LAMB OF GOD Guitarist Is 'Shocked' By The Band's Success

Amy Kelly of Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with LAMB OF GOD guitarist Mark Morton. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

Ultimate-Guitar.com: You recently made your television debut on the "Conan O'Brien" show. What was that experience like?

Mark Morton: It went pretty well. It was definitely kind of a new experience for us. That was our first time playing on national TV. It's kind of an interesting feeling. It's definitely different than shooting a video. Shooting a video, you're not necessarily playing. So you can be as sloppy as you want! On TV, it's kind of like you've got one shot to nail it. But it's cool to actually do something where you kind of get nervous. It's kind of rare than I'm that nervous before a gig, but before this one I was definitely a little tense. But it was in a good way. It was kind of neat.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: Being that this was such a highly publicized gig, what kind of feedback did you get after the show?

Mark Morton: I've seen people that were like, "Oh, they looked kind of stiff," or "They're just standing there." But for the most part, everyone thought it was great. Those that don't, they don't get it. You're only like on a 10 x 10 stage! It's not like our normal stage, where we can go crazy. It's pretty compact up there. But yeah, it seemed to go over pretty well. The fans dug it and a lot of people tuned in especially for us, so it was definitely a neat moment.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: You recently received a Grammy nomination for "Redneck" for Best Metal Performance. What did the nomination mean to you?

Mark Morton: Well, honestly, it doesn't really change anything. You raised the question of what does that mean to you guys, and my gut response was, "Nothing." Not to disrespect the Grammys. It's an institution. We're very flattered to even be nominated, and we were excited about the nomination. We had a great time. In terms of the big picture as a band, because we're not a radio band and we're not a pop band, that kind of accolade is a little bit foreign to us. As cool as it is and as neat as it is, it's a bit of an anomaly for us. But I'm really glad it happened and flattered to be nominated.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: Talk a bit about writing the song that was nominated, "Redneck".

Mark Morton: It's funny. The song "Redneck", I pretty much arranged all the riffs for that myself. About three or four days before, I had come in with a different song, a song that's on the album called "Descending". "Descending" is a bit of an abstract track. It's real linear and it's more of a kind of landscape-ish track rather than just riff after riff after riff, so the band, they weren't that excited about it. They were like, "Well, we'll keep working with it. We'll try it, but I'm not sure about it." That was there response to "Descending". So I was like, "Huh, I'll show them!" Three days later, I brought "Redneck" in. It was almost as a response, like from my part as a guitar player to the fact that they were still lukewarm on this kind of artsy-fartsy tune I brought in. I was just like, "Well, I'm going to bring in a sledgehammer then!" So that was really where that song was born. When I brought it in, everyone immediately was drawn to it. We called it "Redneck" before there were ever any lyrics or any lyrical content or subject matter to it. It did have that kind of southern swagger to it and the pentatonic movements and it sounded like breaking a beer bottle in a parking lot. It had that identity and character before there were ever lyrics. It was one of the few times in our career where the working title became the real title. That song's just "Redneck".

Ultimate-Guitar.com: In the bonus DVD on "Sacrament", it seems like Randy [Blythe, vocals] is not necessarily always there during the songwriting process. Has that ever been a problem?

Mark Morton: Not really. We're kind of so set in our ways and the way we write. Randy is not a musician per se. He's not a guitar player, so there's really no point in him being there. I mean, other than to hear what's going on, which he does. He'll drop by to see what's happening and get a feel for things. But to actually be there at a stage when we're drilling hard and trying to work chord out by chord out, that's not the time to be there. So usually by the time we get 4 or 5 songs together, he's coming in and trying to figure out the verse, the chorus, and that type of thing. I think he knows when to be there and when not to be.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: On YouTube there is still the infamous fight between you and Randy floating around. Can you look back at that and laugh now?

Mark Morton: A million bands have had that happen. It's just kind of a boys will be boys thing. It's too much whiskey and maybe a few too many weeks on the road and living too close to each other! You kind of reach a boiling point, you know? You really lose it. It doesn't really change anything. There was no revelation involved. It was just a bad night. Randy and I are good friends. We were good friends then and we'll still good friends. It's the wares of the road.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: When you look back at everything the band has gone through in the past decade, particularly after this incredible year, what goes through you mind?

Mark Morton: It's pretty amazing. It's not lost on us really, how far we've come. It's interesting. I was watching one of my favorite bands in the whole world ever, NIRVANA. I was watching this documentary on NIRVANA and they were interviewing Dave Grohl. He said something like, "It was inconceivable that we would be the biggest band in the world. We just wanted to play. There's no way that we could have even been that big." Obviously, we're not NIRVANA, but that's kind of how we feel. We never imagined we'd be playing arenas, riding around on tour buses, nominated for Grammys and that kind of shit. It was inconceivable. There was no way. It wasn't part of the agenda — it couldn't have been. It was a non-reality. And now, with like all the things that have happened, it blows our minds still. It's amazing. Every step of the way is always a surprise. Every step we moved got bigger and bigger, and we're just shocked by it.

Read the entire interview at Ultimate-Guitar.com.

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