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© Igor Vidyashev/ZUMA Press/Corbis
As one of the globe's reigning kings of shred guitar, Black Label Society's Zakk Wylde surely must spend his days and nights listening to fellow six-string gods. Turns out, he doesn't. “I don’t listen to a lot of heavy guitar stuff," he says. "There's a time and place for that, but when I'm home or in the car, I like to hear other things."
Wydle is a big fan of Sirius Radio's The Breakfast Club, which features, as the name suggests, a playlist that harkens back to the mid-'80s, when the teenpics of John Hughes bounced to a New Wave/synth pop beat. "They play things like The Plimsouls and Echo & The Bunnymen on that station," says Wylde. "That kind of music has nothing to do with what I do – there's no rippin' solos. I like to get away from my thing sometimes."
As a young teenager, Wylde fell under the spell of rock guitar ("Randy Rhoads, Jimmy Page, Hendrix, Tony Iommi, Eddie Van Halen – I loved all of them"), but before then his tastes were more informed by Top 40 radio – and his parents. "When I was a kid, I liked whatever was on AM radio," he says. "All that mellow '70s stuff was awesome. Simon & Garfunkel doing Bridge Over Troubled Water – how great was that? And there was music on TV. My parents watched Donny & Marie, Sonny & Cher. I saw all of that. It was fine with me."
He chuckles and comes out with a true one-hit wonder: "Remember Player? They had that song [sings] 'Baby come back...' Great tune. There was a bunch of songs like that. You heard them for months, and they stick in your head."
On the following pages, Wylde runs down his not-so-guilty pleasures, five albums devoid of anything remotely shredtastic. "You have to keep an open mind about music," Wylde says. "There's too much good stuff being done. Sometimes it can even rub off on you."