Black Label Society is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California formed by Zakk Wylde. The band has, thus far, released nine studio albums, two live albums, two compilation albums, one EP, and three video albums.
In the early 1990s, Wylde had formed his own solo band Pride & Glory, playing a mixture of bluesy southern rock with heavy metal. However, they disbanded in December 1994 after having released only one album. Wylde subsequently recorded an acoustic solo album, Book of Shadows (released 1996). In May 1998, after limited commercial success with Book of Shadows, Wylde and drummer Phil Ondich recorded what became Black Label Society’s debut album Sonic Brew. It was decided, rather than the album being another solo album for Wylde, that they would form a long term band. It was known from the start that Nick Catanese would be retained as the second guitarist in the band (Catanese previously toured as rhythm guitarist for the Book Of Shadows tour). John DeServio, who previously worked with Wylde as a temporary replacement in Pride & Glory, joined as the band’s bassist for the album’s tour.
Sonic Brew was released in Japan on 28 October 1998. Due to delays in signing with a record label (Spitfire Records), the album was not released in the rest of the world until 4 May 1999.
The band’s second album Stronger Than Death followed in 2000, with DeServio being replaced by Steve Gibb. Craig Nunenmacher replaced Ondich in July 2000, with his debut recording with the band being the live album Alcohol Fueled Brewtality Live +5. This was followed by 1919 Eternal,which was dedicated to Wylde’s father and was released in 2002. Steve Gibb was temporarily replaced by Mike Inez during the Ozzfest 2001 tour, and then Robert Trujillo (Metallica) took over bass duties for the band the next year.
In 2003, Trujillo joined Metallica, leaving the bass position in Black Label Society open, which left room for Inez to rejoin the band for a short 2 week tour, supporting the band’s album The Blessed Hellride. James LoMenzo joined the band in 2004 after the release of Hangover Music Vol. VI, which was the band’s last release for Spitfire Records.
On the first four studio albums, Wylde played every instrument, except for the drums, including vocals, guitars, piano, and bass guitar
In 2005, after the band signed with Artemis Records, the album Mafia was released. In October, LoMenzo left the band (and joined Megadeth a few months later) and was replaced by the band’s original bassist, John DeServio. In 2006, the band left Artemis Records and signed to Roadrunner Records, releasing the album Shot to Hell.
In June 2007, Black Label Society parted ways with Roadrunner Records.
As of July 2007, members of Black Label Society DeServio and Catanese both signaled the start of new bands as Zakk Wylde toured with Ozzy Osbourne. DeServio’s band, Cycle of Pain (or C.O.P), has been shopping to major labels and is believed to have inked a deal. Catanese’s band, Speed X, includes Mike Stone from Queensrÿche and is currently recording. However, according to DeServio at a guitar clinic/autograph signing in Huntington, NY, Black Label Society was set to begin recording a new album in the fall of 2008, though this never happened.
Drummer Craig Nunenmacher left the band in February 2010, and was replaced by Will Hunt (of Dark New Day, Evanescence).
On August 10, 2010, Order Of The Black, their 8th studio album, was released. It reached number 4 on the Billboard 200 chart.
In 2011 the band toured in support of their new album. The Black Label Berzerkus tour started in Portland, Oregon, with Children of Bodom and Clutch sharing the main support slot and 2cents opening.
In March 2011, Will Hunt left the band to record with Evanescence, and Danzig drummer Johnny Kelly (formerly of Type O Negative) filled in for him for the rest of the tour, however in May 2011, Mike Froedge of doubleDrive and Catanese’s band Speed X joined the band.
Black Label Society released The Song Remains Not the Same, on May 3 via Entertainment One Music. The offering features unplugged versions of material from their latest album, Order of the Black, as well as additional material recorded during the Order of the Black sessions. The Song Remains Not the Same was conceived, created and compiled by Zakk Wylde and the title is a nod to one of Wylde’s favorite bands, Led Zeppelin.
On September 14, 2011, in a hand-written letter, Zakk Wylde thanked Mike Froedge for his time behind the drums with the band, and introduced Breaking Benjamin’s Chad Szeliga as the band’s new drummer.
An interview with ESPN revealed an acoustic DVD entitled “Unblackened” was in the works for 2012. The album was recorded during the Unblackened show, at Club Nokia on March 6, 2013. The album is scheduled to be released on September 24, 2013, as announced by Zakk.
On May 3, 2013, it was announced that Black Label Society would be included in the year’s installment of Gigantour, along with Megadeth, David Draiman’s new band Device, former Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul Abbot’s band Hellyeah, Jason Newsted’s own band Newsted, and upstart band Death Division
In August, 2013, after Unblackened single’s released through iTunes, Zakk stated that he would begin writing a new studio album, and it would be scheduled for a 2014 release. On October 28, they debuted a new music video: a cover of Bill Withers “Ain’t No Sunshine”.
It was reported on December 2, 2013 that Nick Catanese had amicably parted from the band.
On January 1, 2014, Zakk Wylde announced via Facebook that Lizzy Borden guitarist Dario Lorina would be replacing Nick Catanese as rhythm guitarist.
On January 13 it was announced that Black Label Society will be playing the main stage of Download Festival on the Friday at Donington Park in the UK.