New American metal merchants, Lamb Of God
have come a long way since their humble beginnings in Richmond, Virginia. The past few years especially, through non-stop touring and a fistful of successful album releases, particularly has seen the five piece rise to the top of the metal heap.
Their metal supremacy was further set in stone when the Los Angeles Times recently wrote, on the band's blistering performance on Ozzfest 2007
, Lamb of God rule the American wing of modern metal
. In November, the band will head off on one more tour for the current touring cycle behind their acclaimed album Sacrament, before taking time off to prepare for the next album. In between tour preparations, Joe Matera
caught up with Willie Adler
for this interview for Ultimate-Guitar.
Ultimate-Guitar: Come November 28, Lamb of God will be kicking off its final tour behind Sacrament before taking a well earned break to start working on the next album.
Yeah this upcoming tour is going to be a co-headlining tour between us and Killswitch Engage. Since it is going to be our last tour for us, we're hoping to hit some pretty big places so we can go out with a bang.
Have you begun the writing process for the next album?
We really haven't got much material written as yet for the next album. And though I'm always playing guitar, I really haven't sat down at all and put myself in that writing mode.
Do you think with the enormous success you've had with the last album - Sacrament - there will be a lot more pressure placed on your shoulders by the record label to continue that success?
No, because it was the same thing on every album we've had. Every album has taken us to a different level from New American Gospel to As The Palaces Burn to Ashes of The Wake and on to Sacrament. So this next album is just one more step forward for us. We've never had pressure put on us from the outside unless it has been just us pressuring ourselves to be better musicians and to write better songs. So we're not really looking at it as an obstacle as far as the success of Sacrament is concerned.
Have you any firm ideas to what the musical direction on the next album will go in?
Not as of yet. Like every album we do, we don't want to make the same album twice. It will probably have some new things on there but I'm sure that the Lamb of God fans won't be disappointed.
You've spent the last 18 months or so, on the road. With the hardships involved in such a heavy touring schedule, how do you all manage to keep your sanity intact?
It is really hard to say, man. I suppose we do a lot of different things. We certainly miss home of course and we all miss our families but each day is a new day and so we try to take it as a new day and just cope with each other. We've grown up pretty much together and we all know each other's likes and dislikes and differences and so we try and not to step on anybody's toes and kind of relax when we can.
Though Lamb of God is more of a live act, do you enjoy the environment of the studio?
They both have their own great qualities. Of course, being on road can get lonely at times because you miss being at home but playing shows is really a great thing. And funnily it is something that I totally miss once I'm home. Being in the studio is equally as fun too because you're in the process of writing and creating and because you never know what is going to happen until the end result.
You've toured with countless bands so I want to ask you about a couple of them. First up, what was touring with Slayer like?
|"We really haven't got much material written as yet for the next album."|
Slayer was a good tour. When we first did a couple shows with them in London, it was the first time we ever did any shows with them and that was really something because we all grew up listening to Slayer. Then as time went on we did all these other tours with Slayer and it started becoming sort of old hat, you know, it'll always be us and Slayer on the bill together. But we became good friends with those guys, played video games with Kerry, drank with them and always had a great time. Tom even had his family out for one of the tours we did throughout the US so we hung out with his kids. The Slayer guys are really good dudes.
And what about touring with Megadeth?
Megadeth were also fun. Dave is a trip, man. When we first got asked to do the Gigantour we didn't know what to expect because we had heard all kinds of stories about Dave Mustaine. But once we got out there, we quickly became friends with Dave and hung out a lot with him and also found out a lot about his little quirks and had a great time with him. You know, Dave is a really nice guy and really funny too.
What about the parties while on tour, have things ever gotten really debauched, you know whole the sex, drugs and rock and roll
I don't know, it is hard to say man. I think the entirety of Ozzfest was pretty much like that all the time. It had all those things combined. It may be a very organized fest but if you ever get a chance to get a backstage pass to second stage, you'll definitely see what I'm talking about.
You were originally with Framus but now you are endorsed by ESP Guitars. Why the switch?
It was on the Sounds of the Underground tour when I met Allen Steelgrave from ESP Guitars and who put that idea in my ear. But at the time I was fairly happy with Framus but it came a point in time where I started thinking more and more about it. So I gave a shout out to Allen to see what would happen and it has been smooth sailing from there on. He has been nothing but the best and recently put out my signature model. And that has been great. The guitar is based on the Eclipse body style, which basically like a Les Paul and I've made a quarter inch thicker for resonance and it's an alder body, has the Seymour Duncan '59 pickups in it and I do different inlays for the different guitars like for the frets from the ninth to the 12th, it has the Lamb of God flag. The color scheme is like a green camo[flague] finish. I'm working on doing different colors for the next lot like a black on black camo and a white on white camo.
Since we last spoke, has there been any change in your backline too?
There have been no changes in that department. I've been using the Mesa Boogie Mark IV for probably the past four or five years and I've been happy with that. Recently I did try combining the Roadstar from Mesa-Boogie with that head to run in stereo but I still haven't worked out the chinks in that department.
In what ways do you think you've evolved as a musician from the early days of the band?
Good question. I don't know, every day is different and every day, something else will sound interesting to me. I'm just happy that my mind is still open and it is not jaded in playing the same stuff. And that I can still be inspired by different stuff. I'm happy that I can take that and just run with it in my own kind of style of writing and playing.
Because there is so much down time when touring, do you tend to work on tweaking your sound?
Yes definitely, as there are always guys coming out on the road wanting you to try certain stuff. And though I'll never switch from my Mark IV, there will always be stuff to implement in my configuration, like little things here and there. And on the road is the best time to do that stuff. We could do not do that when we were doing Ozzfest because it was such a time table to get on and off. But hopefully in this next tour with the co-headlining thing, we'll have a little bit more time throughout the day setting up and whatnot and so I'll be able to implement some different stuff.
Is there much difference between your studio rig to that which you use live?
Really there is not that much different between both as we really go for trying to make it sound live as comfortable to the studio sound as much as we can. The only real difference that sometimes does come across in a live setting is with the overdub sections of recording, where we have added layers of different effects pedals and stuff like that. But as far as all the sounds of the guitars go, it is pretty similar.
Have your goals for the band changed in any way in the wake of the success you've achieved?
|"I'm just happy that my mind is still open and it is not jaded in playing the same stuff."|
I just want us to remain doing what we're doing and be happy with what we're doing. We've been doing this for more than ten years now. The only objective we have right now is to remain happy with each other and to keep making music with each other. Though we've done so much in the metal genre, I don't imagine us breaking out into the mainstream. For being in our genre, all I can hope for right now is that we all remain friends and are happy with what we're doing.
You have a new DVD scheduled for release in 2008 that documents the Sacrament process from recording sessions to the tour cycle. What can fans expect?
Fans can expect a little of the same and some different stuff too. There will be concert footage, backstage stuff as well as some studio footage which we have compiled. It's going to be a document of all these tours that we've done. It will be a compilation of all that stuff. If you've seen our last DVD, we're not ones for making the same kind of rock and roll DVDs that a lot of bands do where you see normal stuff. We're pretty honest and gritty with what we decide to put on tape and hopefully that helps the fans to relate to us as human beings and as just normal guys.
Finally, if I was to ask you to tell me one thing that would surprise fans, what would that be?
That we listen to a lot of hip-hop and that we really listen to almost everything except for metal. Chris is definitely the purist metal head as he's always bringing in all the new metals bands worth checking out. He's metal all the way. Don't get me wrong, we all still listen to metal and love it, but there is other stuff out there that kind of keeps us fresh and on our toes. And incorporating that into what we do is I think the key to what we're doing. We're not narrow-minded about one genre. You know I can't just play metal for one hour on stage and then get off and go sit on the bus and crank up the metal
2007 Joe Matera