Best known for his long stint in support of Ozzy Osbourne, guitarist Zakk Wylde was born and raised in New Jersey; although he began studying music at age eight, he soon quit, not returning to his lessons until his mid-teens. He formed his first band, Stone Henge, in 1984, followed by a series of appearances with a variety of bands throughout the Jersey Shore. In 1987, Wylde was introduced as Osbourne's new lead guitarist, making his recorded debut a year later on No Rest for the Wicked
; he remained with Ozzy through a series of hit albums before forming his own power trio, Pride & Glory, in 1994. After one album the group disbanded, and Wylde (after flirting with joining Guns N' Roses
) mounted a solo career with 1996's Book of Shadows
; Sonic Brew followed three years later. He continued to work on his own material while Ozzy
asked him to return to his band when his touring guitarist wasn't working out on the new material. Wylde obliged and managed to produce two more albums while still working on the Down to Earth album and the following tour.