Randy Blythe Talks Staying Busy Outside Lamb of God, Socio-Political Commentary, Prince + More
Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show. The singer discussed creative endeavors outside of the band, being cautious of social commentary as a figure in the spotlight, Prince's death and Lamb of God's touring activities. Check out the chat below:
How ya doin?
I am well!
Great to see you. You've really expanded your creative endeavors over the last few years. How has creative diversity strengthened you as a musician?
Well for one thing I think doing different things, I think that art feeds art. You know what I mean? I think if all I were to do was sit and write lyrics and scream into a microphone, then that's all I'm going to know how to do and that's all that's going to be informing my writing lyrics and screaming into a microphone. But, you know, if I write other things, make a few different types of music, you know, and take photographs; all that stuff.
It keeps me inspired, you know. It also prevents burnout, you know. I think musicians — I think that's one big reason why musicians do side projects and things too. It's because, with other people, because otherwise you get burned out from playing with the same dudes for 22 years! [laughs]
Maybe it does reinvigorate you when you do go back and do Lamb of God stuff.
Oh yeah, absolutely, yeah. For sure, you know. It's, I don't know man. I mean, some people are okay with just doing one thing and that's their deal. I mean like Gene Simmons. Look at him. He's KISS. That's it. That's all he does. That's all the wants to do and that's fine, you know. That's fine for him. For me, I'd go insane if all I did was KISS. You know. It would drive me crazy, Gene, it would. So, you know, I enjoy doing other things.
What's the biggest responsibility for someone who is articulate, outspoken and publicly visible such as yourself when it comes to politics and social issues?
Oooh. Well, I mean I kind of have a... that's a question I ask myself often. You know, what is my responsibility, if any? Sometime I think, you know, as an artist... in arts in general, you're a reflection of society, in the state of it, as it lives in. We're the voice of society, you know, in a way, and you can go down the route of taking yourself way too seriously that way, you know. So sometimes, so you know, I think, yeah, you know as an artist, it's important to, to at least be accurate.
Well, not accurate, but articulate commentator on the events of today and then on the other side of things coming from like the underground scene or whatever, I'm like, you know, I don't feel that I'm responsible to anyone, for anything, other than just making, you know, what I want to make: my own music, you know. Why should you expect me to sort of be some sort of spokesperson? I signed up to play music, not you know, be on CNN or something. But I think that if, if there is a responsibility, I think it's to do no harm, you know. That's just life in general.
Also, with you guys being in a successful band, any time you speak your opinion on something, it's obviously out there.
Regrettably, yeah. You know, particularly in times like right now, in an election right now. Every time you fart, someone, you know, is like, 'Well so and so said this and that and the other,' you know, and I, I'm pretty careful with my remarks because sometimes I make off hand remarks, you know, not even thinking about them.
The next thing you know, someone's like, 'I read on the Internet.' I'm like 'Well, A, that's your first problem, you read on the internet,' you know. B, I probably should have been a little more careful with my words that time, so I don't know man. Freedom of speech is a son of a 'mmmm.'
Musicians of just about every genre have expressed loss over Prince passing away. What did his music and advocacy for artists rights mean and represent to you?
Well, for one thing, you know, I think it's obvious due to the, the wide reaching and highly varied nature of this huge outpouring of sadness at his passing that the man's music crossed a lot of borders. You know and it touched a lot of different people and he... I don't know.
Prince was pretty punk rock, if you ask me, yeah. I don't know of any other human being who has ever changed their name to an unrecognizable, unpronounceable symbol, period. Much less done it in order to like, deal with record company contracts. I thought that was pretty freaking genius. I don't know man.
He was just a huge talent. He played something like 27 instruments, you know, and played well. He wasn't a hack and I don't know. To me, more and more of the news comes out about the way he passed, it just makes me sad, you know. So, he was a huge talent though. He really was and I certainly, you know, he died — cruised around listening to some Purple Rain and some Controversy, you know. Some old stuff.
I think we all did. Creatively and stylistically, how would you like to see Lamb of God evolve as you continue to mature as musicians and people?
I don’t know. We're a heavy metal band. I never really try and look and think about how we're going to evolve, I just kind of watch it happen I think. There's not a lot of forethought put into that on my end of things. Of course, I don't write any of the music either. I just scribble the lyrics and scream, so some of the lyrics. I don’t know.
For me, I think it'd be fun if we added a little maybe some polka into it. A little uplifting 'oompa' aspect to the music might help us as humans as we get older and more and more bitter, we could use something a little more lighthearted.
Lamb of God, Clutch and Corrosion of Conformity touring together is a great showcase of South Atlantic music. What's most identifiable to you about music from that region?
Music from the South? I think there's across the board, it may not be immediately in your face and apparent in a lot of the cases, but across the board a lot of times there's a heavy blues influence. Blues is born in the south, thus rock 'n' roll is born in the south. Without one the other wouldn't exist. I don’t know, we're all a bit laid back, I think. It's not as phonetic, personally. So, I'm friends with the dudes in the bands we're going out with, it'll be really nice. Having listened to Corrosion of Conformity since I was 14, it's kind of a big deal to be going out with them for me.
Killer lineup, by the way.
Yeah! And it's a little more rock to it than our normal package, which is nice. We just had a pretty cool package, we went out with Anthrax and Deafheaven and Power Trip. There was [variation] to it. This one has more of a rock edge, which I'm going to enjoy.
Beyond that tour, can you tell us what we can expect for Lamb of God for the rest of this year?
Nope, because I don’t know. [laughs]
Alright I guess we'll read it on the Internet.
Yeah, read it on the Internet. I mean, I could make some crap up. We're going to be doing coastal only tour to my favorite surf breaks. The rest of the guys don't know about this yet, but our label, Mega Records Inc. has rented us a tour submarine and it's gonna be great.
Can't wait for that, thank you very much for taking the time.
I hope you can get out there, it requires scuba gear. All of the shows — a lot of the breaks are really far offshore.
Thanks to Randy Blythe for the interview. The latest Lamb of God album, ‘VII: Sturm Und Drang’ is available at iTunes and Amazon. Keep up with Lamb of God on tour at their website. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show at this location.
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