Zakk Wylde recalled how one of his standard musical gags turned into a Grammy-winning song after Ozzy Osbourne overheard the guitarist playing it.
The incident took place while Osbourne and his band were working on their 1991 album, No More Tears. Wylde started his sonic comedy during a rehearsal session — and the result was “I Don’t Want to Change the World,” a live version of which won Best Metal Performance at the Grammy Awards in 1994.
“I’m sitting there just jamming, noodling on this riff,” Wylde told 95.5 KLOS’ Matt Pinfield in a recent interview about Black Label Society’s new album Doom Crew Inc. “I would stop the riff and then go, ‘I live at home with my parents; I don’t have a job; and I’ve got gonorrhea’ — [about] how you’re never gonna get a date with a girl. And then I would do the riff again and [then stop and go], ‘I’ve got syphilis; I’ve got three girlfriends, but once again, I don’t have any money.’
“And then Ozzy walks in the room and goes, ‘What was that?’ And I go, ‘What are you talking about?’ And he goes, ‘That riff you were playing!’ And I go, ‘It’s a joke, Ozz.’ And he goes, ‘Remember that riff; we’re gonna use that riff.’ And then the next thing you know, the song wins a Grammy.” He added: “The secret to all this: Make sure, when you go to Vegas, bring Ozzy with you!”
Wylde said that, during their time together, Osbourne almost always retained the first thing he sang when a song was being written. “Very rarely did he ever go back and go, ‘I don’t like what I’m singing. Let me come up with something better,’” the guitarist reported. “Very rarely; because usually he’d always just knock it out of the park. The first thing that would inspire him to sing over something, he would just kill it.”
Watch Matt Pinfield Interview Zakk Wylde
Listen to Ozzy Osbourne’s Live ‘I Don’t Want to Change the World’