Interviews

Ozzy Osbourne's Guitarist Zakk Wylde Talks Lifting, Eggs, and Sobriety

The guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society frontman on the therapy of lifting, touring, and why he hasn't had a drink in 8 years.

Zakk Wylde
Scott Legato / Getty

Therapy Sessions

For me, lifting weights is therapeutic more than anything. I don’t like having a training partner screaming at me. I like being by myself. It’s me against the iron. That’s the way I’ve felt about it since I started lifting weights when I was 11 years old. I guess it’s the same with music, too. You pick up a guitar or sit behind the piano and just start writing a song. It’s just you, doing the thing.

Downshifting

Back in the day, in what I call the Animal House years with Ozzy, the tour bus was basically a million-dollar Irish pub rolling down the road. You did the gig, and then you were up until six in the morning, listening to tunes, hanging out, and solving the world’s problems. I’d drink about a case and a half of beer a day. I ended up getting blood clots. The doctor said I’d need a liver transplant within three years if I didn’t change and that my pancreas wasn’t far behind. What more did I need to be told? I haven’t had a drink in eight years.

Cardio Time

Every night that we’re onstage, I come offstage looking like I jumped in a pool. I’m drenched. I sweat more doing that than I ever have on a treadmill or a bike. You’re up there for two hours, and you’re pushing. You’re singing, and you’re constantly using your diaphragm, and you’re playing guitar. It’s like doing crunches the whole time you’re up there.

Incredible Eggs

I started getting serious about my diet about two years ago. I cut out sugar, dairy, potatoes, and bread. I went from 225 pounds to 192 pounds in three months. All my friends said, “There’s no way you’re going to be able to eat clean when you’re back on the road.” Well, why not? After the show, we’ll hit a Denny’s, and I’ll order 12 eggs, scrambled. No cheese, no condiments, no nothing. Just straight up, a dozen eggs. I make sure my last meal before I hit the sack is nothing but protein.

Doom Crew

I’ve turned my three-car garage into a home gym. I call it the Doom Crew Iron Den. I listen to classic rock when I train—Zeppelin and Sabbath. How much can I bench? Usually I’ll do reps with 225 pounds. One shoulder kills me, my knees aren’t great, and I cracked three of my vertebrae in a crowd-surfing accident in ’93, so I’m not doing insane powerlifting. But I love all the lifts. I look forward to all of them. It’s like when interviewers ask me what I like better, making the records or touring? I love the whole process.

Check out Black Label Society’s new album, Grimmest Hits.

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