How are things shaping up for Lamb of God? You’ve just completed the album so you must be pretty happy.
John: Yeah, well the record’s done and we’re kinda in the limbo between the album being done and when it comes out in January.
It’s going to be a bit of a wait for you to find out what people think of it
John: Oh yeah. It’s kinda crazy. It’s sorta like waiting for Christmas. But I’m really excited about this record, I think the material is the strongest we’ve done, and the record sonically is amazing. It’s a really great, dynamic heavy metal record, and I’m excited for this record to be delivered to the masses.
So what do you think the fans are going to take away from this record?
John: Hopefully they’ll be picking their jaws up off the ground and they’ll be coming out to see us when we come around and play live.
You were last out here with Metallica [in 2010] and soon you’ll be here for Soundwave. How do you think that’s going to compare?
John: Well the last time when we were here with Metallica, that was an amazing opportunity because we were able to stay in one city for more than a couple of days so we were able to check out the major cities of Australia. This time around we’ll be rolling through on Soundwave on a huge bill with a bunch of our old, great friends that we’ve been touring with for years and some we haven’t seen in a while. It’s gonna be a really great time touring across Australia with those guys and we’ll be trying our damnedest to take the stage every night.
Is there anyone in particular that you’re really hanging to see or hang out with while you’re here?
John: Mastodon and Unearth. I can not wait to hang out with those dudes from Machine Head. Those are the ones that roll off the top of the head. I took a look at the list the other day. I think I came up with a list of seven other bands that we’ve toured with in the past and with which we had a great time.
What do you think about the state of music in 2011? It just seems like there’s a constant stream of great abums coming out.
John: I think that’s just a statement on the strength of music despite the record companies having their desperate situation. I think technology’s at a point where, if you got a creative mind, the tools to create music are very easy to come by. And the ability to get that music heard is huge now. So I think that one thing that the Internet has had positive for music is that music, as artistic expression, is very easily transmitted.
So how it affect Lamb of God with so much great music coming out around you? Does it push you on toward further excellence?
John: To be honest, I’ve had my head so firmly in Lamb of God for the past year, I haven’t really poked around to see what music is out there. We tend to be unaffected by what’s going on around us and when it comes to create and go make another collection of Lamb of God songs, it’s great that there’s so much great music out there but we’re incredibly confident in our abilities as a band to write, record and perform live kick ass music.
What themes or concepts are you exploring lyric-wise on the latest album?
John: Betrayal, issues dealing with stress and difficult personal situations. I think one of the great things with our music though is, when you listen to it, you put part of yourself into it and it kinda changes the meaning. The lyrics are there, but the specific meaning of the lyrics can be put… in a way that relates to the context of their own life. The themes of despair and personal distress are just heavy metal subjects.
What about musically? Are fans going to be able to go into this album and find some new things, perhaps, that you haven’t explored before?
John: Well we don’t necessarily go in trying to… we’re not going to do the Korn thing and get into dubstep or anything. We’re writing a Lamb of God record. But I definitely think there’s influences in there. Like the track “Ghost Walk“, with the acoustic intro, sounds a little Skynyrd-ish to me. But you know we’ve got the usual suspects as our inspiration is heavy metal and those are those great heavy metal bands that we grew up with: Slayer, Megadeth, Metallica. That sort of forms the backbone of what we write, what we take our cues from for our heavy metal.
Now you are at that stage yourself, where bands are taking inspiration of you. How does that make you guys feel?
John: It’s crazy man. It’s a bit much at times. When people come up and want your signature… your autograph I guess you call it, it’s an odd thing when people start to… they relate to this music, and there you are as a person. But who they relate you… there’s a relationship there, but it’s through a different medium. It can be an odd thing. And it’s awesome that there’s kids who are musically inspired by us, however we are definitely putting out music that we love. That we like. So I would say I’m glad these kids agree with us! (laughs) A friend of mine used to work at a music store, and he told me a few years ago, when “Laid to Rest” was the single, that kids were coming in trying to play the riff. They were coming in after music school and trying to play the Lamb of God riffs. To me that’s cool, man. It’s kinda odd, but it’s cool.
So what would be one of the highlights of yours that you’ve taken away from your Lamb of God experience?
John: Man, we’ve been a band for 16 years, and we’ve gone from nothing to playing Download festivals in front of 70,000 people. To pick out a highlight… well, I would have to say that playing at Download in front of 70,000 people was pretty intense. Touring with Metallica was definitely a stand out moment in the career of Lamb of God. Being able to stay in the different cities we toured in for a week at a time, and then play to sold out arenas every night. That was pretty memorable.
Metallica hand pick the bands they take out on tour with them, so just to be picked to do that must have been amazing.
John: Yeah man, it’s like… they’re Metallica! That was something we never even thought was possible. You never expect that Metallica is gonna call you up and say, “Hey man, why don’t you guys come out and tour with us for a little bit?”
So what is there still left for Lamb of God to achieve that you haven’t done so far? Is there one thing you really want the band to do that you haven’t yet?
John: Ah, shoot. It’s hard to say man. Like I said, it’s been 16 years of a slow, steady climb and you never expect to be on a tour bus, let alone touring with Metallica. So what am I looking up to from here? I’m in it for the long haul, to continue this upward trend through the years.