Zakk Wylde has a hard time understanding why people would consider his trio, Pride & Glory, a Southern rock act. "I'm not from the South, you know what I mean?" he says, with perfect New Jersey diction. "People go, 'Oh, yeah. It's Southern rock.' But I don't get the Southern rock thing."
He'll admit that his influences as a singer include Ray Charles, Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zant, and Gregg Allman, and even grant that the banjo picking he does on his band's first single, "Losin' My Mind," could be construed as a nod toward Dixie. But, he insists, having some Southern flavor in the music does not make Pride & Glory a Southern band.
"I mean, Zeppelin had elements of that stuff, too," he says, over the phone from a tour stop in Boston. "It's just a mixture of stuff that I'm into. There's a lot of [Black] Sabbath-y type stuff on there, too."
That Black Sabbath was an influence on Wylde's playing shouldn't come as any surprise, particularly given the fact that he spent six years playing guitar with former Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne. In fact, if Osbourne hadn't decided to call it quits for a while, Wylde might never have turned Pride & Glory into a full-time operation.
Wylde had been playing with bassist James LoMenzo and drummer Brian Tichy for some time before Osbourne announced his farewell tour. "So we did that farewell tour, and it was like, 'Well, I gotta do something, here.' It was either that or I'm just going to sit around playing 'John Madden Football' and turn into a 500 lb. sasquatch, drinking beer and eating food," he explains.
Wylde also saw that there were musical advantages to having his own show. "I dig singing, but Ozzy isn't half-bad singing, you know what I'm saying?" he says with a laugh. "So I got the chance to do that, and do some other things, too, that I wouldn't have done with Oz."
Unfortunately, one of the things he did was bust up his back, fracturing one of his vertebrae during a show in Orlando, Fla. "It was nuts, man," he recalls. "I mean, there were people going nuts on the stage, and I just wiped out. I clipped one monitor, and just whacked on the ground.
"From playing football, I knew I got whacked pretty good, because it almost knocked the wind out of me. But I got up, and just figured I bruised my back. So I finished the show up.
"This happened about one in the morning; the next day, I went to the hospital, to see if I did any nerve damage or anything. The guy was like, 'No, I think you ought to get an X-ray or something.' He gave me a pain-killer and a muscle-relaxer. Two shots." He laughs. "I was, like, drooling by the time I got down to the show."
Wylde played the show, but decided to get has back looked at after he flew home the next day. "I had one of them MRIs. The guy said, 'Well, here's your problem: This is cracked, and so is this.' I was like, 'Duuhh! What an idiot!' "
Even so, Wylde was back on tour within weeks, hoping to get more people to listen to his band and their debut. "I mean, the only way we've been selling any records right now is just because we've been touring," he says. "Without a doubt, it's just been doing it live. Just having people come see the band, and if they dig it, you know, maybe they'll check the record out."
And if it does become a hit? "It doesn't really matter," he says. "If the album was flying off the shelves, that'd be cool, too, because at the end of the day, we'd still be playing. So it wouldn't bother me either way, just as long as we can get up there and play at night."
To hear excerpts from Pride & Glory's self-titled debut, call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service at (410) 783-1800. In Anne Arundel County, call 268-7736; in Harford County, 836-5028; in Carroll County, 848-0338. Using a touch-tone phone, punch in the four-digit code 6246 after you hear the greeting.
Pride & Glory
When: Saturday, 9 p.m.
Where: Eight by Ten Club
Call: (410) 625-2001 for info, (410) 481-7328 for tickets