Ozzy Osbourne Reveals How Zakk Wylde Nearly Blew His Audition

By Andrew Magnotta

March 21, 2018

Ozzy Osbourne and Guitarist Zakk Wylde

As Ozzy Osbourne prepares to begin his farewell tour, he's reminiscing on some of his career-defining moments.

Among them was the hiring of longtime guitarist Zakk Wylde in 1987. Wylde's has performed and co-written on some of Ozzy's most successful albums since the late-'80s while also dutifully performing songs by his predecessors. 

A bonafide guitar hero, Wylde is known for his unique playing style and look, but Ozzy says he didn't see stars when he first came upon Wylde's audition tape.

In an interview with Guitar World, Ozzy recalled the mountain of demo tapes he received when it was announced that he was searching for a replacement to guitarist Jake E. Lee

"You can imagine how many guitarists sent in their résumés; it was f---ing mind-boggling," Ozzy said, recalling how his wife, Sharon, had been nagging him to get to work listening to the tapes. "So one morning I decided, 'I gotta do this.' I stuck my hand in a bag and pulled out a tape, and Zakk's tape was the first and only one I listened to."

According to Wylde, the demo contained a recording of him performing "Crazy Train" and "Mr. Crowley," along with some "improvising and jamming."

"But then I looked at his picture that came with the tape, and I said, 'Oh... another Randy Rhoads clone,'" Ozzy added.

Wylde has talked in the past about how he revamped his playing style upon getting the job with Ozzy. But it's still hard for fans nowadays to imagine anyone confusing the burly, bearded Wylde as a Rhoads wannabe.

In those days Wylde was a clean-shaven 20-year-old whose hair was as teased up as any of his contemporaries. While he was still well over 6-feet tall, and stark comparison to the slight-framed Rhoads, Ozzy had no way of knowing that from the photo. 

"I guess I looked like some kid who loved Randy Rhoads," Wylde conceded.

"That's what I thought," Ozzy said. "But when I met Zakk in person, he was a lot different than Randy. And then I heard him play, and that was that. He's been with me longer than any other guitar player."

Get more information about Ozzy's No More Tours 2 here

Wylde recently released his tenth studio album with his band Black Label Society.

Get all Black Label Society's tour dates here

Ozzy Osbourne's 'No More Tours 2' Dates:

4/27 - Jacksonville, FL, Welcome to Rockville

4/29 - Fort Lauderdale, FL, FortRock

5/5 - Mexico, Heaven & Hell Festival

5/8 - Santiago, Chile, Pista Atletica

5/11 - Buenos Aires, Argentina, Geba

5/13 - São Paulo, Brazil, Allianz Parque

5/16 - Curitiba, Brazil, Pedreira Paulo Leminski

5/18 - Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Esplanada Do Mineirao

5/20 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Apoteose

6/1 - Moscow, Russia, Olympiisky

6/3 - St. Petersburg, Russia, Ice Palace

6/6 - Finland, Rockfest

6/8 - Solvesborg, Sweden, Sweden Rock Festival

6/10 - Donington, UK, Download Festival

6/13 - Prague, Czech Republic, Prague Rocks Festival

6/15 - Paris, France, Download Festival

6/17 - Italy, Firenze Rocks Festival

6/20 - Halden, Norway, Tons of Rock Festival

6/22 - Copenhagen, Denmark, Copenhell Festival

6/24 - Dessel, Belgium, Graspop Metal Meeting

6/26 - Krakow, Poland, Impact Festival

6/28 - Oberhausen, Germany, König-Pilsner Arena

6/30 - Madrid, Spain, Download Festival

7/2 - Lisbon, Portugal, Altice Arena

7/5 - Barcelona, Spain, Rock Fest Barcelona

7/8 - Tel Aviv, Israel, Live Park

8/30 - Allentown, PA, PPL Center

9/1 - Syracuse, NY, Lakeview Amphitheater

9/4 - Toronto, ON, Budweiser Stage

9/6 - Boston, MA, Xfinity Center

9/8 - Wantagh, NY, Jones Beach Amphitheatre

9/10 - Holmdel, NJ, PNC Bank Arts Center

9/12 - Camden, NJ, BB&T Pavilion

9/14 - Bristow, VA, Jiffy Lube Live

9/16 - Cuyahoga Falls, OH, Blossom Music Center

9/19 - Clarkston, MI, DTE Energy Center

9/21 - Tinley Park, IL, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

9/23 - Noblesville, IN, Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center

9/26 - Dallas, TX, Starplex Pavilion

9/28 - Houston, TX, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

9/30 - Albuquerque, NM, Isleta Amphitheater

10/2 - Denver, CO, Pepsi Center

10/4 - Salt Lake City, UT, USANA Amphitheatre

10/6 - Mountain View, CA, Shoreline Amphitheatre

10/9 - Chula Vista, CA, Mattress Firm Amphitheatre

10/11 - Los Angeles, CA, Hollywood Bowl

10/13 - Las Vegas, NV, MGM Grand Garden Arena

Photo: Getty Images

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