It's over a hundred degrees in (Kill)adelphia on the second night of the fledgling Sounds of the Underground Tour. Lamb of God bides their time in the unbearable heat, waiting to hit the stage with the explosive fury they are known for. While thousands of fans wait in anticipation for the main event, this interview takes place outside in the tour bus parking lot, as Randy grills his dinner.
Enslain: Well, it's only the second day of the tour, but how is it going, in terms of organization, band selection, and whatnot?
Randy Blythe: I love the band selection, we know most of the bands, toured with many of them, or just played shows with 'em. It's been going really well so far, there's a few kinks to get worked out, you know, on a tour this big, but it's working out.
Enslain: How do you feel about headlining, and going on last?
RB: I hate it! I fucking hate going on last. As you can see, it's very hot out here, and these kids are sitting around all day long, you know, they're seeing so many good bands. I gotta wait around, not drink as much beer as I want to. But it's alright, man, the first night, last night, the kids were really good, they still had some juice left in them.
Enslain: At least by the time you guys go on, it's not so hot anymore.
RB: Exactly, that's the one big advantage.
Enslain: How do you think a festival like this compares to the Ozzfest, which you guys did last year?
RB: This festival is sorta like one big Ozzfest second stage, you know what I mean, but it's a lot more affordable, I suppose, and it's a little bit more underground, the nature of the bands, you know. Last year there were a lot of underground bands on the second stage, this year it's all underground bands, so… it's pretty cool.
Enslain: It seems like this tour is almost a live representation of the Headbangers' Ball…
RB: I hadn't really thought of it in that way, but…
Enslain: Do you think that the Ball has been heavily supporting these bands because of the tour, or that the tour was designed to be a representation of what is popular in underground metal?
RB: I think Headbangers' Ball has been supporting these bands, it needed to come out, it needed to come back, you know, and it's kind of one of the reasons why I guess all of us are able to do something like this, a tour this big, because we have been getting a big push from MTV, you know, a lot of the bands have. It's a good thing.
Enslain: Lamb of God has been around in the scene for quite a while now, but it seems like, over the last few records, you've really been pushed to the forefront of things, even though your sound hasn't really changed much. To what do you attribute this surge of popularity?
RB: I think the current state of the music community has a lot to do with that, heavy music is big right now, I think that's due to our shitty economic and political situation, you know, it's not a good time for "pop" music as it were, people are dying in the Middle East over oil, and so forth. It's ugly music for ugly times, I suppose.
Enslain: Speaking of politics, your lyrics are pretty politically-based, are you trying to educate or influence people's opinions, or do you just write about it because it's something that's important to you?
RB: Mark and I write the lyrics, he actually has a degree in political science. We just write about, basically what angers us or disturbs us, and right now the political situation is what angers and disturbs us. I'd like to think maybe we could have an influence and help change things, but it's certainly not the goal, you know what I mean? We're just writing music that we like.
Enslain: You guys seem to have taken on Philadelphia as your second home. What made that come about?
RB: Philly was the first place we really started getting a lot of support, you know?
Enslain: Did it have anything to do with your involvement with Deaf American Records, which is out of Philly?
RB: Well, yeah, and… that little dude right there, Mikey Brosnan put out our first 7" and then our record, we did a lot of warehouse shows in West Philly, and the kids really, really dug it. Deaf American, of course, Rich Hoak, good dude, saw us at some of the warehouse shows, decided to put out another 7", it's worked out great so far, you know. And we fucking love Philly, the kids are nuts here, you know, it's good times.
Enslain: I noticed a lot of bands still put out 7" and vinyl, but, who even has a record player anymore?
RB: Yeah, people still own record players, it's kinda, it's definitely a smaller thing, you know, but vinyl is still alive and well.
Enslain: Why wouldn't somebody just put out a CD instead of releasing something on vinyl? I'm afraid I don't understand the appeal.
RB: Let me ask a question. How old are you?
RB: You're 25. Did you used to buy records?
Enslain: Never really owned any.
RB: It's a totally different thing, you know. Vinyl packaging, the whole nine yards, like you get a piece of vinyl, it's awesome. You open a CD it's like, great, whatever. There's not much you can do within that format as far as packaging. Packaging with vinyl, though, man, you can do all sorts of cool shit, like we've got a picture disc, you know, it's got a die-cut, you know, of the skull from the cover of the record. It's cool, you know?
Enslain: So you guys switched labels pretty much through your whole career? Was that a strategic move, not to sign up for long-term contracts?
RB: When we did our first record when we were Burn the Priest, with Mikey, there was no contract, it was just "hey I'll put out your record", "ok, cool" you know. When we signed with Prosthetic, we signed a three record deal. You want to sign for the least amount of records possible, that way you aren't (obligated) to anyone. Sony bought out our last record, from the three-record contract. I guess you could say it's a strategic move, you don't wanna sign your life away if you don't have to, you know.
Enslain: Did you ever see yourself being on a major?
RB: No. Absolutely not!
Enslain: How's it working out?
RB: I'm hear, headlining this festival. It's working out real well, I guess.
Enslain: So what do you have coming up after this?
RB: I'm going to go home, and get married! And I'm gonna fucking not worry about Lamb of God for a while, and then the first of the year we'll start writing a new record, and see how it goes.
Enslain: What bands would you say have added influence to your more recent sound?
Enslain: None… so what do you draw your influence from?
RB: The world around me. It's a shitty place.
Enslain: What were you guys influenced by originally?
RB: My guys are like really into old 80's thrash, and that kind of thing, I was more into the punk rock side of things, and we all love Lynyrd Skynyrd and shit like that.
Enslain: How would you say you've improved upon "As the Palaces Burn" with this new release?
RB: The production is a lot better, it's a lot thicker… Learning how to annunciate my vocals more and more and more with each record has been a big part. And, you know, you can hear the bass on this record, you can actually hear it, I'm very pleased by that. And they've all gotten tighter as players, it's because we've been doing it together for so long, we just kinda vibe a little bit better.
Enslain: How was it working with Devin Townsend on the last album?
RB: He's cool, Devin's a cool dude, man, I'm glad he's out here with us, you know. He's more of a guitar-oriented kind of guy, whereas Machine, our last producer, was more of a vocal guy, so it's a little bit easier for me working with vocals with him because he's more of a vocal producer. But working with Devin was great, I'd certainly do it again if the situation was right.
Enslain: Did you guys invite them (Strapping Young Lad) on this tour?
RB: Um, different people, man, set up the tour, you know, our booking agents set up all the bands, and I mean if there was certainly a band that we did not like, we'd be like "no, don't invite them on the tour" but, we like everyone, so it's all good!
Enslain: So you guys had some sort of decision-making in the process?
RB: Not really, man, we didn't have to, it just rolled out, you know, it was good, you know. I mean I know we put in a good word for Gwar, put in a good word for Full Blown Chaos to do a few shows, but it's not our tour.
Enslain: How'd you manage to release 2 DVD's in a 2-year period?
RB: Because the first one was extremely short, and people were yelling for a DVD for a long time, and we just put the first one out so they could have something, but it was too short, you know, and we wanted to have a longer like full set, and more backstage shenanigans and stuff, the kids seem to like it, all the reviews have been really good.
Enslain: It seems like you guys are a bunch of party animals, is that true? What are some of the more fun bands you've toured with, and what experiences really stand out?
RB: Fuck yes. God Forbid, fucking Gwar man, Gwar was our first tour ever, they took us out, and we're taking them out on this one. Hanging out with our friends, just partying all the time, doing this, barbequing in the fucking parking lot, it's a good time, you know.
Enslain: Only on this tour, no drinking until all the end of the night when everyone else is already wasted. (Randy shows me his beer can as he drinks) What are you doing drinking? You guys don't mind drinking before playing?
RB: We get a little buzzed, but, that's it. That's it.
Enslain: When you're on the tour bus, do you typically not listen to the more aggressive music?
RB: Yeah, fuck metal, won't listen to it when I'm on tour! I mean, I've got fucking 18 bands all day long to listen play heavy metal, you know, I'm going to get on there to listen to some old reggae or something to mellow me out.
Enslain: Do you guys prefer being on tour to writing/recording?
RB: I like being on tour better than recording. Mark hates touring, and loves recording.
Enslain: How could you hate touring? What's not to like?
RB: You miss your home, we've all got women, and I miss my home. I mean, I'm out all the time, so. But I have a good time on tour, you know, I have a little bit more fun than most of the other dudes, too, which gets me in trouble sometimes, but, it's okay.
Enslain: Any final comments?
RB: Thank you Killadelphia!