Ozzy Osbourne Says He's Dropping Zakk Wylde: "I Wanted a Change"

July 13, 2009 8:26 AM ET

A few years ago, a Web rumor suggested Ozzy Osbourne was scrapping longtime guitarist Zakk Wylde, who joined Ozzy's band in 1987. In late 2005, just before the start of the recording sessions for Ozzy's 2007 solo LP Black Rain, Osbourne reportedly hosted auditions for a new guitarist. Apparently, those auditions didn't yield an Ozzy-approved replacement, and Osbourne ended up using Wylde's signature guitar riffing on what was a poorly received record.

Now, though, it seems the self-proclaimed Prince of Darkness wants Wylde out, and someone fresh in. In an interview with Classic Rock magazine, Ozzy says he'd like to audition Rob Zombie guitarist John 5 for the opening.

"I'm getting a new guitar player as we speak," Osbourne explained, "and everyone has been saying to me for a long time, 'Get Johnny 5!' And I tried him at one time and I didn't really give him a chance.

We'll see, I don't know. I haven't fallen out with Zakk, but Zakk's got his own band, and I felt like my stuff was beginning to sound like Black Label Society. I just felt like I wanted a change, you know?"

Ozzy added that he's even got a guitarist flying in from Greece to try out for the open slot. Osbourne says he's started working on the follow-up to Black Rain with producer Kevin Churko, and apparently, Wylde has already worked some on the new disc. "Zakk came down and did a bunch of stuff and I don't know if I want to use it but I've got it there if I do," Ozzy says. As Rolling Stone previously reported, Osbourne cancelled 2009's Ozzfest so he could focus on his next studio album, his 10th.

Of course, it seems Wylde's been kept out of the loop. He posted on his Twitter over the weekend, "I'm doing [the] BlizzCon [convention in Anaheim, California] with [Ozzy] in August and supposed to finish up the [new Ozzy] CD in September... This is news to me. I haven't heard anything about this. Until I talk to the Boss, I don't know. I love Ozzy."

Related Stories:
Ozzy Osbourne Releases Statement on Black Sabbath Suit
Ozzfest 2009 Cancelled as Ozzy Osbourne Works on New Album
Osbournes Variety Show Sparks First Amendment Battle in Florida

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