Mike Osegueda of McClatchy Newspapers (MCT) recently conducted an interview with LAMB OF GOD bassist John Campbell. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
McClatchy Newspapers: I read that when you guys went to Australia and Japan and all that stuff, it went over really well; did you expect such a big interest over there in American metal?
John Campbell: Well, we had had some friends who had gone over and told us how good things were. Never having done it ourselves, we didn't really know what to expect. In Japan, we just played one show at a festival, which is a bizarre experience in and of itself, regardless of what country you're in. In Australia, we got kind of a heads up before we got there that "Yeah, I think there's a lot of people waiting to see you guys in Australia."
McClatchy Newspapers: That's gotta be nice to know that what you're doing ...
John Campbell: Yeah, it's amazing, man. We are honestly just five pretty normal dudes who have a love for heavy music and making it, who are just lucky enough to have caught the attention of a lot people all over the world.
McClatchy Newspapers: Explain the religious connotations in the name. There's LAMB OF GOD, but before that it was BURN THE PRIEST. Is there a lot of confusion with people thinking you're a religious band?
John Campbell: There is some confusion, but there's less now than when we were BURN THE PRIEST. When we were BURN THE PRIEST, it was assumed we were a satanic band—and we're not. As a whole that got frustrating, being pigeonholed as a satanic metal band and in a lot of ways, written off, I think. That was why we ended up changing the name.
The whole religious connotation really comes down to BLACK SABBATH starting it off in the late '60s, that heavy metal is a religious-esque — that's such a horrible word I just made up — movement. I really think it has to do with how serious fans of the music take it. Because we're using Christian symbols and words and such, I would blame that on BLACK SABBATH.
McClatchy Newspapers: Let's talk about the state of metal. It seems like every big new metal band that gets big is "saving metal" or it's "the rebirth of metal." Give us kind of a state of the union.
John Campbell: I would like to think we stand at a bit of a crossroads. I think metal has come back, and now it's up to metal to prove why it's worth being back. You will see kind of like that happened back in the day, where a handful of bands made it through, and some fell off, some worthy bands fell off and some (expletive) bands thankfully fell off.
In the next few years, that may be the direction metal is heading. But it's really a guess. I never would have guessed it would come back this way. Maybe that's just me being pessimistic.
McClatchy Newspapers: How does LAMB OF GOD play into all this? What's your guys' role?
John Campbell: Somehow we managed to set ourselves up as role models, in a lot of ways to what metal is to American kids now. It's a pretty huge responsibility, but never having gone out and sought that sort of responsibly, we're just gonna keep doing it the way we've known how to do it, which is putting out music that is up to our standards. It's amazing that we've been able to make a job out of it this far, and hopefully that continues.
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