2015 was a good year for Lamb of God. Their seventh album, Sturm und Drang, was a critical and commercial success, and the most personal album they’ve written. They toured with Slipknot, selling out amphitheaters in one of the few must-see summer metal tours. In January, they’re hitting the road once again, playing with Anthrax, Deafheaven and Power Trip for a month-long tour that starts in January. We caught up with signer Randy Blythe to chat about the upcoming tour, his thoughts on security in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, and his take on Donald Trump.
You guys have an American tour coming up. How did the lineup work itself out?
We have a booking agent and management and they presented us with some options. Anthrax was up for main support. We’ve known them for a long time and they carried us out. They were the first of the big four of the metal scene to carry us out. Out of Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, Metallica, who we actually wound up touring with all four of. I guess in 2002 or 2003. we went out with Anthrax and had a run playing main support for them. They’ve had a bit of a resurgence, they have a new record. It’s going to be good to hit the road with them again.
As far as the opening acts, there were a lot of names thrown around but I talked to our booking agent about getting Deatfheaven since the Sunbather record came out. I’m a huge fan of what they’re doing. They have New Bermuda, that record just came out not too long ago. I was like ‘yes, yes, let’s get something different.’ Have you seen the Sunbather album?
I love the peach cover. The idea that the color of it is when you close your eyes and go out and look at the sun. I love the fact that they have the atmospheric stuff and the super abrasive black metal and then a peach album cover. I love that. It’s smart, they took something and made it its own. They come from… hipster almost? The audience they have has a lot of metalheads but there’s also a lot of people that don’t come from our scene.
Sure, like people who read Pitchfork.
Exactly. I’m hoping they bring some of that audience with them and that our audience in return gets to check out some of that. Power Trip was a band suggested by our booking agent. I understand that they put on insane live shows and I was listening to their album, I dig the sound. It reminds me of older Age of Quarrel Cro-Mags mixed with thrashy stuff, and at times the singer of Discharge. Kinda shouty, punk rock stuff. They’re a little bit outside the box as well. It’s cool for me to have a varied package. I want something different.
It definitely came across as that. Anthrax and Lamb of God in and of itself would get a lot of old school metalheads that have been listening to Anthrax for 25-30 years and you guys for your whole career. By bringing on those two openers, I think it’s a great package all around.
Yeah, it’s not necessarily the obvious thing to do, which I’m really kind of sick of. When the tour got announced, I saw on Instagram that someone said, “that’s a weird package but it’s cool.” That’s good! I think people need to open their minds. I would love to go out and tour with a country band, a hip- hop band, a jazz fusion band, something like us, all of which drew, but have completely different audiences. In the summer in Europe, they have the festival season and they have these massive festivals and you get to see all these different types of music at the same festival and it doesn’t turn into a horrible riot because there are people who like different types of music there, it cross-pollinates and they enjoy the show. While all the bands on this tour come from the metal genre, they are different enough that I’m hoping that there will be a few eyes opened and people will gain fans all across the board.
Do you think America is ready for a festival-like situation similar to the one you just described?
I think so. I think if someone has the balls to do it. that’s what I think the problem is. The lack of nuts on the part of promoters. People are too safe, “oh that won’t sell tickets.” I think they’re really selling the audience short. The longer you sell the audience short by saying, “this won’t do,” The audience gets locked into that mind frame automatically because that’s all they’re offered. How are people supposed to open their minds if they aren’t exposed to different things? If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work but you have to at least try. I think Bonaroo started as a big hippy jam fest, but they’ve added some different types of bands now and it’s kind of cool. Europe has a really long tradition of music festivals though, so it’s not like this occurred over night. It would certainly be interesting to see what would happen in America if there were multiple large music festivals during the summer time. I for one would definitely be interested to see what would happen.
I know a lot of people were throwing around the possibility of you guys touring with Megadeth since Chris Adler drummed on their album. Do you think that’s something that might happen in the future?
I have no idea.
With pulling out of the European tour after everything that went on in Paris, is there anything you guys will do differently on this upcoming tour ,in terms of security?
I think all bands should really step up security right now. I honestly do. It’s a gnarly time, it is a gnarly time in history because of the cowardice of these people. Terrorism has existed for a long long time, but now through the internet, it’s ability to spread so rapidly and planned through electronic communication it’s really sketchy. It’s important, I think, for people to be really aware. It’s so fucked up man, I hope it doesn’t resolve in this overarching xenophobic culture of fear being taken even further than it already has been. I see a kneejerk reaction, evidence of that occurring right now. It’s very serious stuff. Very serious. People should take this very seriously. It’s not a fucking joke. I think people just need to be cautious.
Speaking of that, any thoughts on Donald Trump?
I think he’s going to burn himself out. I think he’s going to say something so overarchingly stupid that people are finally going to be unable to accept what he’s saying anymore. But I almost think he’s a purposeful clown, a tool. I don’t know if he really wants to be President. He might just be a foil for the Republican party to say, “we gotta be tough right now in our international relations policy but not with this guy,” so they’ll get someone who looks more moderate into office. They’ll say we still need to be strong, hawkish right now but no, not Donald Trump. I mean.. it’s ludicrous the things that he says. He’s making shit up.
Yeah, all of a sudden Ted Cruz is the voice of reason.
Exactly. I’m trying to read between the lines here and see if that’s what’s going on. If they’re in a back room somewhere and Donald Trump is saying, (in Trump voice), “I’m gonna say that we should pull a Nazi Germany maneuver and make all Muslims wear a yellow crescent moon on their arm” like the Gestapo did with the Jews in Nazi Germany. He could just be a clown. If he is the president though, I am leaving America till he’s gone.