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BLOW IT OUT YOUR OZ: 10/22/17

Sonic Brew is the debut studio album by Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society. Unlike the BLS albums that followed, this album still possessed a distinct Southern rock overtone that up to this time had dominated Zakk’s solo writing style. Initially it was released on October 28, 1998 in Japan only and much later in the US on Spitfire Records. Originally the Japanese version contained 13 tracks and the cover art was printed on clear plastic, with a separate paper booklet. The back cover was printed with golden ink, and the packaging was, overall, a lot higher quality than all later versions.

There was a long delay before it was ever released outside Japan, because the drums and vocals were buried on some of the tracks towards the end of the disc, so it was collectively decided to remix it for the US release. Due to the delay, Zakk and drummer Phil Ondich (the only 2 actual band members at the time) decided to give the USA an added bonus and went into a studio in California and recorded the aggressive “Lost My Better Half” as a one-off bonus track for the album – and it was this recording that prompted Zakk to pursue a much heavier direction for the band’s music thereafter. Sonic Brew was finally released on and May 4, 1999 in the US with a standard gloss-printed booklet with a gold whiskey bottle on the cover that looked exactly like Johnnie Walker’s Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky. And early copies came with a free Zakk Wylde guitar pick.


“Born To Lose” is the fourth track and one of 3 singles released from Sonic Brew, Black Label’s debut studio album. Eventually the Johnnie Walker whisky company issued a cease and desist order to Zakk on the album cover, which had been designed to match, except for its wording, the distiller’s graphic design for its bottles of Black Label Whisky. The band decided to reissue the album with a different album cover, this time merely with the band’s skull logo only and as an added incentive, they wanted to record another bonus track for the fans who wanted to buy this now-third version of the album. Zakk Wylde, drummer Phil Ondich and a member of Alice In Chains decided that bonus track should be a cover of an Ozzy classic!


The song “No More Tears” was redone as a bonus track on the third reissue of the Black Label Society album Sonic Brew as well as on its own promotional E.P. called the No More Tears Sampler. Zakk Wylde, BLS drummer Phil Ondich and Mike Inez of Alice In Chains were the musicians on the track. (Of course Mike Inez along with Zakk Wylde had helped write the original together with Ozzy for his album of the same name released in ’91.) Mike Inez is the one who composed the famous bassline at the intro of the classic Ozzy track.

Both “Born to Lose” and “No More Tears” along with a third track “Bored to Tears” were all released as promotional singles for the album, though no videos were ever made.

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