Out of limbo: Lamb of God
With their lead singer cleared of killing a fan, US metallers Lamb of God are glad to be back on the road, says bassist John Campbell
LAMB OF GOD were on course to be one of the biggest heavy metal bands in the world until lead singer Randy Blythe was arrested in Prague last year and charged with the manslaughter of 19-year-old fan Daniel Nosek, who had invaded the stage at a Lamb of God concert in the Czech capital in 2010. His acquittal has allowed the band to continue their tour to promote their latest album, Resolution.
Did you ever fear that it would be the end of Lamb of God?
Absolutely; having to take stock the way that we did definitely changes the perspective on things and on what it means to be in a band. I’d already gone through the psychological shock of that being a possibility, so I have a more mature and realistic view of the future.
Fans know Randy Blythe from his aggressive stage persona, but after he was charged, he came across as a thoughtful and serene guy. Was that the guy you know?
It was the guy I came to know. It wasn’t the person I knew prior to him becoming sober.
Will you continue to allow mosh pits at your concerts?
I don’t think we have the option of allowing or disallowing. It is part of the culture and what happens. We haven’t changed what we have done in the past. What happened [in Prague] was a tragic accident.
You’ve toured with Slayer in the past. Did Jeff Hanneman’s death make metal musicians take stock of their lifestyles?
You’d love to think that lessons would be learned. I personally have quit drinking since October last year. My goal is to make it to a year and that was prior to Jeff Hanneman passing. It is sad and tragic and I hope lessons are learned, but if you look at past history, it doesn’t seem so at all.
You’re headlining a few festivals in Europe this summer. Why does the US not have a metal festival circuit like Europe does?
That’s a good question, but the answer is ‘I don’t know’. People are satisfied with the bigger club shows. Americans don’t handle the freedom of the festival circuit very well. When they tried to do Woodstock in 1994, there were fires, assaults etc. Metallica have done the Orion festivals and Slipknot the Knot Festivals so there are some attempts to do it. It is really great to see Metallica and Slipknot put some effort in to develop that missing link in our entertainment scene. For our part, we just did a secondary market run in the US, hitting places that we don’t usually get to after we hit the bigger cities. It was a success. We sold out a bunch of the shows. It was nice to get back out on road doing what we do.
Resolution reached No 3 in the Billboard Top 200. Were you pleased with the reception that album got from fans and critics?
This is nothing that we ever planned on. It is pretty crazy now. We started in 1994 and had to book ourselves as a punk-metal band because metal was such a bad word. The 1990s were not a very healthy time for metal thanks to Kurt Cobain and hairspray and spandex, but it did go underground. In the late 1990s you had the new wave of American heavy metal, but we weren’t much of a blip on the radar for the first six to eight years of our career. We didn’t sign with Sony until 2004. Now here we are quite a few years later, with four Grammy nominations, charting in the Billboard, and playing with a lot of huge metal bands. We never expected it.
You were nominated for a Grammy this year for Ghost Walking, yet Halestorm won the category. A lot of metal fans think the Grammy awards are a joke when it comes to metal. Where do you stand on the issue?
The way the Grammys are voted on may not be the most accurate way to gauge what the general cultural opinion is. Knowing that, I’m not upset when we don’t win a Grammy. Going to the Grammys is great because I can take my wife and visit Los Angeles once a year. I’m just happy to be nominated. Getting the attention is great, seeing as we are a band that never set out to win one, but you can’t take it seriously. It’s just a fun weekend.
Lamb of God play the Olympia, Dublin, on Sunday and the Limelight in Belfast on Monday