Guitar World magazine honored guitarist Zakk Wylde last night in Anaheim, California with its first ever Rock & Roll Roast. Before Wylde took the throne of honor and was skewered by the likes of Corey Taylor, Duff McKagan, Anthrax's Scott Ian, wrestler/Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho and others, his friends warned Rolling Stone it was gonna be merciless for everyone involved.
"We’ve all known each other for a while, we all love each other. So let’s just rip the crap out of each other, " Taylor told us.
Comedian Brian Posehn had to scale back his material a bit. "As I’m writing some of these jokes I’m like, 'Oh, I can’t say that if I want to ever go backstage to any of their shows again,'" he told us. But it didn't stop him from shredding Jericho in a hilarious bit.
"Comedy is hard, isn't it?" Posehn asked the wrestler as he started. "Stick to sucking at everything else."
Yeah, it was brutal. Comedian Jim Norton got in one of the best zingers on Scott Ian when he said, "You look like Ben Kingsley eating a raccoon," referencing the Anthrax guitarist's trademark beard.
Ian knew what to expect. "I’m sure I’m gonna get torn up tonight, but my attitude is go ahead and say whatever you want," he said. "I’m short, I’m bald, I’m Jewish, who cares? There’s nothing you can say about me that I probably haven’t already said about myself."
Setting the tenor for the night was roastmaster Sharon Osbourne, and she told Rolling Stone exactly what she had in mind. "I’ve got to be step on his balls tonight," she said of Wylde. "I’ve known him since he was 18. He calls me 'mum,' and I feel like his mom. So I can be disrespectful, horrible, mean to him for two hours and get away with it."
For Osbourne though, it was all done with a great deal of love. "My kids grew up with Zakk. Jack was about eight months old when Zakk first came to the band. My son is now 26 and having a child, so that’s how long he’s been with us," she said. She also spoke on behalf of her husband, Ozzy, who was scheduled to be there, but is now in England working on the Black Sabbath album. "Ozzy is very proud of Zakk – very, very proud. He’s proud of the man he’s become – he's sober and fabulous."
It apparently took some time for Wylde to get there, however. A popular refrain from the night, for multiple speakers, was mention of Ozzy confronting Wylde on his drinking. Several different people asked how fucked up someone would have to be to have Ozzy lecture someone on substance abuse.
But Wylde took it all in stride, laughing often as people made jokes about his trademark beard and pointed out his wife Barbaranne. A video bit featured Wylde's wife emerging from under a table and a very pleased William Shatner teasing Wylde. Also speaking via video were Judas Priest's Rob Halford and James Durbin, among others.
All agreed Wylde was a great first roastee because of his good nature, and he showed that off. "I’m a good Catholic boy, I’m a nice person, I have no idea what they can be making fun of," Wylde told us on the red carpet.
Guitar World hopes to make the roast an annual event, so we asked people who'd like they to see skewered in future. "Everybody around here is a cartoon character anyway," said Wylde. "[If] anybody walks away from the table, we can sit there for about three to five hours taking the piss out of them the whole time – in a loving way, mind you," Wylde said.
Coming from a comedy background, Posehn offered a detailed breakdown of potential future honorees. "I think Ozzy would be a good one, I think Lemmy [Kilmister, Motorhead] would be good. There’s a lot to make fun of and he seems like he has a sense of humor," he said. "Lars [Ulrich, Metallica] would be good, James [Hetfield, Metallica] would be horrible. You could not go after James Hetfield. [Megadeth's Dave] Mustaine might be good. I’d be a little afraid of him, depends on what day you catch him."
Ulrich and Osbourne were popular choices. But Sharon Osbourne had a different metal icon in mind for next year, one that we would pay to see.
Asked who she'd like to see roasted in 2013, she replied, "I think Axl Rose, and I’m the woman to fuck him."