When you think of Valhalla Java, two things come to mind: Zakk Wylde and Death Wish Coffee. While these are obvious, there is one more factor that helped Valhalla Java come into existence: Zakk's manager and Ozzy Osbourne bassist, Blasko. When Zakk decided he wanted to have his own coffee blend, Blasko found Death Wish and realized that they made the perfect match. Of course, as we've seen over the last three years, he was right. Aside from being an incredible manager to some of the world's most famous rockers, Blasko himself holds that title as a renowned bassist. Over the course of his career, he's played in several bands including Rob Zombie's and Ozzy Osbourne's solo bands. Whether you're a fan of his music or you use an insane amount of Odin Cups per day, Blasko's insight into the world of rock-and-roll is unmatched.
You have so many jobs. Can you sum up what you do?
I play in a rock band and then I manage rock bands as well. Zakk being one of them and so part of my duties is to build a brand. So that's what I do. The client goes "I want coffee" and I go "okay, let me figure out how to do that."
How did you get into music?
My first band was this hardcore speed metal band called Cryptic Slaughter and we got signed in 1985. And we put out records in 1986, 1987, and 1988; all of which were the years that I was in high school. And then in 1988, we put out our last record and we graduated high school. And then we went on tour and then we came back and we broke up. Because we all had graduated high school and all needed to get lives and move out of our parent's house, get job's, and all that kind of stuff. And the band wasn't a sustainable situation. It was kind of more like a hobby thing while we were in high school. But anyway, it started off my career of putting out three records just before I graduated high school. I put out some other records and did some stuff; some stuff cool and some stuff uncool. And then eventually worked my way into playing with bigger bands. I was in this band called Prong for a minute and then I was in this band called Danzig for a minute and then I joined Rob Zombie's band. So I was in his solo band, kind of, at the inception of him going solo and I was in that band for 8 years. And then after that, I joined Ozzy's band and that's where I still am.
How do you balance actually being a musician yourself and then working for the other musicians?
Yeah, well I started the management being around the time that I joined Ozzy's band because, at that point, I'm kind of nearing the end of playing in a band career now cause I sort of reached the pinnacle of what I've ever wanted to do musically.
How do you balance being a musician and a manager?
So I thought, well I better figure out something to do whenever this is over, right? I don't want to get a job delivering pizzas or something. I was just like I'm going to manage bands and I just found some bands to manage and started that way. And that was 12 years ago or something. It's really that simple. Those bands became successful so that kind of helped propel me into it. Being in Ozzy's band, isn't like my own band. So I don't worry about writing songs or doing meet-and- greets or doing all the stuff... like honestly, it's like we tour relatively infrequently and whenever we do work, our schedule is light enough to where I can balance working and playing. So I get all the work done during the day band then I rock out at night. That's a schedule that works for me.
So what is your relationship with Zakk like?
Oh, it's awesome. He's like my big brother. I mean I've been working with him for years now and yeah, It's just a good working relationship.
Do you have any funny stories or interesting anecdotes about
your time with Zakk or even with Ozzy's band?
I get asked that question all the time and I really have no answer. So I really gotta either make some stuff up... because it's all fun. But in terms of funny stories, the good rock-and-roll stories are sort of like all behind us, right? Cause everybody's like sober now and stuff. Alcohol is the key to the kingdom in terms of shenanigans. And then since like none of us really drink anymore. We just sit around and tell stories about what we did when we were maniacs.
What is live performance like for you in 2016, compared to your "maniac" days?
It's the same... I mean the difference for me is that I went from playing
clubs to playing sold-out arenas. I went from playing my own music into playing songs like 'Paranoid' and 'Crazy Train'. The crowds are just bigger. But they're rock-and- roll crowd. It's the same but I mean it's awesome. It's awesome to play with those guys that play that music. I can't even believe it's happening most of the time.
Even though you've already played with some of the best musicians in the world, is there anyone that you wish you could play with?
Yeah, AC/DC. And I think there's an opening now so if they're reading, they can give me a ring. They know how to find me.
What is a typical day for you?
I feed the cats first. Then the day starts with Death Wish and/or Valhalla Java religiously. That's the first thing that happens. Then from there, I clean the cat box and then off to my day of emails, texting, and phone calls of solving crises and putting out fires of whatever the day may bring. And then, at some point in there, a visit to the gym and some food. But, other than that, that's pretty much how my day goes.
Do you listen to any music; other types of music other than rock?
I'm a very Spotify-friendly person. So I make playlists and so I have a public playlist that I advertise with all bands that I like. But then I have a nonpublic playlist of guilty pleasure stuff that would be Fallout Boy, here are these new IP music and Daft Punk and even alternative stuff like Panic! At The Disco.
How did Valhalla Java come to be?
My agenda was to get Zakk a brand of coffee. I just stumbled Death Wish and I thought the strongest coffee in the world would be killer with the strongest guitar player in the world. That makes sense. I reached out, things started moving and here we are.
Hear more from Blasko by subscribing to the Fueled by Death Cast.
Image courtesy of @dustinjackphoto