Zakk Wylde & Black Label Society  

The Black Label Society was formed in 1998 by Zakk Wylde. (Guitarist who has worked on and off with Ozzy Osborne since 1987) The original name for the band was to be "Hell's Kitchen" but it was dropped in favour of "The Black Label Society" due to Zakk's inability to get a trademark on the first name. Along with Zakk, Nick Catanese (guitarist), J.D. (bassist) and "Philth" Ondich (drummer) rounded out the starting line-up in May of 1999 when B.L.S. did their first show at Club Quattro in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan.

In the spring of 2000, J.D. decided to leave the band to pursue other interests and was replaced by Stephen . I'm told that for a time Stephen and Nick Catanese roomed together in L.A. and during that time Nick helped get Stephen up to speed for the upcoming "Penchant For Violence" tour which kicked off in Japan in June of that year.

Returning from Japan all the members of the band were ill, but unfortunately there was no time for a break. The last gig in Japan had been on June 21st and the first gig on the U.S. tour was on the 23rd to a packed crowd in Anaheim, California. About five songs into the set Phil collapsed from his drum kit and had to be rushed to hospital due to stomach flu and exhaustion. Craig Nunenmacher (of Crowbar) came on and did a few Black Sabbath songs with B.L.S. and the show ended. Less than a month later Phil and Zakk would brawl onstage with the outcome being Phil's departure from the band. Craig came to the rescue once more and replaced Phil from that point on.

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'Alcohol Fuelled Brewtality', B.L.S.'s live album was recorded in October of 2000 and released January 16, 2001. This recording gives those who haven't had the opportunity to see a live performance a chance to hear the band actually play together.

It has been Zakk's policy to play all instruments (other than percussion) on B.L.S studio albums thus denying fans the chance to hear the other guitarists on recordings.

B.L.S. was added to the Ozzfest 2001 schedule that summer as the main stage opener. The first gig was in Milton Keynes, England, the 26th of May. After that it was off to the U.S. for the stateside gigs. Superterrorizer was recorded at one of the shows and is featured on the Ozzfest 2001 CD.

In June of 2001, just weeks into the American Ozzfest schedule, Stephen left the band for personal reasons, a turn in life that took him out of the limelight for a while, disappointing many dedicated fans.

Attitude ... & What S.O.B. really stood for  

The Black Label Society and it's indiginous natives, SDMFs (Society Dwelling Motherfuckers) are, according to lead guitarist, Zakk Wylde, more than just a band and it's followers/fans.

"It's bigger than a band actually, it is really more of an attitude, like the Marines are more than just an armed force. It's a lifestyle."

The Society even have a set of Bylaws which read as follows:

  • God, Family, Beer
  • Suicide Is Not An Option
  • Complaint Dept. Closed
  • Live Life Stronger Than Death
  • Thou Shalt Not Spillith Thy Beer
  • Refuse To Lose/Born To Booze
  • Respect Is to be Shown To All Society Dwellers Worldwide
  • Colors Must be Worn At All Society Shows And Events
  • Fear No Beer
  • Bleed Black Label Society

As to the meaning of S.O.B., at some point during his stint with B.L.S Stephen was tagged with the moniker by Zakk Wylde.

For obvious reasons no one was particularly anxious to publicize Stephen 's connection to his famous father so the nickname S.O.B. (which really stood for Son of Barry) was coined as a bit of a joke. When questioned about the meaning by fans or the media they could always think of something that fit, such as 'Scumbag on Bass'. Once during an interview, when asked what the intials stood for, Stephen replied, "Sick on Booze."

Zakk and B.L.S continue to do incredibly well and have a very large international fanbase.

 

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