Today we bring you an exclusive interview with Chris Adler, drummer of the American Heavy Metal band Lamb of God! Fresh off their tour with the 2010 Rockstar Mayhem Festival, the guys are gearing up for South American dates as well as dates with Metallica overseas. They also just released a compilation called Hourglass, which you can order HERE! Check after the jump to read about new album news, how the Mayhem festival went, and how Chris thinks horror and metal are connected!
How are you doing?
Good, doing good!
You just recently finished the Mayhem Festival where you were one of the headlining acts. How was the tour as a whole?
It was great! We didn’t know what to expect coming in. In fact, when we first signed up for it, we were slightly hesitant, just because with the bands that were on it, we didn’t know if our fans would really appreciate us doing a tour with some of those bands. Not to say that I don’t like those bands, they’re fine! But our audiences are not necessarily the same. But what we learned was that the tickets were cheap, some of our good friends were on the second stage, so we didn’t think anybody would really complain about the deal, when it came down. And also what we figured out, kinda early on, was that even though we wouldn’t normally play with Korn or Rob Zombie, that a lot of the people who like those bands, the people that are coming to see them, may never have seen a band as heavy as Lamb of God and we may be able to turn on some of those people to something a little more on the dark side.
And I think it worked! I think the tour went great! We played the small shows, which was like 16,000 people, so we had a great opportunity to spread the word if you will.
So it was a new audience for you?
It was. Well…not entirely. We definitely saw the Lamb of God fans out in force, more than what we expected. I think there were a lot of people that were there to see some other bands and were pleasantly surprised to see a band like us!
You’ve got tour dates lined up in South America as well as dates with Metallica again later this year. What other tour plans have you got in the works?
Well, we’ve been out since December of 2008 and the longest we’ve been home is three weeks since then. So, we’re going to end in December of 2010, which would make it a full two-year touring cycle, which a lot of bands don’t get to do these days really. We’re very lucky that people want us to come around that much. So that’s it! Mayhem was our last U.S. run. We’re going to take the month of January off, see if we can reconnect with our family, see what that life looks like [laughs]. Then maybe we’ll get together and start writing a new album!
So there are tentative plans to approach a new album in the beginning of next year?
Yeah! Actually one of our guitar players, Mark, has like seven or eight demos he has put together on his own. Willie, the other guitar player, has three or four as well. February, we’ll put our heads together and see if we can mash those into something special.
Hourglass just came out recently. How was it putting together the package? Any old memories resurface?
Yeah, well with the…well, let me tell you a little bit about how it came about. The label wanted to do a greatest hits thing and the band, me especially, I hate greatest hits albums. I hate it when bands do that. To me, it’s always a huge rip-off. It’s just trying to get your fans to buy stuff they already have and it seems like a cash grab from the label’s side. So we thought pretty hard. We also did realize that it’s coming out in the middle of our album cycle. If these albums take three or four years to come out from us, this will kind of serve a midway point so we don’t disappear forever on the record shelf. And going into this mayhem tour, we had an opportunity, going into what we were talking about earlier, to possibly make a whole lot of new fans and with six or seven albums out now, like every time I get into a new band and they have six or seven albums out, I always wonder which album I should get or which is the best one, blah, blah, blah. So the simplest package includes all the songs we highlighted in our live set for a long time. I wouldn’t call them greatest hits. We’re a metal band, I don’t think we HAVE greatest hits. So it gives them a little piece of everything and if they want, they can dig deeper and listen to the albums, they’re certainly more than welcome. And the different packages go up from that starter pack to the super deluxe which comes with damn near everything! A guitar, a flag, a bunch of signed stuff, the art book from Ken Adams who has done all the artwork for the band since the very beginning, has his sketches of everything including the tour t-shirts, laminates, album covers, how it started. All that stuff. There are USB sticks of every album, the vinyl of every album and those cases are actually engraved with the person’s name that orders them. They’re made to order and obviously a pretty unique piece for any fan.
So that was the goal; to not create a greatest hits package but to do something that would break the gap between albums and offer something so that long-time fans wouldn’t feel like they were getting ripped off.
One of the reasons that I love Lamb of God is that the songs have a groove to them, in great part to the drums. How do you approach writing the drum parts for songs?
Well, yeah, that’s a big part to exactly what you’re talking about. I mean, I listen to a lot of different metal and extreme stuff, you know with the blast beats and all that stuff and you know I like all that kind of stuff. But when I sit down and play, I really want to create something that makes me want to move. Whether it’s move my head up and down, smile, just something! Some sort of movement in the music and to me that’s exactly what you’re talking about: It always comes from the drums and it always has to have that kind of groove where it’s not just the static back beat or about something that’s just supporting the guitar riff. I always try to find something that, by itself, would make somebody be able to, kind of, groove to it, I guess [laughs].
So yeah, that’s exactly how I approach it, just try to come up with something that would make somebody, including myself, want to move.
So Randy was in a horror movie last year, ‘The Graves’. What do you think of horror and the influence it has on the metal genre?
Well, a lot of movies come out and tie themselves with the heavy metal soundrack and everything has become almost somewhat of a cliche. You know, I can almost tell right away if the horror movie trailer has some metal tune blasting out that the movie is probably not very good. BUT I’m a huge horror fan! I love all the early stuff. When I was a kid, I was into all the Faces of Death and all that stuff. So early on, I got into all that stuff. So how does it tie in? I love both heavy metal and horror movies, although, like I said, when they come together it seems to get a little cheesy.
Is Lamb of God influenced by horror?
WOW! That’s a good question! Randy is also a pretty big horror fan. Obviously, you were talking about this movie, ‘The Graves’. Yeah! I think that in the sense of…to me, the real horror movies are the ones that make you want to turn away or make you feel squeamish and all that stuff and those emotions, those kinds of things…I’m not saying that we want our fans to feel squeamish or want to throw up or whatever but there’s those kinds of emotions where you feel the energy of being scared or something like that. It’s very much like what our music is about: The power to make people feel something. So yeah!
What are some of your favorite horror movies?
Wow, personal favorite horror movies…Recent stuff? I think The Hills Have Eyes is pretty good stuff. Actually, the stuff that Rob Zombie has been doing is actually really good. I didn’t expect it to be and it’s actually been some good stuff. I think going back, I wouldn’t necessarily call it horror but my favorite movie of all time is the first Alien movie. It had that suspense-horror combo and it’s definitely my favorite.
Well that’s it! Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to hearing the new album!
Thank you very much man! I appreciate your interest and hopefully we’ll have it to you sooner rather than later!