t know, he is a very devout Catholic, despite what some may believe of him (or his friend and mentor Ozzy Osbourne. He discusses this later in the book). And his faith plays a very big role in his personal strength. By looking at him, it’s obvious that Wylde walks the walk and talks the talk. He writes about his physical conditioning. He explains about his exercise and eating habits, especially now that he’s sober. That combination of spiritual and physical strength leads to his explanation of Determination. Determination is self explanatory. He writes of this part of the BLS creed to not give up, no matter how tough or bad the situation may be. Merciless is directly tied in to Determination. To be merciless means to give every bit of what one has. Forget giving 100% of what one has. Regardless of the situation, to be merciless means giving 1,000% of oneself. Simply put, it means to never give up. Never Give Up. Those are three little words. But they’re the key to this part of the BLS creed. Again, they tie right in to Determintaion. It all also ties directly back to Strength. If one embraces these three parts of the BLS creed means that one will find they’ll want to live by that creed Forever. Understanding the Black Label Society creed is to be part of the Black Label Society worldwide Forever. It means being the best one can be Forever.
The thorough explanation of the Black Label Society creed is a perfectly fitting opening to this new book. That’s because it serves to disspel the label that has been placed on Black Label Society and its fans. If the in depth explanation of the band’s creed isn’t enough to prove just how vital BLS is to the music community, then the explanation of the “Three Black Label R’s” and the signifigance of the band’s patches will serve to show outsiders that Black Label Society isn’t just a band. It collectively shows that Black Label Society is a community and a way of life. It creates a whole new appreciation for Black Label Society, and for that which Black Label Society stands.
After explaining the Black Label creed, Zakk starts discussing his beginnings as a musician up to his trials and tribulations as a solo artist, dealing with record labels, and his time with Ozzy and the creation of his own home studio, known as the Black Vatican. Along the way, readers are treated to stories of good times with other rockers, such as: Fozzy, Crowbar, Damageplan, etc. He also writes some stories about fellow guitar god, Dimebag Darrel (R.I.P.). OF course, stories of life on the road aren’t all that Zakk imparts to his readers in his new book. He also tackles Ozzy’s religious reputation. He explains to readers that all the rumors of Ozzy being this and that are entirely wrong. Rather, he writes, Ozzy’s quite religious. As a matter of fact, he writes that the crucifixes that he and all the Black Label Society members wear were made by Ozzy’s dad. He ties in to that story of how he [Zakk] bought some books to try to understand certain topics, and his wife’s reaction to it. One can’t help but agree with Zakk’s argument that reading it doesn’t mean practicing it. Learning that after his wife threw the books out of a hotel window, and someone took them will bring plenty of laughs.
Speaking of laughs, real Black Label fans will have more than their share of laughs throughout this books. Zakk writes of his early days in a little band called Stonehenge, and its attempts to get its name out there. The story of his experience playing at a person’s house is the stuff of legend. It’s the type of story one might only expect to hear or see from a movie or sitcom. There’s also the story of one infamous in-store appearance with Ozzy in which the store only carried a grand total of twelve (yes twelve) Ozzy albums. Reactions from both Zakk himself and Ozzy’s wife, Sharon, are absolutely hilarious. And then there are, of course, stories of BLS’ radio ventures at stations that didn’t know the first thing about him or his band. Perhaps one of the book’s funniest moments doesn’t come from in store appearances or Zakk’s early days. It comes as Zakk explains the dangers of using the bathroom on a tour bus. If this story doesn’t get audiences laughing, then nothing in this book will.
Bringing Metal to The Children offers readers so much great material. Whether one is a new member of the Black Label Society Worldwide, or a lifelong Berzerker, this book is an absolutely wonderful read for any Society Dweller worldwide. It’s one of those rare music memoirs that really shines in a sea of books that clog bookstore shelves and digital downloading pages. For fans of the rock world, if there’s one book to check out in 2012, it’s Zakk Wylde’s new book, Bringing Metal to The Children.