“We’ve known Killswitch Engage forever… there are some stories, but they’re not necessarily for sharing. Nowadays we don’t get into that much trouble. We just sit around, crack corny jokes and enjoy each other’s company.”
RAM Touring pushed both our hype buttons and the envelope when they announced that Lamb of God will be performing in South Africa this year (24 January at Cape Town City Hall and 25 January at Johannesburg’s Nasrec Expo Center).
I was invited to give the Virginia Richmond metal lords a call. Bassist John Campbell picked up the phone. This is what happened.
I just want to say thank you so very much for your time, it’s awesome that you’re coming down – there’s no doubt an extremely strong contingent of Lamb of God fans out here. How do you feel about your first African excursion?
LAMB OF GOD: I’m incredibly excited. Having done this for a long time, getting to new places keeps it fun and exciting. And to be able to go to South Africa is an incredible opportunity.
Many fans have been holding their breath since 2012 when rumours emerged that you’ll be coming to South Africa. What can we expect in terms of your performance and set list?
LAMB OF GOD: When we play South Africa in the beginning of January, it will cap off the end of a two year tour cycle. We are incredibly well rehearsed, charged and ready to melt faces.
Your friends, Killswitch Engage, are headlining RAMfest in March. You have often toured and co-headlined with them, so I imagine you have a few a crazy stories to share. Care to tell any?
LAMB OF GOD: Well… your statement is half correct… I do have some stories, but they’re not necessarily for sharing. We’ve known Killswitch Engage forever – we were considered a part of the movement that put New Wave of American Heavy Metal [NWOAHM] together. They’re great and I enjoy touring with them. Nowadays we don’t get into that much trouble. We just sit around crack corny jokes and enjoy each other’s company.
Your band has often displayed strong feelings towards politics. In an interview with Metalhammer a few years back, you expressed delight that your home state Virginia went Democratic. What is your take on the death of South African icon Nelson Mandela?
LAMB OF GOD: I hope that he becomes stronger after death like Obi-Wan Kenobi. I became aware of Nelson Mandela when I was still at school and he was fighting apartheid. I also remember that our government leaders were not interested in helping; they were more interested in the power that was in place. Thankfully a lot of American newspapers have included that fact with the news of Mandela’s death. He lived to be a ripe old man and he accomplished some amazing things. He can stand as a model for equality and responsible leadership. That said I only have an outsider’s view everything that happened.
Speaking of which, did you hear Time Magazine nominated Pope Francis person of the year. Any comments?
LAMB OF GOD: Well. I’m not Catholic and I don’t have a lot faith in the Catholic institution. But from what I’ve read, this guy who is running the show is changing a lot of things and it seems he’s trying hard to make the organisation live up to its moral code. Outside of his religion, it’s wonderful what he’s doing. There’s all this positivity coming from him side. Whether it’s true or not, people are talking about it and [as a result] are becoming more charitable. And if he can help people more towards that, I would high five him.
It’s funny, when Lady Gaga toured South Africa several religious organisations set out a campaign to stop her from performing here. I find it ironic that none have them have said anything about Lamb of God. Do you think metal still has the ability to shake the foundation and fabric of society?
LAMB OF GOD: [Righteous laugh]. When we recently toured Malaysia we had to cancel a show because we were thought of as satanic. So it’s still happens. There’s a venue – where the Lakers used to play called The Forum which is owned by a church – who decided Slipknot and Slayer are allowed to play but not us. The beautiful thing is it gets us a lot of press and it exposes ignorant folk for who they are. We’re not satanic. There’s a lot of positive to what we do.
Looking at the differences in years between your albums, a new one should be due shortly. Is there anything in the pipeline?
LAMB OF GOD: We have spoken about a new record that will be coming together towards the end of next year. Our main songwriters Mark Morton and Will Adler [Lamb of God guitarists] have a home studio set up where they’re constantly writing songs.
Lastly, metal has been growing and expanding for the last more or less 50 years – not just musically but also culturally. What do you predict is going to happen in the next ten years?
LAMB OF GOD: I might look like Nostradamus but I’m not psychic or anything. People are drawn towards dark music when times are difficult and it seems that it’s not likely stop anytime soon. I think heavy metal will continue to be a valid genre and make many more fans.
Tickets to Lamb of God are selling like trifle at a Church bazaar. Buy now or suffer regret.
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