Black Label Society
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Black Label Society
Black Label Society performing at Wacken Open Air 2015
|Origin||Los Angeles, California, United States|
Black Label Society is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California formed in 1998 by Zakk Wylde. To date, the band has released ten studio albums, two live albums, two compilation albums, one EP, and three video albums.
Sonic Brew and Formation (1998–1999)
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 (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 October 28, 1998. Due to delays in signing with a record label (Spitfire Records), the album was not released in the rest of the world until May 4, 1999.
Line-up changes and subsequent releases (1999–2007)
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 (Alice In Chains) 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 two-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.
Forming side bands and future (2007–present)
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). Hunt’s first live performance with the band would be on July 24, 2010 at the first edition of the High Voltage Festival in London.
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 was 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, Wylde announced via Facebook that Lizzy Borden guitarist Dario Lorina would be replacing Nick Catanese as rhythm guitarist. Lorina made his live debut with the band on April 16th in Seattle.
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.
On October 2, 2017, the band released the song "Room of Nightmares", also announcing that they will be releasing their new album Grimmest Hits on January 19, 2018. On November 20, the band released another song from Grimmest Hits titled "All that Once Shined".
- Sonic Brew (1999)
- Stronger Than Death (2000)
- 1919 Eternal (2002)
- The Blessed Hellride (2003)
- Hangover Music Vol. VI (2004)
- Mafia (2005)
- Shot to Hell (2006)
- Order of the Black (2010)
- Catacombs of the Black Vatican (2014)
- Grimmest Hits (2018)
- 2011 Black Label Berzerkus Tour started in February in Birmingham, England and ended Cologne, Germany in March, with Godsized. Dates in Asia at the end of March and beginning of April were cancelled. A Latin America leg in May was also cancelled, and rescheduled for August. A second leg through Europe started at the Sweden Rock Festival in June and ended at the Norway Rock Festival in July, also stopping at Graspop Metal Meeting and Hellfest.
- 2011 Uranium Tour through North America from May 4th to June 5th, with All That Remains on all dates in May, and Rev Theory on the four dates in June. Hail The Villain had been scheduled to open, but cancelled, and were replaced by Hourcast and Anchored. The tour included off-dates at the Rocklahoma, 93XFest, Kansas City Rockfest, and Rock On The Range festivals.
- 2011 Judas Priest's Epitaph tour of North America from October 12th to December 3rd. Black Label Society were one of the opening acts, alongside Thin Lizzy.
- 2014 Revolver Golden Gods package tour of North America with Butcher Babies and Devil You Know, from April 16th to June 7th. Down joined the tour from May 5th in Birmingham, AL to May 23rd in Grand Prairie, TX.
- 2014 Catacombs of The Black Vatican European Tour, first leg, of major festivals and selected club dates from June 11th to July 10th.
- 2014 Catacombs of The Black Vatican North American Tour, first leg, with Wovenwar and Kyng, from July 17th in Cincinnati, OH to August 4th in Albuquerque, NM.
- 2014 Catacombs of The Black Vatican Latin American Tour from August 8th to August 20th. 
- 2014 - 2015 Catacombs of The Black Vatican North American Tour, second leg, with Hatebreed and Butcher Babies, from December 28th, 2014 in Spokane, WA to January 22nd, 2015 in Omaha, NE.
- 2015 Catacombs of The Black Vatican European Tour, second leg, with Black Tusk and Crobot, from February 11th in Glasgow, Scotland to March 15th in Lausanne, Switzerland.
- 2015 Unblackened Tour of North America with Wino, from April 3rd in Huntington, NY to April 19th in Anaheim, CA.
- 2015 Festival Tour around the world from May 27th at Ozzfiesta in Mexico, through most of Europe, to two shows, also in Mexico, opening for Ozzy Osbourne on August 18th and 20th. Then a one-off appearance at the Food Truck And Rock Carnival in Clark, NJ on September 19th, and a short run in November in Europe, and at Ozzfest Japan on November 22nd.
- 2015 Catacombs of The Black Vatican Australia/New Zealand tour from November 25th in Frenmantle, Australia to December 4th in Auckland, New Zealand.
- 2015 Doomtrooping Into 2016 North American Tour with Huntress and The Shrine, from December 26th in Phoenix, AZ to December 31st in Marksville, LA.
- 2018 The Grimmest Show On Earth North American Tour with Corrosion of Conformity, from January 2nd in Omaha, NE to February 27th in Los Angeles, CA. A short run of shows from January 8th in Montreal to January 12th in Oklahoma City were cancelled for health reasons, with Corrosion of Conformity playing some last-minute smaller headline shows in their place. A second leg from July 14th at the Cadott Rock Fest to August 11th in Sayreville, NJ included replacement dates for the four cancelled shows. The date in Oklahoma City was postponed by two days, replacing the date in Sioux Falls, SD, which was cancelled due to poor ticket sales. Eyehategod joined several dates on both legs.
- 2018 The Grimmest Show On Earth European Tour with Monolord from March 3rd in Ekaterinburg, Russia to April 9th in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Ekaterinburg date was eventually cancelled and the tour started the next night in Moscow. The Belfast date on the 9th was added due to high demand after the original final date of the tour in Belfast on the 8th sold out.
- Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Black Label Society". AllMusic. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
- Steininger, Adam (July 24, 2013). "The ten best Southern metal bands". Westword. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
- BIENSTOCK, RICHARD. "25 Most Anticipated Metal Albums of 2016". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 23, 2018.
Former Ozzy Osbourne guitar man Zakk Wylde spends most of his time these days churning out doomy biker metal with Black Label Society
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- Blabbermouth (December 2, 2013). "BLACK LABEL SOCIETY Parts Ways With Longtime Guitarist NICK CATANESE". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
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