LAMB OF GOD
9/29/2004 - interview by Jay
LP: FIRST OFF, CONGRATULATIONS ON AN AMAZING ALBUM. THE ENERGY ALONE, I CAN ONLY IMAGE THIS IS WHAT IT FELT LIKE WHEN SLAYER RELEASED "REIGN IN BLOOD". HOW DID THE BAND GO ABOUT CHOOSING MACHINE TO PRODUCE AND WHAT DID HE BRING TO THE TABLE?
John Campbell: Well, what he brought to the table...he was the guy who knew his shit cold, but wasn't who everyone else was using. It was a way for us to differentiate ourselves from everyone else who we're in this scene with.
LP: WAS THIS ALBUM APPROACHED IN ANY DIFFERENT MANNER THAN YOUR LAST RECORD, "AS THE PALACES BURN"?
JC: Absolutely. We were fresh off the signing with Epic, and they wanted a record quickly. The basically picked a date and said "we want a record by then." With our touring schedule, it basically gave us four months to write the record. The last record took almost two years to write, so that was a huge change. So, starting January 04, we started heading to the practice space religiously, fought and wrote, and got this record done. When we brought Machine in, it was really the first time we had done any pre-production. It was a way for us to finish off writing these songs we had been sweating over for four months.
LP: LISTENING TO ASHES OF THE WAKE, ONE THING STANDS OUT IS THAT ALL OF THE RIFFS ARE THERE TO SERVE THE SONG. IN A WAY, IT SEEMS AS IF THE FAT HAS BEEN TRIMMED OFF AND YOU WERE LEFT WITH THE LEAN MASS. WAS THIS A CONCIOUS EFFORT IN THE WRITING PROCESS?
JC: That's just what happens when we don't take two years to write a record. We have to trust ourselves and what we're doing, and just go with it to a point. Maybe we got a little bit lucky that the good riffs came out, maybe it was the pressure, I'm not sure. It was a really different way to write a record, and it seems to have worked pretty well. In a way, I think we may have fallen short, in that it's not much of a departure from the last record, though that's not necessarily a bad thing at all.
LP: HOW HAS THE RELATIONSHIP WITH EPIC BEEN? HAS THEY BEEN HANDS OFF FOR THE MOST PART?
JC: They have been amazingly hands off. We were a little worried they would be in there telling us how to do things, or pushing for more of a radio single. They have not been like that at all. They've been amazingly supportive, and the only thing they have been major label like about was wanting a sick record produced fairly quickly.
LP: WERE ANY OF THESE SONGS ROAD TESTED WHILE YOU WERE AT OZZFEST THIS SUMMER?
JC: On Ozzfest we only had a half hour to play, and the record wasn't out yet, so we were just playing one song on Ozzfest, the current single "Laid to Rest." We tried to throw in a few others on our off dates.
LP: HOW WAS IT HAVING CHRIS POLAND AND ALEX SKOLNICK COME IN AND PLAY ON THE TITLE TRACK?
JC: Amazingly cool and flattering. It was really weird in some ways, because for us as band, these guys were like heroes. I'm sure there's some parallels to how kids view us, though I don't really understand that as much as I understand someone looking up to Skolnick or Poland. (laughs) To have those guys take the time to come down and add to our record, just amazing. I'm still a little shocked it all worked out.
LP: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THRASH AND METAL COMING BACK INTO THE FOREFRONT, AND MAYBE BEING ATOP THE HEAP OF BANDS THAT ARE HELPING TO RID THE AIRWAVES OF SO MUCH CRAP?
JC: I think the underground metal scene that's been brewing for a good ten years is finally coming around to reaching a wider audience. I think it's awesome that we're part of this scene that's kind of bubbled up and gotten the attention. We've been a band for ten years now, so for us, we're pretty amazed, this isn't really supposed to have happened, you know? Soon enough though, another Cobain or whoever is going to come along, and metal probably won't be the focus, so, it's all relative.
LP: YOU HAVE A HEADLINING TOUR APPROACHING WITH FEAR FACTORY AND THROWDOWN FOR THE FALL. WHAT DOES THE ROAD HOLD FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR?
JC: We're going to do two weeks in the U.K, the first couple weeks of December, and then we are home. We're looking at a couple of different options for the New Year, but haven't narrowed it down yet.
The last few years have seen metal and thrash moving back into the forefront of music. Leading this so called "New Wave of American Heavy Metal" pack is none other than Richmond, VA natives Lamb of God. Fresh of the heals of signing with a major label (Epic Records), the band have unleashed what is soon to be a metal classic in their third release "Ashes of the Wake." Brutal in every sense of the word, the album showcases the bands steam rolled approach and air tight riffage, setting it atop the metal heap. On some much needed downtime after spending the summer destroying the masses on Ozzfest , I caught up with bassist John Campbell.