Renowned guitarist Zakk Wylde has high expectations for his Generation Axe tour with Steve Vai, Nuno Bettencourt, Yngwie Malmsteen and Animals as Leaders’ Tosin Abisi.
“There’s going to be a lot of dancing going on at this thing,” Wylde says with his smoky laugh. “Seriously, we’ve all known each other for years. I didn’t know Tosin, but he’s a great dude and an amazing player.”
The quartet, Wylde adds, will tell Spinal Tap-like stories about how the music business has ripped them off. But mostly the tour is filled with laughs—just like a conversation with Wylde.
“There’s going to be a lot of rouge and eyeliner. A lot of lip gloss, fishnets and stilettos,” he says. “Diana Ross was a huge influence on all of us. You’ll see feather boas and sparkles.”
In a statement, Vai gave a more realistic take on what to expect.
“The Generation Axe experience goes way beyond simply gathering five guitar greats on one stage to jam,” Vai says.
“The idea was to create a seamless show with one backing band and five completely accomplished and astonishing guitarists who take to the stage in various configurations, performing some of their solo music and merging together as cohesive co-creators of lushly orchestrated guitar extravaganzas. Guitar jams like this can get really messy when there is no organization. My idea was to create parts for everybody to play in harmony and off each other so it’s not a mess of noise. This worked out remarkably well. There are places where everyone is playing together in wild harmony.”
Grammy winner Wylde has had a notable career. He had a lengthy tenure with Ozzy Osbourne, for whom he cowrote and recorded several albums, including the multiplatinum No More Tears, featuring the single, “Mama, I’m Coming Home” and the bulk of the double platinum 2002 set, Ozzmosis. With Osbourne, Wylde has played on countless world tours and television appearances, with his signature bullseye guitar in tow. Wylde has his mitts imprinted on Hollywood’s Rock Walk of Fame; guest starred alongside Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston in the movie Rockstar; and momentarily joined Axl, Slash and Duff in Guns N’ Roses.
This year he’s spent time with Zakk Sabbath and Black Label Society.
“I went home for a week so the kids can go, ‘Oh, you’re our father!’” he says with a laugh. “I say, ‘Yes, I am your father’ then I leave.”
Wylde chalks up his success to his workaholic nature, and often lectures fledgling musicians about it.
“Don’t make it a hobby,” he says. “Make it your life. For Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin isn’t a hobby. It’s still his life. Everything revolves around that band.
“If you’re not practicing or writing, you should be working on merchandise ideas. You should be constantly promoting your band. Everything should revolve around music and bands.”
He follows his own advice, too.
“I’m always running scales. I love playing every day,” Wylde says. “I’m not one of those people who has to pick up the guitar and start practicing when we’re getting ready for tour. I’m always playing and I’m not going to stop.”
Generation Axe w/Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Nuno Bettencourt, Yngwie Malmsteen and Tosin Abisi, Marquee Theatre, luckymanonline.com, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 10, $49.50 and $69.50, VIP packages available.