NAMM 2015: In the most unexpected guitar news of NAMM 2015, Zakk Wylde has launched his own range of guitars and amps under the new brand Wylde Audio, with more products to follow. And Total Guitar got a special viewing of what Zakk's been up to.
Total Guitar met up with Zakk at a location away from the Anaheim Convention Centre where the NAMM show is held, to see the new line of Wylde Audio guitars and amps and hear the story behind this very unexpected move from the Black Label Society chief and former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist. But one that echoes that of his own hero Eddie Van Halen.
Zakk has long been an endorser of Marshall amps, Gibson guitars and Dunlop pedals, with his own range of signature models. But now he says the time is right to strike out alone.
"It's just the next logical step," Zakk tells Total Guitar. "You play for the team, then you coach the team and then you're a general manager. Then the only next logical step would be team owners. That's where we're at right now."
And he's gone into the ambitious project with trusted industry friends with big ambitions from the start. "I get to design anything I want," he says. "It's Wylde Audio so it's not just limited to guitars, amps and pedals. It's everything. Eventually it's going to evolve, whether it's microphones, studio [gear], Pro Tools plugins, outboard gear… whatever. If we can make something great that people could use, let's make it."
For now there's already plenty of new Wylde Audio products for us to see and hear. Zakk had six guitars with him that are variations on three norse-monikered models; The Viking V, The Odin (that Zakk can be seen playing in our video with his trademark Bullseye finish), and The War Hammer [a V-meets-SG affair that echoes his Gibson Buzzsaw].
Zakk also revealed that the wide fret inlaid fret markers on the EMG-loaded guitars were actually inspired by late gypsy jazz legend Django Reinhardt's guitars.
On the amps side he's been just as busy with Wylde Audio Master 100 heads, a combo and even a mini stack.
But Zakk was keen to stress that there's no bad blood between him and Marshall, Gibson and Dunlop over his new venture. "I just wanted to do my own thing, but I couldn't ask for anything more from Marshall and Gibson and Dunlop. I love them, they're like family to me. It's like moving out of your parents' house, you have the freedom to do whatever you want to do."
Look out for our full interview video with Zakk about Wylde Audio soon. Visit www.WyldeAudio.com to keep up to date with what's sure to be a very busy year for the new company.