When A Metal Guitar God Shocked Fans By Going Southern Rock

MrPanyGoff, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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It’s easy for a musician to become stylistically pigeonholed.

When a person makes a name for themselves as a master within a particular genre, fans will naturally go on to associate them according to what they are already familiar with. It might be fine for some performers, but aligning oneself to strict audience expectations is a surefire recipe for many artists to get bored.

Before Zakk Wylde’s diverse range was embraced by the masses through his long standing Black Label Society, the hyper-talented young man made his mark as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s; his work on No Rest For The Wicked and No More Tears helping to propel the Prince Of Darkness to a new level of superstardom.

As Wylde had become known for area-sized heavy metal anthems, the public at large didn’t really know what to think when his side project, Pride & Glory, appeared on the scene in 1994.

“When we did that one it was like the 360 of doing the Ozzy records where I was doubling all my guitars,” Wylde told Guitar World. “I guess Black Label Society is more in tune with that way of working.

“Even the Book Of Shadows [solo] records were more about the songs rather than the improv. That approach is more like building a house starting with the drums, getting takes that everyone is happy with against some scratch guitar and bass tracks which later get redone and doubled and layered.

“But Pride And Glory felt more like Cream, three guys in a room doing some improv, meets The Allman Brothers. Or even The Jimi Hendrix Experience, a power trio going through a ton of jamming.

“When we recorded each take, it was live. That was what we kept. There were very few overdubs on that record. It was just the three of us playing exactly the way we would on stage.”

Initially formed in 1991 under the name Lynyrd Skynhead, Pride & Glory featured Wylde on guitar and vocals alongside White Lion members James LoMenzo and Greg D’Angelo. Embracing a brand of Southern-rock that stood sonically at odds with Ozzy’s catalog, this lineup recorded two songs for various compilations before signing to Geffen Records and changing their name. D’Angelo was replaced by Brian Tichy, and this new configuration of the band released their self-titled album in June of 1994.

Although the record was well received by critics, the general public wasn’t particularly receptive to Southern-fried metal at the height of the grunge movement. Pride & Glory toured for the next six months and played their final show on  December 10, 1994 in Los Angeles. At that gig, Slash joined the band on stage to perform covers of the Jimi Hendrix tracks “Voodoo Child” and “Red House.”

Wylde reflected on Pride & Glory in an interview with Eon Music, saying: “We had a great time making that record, and the tour was fun on that thing, but sadly we ran out of beer funds, and that was the end. It was like, we had to go home.”

Asked if there could be another record or a reunion tour at some point, the guitarist said: “Yeah, we could always do that. I mean, Jamo’s playing with Megadeth now, Father Brian’s with The Dead Daisies. Yeah, we’re still all buddies, so there’s no reason why we couldn’t do it. Just go up to the Vatican [studio], and we could even make another record, let alone, or just tour on the one that we did, you know what I mean? So yeah, we could always do that.”