Zakk Wylde Says His Drinking Problem Began with Ozzy Osbourne
Zakk Wylde has said he didn’t have a drinking problem until he joined Ozzy Osbourne’s band at the age of 19 in 1988, and then tried to keep up with the Black Sabbath icon.
He was speaking during a new interview with SiriusXM presenter Jenny McCarthy (see the video below), eight years after he gave up drinking altogether in 2009.
“I was 19, right before I turned 20,” he said. “That’s when my drinking problem began. I drank until then, and then it was just double-fisting from that point on. When I first started with [Ozzy], I remember Sharon [Osbourne], who I lovingly refer to as Mom – because she's been like my mom since I was 19 years old – she called [Wylde’s wife] Barbaranne up and goes, ‘Excuse me, Barbaranne…’
“I would be the only one that would hang out with Oz, because everyone else was like, 'I don't want to get stuck in the web and get, you know, canned over here, because I'm the one enabling him,'" Wylde continued. "But I would always hang out with him, because I was just like, ‘Man, how come nobody wants to hang out with Ozzy?’ Then they go, ‘Jackass, you must be a rookie, and you have no idea what's going on around here.’
“So anyway, I'd hang out with [Ozzy] all the time and we'd be drinking. But the whole thing is, [Sharon] would go, ‘Barbaranne, does Zakk have a drinking problem?’ She goes, ‘Oh, no, no – he drinks milk!’ [Sharon] goes, ‘Not anymore, he doesn’t,’” Wylde said, adding, "A lot of my friends went to college, and I went to Ozzy Osbourne University, which was like 'Animal House' on steroids.”
He rejoined Osbourne's band for a summer tour earlier this year. The frontman said in October that Wylde’s playing had become even more impressive since they’d last worked together. “[W]hen I met him, we just hit it off – and he's not like a band member so much as a family member,” he told Loudwire. “I mean, we're like family, you know… [W]e have always remained very close friends. We talk to each other, go out socially from time to time. I have just done a few gigs in the last couple of months, his playing has improved unbelievably. My jaw dropped at how good he's got.”
Osbourne has announced a farewell tour to take place in 2018.