|CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS FROM THE GIZMACHI/SHADOWS FALL/LAMB OF GOD 3/8/05 NATIONWIDE ARENA SHOW|
Lamb of God are a true metal success story; ten years of extreme metal, going from original moniker Burn The Priest to signing with a major label, Epic Records. They’ve played Ozzfest, headlined their own tours and are now in the midst of a special guest slot on the Slipknot tour hitting arenas across the United States. Lamb of God landed in Columbus, Ohio’s Nationwide Arena and proved that you don’t need Halloween masks or multiple drummers to keep thousands of fans attention. They tore through a powerful set that featured some incredibly tight extreme metal that proved they have what it takes to dominate any size of venue. From Out Of Nowhere editor Rob Kern sat down with bassist John Campbell shortly before Lamb of God took the stage.
So who feeds your fish when you are gone? You are some road hogs.
JC: (Laughs) We are just back on the road, we just had a nice little bit of time off. But last year, we were heavy on the road. We’ve got girlfriends, wives, 2 goldfish and a little puppy at home and my fiancée takes care of them.
Last time you guys rolled through Columbus you were playing a substantially smaller venue (Al Rosa Villa), so this time around it’s a bit of a step up, are you looking forward to the arena life?
JC: Yeah, we’ve done two or three arena dates so far; it’s pretty impressive. Really cool, I’d say. The gang showers are kinda hurting’ (laughs) but you know, whatever… We played an off date last night in Pittston, Pa in a normal-sized club that we’re more comfortable in and have spent more time doing. We’re going to do more of that on this tour but the arena shit is pretty cool. We’re walking around some big-assed buildings that they cram a whole bunch of people in.
There’s a whole generation of people out there not familiar with arena metal shows, it seems like most bands hit the smaller clubs or summer outdoor venues on package tours.
JC: Yeah, it’s been awhile since people have put them together.
Now in one night we’ve got Lamb of God at one arena and just up the street Motley Crue is playing tonight at another arena.
JC: (laughs) Fucking Motley Crue.
I’m gonna go Mick Mars tipping later tonight if you want to tag along…
JC: (laughs) Yeah! I might want to go do that, it might be fun.
Now that you have a taste of the arena life are you going to get your own separate buses and speak to one another through your lawyers?
JC: No, No, (laughs) We’re pretty simple dudes and we like to keep things as simple as possible. I don’t ever foresee any kind of ridiculous expenses being justified by this group of dudes anytime. Everybody is tight and realistic about things.
It has to be pretty surreal; three years ago did you ever think that you would be playing arenas?
JC: Shit, I can remember the jump to the bus, man. The jump from when we didn’t have to share a bus with another band and now we’ve got ten people on our bus. We just stepped up to a tractor-trailer for our gear this tour, which I don’t know if we’ll continue that on but it’s definitely some pretty crazy shit. We’ve been doing this for ten years so you would hope that after ten years you would get to the next level, but yeah, it’s so crazy.
Epic has really stepped up to the plate for Lamb of God; that has to be quite a sense of accomplishment.
JC: Yeah, just like I would have never expected a tractor-trailer or arena, I would have never expected a major label to pick up an extreme metal band. We’ve never done this thinking that would happen because it was ridiculous to think it would happen. It’s pretty strange. I’ll enjoy the trip as long as it lasts and if it’s over tomorrow, it’s been a fucking amazing time, man. More than I ever expected, I would like to get to Japan first though.
When Epic signed you they really wanted a release quick…
JC: Yeah, they definitely did. We were just getting ready to go on tour and the scheduling worked that we started in January of 2004, writing and rehearsing the record in January, February, March, April. May and June we were in the studio and then in July we were on the road. So in six months we wrote, rehearsed, learned and then recorded three times in that four month period in our practice space just dicking around. Kind of just pre-production recording. It was a lot of work and we were a little intimidated by having to do in four months what we had done in two years previously but it worked out well. I think the pressure worked in this case on us incredibly well. We couldn’t dissect songs like we normally do, we had to trust ourselves a whole lot more. We’ve made the best record we could have.
It really shows in the energy and intensity displayed on the release.
JC: One thing that might be a shortcoming of having to do it so quickly is, I don’t think it got far enough away from the last record, necessarily, but in a product-minded major label mentality it may be a good thing.
So Epic didn’t try to come in and tinker or change the sound in any way?
JC: No, not in the slightest. They were hands off while we spent the four months writing and rehearsing and in the studio, though we sent them some of the stuff we had recorded. They were just happy to hear that we were making stuff and people came in the studio and listened but they were just, “Sounds good, Sounds good...” I think it was because they had no fucking clue what to expect or what it really meant when they were listening to it. Hopefully that will stay the same, from the beginning they told us that they would not be all up in our shit. The moment that changes is the moment we would, I think, aggressively try to not be in that situation.
That’s great, it seems that many bands, when newly signed to a major tend to be micromanaged by the label.
JC: I think that we’re a different band in that we’ve been doing this for so long and have seen some success doing this. They didn’t have a band in Lamb of God that was going to have a big radio hit and was used to playing shows for 150.00 bucks a night and we had just progressed our game way farther along than their newer bands.
You mention not having a big radio hit, what do you think about satellite radio? It kind of opens up that avenue for heavier bands…
JC: Both XM and Sirius have been great to us. My Dad is a huge fan of XM; he’s got a truck with a receiver. But I gotta tell you Sirius is... I’m probably going to get in trouble with XM here. XM is great too but Jose at Sirius is kicking ass over there in the name of metal. Matt Rock is also doing a great job; those dudes are just very excited about metal and very involved. They are out of New York, so there is a lot more going on than XM, which is based in D.C. But as far as satellite radio in general, I think it’s fucking amazing for us. It’s everyone in the country listening to the same thing; it’s fucking cool, man.
Talking radio, there’s an AM station in Richmond, Va., WCLM 1450, a friend of mine, Chris Bopst has the Bopst Show, which you can also get on the Internet at www.wclmradio.com. His whole thing is that he’s fighting against the corporate machine of radio and he’s just playing good music. It’s more than just rock, he’ll play us and some local bands, anything and everything. You can call him up with the weirdest fucking requests and the dude will have it. That’s wclmradio.com WCLM 1450 in the Richmond area and yes it does fuzz out when you drive under a bridge (laughs).
You guys also have the re-release of the Burn The Priest record?
JC: Yeah, we’ve also got the DVD coming out; I keep getting the dates mixed up. March is the Burn The Priest and it will be released with some footage from the upcoming DVD. The disc has been remixed and remastered, it’s fucking amazing that a major label, Epic Records, is putting out a release that’s self-titled Burn The Priest. Who woulda thunk?
When we changed our name from Burn The Priest it was because we were being pigeonholed as “oh, another satanic metal band.” We’re not satanic, sure we love metal and who in metal doesn’t have some love for Satan (laughs)? We’re not a satanic band and then, on this tour, we get out to L.A. and we’ve been banned from playing because we used to be called Burn The Priest. They assumed from that, that we lyrically spoke against religion. Fucked up as it is, it’s amazing because it got us shit-tons of press and we are going and doing a headlining show instead and it’s already sold out. The way the business works, when you headline you make more money and when you are support, you don’t. So they pushed us into a situation where we have to go make more money and play in front of more of just our fans. CNN.com carried the story, the New York Times carried it; more people heard about us because we were banned than if they had just kept their mouth shut and let us play the show.
My first thought when I heard that was, “Wow, I’m in the wrong business, God pays way better than my boss…”
JC: (laughs) Well, they don’t have to pay taxes. Taxes are a fucking bitch. It’s interesting being that we are such a grass roots, out of your garage… we’ve been a band for ten years and we were signed by Epic in 2003. It was eight years of still working and then switching over to being a “pro” band. Taxes are one of the hard lessons in running your own fucking business, anyone out there who is gonna do it, man, fuck the government, man (laughs). Goddamn taxes, motherfuckers (laughs).
Lets talk quickly about the DVD.
JC: It’s called “Killadelphia” and we booked two nights at the Trocadero in Philly and the reason we chose Philly was we started seeing a fan base develop where the kids that came out were way into it. They would always come out to the shows and they are great fucking kids. We still hang out with everybody when we go back there. We filmed two sold out nights and we were just last night looking at the first cuts and it looks fucking amazing. The behind the scenes stuff is fucking ridiculous. I’m not going to build it up too much because we want to wait and see what makes the final cut but it’s so brutally honest in showing the behind the scenes. It’s incredibly dramatic and goofy shit too. I can’t wait until it is packaged and in stores.
How many cameras did you guys use for the live filming?
JC: Fuck if I know, man, I use four strings on my bass (laughs) and banged my head a whole lot. It was shot by High Roller Studios, a dude named Doug Spangenberg ran the ship on the project. I can’t say enough good stuff about that guy, they have done a bunch of stuff like the Hellfest dvd’s, they are great dudes, check out their website at www.highrollerstudios.com, you can see little featurettes and teasers there.
Have you guys snuck off with Slipknot’s masks yet?
JC: (laughs) No, man, I think I would have to know them incredibly well to do that. We know Gwar really well, we’re from the same city as those dudes and have played shows with them, I wouldn’t steal their fucking masks, that’s cold hearted and it would be fucking with somebody’s livelihood. It would be like going and stealing the mechanics wrenches, it could be funny, but he can’t get his job done. There is definitely other ways to fuck with people.
I’ve heard some rumblings about a big summer tour anything definite yet?
JC: We went to Headbangers’ Ball to tape a show that will be airing in a couple of weeks and we were told specifically not to speak of it. But I will say that there is a potential festival coming together that we will be a part of and from what I’ve seen on paper it’s going to be fucking amazing.
I’ve seen a potential lineup for the proposed festival and it looks great.
Well, Lamb of God wasn’t mentioned…
JC: Well, we may just take the summer off… (laughs)
Nonsense question time, have you ever taken Steroids to increase the power of your metal might?
JC: (laughs) I don’t think steroids would be the drug of choice to increase your metal might. It takes some cock to do the metal might. I drink Red Bull before we play a show.
Yeah, any drug that makes your head bigger and your balls smaller isn’t a good thing…
JC: Yeah, that’s steroids and cocaine (laughs).
Do beer and ramen noodles taste better on a major label budget?
JC: (laughs) That’s a funny question. We’re off the chips and salsa diet that we’ve been on for other tours. We’ve ate a lot of that kind of shit coming up as we became a professional band. Now when we go out and take other bands out with us, which itself is a weird thing, we don’t bend over backwards but we’ve been on tours where it’s like, “okay, you guys are support you have to wait until the headliners eat”. The buffet is right there and the headliners are doing press or whatever, so you’re starving, so sit there and wait for the big guys to eat. We don’t do shit like that, everyone eats, eating is important.
JC, thanks much, anything you want to add to wrap things up?
JC: Thanks for coming out and check out wclmradio.com, it’s the Bopst show. Everyone out there check it out, it’s the widest range of music you’re going to hear and one of the funniest motherfuckers you’ll hear on radio.