You’ve said each album is a learning experience. What lessons did you take from your last album Wrath into the making of Resolution?
John: We just tightened up the process of how we produced the record. With Wrath, we continued a process we started with [former producer] Machine. Going through a similar process, this time with Josh Wilbur, the actual mechanics of making the album were a breeze. What we had to worry about was makin’ the most whoop-ass, heavy and brutal heavy metal songs we possibly could.
You’re known and loved for your brutal approach. Have you ever considered toning things down a notch?
John: That’s not what the band is – we’re a heavy metal band! I think we stretch and try to evolve within the music we want to play and write. The very last song on the album, ‘King Me‘ – I won’t say it’s a stretch – but it’s a little different.
Resolution is the second Lamb of God album in a row produced by Josh Wilbur. How much does he affect your sound?
John: When we got together to start rehearsing, to write the record, he was there from day one, giving his input. This track ‘King Me‘ that I was talking about, this bit of different-ness was something he actually dreamed up and put together. So he’s a huge part of how the record sounds. He’s also the guy who mixed it, so his finger’s on it the whole way. We’re pushing the music and he’s the filter, the middle man, who makes it sounds great for everybody listening to the recording.
Do you have any favourite tracks on the album?
John: I wouldn’t say I have favourite tracks, but I have favourite moments on the record. The song ‘Ghost Walking‘, Mark sets up with an acoustic intro on the guitar and then the band kicks in – that’s probably one of my favourite moments. We have 14 songs on the record because we like these songs so much that we couldn’t decide which songs to get rid of. Not that we couldn’t decide, but there were songs we didn’t want to get rid of. It turned out that thankfully we had an abundance of really great songs.
You were one of 10 bands that Revolver magazine named as The Future of American Metal back in 2004. What’s it been like living up to that kind of hype?
John: The wording of that kind of implies we were put to some sort of test, but really we just do what we do. We were labelled by magazines as part of the “new wave” of American heavy metal. Really, all these labels and put-ups like “the biggest thing,” or “the newest thing that’s gonna be IT” – it’s media coming up with something to say. In the meantime, while it’s something we pay attention to, it really doesn’t drive what we’re doing. We’re just a heavy metal band, man.
How have you seen music change since you started out 10 years before that?
John: When we first started playing, “heavy metal” was a bad word. We would book our own tours, playing people’s basements, driving a van with a trailer. When we were calling people up, when it came to the point where they’d say, “Hey, what kid of band are you?” we’d say, “We’re a metal band,” and they would quickly be like, “Ah… yeah… we don’t… we’re not really… that, that’s cool man.” But then we started saying we’re a “punk” metal band and we had no problems booking shows! So in that one small way we’ve definitely seen a pretty big swing in music.
Are there any up-and-coming bands that have caught your attention recently?
John: I don’t know about the bands necessarily coming up, and to be honest I’m not immersed in heavy metal. I kind of focus on a band for weeks at a time then put ’em aside until I find another band I’ll focus on for weeks at a time. The last band that I was a little obsessive about for a few weeks was Black Mountain. They’re a band from Vancouver, they play kind of psychedelic rock. Great band.
Have you seen the list of bands you’ll be sharing the Soundwave bill with in February and March?
John: I actually looked at it to see how many of my friends are gonna be on it. A bunch of our friends are on it, so I’m really excited about that.
Who are you most looking forward to seeing or catching up with?
John: Mastodon, Unearth, Machine Head, Trivium – all the “new wave” of American heavy metallers that we’ve been playing shows with forever!
Speaking of your peers, if you could form a supergroup with any other musicians, who would you choose?
John: Wow, that’s probably one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked in an interview.
And it’s only as a side project, I’m not trying to break up Lamb of God here.
John: Ha ha, well you don’t gotta worry about that! I would have Brann Dailor [Mastodon] on drums, Ken Susi [Unearth] on guitar, we’d be a three-piece and Ken would sing. Actually, Ken‘s niece would sing. He’s got some YouTube videos of himself and his niece makin’ music.
Great, I’ll start booking some shows down here in Australia.
John: Ha ha, you absolutely should NOT waste your time doing that!
How does it feel having a signature series of Jackson bass guitar?
John: It’s great. It’s maybe a little early to be talking too much about it, but we’re working on doing some redesigns and doing some new stuff together. It’s an honour and I can’t thank Jackson enough for putting me on their roster. It’s been a pleasure working with those guys.
You’ve always toured heavily following the release of your albums. Will it be the same case with Resolution?
John: We’ve got a two-year plan laid down, and yeah, it’s gonna be pretty relentless for two years. We want to get out there and play as many shows as we can, and maybe see some new places and absolutely get back to Australia more than once in that two-year cycle.
Two years is a long time to tour on the back of one album.
John: Ha ha, you’re tellin’ me! I’ve got children that will be two years older when I get home. But we try and strategically tour where we can have at least a couple weeks at home between tours, and not do a stretch that lasts more than eight weeks, if we can help it. But that’s still a pretty healthy time to dip away from home if you’ve got a wife and a couple kids.
What can we expect from your set at Soundwave?
John: You can expect us up there playing music that we’re absolutely passionate about and trying to take the stage from every other band.
There’s a good chance of that.
John: I’m confident we’ll take it at least a few nights! We’re very happy, excited and anxious to get down to Australia and play some more shows.