Lamb Of God
Michelle LaRose talks with John Campbell for Garage Radio Magazine
Photographs by Michelle LaRose
Lamb Of God has been popular with the underground sect for years. Now with the advent of a Grammy nomination Lamb Of God is poised to be the reigning Kings of Heavy Metal.
Lamb Of God has kicked of a summer tour to promote their latest album Sacrament with Gojira, Trivium and Machine Head in tow.
We were able to sit with bassist John Campbell to find out more about the new album, their Grammy nomination and the notorious Wall Of Death.
GR: No. I’m referring to the world’s worst interview that you were on the receiving end of. The video interview where the girl just wanted to talk about nothing but sex. Did you just want to smack her or what?
John: I think I remember that. Some little girl, some little (covering mouth and coughing “slut”) that somehow got a press-pass.
GR: Oh it was horrible. She’s just going on and on and on about sex and you were like, “I’m in a band.”
John: I don’t know. I don’t think I ever saw that interview after that girl left. I haven’t thought of it since.
GR: You came through it with grace and dignity… But you know what’s really ironic is the last time I spoke with you we were both in the shower together with Willy! [Referring to an Ice Palace locker room interview]
John: Oh, okay. I remember that.
GR: Lamb Of God, Burn The Priest, Sacrament, New American Gospel… These are religious terms. You wouldn’t consider Lamb Of God a religious band would you?
John: No. We’re a heavy metal band and Black Sabbath started using religious words and symbols in their music and that kind of started metal off.
GR: What’s your take on religion?
John: That’s a huge question. I’m not a religious person, but I’m a spiritual person and I play in a heavy metal band.
GR: How did you receive the news that you had received a Grammy nomination and how did you feel about it?
John: That was strange. That’s not something we would ever expect to have happened but it was a good thing that I could tell my wife that we were going to L.A. to the Grammys.
GR: Do you feel that receiving a Grammy nomination has opened additional doors for the band?
John: I don’t know if it has or not. Being that it doesn’t really change the way a metal band rolls through their day or through a tour. It doesn’t get us bigger back stage areas or really affect our day to day.
John: Sure. I don’t even know if we had won a Grammy what that would have done for us.
GR: Why wasn’t Randy at the Grammy’s?
John: He didn’t want to go.
GR: Tell us a little bit about the new album Sacrament.
John: It was released August 22nd of last year and it debuted at number eight on the Billboard charts. We’re touring on that now and it’s been doing really well.
GR: Lamb Of God had moved away from political issues with this new album, why?
John: Because we had already done two political records and we didn’t want to get pigeon holed as a one trick pony or as a political band.
GR: Were you receiving a lot of heat from the political issues?
John: No. Absolutely not. We just want to have range.
GR: Sacrament is available in an explicit version and a clean version. Does this mean that you had to record the whole album twice?
John: [Laughing] No, they just edited the vocals. That’s so we can get into places like Wal-Mart and Target and places like that.
GR: Your debut album New American Gospel has been remastered and reissued. The album is not that old so why decide to reissue?
John: That’s really a label thing. I think that they had some money to maybe improve the recording quality of the record.
GR: That’s weird because it’s not really that old of an album.
John: But it sounds a lot better now!
GR: Metal Hammer Magazine has dubbed Lamb Of God “The hellish heirs to Pantera’s throne.” How do you feel about this statement?
John: Those are some pretty big shoes to fill. We’re a heavy metal band that fell in line after Pantera. That was one of the bands that kept metal alive through the years and it’s flattering but it’s not necessarily our goal.
John: We’ve done it once and it was at a big festival. They’re very polite. They applaud and cheer when you’re done playing then they settle down and wait for you to start your next song and outside of playing for them they wait outside the hotel for you with gifts and stuff and it’s pretty strange.
GR: Nice! Do they get the big mosh pits roaring like we do here?
John: I want to say ‘no’ but to be honest I don’t remember. I’m still in a funk from being sick on the road and trying to think back on that one show. Yeah, I just remember a bunch of screaming.
GR: No ‘Wall Of Death’ in Japan?
John: I don’t believe so.
GR: You guys had stopped doing the ‘Wall Of Death’ but I hear it’s still continuous.
John: Randy doesn’t direct people to do it anymore because at the 2004 OzzFest people were getting really hurt as we did this with bigger and bigger crowds, so we decided it would be a good idea to not be part of that.
GR: But yet it does still continue.
John: I guess it’s kind of a tradition; you can get on the internet and see all kinds of video of it.
GR: There’s been an ongoing debate… Some say metal is making a comeback, some say it never left. How do you feel about this?
John: It’s defiantly making a comeback. We’ve been a metal band since 1994 and we didn’t get signed to a record deal until 2000 and now it’s back with a vengeance with a band like us being on Epic. The question really is ‘what’s going to happen with it now?’ Is it going to fade back away or what’s going to happen?
GR: The video for Redneck is a riot! How long does it take to film something like that? Can it be done in one day? [Lamb Of God trashes a child’s birthday party]
John: It can and was.
GR: How much do you guys charge to play at children’s birthday parties?
John: You’d have to talk to our booking agent about that one!
GR: Thank you for speaking with Garage Radio Magazine today.
John: My pleasure.