Following the much publicized incarceration and release of vocalist Randy Blythe, with charges of manslaughter, following the tragic death of 19-year-old fan, Daniel Nosek, who sustained head injuries during the bands show in Prague back in 2010, Lamb of God have been through the mill and have managed to emerge stronger than ever. The bands seventh studio album, VII: Sturm und Drang, is a testimony of just how Lamb of God have become not only the most talked about metal bands of our generation, but one of the most iconic and groundbreaking bands in today’s current heavy metal kingdom.
OD – First of all, let me congratulate you on making an intensely passionate and powerful album. It must have been somewhat of a cleansing of the soul to finally put it out after everything that has happened?
MARK – I think it’s always a good feeling to get a collection of new songs together and sounding the way they are supposed to. Actually, that’s my favourite part of the whole process of being in a band. More than anything, I enjoy being in the studio, writing and recording. That was always my dream, you know? Just to create music for me is everything and was always my dream, from the start. Although I enjoy performing, the creating process is something that I really enjoy and get the most out of. I really enjoy the energy of performing live, but I’m really a studio rat, I like creating music and with this album VII: Sturm und Drang, it was such a good feeling, as I’m just really proud of the finished collection of songs.
In the context of the events that happened with Randy and everything else that surrounded it, there had been quite a bit of time. Honestly, since all of that stuff happened and us getting back into the studio, most of that stuff had really settled down. That experience particularly through Randy’s eye’s is referenced a bit, in the lyrics on the new album. It’s not all the way through, but it touches on the subject in a few songs here and there. So in that sense, I think it gave him a bit of an outlet to explore things musically and lyrically. I can’t say that the album is necessarily that heavily tied to that experience, because there was a fair amount of time between those events and when we actually began to record the album. I will say that in the context of everything that happened, I feel truly blessed that we are in a position of still being a band, to be active, to pursue our music and to keep doing what we do. We are all feeling very blessed that we continue with things, especially when I think about the length of time that we have been able to produce music.
I’ve realised that there really are not a lot of bands that have the kind of longevity that we have. I mean for a band to have the longevity of success in our career in this day and age, is something that we are all so thankful for and feel very blessed being able to do in our lives.
OD – Do you find that when writing that it’s a cathartic thing for you and helps you focus and detour away from the negativity in life?
MARK – Absolutely, I mean it really does help with dealing with stuff. It’s not just about escaping the negativity or the strife that life throws at us, but I use it as a chance to engage and process it. Randy and I were actually talking about this the other day. The fact that we happen to be in a ‘heavy metal’ band, not all of our life is negativity, rage and conflict. However, it gives us a place to put all of those things and deal with it our way. As artists, we naturally and intuitively look for ways to sort of express our lives and being in a heavy metal band, gives us a place to put that stuff, so certainly as a lyricist, I reference these parts of my existence and as a musician, that’s always been one of the things that attracted me to the music, because it did sort of take me away from ‘everyday life’ and gives you a place that is almost your own, where you can go to exist and really sculpt things into the way you really want it. So that has been one of the most attractive aspects of music over the course of my life.
OD – Did you ever think that this was the end of the line for the band?
MARK – I think it did, but you know I don’t really want to get into this, as it’s been publicly discussed at great length already. The main thing that I was most concerned about during that whole series of events was for my friend Randy. I was concerned for how he was going to deal with all of this and what it was going to mean to him as a human being and as a person. I was devastated to learn what had happened, because we didn’t even know about it until long after all of those events years later.
When Randy was being accused of that, it was kind of mind blowing, because there were so many things to think about. From the point of processing what had happened, being devastated about it all and especially being really concerned for my dear friend Randy and how he was going to get through this and what it was going to mean to him on a personal level, were just some of the things that were playing on my mind from the moment I discovered what was happening.
Then behind all of that, there was the questions of what would be do as a band, which we never really go to deal with, because there was just so much unfolding and everything was up in the air all of the time and we were learning about it in real time, so we didn’t really understand where it was all going and where it was going to end up.
OD – You will be kicking off the European dates in Dublin on Monday Nov 9th, will Chris be playing with Megadeth on all of these shows for the duration of the tour? It must be quite an exhausting role for him to play night after night?
MARK – Yea, Chris will be playing with both Lamb of God and Megadeth for a few of these shows, with Dublin being the first of that run, so it will be pretty interesting to see how he hold up (laughs)! It’s such a physical role for a musician, but Chris is in top shape right now, as he does a lot of cardio exercise and is very athletic in that sense and really looks after himself. I don’t think he will have a problem with things, but I’m pretty sure he’s gearing up for things right now, because it’s gonna take a lot of stamina to get through both sets.
OD – How did the impact of Chris stepping in for Megadeth impact the band, there must have been a cool feeling for the rest of the band for your fellow band was asked to record and tour with the band?
MARK – I think for me, I was just really happy for my friend Chris because he is a huge Megadeth fan. I wouldn’t necessarily say that him playing with Megadeth, has had any bearing on us or what we do in terms of decision making or anything like that. Just knowing how important that band is to Chris and to have the opportunity to play some shows together and feature on the album, makes me very happy for my friend
OD – Have you played any shows with Megadeth in the past prior to Chris’s involvement with them?
MARK – Yea, we actually did some shows on the Gigantour a while back, I can’t really remember. I think it was somewhere around 2006 / 2007 and it was just in the U.S.
OD – How much of the new album is featuring on the set list for the European dates?
MARK – The new album will be well represented, but we will be looking back over the catalogue and trying to figure out what we are going to include. To be 100% truthful with you, I have no idea what songs we will be playing, but by the time we get to Dublin, we will have a good idea, well I hope we do (laughs). It’s safe to say that a very good representation of the new album will feature, as we’re very proud of it. I would say there will be about three or four new songs featured in the set-list.
This is our seventh studio album, so Lamb of God have quite a catalogue to choose from! I don’t really want to say it’s a problem having too much material (laughs), but it can be tough at times to try to encapsulate a good representation of the bands history, when you only have a certain amount of time on stage.
OD – After this run of dates, I believe that you are heading down to Mexico for Knotfest, with a fantastic line up, do you get excited for large billed tours like this?
MARK – The thing about these type of shows is that although they are very cool to play, it’s not like we really get a lot of time to hang out. With that show in particular, we are actually flying from Finland to Mexico and there’s is gonna be a crazy time change for us. Usually the routine is that we just land and go straight to the hotel, get some sleep, wake up, get shuttled to the show, play the set, get back to the hotel and have a shower, before going to sleep, only to wake up and get on an airplane and do it all over again! Its’ not the rock n’ roll lifestyle that it should be (laughs). But that Knotfest show is something that we are really excited about. We have had some pretty incredible experiences in Mexico with our fans and can’t wait to get back there. I just know that is going to be a great show, with an insane amount of energy! When thinking about this show, the thing that really excites me the most, is that hour on stage, where we get to give all of those amazing fans the Lamb of God experience.
OD – The Summer’s last stand was a great success and a much smaller billed event, did you enjoy that run with Slipknot, it must have been good to finally get to air some of the new material?
MARK – It was a really great tour and I could be wrong here, but it was the first time in a couple of albums, that we were actually touring the U.S when one of our albums was released. We have always been overseas when the last few albums were released, so this time around, it was really cool to be at home on tour when that album came out. Also, it’s just always great to be on tour with Slipknot, as they are just such gracious hosts when they have us on the road with them. The cool thing about that tour, was that the fan base is pretty much the same for both bands, as most Lamb of God fans like Slipknot and vice versa, so the reception was incredible on that tour.
Also, we got to get some legs under the new songs and really get them out. Even though the album had just come out, some of those songs were already out and the real Lamb of God fans were already familiar with them, which was just awesome.
OD – What can we expect from LOG as we enter into 2016, will you be doing another extensive European tour in support of the album and will there be any Summer festival dates lined up?
MARK – Well, there is some really, really exciting stuff has been presented to us, that is just so awesome, however I’m not at liberty to discuss it at this point (laughs)! It would be really bad form for me to talk about that now, as things are still in the works, but trust me, there are some really cool things happening right now and I just can’t wait to finally be able to tell people about it! In the meantime, you’re gonna have to settle for this run of awesome dates with Megadeth starting next week! See you on the road!
Indeed, Overdrive are very excited about this tour and the kick off date that will be taking place in Dublin’s 3 Arena, on Monday 9th of November, with support from Children of Bodom and Sylosis. For more information on the show, please click this link. A limited amount of tickets are available for this show and can be purchased via Ticketmaster.
Order your copy of VII: Sturm und Drang, by clicking on the graphic below!
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