Art Cruz (PRONG, WINDS OF PLAGUE) spoke to American Musical Supply about the experience of filling in for LAMB OF GOD drummer Chris Adler on the band's recent North American and European tours with SLAYER.
"I've been with them for about two tours, kind of just sitting in, helping them out at the current moment," Art said on Thursday (January 24) at this year's NAMM show in Anaheim, California (see video below). "I'm playing with my band, WINDS OF PLAGUE, and PRONG, and back in the day, about 2010, I met these guys [in LAMB OF GOD] about eight years ago, and we just bonded — we hit it off and became really, really good friends. And, to be honest, I was their first and only phone call, and that was it. So here we are."
Asked what it has been like making a transition between playing his own drum parts to reproducing somebody else's material, Art said: "Chris is my buddy, so to be sitting in his place while he situates his stuff, it's been tough, because it's my favorite band ever — that was my dream to even be up next to them. But it's been a little bit of challenge, because it's big shoes to fill. But I'm having fun with it, the band is having fun with it, and it's been great — it's been phenomenal."
Art went on to say that he didn't have to alter his playing style in order to accommodate LAMB OF GOD's music. "I've been looking up to the band, like I said, since day one, so they inspired me from the get-go," he said. "So I didn't have to change too much. I think I had to focus a little bit more. 'Cause I'm usually just kind of whaling. But I would say it's a little bit more focused and intense. Especially when there's, like, fifty thousand people staring at you, in relation to two thousand or five hundred."
According to Art, the difference in playing smaller venues with his other bands to performing in sold-out arenas with LAMB OF GOD has been "monumental. I had never played arenas before, so this was the first experience I've ever had with arenas," he said. "These arenas are making these drums sound even better than they already are, so to transition from the smaller venues to the bigger venues, it was kind of like the first show, 'Woah!' And then you kind of phase it out and then you really don't even realize you're even there anymore. Initially, it's like you get on, and it's, like, 'Woah!' And then it turns black, to me."
Cruz made his live debut with LAMB OF GOD last July in Gilford, New Hampshire.
LAMB OF GOD said in a statement that Art was recruited for the gig "at the recommendation of Chris."
Adler later said that he was forced to sit out the LAMB OF GOD tours because he was undergoing physical and occupational therapy for injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident in late 2017.