You would think that nervous feeling in your gut would go away after doing this job a few times. But when you start off a day rough, with plans spiraling downwards, are almost denied entry to get to the interview and getting into the show itself, and top it off are interviewing none other than Lamb of God… how can’t you be at least a little bit nervous? Everything always works out in the end though, and right on schedule I was in the tour bus with my question sheet in hand. And yet again, after about less than a minute of talking to bassist John Campbell, I realized I was in the clear. He’s just yet another chill dude who loves to make music. Once that realization sets in, an interview is nothing. So what did John and I talk about on that day once upon an Unholy Alliance?
Your first single, “Redneck” from the new album Sacrament has been online a while now. The feedback has been almost divided directly down the middle. Is this the sound that fans can expect for the most part on the new album and were you all happy with the outcome?
John: As far as the production yeah that’s basically what it’s going to sound like. As for the song writing it’s one out of eleven songs. And definitely not every song sounds like that song.
In between albums you released the re-mastered version of New American Gospel. Was this something you collectively wanted to have done for a while now… release the debut album the way you originally intended it?
John: Yeah definitely going back and being able to remix it is awesome. But those kind of decisions are all made by record labels. And so they’re the ones who put the money down to get it done. And we’re like sure, let’s fix the things that are bogus about those records and get it re-released.
The new album has been highly anticipated since Ashes of the Wake dropped. I went to Metal Injection.net and saw an interview with you in the recording studio. The surrounding area from the studio had a lot of run down, and more so I guess you could say “homely” feels about it. Does being in such a down to earth place that you can call home help and inspire you during the writing process?
John: Does it inspire… I think just where we’re from in Richmond, Virginia, the music scene that we came up in kind of inspires, motivates and drives us. But as far as there being crack heads and gunshots… it’s more just you know, some days it rains, some days the sun comes out.
Yeah dude. So clearly political issues are another influence for the band, or at least the members with a lot of lyrical input. Does the political theme weigh heavily on the new album’s lyrics, or has the style changed more again? If so what can people expect this time around?
John: Definitely not political this time around. Just more personal, observations, inter-personal politics. It’s not like… government bullshit.
Usually you’re headlining tours such as Sounds of the Underground last year. Was it easy to take the step down from headlining for a little bit? And did any of the reasoning come from getting back into touring mode before Sacrament drops?
John: Well we were thinking you know, have Slayer open up the show. And that wasn’t the right way to do it. So then they were gonna direct support us and uhh… nah man. It’s a fucking Slayer tour! They just came along and we were like are you kidding me? That’s perfect! It’s not really a step down to be able to tour the North American continent with Slayer.
Yeah for sure. So I read before that some of the members of the band enjoy having smaller set times….
John: [laughs] Because they’re pussies.
[laughing] Well alright. So I was going to ask, has this tour been able to allow you to enjoy it that extra bit.
John: Uh no, it’s awesome you know? That’s one of the good things about not headlining. You play shorter, you get offstage, have a shower and the shows still going on. When you’re headlining, you get offstage, shower, and the venue is all cleared up.
Alright so since Burn the Priest finished, Lamb of God has practically kept the same lineup. Has having the same group of people for a career been one of the key factors for Lamb of God to consistently push musical boundaries and grow as a band faster?
John: Yeah, I would say so. Well we’ve all known each other… Will and Chris have known each other their whole lives. But the rest of us met in 1990, so we’ve known each other for a pretty long time. And I think we’ve got the right personalities to mix it up and get it done in a unique way.
How about for touring? Does it help to kind of no what to expect before hand, and cut out needless animosity or whatever?
John: [laughs] Oh… you know. We’re just dudes who’ve known each other for a long time. Sometimes it gets hairy, sometimes it’s coo.
Looking back at the last little while, metal’s been in kind of a slump. But recently it’s been exponentially growing. What are your personal views on the whole growing metal community?
John: It’s great! This band, we’ve been doing it for twelve years. And when we started metal was way underground. It’s definitely grown over these past few years. To the point of I don’t have a job anymore. My job is making metal. What do I think about that? I think that’s pretty fucking awesome!
With the whole metal scene growing so fast and branching out to such a diverse amount of fans, how does it feel to be recognized and up for such awards as MTV2’s “There are none higher, Ultimate Metal God”?
John: [laughs] Well, you know we are in Canada, and I’m gonna work on getting real high. There might be some higher, but yeah it’s coo. There’s none higher? Ok, Willy says there’s none higher. Haha, so you know, it’s cool as crap man. But I can’t call up the landlord and say, “I got the none higher, Metal God Award, can I not pay rent this month?” So realistically meh, but you know as far as being recognized for what we do… it’s definitely very cool.
Lamb of God, As I lay Dying, and Mastadon are the nominees for the award. Do you think that these were the best choices for the award?
John: In current metal… probably. But you know… to call current people making metal gods to me seems a little silly. Talk about Slayer, Megadeath, Metallica, those are just the dudes who have done it for so fucking long man. Priest, Sabbath, Maiden, those are the gods man. We’re just the ones in the trenches now swingin’. Those guys have proved themselves, and we still have a lot to prove. I think it’s probably a little premature to call us gods at this point.
Ok, so I’ve read a couple interviews with you guys before. I guess you could say you’re a video game addict for Xbox.
John: Yep, I was actually trying to weed myself off and not bring my Xbox on this tour. I went a few days on tour then bought a PSP.
Awesome dude, PSP rules! Pumped for Halo 3?
John: Oh yeah! I still gotta get a 360 though. First I’ve gotta get a nice TV to put it on, and before that I’ve gotta get a house. Gotta wait a bit till I can get to that. I’m just looking forward to having a nice house, nice TV, and an Xbox 360. Than whatever games I have I’ll play em.
When Unholy Alliance is over, are there any ideas set in stone or just ideas floating around for what comes next and afterwards?
John: We’re doing some Japan and Australia dates. Then after that Unholy Alliance goes to Europe. We’ll probably do another run of the US and Canada before… throw it in the mix there.