Randy Blythe Talks New Lamb of God Album, Disdain for the Studio, Czech Imprisonment + More
Randy Blythe was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s most recent weekend radio show. In the interview the Lamb of God frontman talks about the band’s new music, his disdain for recording in the studio, the impact of his Czech Republic imprisonment + more. Check out the interview below:
Most people might want to put something like your Czech Republic experience behind them, but instead you reference it on the new album. Why is it so important to document it with your music?
It's not. It's not at all and I think that's a misconception. There's only two songs on the new record that deal with that whole experience there. They were both written while I was in prison. I've been doing a lot of press lately and people asking me how the experience in the Czech Republic affected the album writing, etc. They ask my guitar players, and it hasn't. It wasn't important. What happened was, we recorded 14 songs for the new record and when it was time to go into pre production and writing mode, in the beginning, as I do with every single record… I look in my notebook and see what lyrics I have. What do I have laying around and I had those two songs I had written in prison. Those were the first two songs that I put lyrics to, they just happened to be the first ones.
There's very, very little about the whole experience on the album. I think artistically, it was a valid choice to use those because I write about things that are personal to me, but by the time it was time to record them those lyrics were three years old. Just like every album, I go and look and see what I have done. I wrote a 500-page book about the whole experience. That pretty much got it out of my system.
The new Lamb of God album comes out July 24 and it's called ‘VII: Sturm und Drang.’ What sort of comfort and sense of security do you get from the familiarity of making a Lamb of God album?
I get absolutely none. I hate recording more than anything else in the whole world. It's my least favorite part of being in the band. Some guys are studio guys and they love sitting and making a new record, tweaking the knobs getting their sound right and mixing and all that stuff. I hate it, hate it, hate it. I always have. I'd much rather be on tour. I enjoy playing the songs live, but recording the album is, to me, I look at it a necessary evil. Standing in a booth screaming with earphones on, it just sucks to me. Some people like recording, I don't. I hate it. I don't get any comfort or familiarity… it's just something I want over with as soon as possible.
It seems a lot of artists say that. Obviously going out and playing the songs when it's done is fun, but I don't think there are any people who love the recording process.
Well, our guitar player Mark [Morton]. He loves writing and recording the album. He loves sitting there and tracking. Our drummer, Chris [Adler]. He loves that process. He loves tracking. They're more studio heads. But Mark doesn't like touring, he doesn't like it at all. He likes playing live but he doesn't like the rest of touring. I love all of touring. I like playing live, I love going around the world and seeing all of that stuff. It's apples and oranges, I guess. Two different flavors. It comes with being in a band. I really don't dig it. When we record a record, I sing the same song over and over. Maybe the first take was awesome? It's like, “Okay, I'm getting to sing this. That's awesome.” But by take 23 of just the first line, you're kinda like, “I hate this. I hate myself. Why did I write this? This is idiotic [laughs].”
How does an experience like the Czech Republic make you reconsider things you might have taken for granted about being a musician?
It doesn't. It doesn't at all. I drank for 22 years and got sober before any of this stuff happened. That was the big thing when I realized, and got sober, I was taking a lot of things for granted. What happened in the Czech Republic… I didn't think about my band. It wasn't something where I was worried about the band and whether or not I'd be able to do this and that. The band was the last thing on my mind. When I came out of it, we went back on tour. The band didn't really fit into the picture. It was a really serious situation and the band seemed rather inconsequential to it. I'm glad to be a free man, but it's not like I view everything in my band versus the experience in the Czech Republic.
How have you most noticeably matured as a lyricist and where is that most evident on the new album?
I don't know if I have, [laughs]. That's generally for people other than myself to decide. I think we're just really doing the same thing we've always done. This album is just like any other album with us to me. I've talked to my guys in the band and it's not like this fantastic new way of doing things or anything. It's the same thing we've been doing for 21 years. I mean, as far as a lyrics go… hopefully as you do something more and more you get better at it.
Maybe I can pay a little bit more attention to meter, rhyme scheme and phrasing. That's something I've had to learn a lot about. When we were first a band, I didn't really put much attention to phrasing at all. After doing it this long, I've gotten a little bit better about it. My band has gotten better about leaving room in the music for me to actually sing because in the beginning, their musicians so they're just writing what sounds like killer riffs to them, without much attention to how the vocals are going to go. Now they pay a lot more attention to where there needs to be space for vocals. It's just a growing process overall.
You had a unique story to tell with your first book. Had the Czech Republic incident not happened, what do you think you would have written about instead?
Some sort of fiction. I already have… I had a publisher lined up for a photography book before this because I do that as well. Then, the whole thing came into play and I don't think I would have written a memoir of some sort. People are always wanting a rock 'n' roll memoir thing and talk about your crazy life. But I don't know if you've ever read it, but if you've ever read Motley Crue's The Dirt, that is the craziest sort of rock 'n' roll memoir I've ever read and after reading that, any sort of story I have pales in comparison. But I didn't write my book as a rock 'n' roll memoir. It's just what happened and if I hadn't had that situation occur, it would have been fiction. I had already written a rough draft of a novel before any of this happened. Maybe I'll revisit that soon and whip that into shape. It's sort of a weird ghost story, I like creepy things.
What can we expect beyond the summer for Lamb of God?
I have my book coming out, then we go on tour with Slipknot and after that we're going to South America for a couple of shows in the fall. Then another tour, not quite sure where that's going in the fall, in the early winter. Really, for the next 18 months to two years it's going to be a regular album cycle. We're just going to tour the world like we do. That's one thing I really enjoy about the job, is cruising all over the world and seeing all sorts of different things and meeting some people.
Love your commentary on Instagram on all your travels, looking forward to that.
Yeah, that's a good thing. I've actually been taking pictures this whole tour in Europe and I'm thinking it's a five week tour, when I get back, I'll put it all together and do a photographic journal sort of book. The American fans, we don't really have the festival season in America. I want to do a photographic record of what it's like to be on tour in the festival season in Europe. Probably do a limited edition run of that book some time this coming year.
Many thanks to Randy Blythe for the interview. Lamb of God will release the highly anticipated 'VII: Sturm und Drang' album on July 24. To pre-order the record, click here. In addition, on July 14, Blythe will release the book ‘Dark Days,’ which is available at Amazon. Lamb of God will head out on the road later this month. Check out their tour dates here. Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, click here.
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