Guns N' Roses How Zakk Wylde Almost Joined The Band Replacing Gilby Clarke & Izzy Stradlin

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Today we take a look at the time that Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society and Ozzy Osbourne fame almost joined hard rock band Guns N’ Roses replacing GIlby Clarke and Izzy Stradlin.

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In late january of 1995 kerrang magazine published an article which featured an interview with Zakk Wylde where he first revealed he spent a week jamming with Guns N’ Roses. The article would state that frontman Axl Rose invited Zakk to jam with the band. Rose for his part went through a terrible year in 1994 starting with his two former lovers including ex-wife Erin Everly and former girlfriend Stephanie Seymour suing him.

according to an interview Wylde gave to Rolling Stone in 2000 ” ‘There were never any melodies,’ Wylde recalls. ‘There were never any lyrics.’ “I’d say ‘Dude, did you come up with any lyrics yet?’

And he’s just like, ‘Dude, I got people suing me right now.'”

“He’s on the phone with his lawyers 24-7.” (Zakk Wylde, Spin, 07/99)

‘I’d be on the phone with him. He’d be telling me about all these strategic moves his lawyers were making. I was listening to him playing Axis and Allies on the phone.'” (Zakk Wylde, Rolling Stone, 05/11/00)

“He was, like, ‘I can’t come up with any lyrics right now – they’d be about every other lawsuit I got going.'” (Zakk Wylde, Spin, 07/99)

Apparently Rose was enthusiastic about the possibility of Slash and Wylde doing harmonies together.

Duff McKagan reflected on Wylde’s involvement in the band in his 2011 autobiography revealing

“[Zakk] brought energy and enthusiasm that was lacking within Guns at the time. ‘We can build on the legacy,’ he said excitedly. ‘We can make something great. Listen to this.’ He saw a piano against the wall and sat down and elegantly played it. I had no idea he could play piano at all, much less like this.””We recorded a few demos with him, but nothing panned out.

One of those demos that Wylde would record with Guns N’ roses ended up on a Black Label Society’s record as wylde would tell mygnrforum

“One of the riffs ended up on the first Black Label Society record [Sonic Brew], [on the track] ‘Rose-Petalled Garden’. The stuff that I wanted to do, eventually, would have been like GNR on steroids, man.” Here’s an interview with Slash revealing why he thought the collaboration didn’t sound right.

Apart from the fact that the collaboration didn’t sound right was that
It’s important to note that during this time Wylde was also playing with ozzy osbourne as part of his 1995 album ozmosis which was to be ozzy’s triumphant return after calling it quits in the early 90’s

One part of this whole story that’s often overlooked and underreported was that both Guns N’ Roses and Zakk Wylde shared the same manager. Ozzy Osbourne was getting ready to tour behind Osmosis and needed to know whether Zakk Wylde would be joining him and during this time Wylde was waiting to hear from the Guns N’ Roses camp. Either way Ozzy was unhappy with with the communication from wylde’s camp telling an interviewer

“The next day, I said to Sharon, ‘That’s it – he’s gone. It’s over.’ And it wasn’t because I was jealous – hey, if he joins Guns N’ Roses and makes a million dollars, fine. All I wanted was a straight answer from him-but he didn’t show me that respect. (Ozzy, 95)

Wylde would reveal that things with Guns N’ Roses fell through following his one week stint with the band as by february of 1995 Slash would be out on tour promoting his side project Snakepit, while Izzy Stradlin made a temporary reappearance in the spring of 1995 and wrote some demos with Duff McKagan. Wylde would end up having a chat with Axl Rose shortly after everything fell through and he would reveal to the MYGNRForum. I saw Axl not so long ago, and I said ‘What the f**k happened?’ And Axl goes, ‘Well Zakk, I heard you wanted two million up front and your own tour bus.'” (Zakk, MyGNR). Wylde would end up being replaced in Ozzy’s band by joe Holmes until 2001 when Wylde returned to play with the prince of darkness.

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