Black Label Society Biography
Heavy-Metal Alternative-Metal outfit headed by Zakk Wylde, best known
for his long collaboration with Ozzy
Osbourne, who hired him away from his job at a New Jersey gas station
to become his guitarist. Wylde eventually established himself as guitar
god, won nearly every guitar award imaginable and is a major influence
to a new battalion of Rock guitarists currently popular today.
Wylde began to start his first side-project in 1994; four years later he formed Black Label Society in Los Angeles, California USA, with rhythm guitarist Nick Catanese and drummer Phil Ondich.
The band's debut album, "Sonic Brew", was initially released in late 1998 in Japan; after the studio sessions, John 'J.D.' DeServio was recruited to play bass and the band embarked on an extensive international tour.
In the winter of 1999/2000, Wylde, Catanese, Ondich and bassist Mike Inez entered the studio to cut their sophomore effort, "Stronger Than Death", which was released via Spitfire Records the following April. The subsequent tour included a slot on the second stage of Wylde old boss' Ozzfest tour and yielded the live-set "Alcohol Fueled Brewtality Live".
The next studio-album, "1919 Eternal", arrived in March 2002; it was the first record to feature new drummer Craig Nunemacher and also featured new bass player Robert Trujillo who later departed to join Metallica.
The group's first commercial album, "The Blessed Hellride", was released April 2003, it rocketed to #2 on the Top Independent chart and reached the #50 position on The Billboard 200. The first single, "Stillborn", which featured Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, peaked at #12 on The Mainstream Rock chart.
The fifth Black Label Society album, "Hangover Music Vol. VI", marked a collaboration with another bass player, James LoMenzo; the disc was issued in April 2004, hitting #40 on The Billboard Top 200 chart while the main single, "House Of Doom", reached the #33 spot on the Active Rock chart.
In early March 2005 Zakk Wylde and company released the band's Artemis
Records debut, "Mafia"; it included three Mainstream Rock radio
hit singles: "Suicide Messiah" peaked at #24, "Fire It
Up" reached #35 and "In This River", a song dedicated to
Wylde's friend Dimebag Darrell, fell just shy of the top 30. "Mafia"
became the band's most successful album rising to #15 on The Billboard
200 and also going up to the top on the U.S. Independent Albums charts.
Later in the year DeServio returned to the line-up replacing LoMenzo who departed to join Megadeth.
"Shot To Hell", Black Label Society's seventh album, was released in September 2006 through Roadrunner Records. It reached #21 on The Billboard 200 Albums chart producing "Concrete Jungle" which grabbed a #29 spot on The Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and "Blood Is Thicker Than Water" which nearly equaled the peak position of its predecessor on the same chart.
Ex-Dark New Day, Will Hunt, replaced
long time drummer Craig Nunemacher in 2009.
Black Label Society issued a new record entitled "Order Of The Black" in August 2010. The CD, which included the single "Parade Of The Dead", debuted at #4 on The Billboard 200 and at #9 on the Top Canadian Albums chart.
Over the next three years, the band's line-up underwent frequent changes, Will Hunt left and was finally replaced by Chad Szeliga, also Nick Catanese left after 17 years with Zakk Wylde's crew. During this time the band released 2011's "The Song Remains Not The Same", a collection of covers combined with acoustic versions of selected tunes originally released on "Order Of The Black". "Unblackened", a 2-CD set that documented the group's unplugged performance at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, followed in mid-2013.
Black Label Society next offering, "Catacombs Of The Black Vatican", the first album of all new material from the band since "Order Of The Black, will be released April 8, 2014. It marks the recording debut of new rhythm guitarist Dario Lorina.