Lamb Of God got to the top of modern heavy metal by being one of the most competitive and compelling acts on the road. But, as most of you probably know, the band learned how truly fragile their career is this past June when vocalist Randy Blythe was arrested on manslaughter charges after the band arrived in Prague.
The band released their seventh studio album in January of 2012 and had a two-year world tour planned. One can only imagine the surprise, frustration, confusion and fear the band and crew went through after their frontman was taken to a foreign jail in the middle of a tour for a crime that allegedly occurred over two years prior.
Lamb, of course, was never notified of the charges by the U.S. government and entered the country unwittingly. Blythe was repeatedly denied bail until August, about 40 days after being arrested, when he was set free with a court date set for January 2013. After having canceled countless shows, the band wasted no time getting back on stage, playing Knotfest in Iowa and Minnesota, and setting up a U.S. tour this fall and winter before Randy’s day in court.
Blythe reportedly faces five to 10 years in Czech prison. Prosecutors allege that in a 2010 concert in the country, a young male fan jumped on stage and was involved in an altercation with Blythe. The fan is said to have died from injuries he sustained in the incident. Blythe has said he doesn’t remember much from concert in question, given the amount of time that has passed and the number of concerts the band has played since then. He has also said, however, that he has never assaulted a fan. He called this particular incident a “tragic coincidence.”
In spite of everything, bassist John Campbell appeared to be his usual buoyant self, taking some time to discuss his growing perspective on the Resolution, the group’s plans going forward and their awkward and uncertain future.
There’s already been so much written about Randy’s legal situation; is there anything that you feel like you need to clear up or put out there for people to know?
No, I definitely do think there are things that need to be cleared up, but I don’t think that has to be done by me standing on a soapbox and yelling at people. If someone has a question—maybe I misunderstood your question—in an interview if someone asks me a question, I’ll definitely answer to the best of my ability. As far as me going out of my way, feeling like I need to raise awareness, that is something I’m not necessarily doing. The people that would be concerned are aware, and as the situation develops—because it certainly is an unresolved situation at this point—that may change.
Till now we’ve had an auction to raise money. We’ve auctioned off some of our very personal gear that we use for making Lamb Of God, as well as I put a painting in there that my friend Dave Brockie painted. Certainly having people getting up and shouting and raising awareness [at that time] was important. In the future, any other things I may come up with may involve that.
I don’t feel there is a need for me to go out and grab everybody by the shoulders and shake them and say, “Holy shit! My friend is in some serious shit!”
What did Dave Brockie paint for you?
I had him paint a picture of Oderus [Urungus] killing me. So what he came back with was a painting of Oderus running me through with a sword.
Has that been sold yet?
Yeah. Personally I put in that and two main basses of mine that were my two main basses from tour.
Have the funds raised so far been enough to cover Randy’s legal expenses?
Well, anything helps. But at this point we’re uncertain as to how it’s going to go. We’ll need a ridiculous amount more should this thing go to trial and should we have to vigorously defend Randy in a court of law…
But yes, absolutely, it was a huge help towards covering the insane legal bills that we are facing and potentially will face more insane bills in the future.
How in tune are you with the speculation and the commentary about what the band is going through?
I’m not that in tune with it. When the story first broke, I peeked at what the general sentiment was, but no, I’m not very in tuned with that at all. I am in tuned with when we played two shows after Randy’s release in Iowa and Minnesota as part of Knotfest. The fans there were very supportive, chanting Randy’s name, as well as the band’s name.
So there’s been overwhelming support from what I am in tune with.
I’ve heard a lot of people say that they think because of what you’re going through, the next Lamb record will be the best thing you guys have ever done.
(Laughs) Well, to be honest, regardless of the situation, we strive to make what we are working on better than what we have done. So that could be said of any release that we put out. At least that’s our goal coming in.
Maybe that’s just wishful thinking, but the future at this point is uncertain and we are pushing towards positivity and hoping for the best.
Before Randy’s arrest, you guys were getting ready for two years of touring; how did you deal with that confusion of being put in this situation so suddenly.
Well, we had a two-year plan laid out that we were almost to the halfway point on when this happened. We had to cancel our last tour, which was a run of the U.S. with Dethklok [and Gojira]. So now that Randy’s been released we know that we can tour. We put together this U.S. tour so we could properly tour Resolution in the States.
As far as how I dealt with the 40 days Randy was incarcerated, it was a very frustrating time. From the moment he was taken, I felt like we kept getting told, “It’ll only be a couple more days.” So imagine that frustration going on for 40 days.
I can’t imagine it, fortunately, I guess.
Well, I hope you never have to experience anything like it.
Are there any other arrest warrants out for you guys in foreign countries that the U.S. government hasn’t told you about?
(Laughs) You’re the first person to ask that question. That’s probably worth investigating.
You guys haven’t put in a call?
No, to be honest, as far as I know. Maybe the lawyer did that.
Your mind covers many bases.
Going with that, are you going to be worrying about getting arrested as the plane lands next time you go to a foreign country?
Well, to be honest, there’s still an unresolved situation and we’ll probably not be playing shows outside the States until this is resolved.
Now that you guys are roughly 10 months from the album release, like you said, you haven’t properly toured Resolution in America; do you have a bit more perspective on the album and some of the signature tracks?
Yeah. I’m still incredibly proud of it. I think it was received very well. I believe it’s our best record to date, as cliché as that sounds.
Are there some tracks that haven’t gone over live that well, or some that went better than expected?
“The Number Six” didn’t necessarily go over live very well. We definitely are into the crowd moving and being energized. We felt like, when we played that song, we didn’t get quite the reaction we were looking for. That one has kind of fallen off the setlist.
That’s a bummer, I really like that one.
Yeah, I know! I love that song!
Is the prep for this tour any different?
No, not necessarily. We do have some new production elements that we’re bringing into the show—which I guess is pretty big—but that’s kind of going on through email and the bulk of the work is being done outside of Philly.
We’re adding a video element to the live show. It’s hopefully going to make for a very entertaining production.
Lamb Of God’s tour with In Flames, Hatebreed and Sylosis will hit the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, PA, on Nov. 14, and the Roseland Ballroom in NYC on Nov. 16. For more information, go to lamb-of-god.com.