OZZY OSBOURNE bassist Rob "Blasko" Nicholson (pictured), who is also a successful artist manager, was asked during a recent appearance on "Jon's Untitled Podcast" how he would have handled — from a band-manager perspective — AS I LAY DYING's comeback after the band's lead vocalist, Tim Lambesis, served two years in prison for soliciting the murder of his wife.
"Look, to answer the question completely on the level and honestly, I wouldn't have been in that situation — just because I would have had to distance myself from it," Blasko said (hear audio below). "My values aren't aligned with that, and no matter how much you can have a sake of forgiveness for somebody, at the end of the day, this is business, and my business values don't align with that situation. I would not have found myself in a position to have to try and rebuild someone's career coming off of a situation like that. Unfortunately, I just don't have a specific answer of what I would have done — I wouldn't have done anything in that situation."
Blasko also spoke about the fact that AS I LAY DYING's longtime record label, Metal Blade, reissued some of the band's early albums on vinyl in January, possibly as a way to test the waters on AS I LAY DYING's commercial viability six years after the release of the group's latest record, "Awakened".
"Look, the people involved, they're involved on whatever level that they are, and I and I can't speak on it," he said. "[Metal Blade CEO Brian] Slagel's a good friend, and he's a business owner, so whatever he thought was the right thing to do for his business regarding an artist that he has signed to his label… I'm sure that he had some serious debates internally about what the right thing to do was, and he made his decisions and they did what they did. And that's on them — it's totally their decision. And I don't fault anybody for having to do whatever it is that they've gotta do that they feel is the right decision based on all their internal conversations, given the scope of the situation."
The classic lineup of AS I LAY DYING — Lambesis on lead vocals, Jordan Mancino on drums, Phil Sgrosso on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Nick Hipa on lead guitar and backing vocals, and Josh Gilbert on bass and clean vocals — played its first first comeback show on June 16 at Soma Sidestage in San Diego, California.
In May 2014, Lambesis was sentenced to six years in jail after pleading guilty to paying a San Diego police officer posing as a hitman $1,000 to kill his wife. Approximately two and a half years later — on December 17, 2016 — he was discharged from a California detention facility and was transferred to the Division of Adult Parole Operations.
Last December, Lambesis released a statement in which he apologized to his former wife and children for his "appalling actions." He also accepted responsibility for being "the sole offender and the only one to blame for everything that happened."
The return of AS I LAY DYING raised some questions, particularly since Hipa categorically denounced the band's disgraced frontman as a "sociopathic narcissist in definite need of rehabilitation" in a social-media post back in 2014.
Lambesis was arrested in May 2013 after handing a "hitman" — really an undercover police officer — $1,000 in cash, along with his wife's address and gate security codes.
Prior to the murder plot, his wife had asked a San Diego Superior Court to dissolve their marriage.