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Zakk Wylde: This Is What I Must Discuss With Vai, Malmsteen, Abasi and Nuno…

During a recent interview with Full Metal Jackie, Zakk Wylde talked about touring with Generation Axe – a guitar-virtuoso supergroup he’s part of alongside Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abasi – sharing some of the heated discussion that goes on behind the scene.

What are the typical conversations you guys have onstage during soundchecks?

“We talk about the types of eyeshadow, what would look the best, matching each other’s shoes, things like that. We talk about fashion mostly. And how we’ll look the most powerful when we get up on the stage.

“And, obviously, as buddies and – because, we all roll together, we’ve all known each other for years – we do each other favors. Like, ‘Does anyone have any razors? I need to shave my legs before the show because I don’t want to rip my fishnets.’ These are the important things we talk about.

“But aside of that, yeah, we enjoy hanging out with each other. And obviously, playing guitar. And running scales.”

You all have very distinct styles and techniques. What do you like about everyone else’s playing?

“That’s the coolest thing, with any instrument or anything. Whether you’re singing… When you hear Sabbath or you hear Zeppelin, whether you hear Robert Plant’s voice or Ozzy’s voice, immediately you know who it is.

“That really is the most important thing, whether you hear David Gilmour playing guitar or you hear Frank Marino from Mahogany Rush playing guitar. Like, within the first two notes I can tell you already who it is from the vibrato.

“Like, at soundchecks, it doesn’t even matter, as soon as I hear one of the guys picking up a guitar, I immediately know whether it’s Tosin or Steve or Yngwie or Nuno – immediately.

“It’s a lot of fun rolling with all the fellows. Even Father Steve said – we were all sitting on the sub [bus] one night and Steve goes, ‘If I didn’t put this thing together, just the stories alone, the war stories at the end of the night and the pure ‘Spinal Tap’ comedy that is the music business…’ [Laughs] ‘Just hearing about all these stories, the comedic value alone is the reason why I should have put this thing together.’ Every night is a blast for sure.”

Ultimate Guitar
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