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 flagLAMB OF GOD - interview with D. Randall Blythe, March 2007
The infamous D. Randall Blythe, vocalist of one of the world's hottest bands in the last decade, namely Lamb of God, took a short break near the tail end of the band's killer Sacrament U.S. tour with Trivium, Machine Head, and Gojira to talk for a few minutes with Tartarean Desire's American Editor, Tony Belcher, about any number of things, including hairdressers, Eyehategod, and his side band, Halo of Locusts. After a few stalled attempts, that is. Read on for the hilarity that is Randy. You may be surprised to find out that he really doesn't care what you think. About damn near anything except his band, that is.
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Interview attempt #1.

[The phone is ringing....]

[Randy's voice:] Heeey what's up? It's Randy. I lost my phone on this tour so I lost all the numbers in it [that] I haven't erased. Leave me your name and your number. I'll put it in my phone book and try and get back to you. Keep it real, y'heard?

[Automated recording voice:] Sorry. That mailbox is full. Please try again later. Thank you for calling. *beep*

Interview attempt #2.

[The phone is ringing....]

Hey, Randy. This is Tony Belcher. Brian Rocha from Adrenaline [PR] had set up an interview for me....
Okay, dude, I'm doin' a meet and greet. Can you call me in 10 minutes?
Ten please. Alright, thanks.
Alright. Bye.
Interview attempt #3.

[The phone is ringing....]

Hey, Randy. This is Tony Belcher again.
Hey, what's up, dude?
How's Florida treatin' you so far?
Ahh, it's good. I just woke up, man.
Haha. Always nice to get up for the meet and greet, right?
It's quite -- hold on one second? [Another call came in to Randy.]
Okay. [Pause for ~30 seconds.]
Yes sir.
Hey, man. Sorry, dude. Believe it or not, as weird as it is, that was my wife's hairdresser.
Right on! Hahaha.
They're in town here for some fuckin' weird reason.
That's important stuff. Gotta keep the boss [implying the wife, of course] happy!
Yeeeah, exactly. So what's shakin'?
I'm just tryin' to get a few quick questions in for you before you have to go do more of the touring pleasantries.
I'm callin' you from Newport News...
Right on.
...Here in the commonwealth [of Virginia].
Yeah, I saw the [area code].
Right on. Let me start off by asking this one... You guys have toured with some of the biggest names in Metal over the past few years, most notably Slayer and Megadeth, and soon Heaven and Hell. How has that roller coaster been for you personally?
Uh, it's a lot of fun. Hahaha, y'know?
I'm sure it's a lot different than comin' up in Richmond, [Virginia,] right?
Yeah, man. It's been a lot of fun. You get to play with, y'know, legends, pretty much, so.... [More laughter.]
Do you have any one favorite tour thus far?
No, not really. They're all different. I mean, the Slayer U.S. run probably was really, really my favorite, I think. Y'know, but they've all been fun. We have a good time wherever we go.
Right on. Have you had any big surprises on the current tour?
Any big surprises? I mean, it's always the same thing, y'know? You get up, you do a meet and greet, you do press, haha, you play the show, and, y'know, whatever, and go to the next town [and do it again]. Y'know, we're pretty sunk in to our routine by now. It's a pretty well oiled machine so there's nothing really whacky that happens....
Let me get away from touring [questions] a little bit. How soon before you start thinking about and writing for the next record -- or has that process already started?
That's -- no, I don't even know. We're still touring on this one, [Sacrament,] y'know, for all of 2007, but at some point in 2008 we'll start thinking about [writing the next record], I suppose.
Cool. Let me shift gears a little bit. Who, if anyone, would you consider to be your true peers in Metal?
Right now?
Yeah, right now.
I mean, there's the guys in all the bands we came up with, like the dudes in Shadows Fall, God Forbid, Unearth, all those cats, y'know. We all came up playin' shows around the same time, and have done many tours together. The dudes in Killswitch Engage, all those guys....
And everybody's doin' something of a little bit of a different thing, y'know?
I guess all those cats because, y'know, they started all around the same time and came up around the same time as us.
Cool. Well, how do you feel about this so-called New Wave of American Heavy Metal, as it's been called?
It's a label that some journalist came up with. We don't walk around surfing any new wave of any metal or anything, hahaha....
Y'know? It's just something some journalist came up with, y'know. We don't really care. You know people gotta compartmentalize. People just have to put everything into a little box. They have to compartmentalize. They have to put it in a little cubby hole so they can put their finger on it and that's something that some journalist came up with. Whatever. Y'know, you can call us whatever you want. Who cares?
What do you guys call it? Is it just plain Metal, Thrash, anything?
Metal. That's it. We're a Metal band.
Sure, there's a lot of Thrash in it, y'know, [but] there's a lot of other stuff, too, so. I don't know. I don't waste time trying to label us.
Right. You just make the music.
[We're] just too busy making the music and touring.
Cool. So what are your thoughts on comparisons of Lamb of God to Pantera and specifically you to Phil Anselmo?
Uh.... I don't really care. Y'know, Pantera were a great band. Phil is a great singer. Everybody has influences, but, specifically speaking, he was not a huge influence on me directly. I think a lot of the Pantera comparisons are, y'know -- you got some groove and there's a lot of aggression to it [in both bands' sound], and, uh, it is what it is. Of course, we're all Pantera fans, but we didn't go out and say "Hey, we're gonna be the next Pantera" or whatever.
And, once again, don't really care. Don't really pay attention, y'know?
You guys just do what you do.
Yeah, y'know, and if people like it, they like it. If they want to say this about it [or] that about it, it doesn't fuckin' matter because we're here to do what we do regardless.
Right. Well, this is another quick change-up here. About music in general, what kind of stuff do you guys listen to when on the tour bus, or while sitting at home, etc.? Got any surprises in there?
When I get home I don't listen to anything, if at all possible.
The sound of silence?
That's right! I like to go fishing.
Y'know, that's what I like to hear. On the road, we listen to a lot of Hip-Hop. I listen to a lot of old Reggae and shit. Uh, some old Punk Rock. Y'know, Chris [Adler, drummer] listens to Metal every fucking night.
Haha. Yes.
LOUDLY. And I'm like, "Dude, we just got done with 8 hours of Metal, can you please knock it off?" But I guess he's made out of Metal or something.
110% Metal!
Yeah, so, I mean, I don't know, man. The band that I like the most recently, that you would consider Metal, I guess, is the first band on the tour, Gojira....
Yeah, right.
From France. They're fucking amazing, y'know? And I love their record, y'know, and they're great dudes.
Definitely. That was pretty cool when Joe Duplantier [vocals, guitar] came out and did some chorus action with you on "Redneck."
Yeah-yeah, man.
Very cool. Um, I've got a kind of a broad stroke question, and unfortunately it might lend itself to the "I don't care" kind of answer, but what do you think are Metal's greatest strengths and weaknesses? How do you avoid the weaknesses and focus on the strengths in terms of Lamb of God and doing what you do?
Metal's strengths and weaknesses.... I mean, uh, I guess the strengths are the technicality of the playing and y'know, also it conveys just brutal aggression. It's a technical way to convey aggression. Y'know, I think that's a really high strong point on it.
Plus no one gets hurt.
Yeah. Weaknesses, I mean, it's, uh, I don't know. There's a lot of people that do the same thing over and over and over again. I guess that's with any sort of music, though, so that's not really a fair statement [about Metal]. Uhhh, I don't know. I guess, some of the weakness is the mentality -- a lot of people that are really elitist, y'know?
And they don't have an open mind to different types of music. Metal, as it stands today, is an amalgamation of a lot of different types of music. There's a lot of different influences and stuff that comes through and there's a lot of different types of Metal being made, y'know?
But you've got people that are super duper cliquey, like they only listen to Black Metal or Death Metal.
Right. Or the Power Metal fans....
Y'know, only this or that, not the other. I think that's one of the weaknesses. How we avoid that is -- I don't know if we do, haha, y'know -- but we just do our own thing.
I'd say you guys have a good handle on it. I've seen you open for Cannibal Corpse back in '01 and you've always got different tour partners so you guys are kinda like Crowbar, in terms of being able to tour with anybody and y'know, makin' new fans.
Great band! Plug, plug for Crowbar.
I love 'em.
Shifting gears again.... Since you are a local to me, and since I've lived in the Hampton Roads area for the past 3.5 years, what's so special about RVA [Richmond, Virginia]? In terms of the scene, the music, the whole vibe?
It's a city but it's not big enough to like, have a lot of the shitty problems, that like, say New York [City] does, or whatever. It's either a small city or a big town, y'know?
It's real close knit. For the music scene, one of the big strengths is, y'know, there's just shit loads of talented musicians where we live. One of the problems is a lack of good venues. But I think that's been an ongoing struggle for that town is to have a decent venues. Because, speaking of VCU [Virginia Commonwealth University, referenced earlier in an omitted question], they love to shut down venues and buy them and turn them into dorms for their fucking engineering students now. They want to have a football team and they don't want to be known as an art school anymore. That was what kinda drew me to the place in the first place, y'know? The really strong artistic and music community.
I don't know, I guess the strength of the music scene is that it's really wide and it's really diverse, man. We're friends with dudes in Punk Rock bands, Metal bands, Salsa bands, Country bands, y'know, just fuckin' crazy Rock-n-Roll bands, and everyone comes out and sees each other play, y'know? It's not a lot of cliques, as it were. Everybody just chills out together.
Everybody appreciates everybody?
You know it, man.
Well, do you have any local favorites? Any bands you want to plug? I mean, I've seen the RPG shirt on John [Campbell, bassist]....
John is RPG's cheerleader.
Yeah? Hahaha.
Hahaha, y'know?
Gotta set him up with some pom-poms.
Yeah, totally. He is a one man street team for them, dude.
I love those guys, too, y'know, but I'm not as much of a fanatic of them as he is. That's his deal. Uh, I like a band called Hex Machine.
And there's a band called Tulsa Drone that some friends of mine play in. It's kind of a weird instrumental band. I like those bands.
What kind of stuff does Tulsa Drone play, if you don't mind?
Uh, it's fucking weird. It's like instrumental, sounds like some moody soundtracks, almost, like old westerns, y'know? It's kind of weird. Really, really strange.
Alright. I'll have to check that out, then.
Yeah, you can check it out at Plan 9 [a local chain of record stores]. It's pretty atmospheric and strange.
Cool. Well, almost last, but what's up with Halo of Locusts and when can we hear more?
Well, I'm working on that. Like I said, we got 2008 off. I am busy with Lamb of God up until 2008, y'know.
Right, right.
And there's all sorts of contractual shit, what with being signed to Sony.
...In terms of putting a [non-Lamb of God] record out, and I'm gonna have to work around that. It's a pain in the dick, but it'll happen. I would expect something to happen in 2008.
Okay. I had seen some rumors that said maybe your first record would hit the streets late this year, but maybe not?
Who knows, y'know? Who knows? It's like my guys in that band are really patient. But I'm always on the road. It's impossible for me to split myself into two people and do two bands at the same time.
Lamb of God is my primary job, y'know?
Yes, sir. Definitely.
So it was there first. But those dudes [in Halo of Locusts] are good dudes and as soon as I can get time, you'll hear it. I guess that's the answer.
Alright. I just wanted to say that's a killer cover of "Dixie Whiskey" [on Emetic Records' 2-CD tribute to Eyehategod entitled For the Sick], by the way. I just picked that up the other day.
Thanks, man. The back cover of that is [a photograph of] a tattoo on my arm. So that's pretty funny.
Yeah, I've got [the CD] right here. I guess folks will have sorta heard it here first. Everyone will know you're a fan if they didn't already. [Randy frequently wears an EHG mesh cap, FYI.]
YEAH! There you go, there you go.
Well, I want to keep this brief 'cause I know you've got a lot of stuff going on, but I want to thank you for the interview. As I told you before, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Lamb of God open for Cannibal Corpse back in 2001 in Atlanta all the way through your Slipknot and Gigantour gigs and even last week's stop at the NorVa [March 27, 2007 in Norfolk, VA]. I wanted to say thanks for the killer tunes. Do you have any parting words for our readers and your fans?
Just tell the people in the Commonwealth [of Virginia] to keep the homefires lit. You know we'll be home eventually.
Alright, well, have a good one tonight and maybe you can catch up on that coffee now.
You know it, man.
Take care.
Alright, later.
And with that the interview ended. Thanks to Brian Rocha at Adrenaline PR for setting up this madness. Keep an ear open for Lamb of God in the future. Bigger and better things are sure to come. Also keep your finger on the pulse of the underground for news about Halo of Locusts.

- Tony Belcher

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