Zakk Wylde: 'Sabbath With Dio Is Not Sabbath'

Wylde talks Ozzy/Dio Sabbath debate.

Ultimate Guitar

Zakk Wylde has been talking with Songfacts (via Blabbermouth) about all things Black Sabbath, Ozzy and Black Label Society. As Wylde notes, while he is a fan of Ronnie James Dio, doesn't consider the "Heaven & Hell" era line-up to be Black Sabbath:

"You listen to Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio in it, and it's not Black Sabbath. They should have just called it Heaven and Hell right from the beginning. Because you listen to that 'Heaven & Hell' album, that doesn't sound anything close to Black Sabbath. I mean, that sounds about as much like Black Sabbath as 'Blizzard Of Ozz' sounds like Black Sabbath. If you were to play Black Sabbath for me - and I'm a huge Sabbath freako - and then with Father Dio over there, I'd be going, 'Oh, cool, what band is this? This is good stuff.' I mean, the songs don't even sound Black Sabbath-y. I mean, 'Neon Knights,' could you picture Ozzy singing over that song?"

Wylde also notes that songwriting for him is an almost spiritual process:

"I don't think it's so much writing. I remember reading this thing on Robert Plant, and he goes, 'I don't think it's so much you write them - you receive them.' It's like God is the radio station that it's all coming from, and it's just a matter of tuning in until you hit His frequency. A lot of times I'll just sit in the morning, having a cup of java just chillin' out.

"If I sit at the piano or I sit at the acoustic guitar and I start writing something mellow, it's going to be what it's going to be. But if I sit behind an amp, between a Marshall, that always dictates what frame of mind I'm going to be in. If I sit down with an electric guitar what's going to come out are Sabbath/Zeppelin type riffs, but if I'm sitting behind a piano late at night, I might write something like 'Desperado.' You're not going to write 'Desperado' between a wall of Marshalls and thumping, crushing volume."

77 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Whatever you wanna call Sabbath with Dio, the records they made together are amazing.
    The Heaven & Hell album is as good as anything Ozzy did with the band.....maybe better
    A legendary record, but not even close to an album like "Master of Reality"
    I'm pretty sure they called Sabbath with Dio "Heaven and Hell" when they played live so people didn't expect them to play Iron Man and stuff.
    Pablo Mortis
    Not quite true: they did it because Black Sabbath had recently played with Ozzy singing, and they didn't want confusion between the Ozzy and Dio incarnations of the same band when they were touring at almost the same time.
    The records (Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules, Dehumanizer) were released under the Black Sabbath banner. Heaven and Hell came in 2006 as a name for the reunited lineup from those specific albums.
    Yeah they were! but. i dont think he was saying that he doesnt like them; just that theyre not "Sabbath."
    He does have a point, the band's general sound changed when Ronnie joined Sabbath, which doesn't mean it stopped being Sabbath. Yes, it wasn't as dark and heavy as most of the previous material but if you listen to some of the tracks with Ozzy you can clearly tell some similarities, there's this riff on "War Pigs" that's very similar to the main one on "Heaven And Hell", for example. Whether they were heading towards that direction if they kept Ozzy is debatable, but they still were Black Sabbath with Ronnie, and made a bunch of records that's as timeless as the stuff they did with Ozzy.
    Sabbath's sound changed long before Dio was even in the band though, I don't think Zakk has even listened to technical Ecstasy.
    Iommi's sound and solo's changed from H+H onwards , anything to do with Van Halen supporting on the Never say die tour ?
    very good point right here, Oz himself said VH were blowing them off the stage every night during that tour.
    Why do people have to be such bellends and say shit like this where they're like "oh, those albums by that band should have been released under a different name, blah blah blah" who are we to determine what a band should sound like. Shouldn't the band itself determine that? Sabbath with Dio IS Sabbath. Sabbath without Bill Ward is Sabbath also. As are the albums with Ian Gillan, Glenn Hughes and Tony Martin. Every album released under the Sabbath name is Sabbath. The name "Black Sabbath" is clearly printed on each release. Get over the fact that they have done albums without Ozzy, Bill and Geezer already.
    Yeah, but the band WANTED to change name but they kept it because of pressures from the record company. Even when Tony was the only original member in the band (Seventh Star), he kept the band name because of the same reason. So by your definition, they should really have been "Heaven and Hell" all along. Names aside, they did great even without Ozzy. And yeah, Tony Martin is very underrated indeed.
    Well you're right, the sound change was something bound to happen anyway. Dio used to have a very active role when it comes to composing and creating songs
    If u take a logical step back an look at it form a distance...with each singer comes a different part of the evolution of Sabbath's sound. And Yeah Tony Martin was amazing
    Jacques Nel
    Maybe they should have just pulled a "Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington" and done "Black Sabbath with Dio"
    Or pull a "Seventh Star" and go as Black Sabbath featuring Dio. Even though Seventh Star wasn't even a Black Sabbath album...
    It's natural for a band's sound to change when one of the members is replaced - especially one so 'important' as the singer. I understand what he's saying, but to me, it's still Black Sabbath. Songs like 'Neon Knights' and 'Children of the Sea' give me a different feeling than 'The Wizard' or 'Fairies with Boots,' but they are still defined by Tony Iommi's guitar playing and Geezer's bass lines and have that same doom sound.
    Jacques Nel
    The key words are "defined by...". A band's sound changes when someone that defined the sounds left. For instance, Led Zeppelin's sound wouldn't have been the same without Page or Plant because what they contributed to the music defined the band's sound. Just like Queen would never be Queen without Freddy Mercury. But Dio however filled Ozzy's slot well enough that Black Sabbath could keep their "old sound" with Iommi and Geezer's contributions.
    but Ozzy didn't really define sabbath's sound very much considering he didn't contribute much to songwriting
    I'm sorry, but can someone give a logical explanation as to why, unless the band name is another member's name (like Van Halen) or the 2nd singer is an exact copy of the first (like AC/DC), a band has to change its name when they get a new singer? Vocalists don't own the band's name, nor are they the only/primary component of the band's sound/look. It seems like super-fans tend to forget that band names are essentially brand names , and that when a member quits or does something to warrant termination, regardless of who that member is, they forfeit any/all controlling rights of the brand they're now no longer a part of, and remaining partners are still free to do business as that brand/band. Its only when a band name is contractually "owned" by one or a couple of members, that the name goes with them, regardless of who quits or gets fired.
    I can see what he means, but just because a band has changed its sound, it doesn't mean it's no longer that band. I mean, three quarters of the original lineup played on 'Heaven and Hell' for example. What do you mean, they weren't Black Sabbath at the time?
    This isn't a matter of good/bad or better/worse. He's just saying that the two eras are different in sound, and I agree.
    I enjoy a lot of the Dio era Sabbath stuff but it is certainly more like Dio's solo band than "Black Sabbath". Not comparing the quality of music though.
    my thoughts exactly! it does sound more like dio's solo stuff, but it's still badass!
    Bullsh*t. But then again, what would you expect a longtime Ozzy guitarist to say? Ozzy alone is not Black Sabbath, and I'm glad they kept on going without him, under the same name, and putting out masterpieces like Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules, Tyr, Headless Cross... with the kickass singers that Dio and Tony Martin were.
    Zakk Wylde is good but overated, he didn't really have that many great songs with Ozzy and his solo stuff is much better. Jake E Lee's work is criminally underated. Randy was awesome. Dio Sabbath still sounds pretty Sabbath-y to me.
    Let me just tell you Ozzy and Zakk isn't Sabbath either. Besides, being called Sabbath or not, Dio-Sabbath, or Dobbath, is still better than anything Wylde has ever produced.
    It all sounds like Sabbath, that just sounds like an excuse. Their sound would have changed in the 1980s no matter what. For people new to Black Sabbath (and Ozzy's personal friends/guitarists) the Dio records might sound jarring but the similarities between Master of Reality and Dehumanizer are obvious.
    It is Sabbath. BTW, Ozzy without Zakk is not Ozzy.
    Ozzy without Randy Rhodes is not Ozzy. Blizzard of Ozz would've been nothing without his guitar playing
    Ozzy always managed to surround himself with great musicians during his solo career, much of his success came from that, and Rhoades was certainly the top star, and his relation with Ozzy was this sort of strange symbiosis. Alone, without Ozzy's name to back it up, I doubt Randy would be considered one of the best guitar players of all time, the same way that "Blizzard of Oz" and "Diary of a Madman" would've never been such great albums without Randy and Ozzy would never have such a succesful solo career.
    Pablo Mortis
    Admittedly Randy was brilliant and he undoubtedly made those first albums what they are: just don't forget some of the other greats (I personally think Jake E Lee deserves some respect, especially considering how he had to fill Randy's shoes after his passing
    Very true. Randy is and always will be my favorite, but I agree that Jake is definitely very underrated. And I always used to bash Zakk, but he actually is very good as well. I guess I just didn't want to like him because he isn't Randy.
    If it wasn't for Randy , Ozzy solo would have probably failed , then nobody would have heard of Zakk Wylde .
    It really doesn't feel like Ozzy without him does it? No disrespect to Gus G, he really is a monster. but those two were just a good pair, its like Keith and Mick...
    Ok, I admit it was an exaggeration. I just respect Zakk so much. Ozzy is a god, and Randy was "his" best guitarist, no doubt.
    Even though a lot of people love Randy (as I do)! I have to say Ultimate Sin is my favorite record by Ozzy. As I love No rest for the Wicked by Zack, Diary of a madman and Blizzard of Oz by Roads. Those are my 4 favorite.
    Sorry Zakk, but that's just bullcrap
    Did you even read the artice?
    OK, I barely skimmed it. It's just that people who insist on Dio Sabbath not being Sabbath really annoy me
    He's right though. Heaven and Hell aren't any more Black Sabbath with Dio than Velvet Revolver are Guns N' Roses with Scott. /opinion
    I see the Dio Sabbath albums to be Dio songs. I prefer dio over ozzy, but Black Sabbath is a band with ozzy.
    Dio and Tony Martin were better signers than Ozzy, but BSab had good songs during the Ozzy era...although I listen to more of the 1980s material than earlier stuff.
    I literally just walked out of the record exchange with these cool ozzy album cover coasters for 5 bucks.....
    Gotta say I agree with Zakk 100%. After Ozzy was fired the band changed their sound completely. When you listen to Black Sabbath next to Dio Sabbath you wouldn't even know that it was the same band. Dio is one of the most overrated singers and he completely ruined Sabbath.
    They probably changed their sound because they have a different singer. Simple as that. It's hard to have the same sound with a different singer. They have different styles and abilities. Like Van Halen, you don't expect Sammy Hagar to pull off Hot for Teacher like DLR so they adapted and changed their sound, and you don't see DLR singing stuff like When it's Love, because that isn't his style.
    Sammy Mantis
    I always felt the same. Dio wasn't a bad vocalist, but his image and lyrical content just brought a certain cheesy touch to everything he was involved with. Give me Sabbath with Ozzy any day.
    Yet another misleading title... thanks UG.
    How on earth is it misleading? That's precisely what he said.
    Yeah, but before you read the article, it seems as if he meant that Sabbath with Dio is sh** compared to Ozzy years, while he clearly meant that it just shouldn't be Black Sabbath, because it's too different in style, yet still awesome.
    1) They were the best lineup of Sabbath. More complex songs, and less blues. 2) Drop C 0-0-0-000-0000-~ isn't either.
    screech n' moan
    It's just a name. It's gonna get to the point, if it hasn't already, where everyone will be dissecting songs from albums, like,"Man, that song right there started sooo Sabbath, but the first half of that 2nd verse went all Dio!", which is fine, but pretty unnecessary in general.
    Sabbath without Ward is not Sabbath. But I would go see them if Brad Wilk was touring with them.
    Says the bloke that was happy to be in a PANTERA reformation... Mr pot, Mr kettle racially abused you.