AS I LAY DYING guitarist Phil Sgrosso believes that in time, people will see a "positive change" in the band's singer Tim Lambesis, who was famously convicted in 2014 for his role in a murder-for-hire plot against his estranged wife.
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.
In June 2018, AS I LAY DYING played its first show with Lambesis in five years and released a new single. Lambesis also owned up to his crimes in a long apology on the band's Facebook page after his release.
Although most AS I LAY DYING fans have welcomed the group's return, some resistance remains; in late 2018, the band was dropped from the lineup of Spain's Resurrection Fest, and earlier this year, a venue in Memphis, Tennessee called off AS I LAY DYING's performance after it faced online backlash.
"It's different for everybody on how they want to react to it, but I think over time, people will see the positive change in Tim," Sgrosso told Houston Press. "They'll see the new person that he's become as well as the new person he's still trying to become, and the positive impact he's trying to have on others."
In the three years since he was released from prison, Lambesis obtained his certification as an addiction treatment counselor and is actively involved with helping those struggling with mental health and depression through HeartSupport, a Christian organization headed by AUGUST BURNS RED singer Jake Luhrs.
This past September, AS I LAY DYING released its seventh full-length album, "Shaped By Fire", via Nuclear Blast. The disc includes the song "My Own Grave", which was originally released as a standalone single in June 2018 and marked the band's first new music in five years.
"It was the first song we pieced together as a [reformed] band," Sgrosso told Houston Press. "It allowed us to play our first show in San Diego and ultimately expand into doing a full album and going on tour.
"I would say the process [writing 'My Own Grave'] showed that after all that time and adversity, we could come back and come together to have a positive experience working on a song," he continued. "It was definitely cathartic for everyone to just be, like, 'Wow! Things have changed for the better.' It was very rewarding and gave us a sense of accomplishment."
The return of AS I LAY DYING raised some questions, particularly since guitarist Nick 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.
AS I LAY DYING will kick off the "Shaped By Fire" U.S. headlining tour this weekend. Support on the trek will come from AFTER THE BURIAL and EMMURE.