INTERVIEW: Nick Catanese

It can be an intimidating thing to stand up on stage with one of the greats and be expected to match them lick for lick, night after night. But that’s what Nick Catanese does. As second guitarist in Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society, Catanese has to keep up with Zakk’s killer riffs, hold down the fort when the Wylde one takes a solo, and even handle some pretty high-profile leads of his own when required. Catanese has a reputation as a hard-working, reliable player who gets the job done with efficiency, energy and stage presence. And although his role is mainly a live one, Catanese has put in the hard yards to earn a rather nice Paul Reed Smith SE signature model.


Catanese recently took the opportunity to redesign his SE model. The original version was a more modern-looking, aggressive black and red affair, while the new one has more of a classic look. “It’s basically the same weight, dimensions, frets, everything, but the red flame top, all the chrome, the Chrome EMG pickups… we’re trying to go with the ’57 Chevy look,” Catanese says. “But it has the same neck dimensions. I like thick necks. No fret markers. The thing that’s different with this one is, on my first one I thought I was being cool when I put red fret dots on it, which looked cool in the light, but when the lights went down I couldn’t see anything! I had no fret markers or dots, so I was pretty screwed!”


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NEWS: Black Label Society crack US Top 50

Black Label Society‘s new album The Song Remains Not The Same has debuted at #41 on the Billboard charts. Congratulations Zakk and co! The album features acoustic-based versions of songs from The Order Of The Black (but there’s still some sweet-ass electric playing too) as well as other material recording during the Order sessions. It’s kind of the spiritual brother of Zakk’s Book Of Shadows album and the BLS album Hangover Music Vol. VI. Shades of Pride & Glory in there too. Cool.

Here in Australia the album is released by the fine folks at Riot.

NEWS: Black Label Society iPhone app


Here’s one for all of us Apple/metal geeks: a Black Label Society iPhone app. The band and Berzerkers around the globe can keep in touch with what the band are up to, send private messages to each other, rate and comment on all material posted by the band and Berzerkers, and share video, pics, audio and text. I’m downloading this bad boy as we speak.


NEWS: Black Label Society to release unplugged album

The mighty Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society will release The Song Remains Not The Same on May 3. The album features unplugged versions of tracks from their latest album, Order Of The Black, as well as additional material recorded during the album sessions.

Meanwhile, the next single from Order of The Black is Darkest Days, a piano-driven track that gets stuck in my head for about four days at a time every few weeks. There’s an alternate version of Darkest Days on The Song Remains Not The Same, featuring country superstar John Rich.

Click here for my interview with Zakk about Order Of The Black, and here for my interview with him about his Gibson Pelham Blue custom guitars.