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Zakk Wylde – Bringing Metal to the Children: The Complete Berzerker’s Guide to World Tour Domination (Book Review)

Bringing Metal to the Children: The Complete Berseker’s Guide to World Tour Domination
By Zakk Wylde with Eric Hendrikx
(2012, HarperCollins/William Morrow & Co.)

While I’ve always thought Zakk comes across as a cool guy, I’ve never been a huge fan of the music he’s played. That’s not a knock on his skills, I know he’s a great guitar player it’s just that Ozzy has never appealed to me much and I think all Black Label Society albums sound the same, give or take a few tracks. Still, when the opportunity to read this book came about, I figured it would be worth looking into because Zakk is a true rock star yet seems much more down to Earth than other “rock stars”.

If you’re looking for a detailed history about Zakk’s life, you aren’t going to find it here. You do pick up bits about Zakk’s early days and his family and home life but this is less of an autobiography and more of a humorous take on the good & bad that occurs on the way to finding your place in the world as a viking god of metal. The book is what the title says: a guide to world tour domination.

Mostly told through Zakk’s voice, co-author Eric Hendrikx handles a lot of the introductions to each chapter and a number of sidebars. Each one is so hilariously over the top, making metal sound so epic and majestic you’d swear these intros were written either by Jack Black or Manowar. There are also a few other “guest” writers such as UFC fighter Forrest Griffin, WWE pro wrestler Chris Jericho, TNA pro wrestler Bully Ray (aka – Bubba Ray Dudley), Zakk’s wife and various other friends & BLS bandmates.

This book is definitely not for the timid. The book is filled with very colorful language on each page and lots of gross out humor. If you’re turned off by tons of cursing, alcohol, detailed accounts of bodily functions and lots of talks about penis & vagina don’t bother picking this book up. The things Zakk says about his wife! That gal has a great sense of humor to sign off on this book.

There are stories involving Ozzy but the book mostly focuses on Zakk’s time since starting up Black Label Society. It’s obvious Zakk takes heavy metal and the Black Label brotherhood very seriously but at the same time everything is open for jokes. I really enjoyed the self-deprecating humor that Zakk displays in the book. Nothing is off limits and the book is written tongue in cheek. He’s not some rock star looking down on everyone trying to play it off like he’s the coolest guy around (though he may be) saying “here’s what you need to do if you wanna make it like I did, kid”.

Zakk may not drink anymore but he’s comes across as the kind of guy you could just walk up to and shoot the breeze with at a bar and have totally normal conversation. Books like these can sometimes be used as a weapon to take shots at certain people but Zakk doesn’t do that here (well, maybe other than the music labels) and I have to commend him for that. It’s a fun book with not a single self-important or mean-spirited page to be found.

While Ozzy fans and BLS fans should have a particular interest in this book, I also recommend it to metal fans in general if you’re looking for a good laugh and some fun/gross stories about playing in a rock ‘n’ roll band.

Buy the book at Amazon.com

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY – Sonic Brew

Black Label Society – Sonic Brew (1999, Spitfire Records)

1. “Bored To Tears” … 4:28
2. “The Rose Petalled Garden” … 4:59
3. “Hey You (Batch Of Lies)” … 3:48
4. “Born To Lose” … 4:23
5. “Peddlers Of Death” … 4:33
6. “Mother Mary” … 4:26
7. “Beneath The Tree” … 4:37
8. “Low Down” … 4:36
9. “T.A.Z.” … 1:56
10. “Lost My Better Half” … 4:24
11. “Black Pearl” … 3:27
12. “World Of Trouble” … 5:20
13. “Spoke In The Wheel” … 4:13
14. “The Beginning… At Last” … 4:26
BONUS TRACK
15. “No More Tears” … 6:58

Band:
Zakk Wylde – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Piano
Phil Ondich – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Mike Inez – Bass (“No More Tears”)

Produced by: Ron Albert, Howard Albert and Zakk Wylde

Despite owning four BLS albums, I’ve never been a huge fan of ’em. Out of the four I own, you could probably make one REALLY good album. BLS tends to either be too mellow and acoustic or too sludgy for the most part. BLS songs often alternate between being southern fried Alice In Chains and sludgy Lynyrd Skynyrd. That just doesn’t work for me. Another problem I have with the album is that there’s just too many songs. 1o or 11 tracks is the best length for an album, in my opinion. Once you start going above that, you’re just adding filler.

I bought this album thanks to a lot of praise I was reading online, but it’s nothing special to me outside of a few songs. “Spoke in the Wheel” is a really cool Lynyrd Skynyrd sounding ballad and “No More Tears” is a decent Ozzy cover. Zakk’s voice isn’t all that great on this album, he would get better on the later ones, but it still has some charm.

It’s to my understanding that the album was released in the Fall of 1998 in Japan, but before the U.S. release, they decided to do some remixing of the album. So, we got a new album cover (see above) along with the “bonus track” of “No More Tears”.

Highlights: “Bored to Tears”, “Spoke in the Wheel”, “No More Tears”

www.blacklabelsociety.com
www.myspace.com/blacklabelsociety

FOZZY – All That Remains

Fozzy – All That Remains (2005, ASH Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Nameless Faceless” – 3:28
2. “Enemy” – 4:28
3. “Wanderlust” – 4:14
4. “All That Remains” – 4:33
5. “The Test” – 3:06
6. “It’s a Lie” – 4:26
7. “Daze of the Week” – 4:18
8. “The Way I Am” – 4:10
9. “Lazarus” – 4:01
10. “Born of Anger” – 4:42

Band:
Chris Jericho – Vocals
Rich Ward – Guitars, Keyboards
Mike Martin – Guitar
Sean B. Delson – Bass
Frank Fontsere – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Zakk Wylde – Guitar on “Wanderlust”
Marty Friedman – Guitar on “Born of Anger”
Bonecrusher – Vocals on “It’s a Lie”

Produced by: Rich Beato & Rich Ward

Well, this is quite a departure from covering W.A.S.P’s “L.O.V.E. Machine” and Iron Maiden’s “The Prisoner”. Fozzy decided to stop being a “joke” band and get serious with this album and it ends up with some good results. The hair metal & 80s metal inspirations are mostly gone and in their place is some solid modern heavy metal, alternative metal & hard rock. Most of these songs would song right at home on rock radio. I believe “Enemy” did actually chart for a little bit, and for good reason, it’s the album’s best song. My second favorite would be “It’s a Lie” (even though it’s rap-metal, something I was totally shocked to see Jericho doing).

I still haven’t picked up Fozzy’s 2nd album, Happenstance, but perhaps someday I will because I enjoyed their first release and I enjoy this one as well, even though it took me a while to get into the new sound of Fozzy.

Not sure if I got the band credits correct, I’ve only got the CD on me (the jewel case & booklet are in storage) and I couldn’t find a definitive band line-up for this album online anywhere. If anyone knows any different, feel free to let me know.

Highlights: “Nameless Faceless”, “Enemy”, “The Test”, “It’s a Lie”

www.fozzyrock.com
www.myspace.com/fozzytour

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