Ozzfest was never intended for the meek, and this year’s incarnation of Ozzy Osbourne’s traveling den of music and mischief truly drives that point home. The reason why can be summed up in three little words: Lamb Of God! Frontman Randy Blythe, the brothers Adler (guitarist Will and drummer Chris), guitarist Mark Morton and bassist John Campbell compose the group who after several years on a major label still swear by their underground formulas of delirium inducing speed and hellacious screams, all backed by a work ethic as unrelenting as their rhythm section. That tidal wave of power combined with Lamb Of God’s reputation for being a decimating live act has elevated not only the band, but has palpably revived the meaning of true metal in the public forum. Look, they even got Epic Records to put out a reissue called Burn The Priest, of course the band’s former moniker.
From their Phoenix, AZ, stop on Ozzfest, drummer Chris Adler recounted how the band have gotten to where they are today, what they have learned along the way and lastly, Chris the man who drives LOG’s hypnotizing labyrinths of technicality delivered some news that will have you wanting to renew your passports to travel to a very special concert in England.
How has Ozzfest been so far?
It’s great! We really didn’t know what to expect with the free show and everything, and it turns out, it’s doing really, really well. There are some great bands on it that have been able to take advantage of the fact that the tickets are free, and there are a lot of smaller bands on the second stage that are really coming out and kicking butt. There is some great stuff going on the main stage too. We are having a blast too, and there are great crowds and it’s a great slot to have. We are making the most of it for sure!
It must be amazing for you to on right before Ozzy Osbourne!
When we initially got the call, we were in negotiations with a couple of different tours, and when that offer came in, we just looked at each other. And there is no way you turn that down. I mean, that has been what we’ve been working for 13 years for, to share that stage with the people who helped create what it is that we do…we are honored to be there, and I think we are holding our own pretty well.
It also seems like the heaviest Ozzfest ever.
We did one in 2004, it was pretty heavy back then with a bunch of heavy hitters. But this year, especially with the bands on the second stage, there is some really brutal stuff out there. We are doing off dates with some of those bands, with Behemoth, Hatebreed and 3 Inches Of Blood. We kind of grabbed the super heavy hitters over there and are going off and doing off dates with those guys.
What can you say about the crowds. Does it seem like there are more people attending since it’s free?
Well I think that there are a lot of people who maybe couldn’t afford to come in the past, or they are the type of people who only go to one or two shows a year, and these are kind of the casual fans. Especially the bands on the second stage, they might not know who they are but they are coming to check it out early, and they are loving it. But the main stage bands who might have a little more recognition, everyone is really piling it on over there, after the second stage is done, so it worked out well for everybody.
When you first heard that it was going to be a free show, did it kind of trip you up? Like how is this going to work?
Yeah, absolutely, I mean, it still does. I don’t get it, but it’s not my problem. If Ozzy and Sharon can figure out how to make it free and everyone still has a good time, good for them, and good for the fans too. I mean, it’s killer. We have been out touring for years and years and years, and it’s the first time that we got an opportunity that lets people come in and see what we do for free. We don’t sit in a practice space and think about how much money we are going to make with that song, we write songs for people that want to hear it. It’s great and it’s a cool experience for everybody.
You were voted the top drummer of 2007 in Modern Drummer magazine. How did you feel about that?
Yeah, that blew me away. Modern Drummer has been very supportive of the stuff that I have been doing for the past couple of years and when I was starting to play drums, that magazine and the festivals, CDs that they put out, it was so intimidating to me because those were the really hyper schooled PHD percussion guys, the guys that sit around all day and got nothing else to do but play drums. I almost avoided it because they were so out of my league and now to have them have my back, and to be celebrated in that publication is amazing! I couldn’t be more flattered.