Ozzy Osbourne’s Guitarist Zakk Wylde Plays Black Sabbath on a Hello Kitty Guitar

When Sanrio—that mega­lith­ic mak­er of kawaii icon Hel­lo Kitty—partnered with gui­tar com­pa­nies to make pas­tel-col­ored six-strings bear­ing the mouth­less kitten’s face, many a big-time musi­cian found the osten­si­bly kid’s‑oriented instru­ments irre­sistible. Hel­lo Kit­ty gui­tars were “pos­si­bly the apex of Sanrio’s cross-media syn­er­gy-blitz,” wrote David McNamee in a cranky 2009 piece at The Guardian, “that has seen them slap the cold, vacant stare of their brand-lead­ing cash cow… on to every con­ceiv­able kind of con­sumer mer­chan­dise includ­ing vibra­tors (sor­ry, mas­sagers), assault rifles, tam­pons, con­doms, uri­nal cakes, cars, com­put­ers, booze and pet cos­tumes.”

The chirpy Lisa Loeb took to Hel­lo Kit­ty gui­tars as part of a per­son­al brand makeover, which doesn’t much sur­prise since she even­tu­al­ly moved to writ­ing chil­dren’s music. But “a scan of YouTube,” McNamee goes on, “reveals that Hel­lo Kitty’s core audi­ence is actu­al­ly bald­ing, mid­dle-aged men, shred­ding out cov­ers of Yng­wie Malm­steen and Rush.”

I’m not sure how accu­rate this state­ment is in mar­ket research terms, but I can tes­ti­fy to know­ing at least two mid­dle-aged men who swear by pink Hel­lo Kit­ty Stra­to­cast­ers.

Go ahead, laugh it up, but you prob­a­bly wouldn’t do so in front of cer­tain San­rio shred­ders, like for­mer Ozzy Osbourne and cur­rent Black Label Soci­ety gui­tarist Zakk Wylde, who has made a side gig—as we not­ed in yes­ter­day’s post—play­ing cov­ers of heavy rock tunes on tiny, cutesy Hel­lo Kit­ty acoustic gui­tars. See for your­self in his Hel­lo Kit­ty take on Black Sabbath’s “N.I.B.” at the top and a ver­sion of his own orig­i­nal “Autumn Changes” fur­ther up. Would you laugh at seri­ous­ly ver­sa­tile Mar­i­lyn Man­son gui­tarist John 5 and his Hel­lo Kit­ty gui­tar? Maybe, but reserve your judg­ment until after you’ve seen him start his “new career” in Hel­lo Kit­ty gui­tar mar­ket­ing above.

Ris­ing to the chal­lenge, Mark Tremon­ti and Eric Fried­man decid­ed to take on Metallica’s “Wel­come Home (San­i­tar­i­um)” on a Hel­lo Kit­ty gui­tar and ukulele, “refus­ing to skip the track’s var­i­ous solos,” points out Loud­wire. It’s ”a true jam on tru­ly crap­py instru­ments that the boys some­how made work.” What, exact­ly, is the appeal of these Hel­lo Kit­ty ses­sions to peo­ple who aren’t, pre­sum­ably, the usu­al Hel­lo Kit­ty tween demo­graph­ic?

Maybe it’s just some good clean fun from peo­ple who might seem to take them­selves a lit­tle too seri­ous­ly some­times. When rock stars show a sense of humor, it makes them more relat­able, right? Hey, even the Bea­t­les made their bones with musi­cal com­e­dy, so why shouldn’t Evanescence’s Amy Lee give us a mov­ing, can­dlelit ren­di­tion of Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Fol­low You into the Dark,” as played on a Hel­lo Kit­ty key­board?

See all of these videos and more—including Bumblefoot’s soul­ful Hel­lo Kit­ty met­al clas­sics cov­ers and a pot­ty-mouthed Mike Port­noy bash­ing away on a Hel­lo Kit­ty drumk­it—at Loudwire’s YouTube chan­nel.

via Gui­tar World

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A One-Man Pink Floyd Band Cre­ates Note-Per­fect Cov­ers of “Echoes,” “Com­fort­ably Numb,” “Moth­er” & Oth­er Clas­sics: Watch 19-Year-Old Wun­derkind Ewan Cun­ning­ham in Action

Calm Down & Study with Relax­ing Piano, Jazz & Harp Cov­ers of Music from Hayao Miyaza­ki Films

Mis­ter Rogers Turns Kids On to Jazz with Help of a Young Wyn­ton Marsalis and Oth­er Jazz Leg­ends (1986)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.