LAMB OF GOD frontman Randy Blythe was interviewed on the June 10-12 edition of Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the Podbean widget below. A few excerpts follow.
Full Metal Jackie: You've really expanded your creative endeavors over the last few years. How has creative diversity strengthened you as a musician?
Randy: Well, for one thing, I think doing different things… I think that art feeds art. You know what I mean? I think if all I were to do was to sit and write lyrics and scream into a microphone, then that's all I'm going to know how to do and that's all that's gonna be informing my writing lyrics and screaming into a microphone. But, you know, if I write other things, make a few different types of music, you know, and take photographs — all that stuff — it keeps me inspired. It also prevents burnout. I think musicians… I think that's one big reason why musicians do side projects and [other] things too. It's because, with other people… 'Cause otherwise you get burned out from playing with the same dudes… for 22 years! [Laughs]
Full Metal Jackie: And maybe it reinvigorates you when you do go back and do LAMB OF GOD stuff.
Randy: Oh yeah. Absolutely. Yeah. For sure. I don't know, man. I mean, some people are okay with just doing one thing and that's their deal. I mean, like Gene Simmons. Look at him. He's KISS. That's it. That's all he does. That's all the wants to do, and that's fine, you know. That's fine for him. For me, I'd go insane if all I did was KISS. It would drive me crazy, Gene; it would. So, you know, I enjoy doing other things.
Full Metal Jackie: What's the biggest responsibility of someone who is articulate, outspoken and publicly visible such as yourself when it comes to politics and social issues?
Randy: Oooh... Well, I mean, I kind of have a… That's a question I ask myself often. You know, what is my responsibility, if any? Sometimes I think, you know, as an artist… In arts in general, you're a reflection of society and the state of it. We are the voice of society, you know, in a way. And you can go down the route of taking yourself way too seriously that way. So sometimes I think, yeah, as an artist, it's important to at least be accurate… Well, not accurate, but [an] articulate commentator on the events of today. And then on the other side of things, coming from the underground scene or whatever, I'm, like, I don't feel that I'm responsible to anyone for anything, other than just making, you know, what I want to make: my own music. Why should you expect me to sort of be some sort of spokesperson? I signed up to play music, not, you know, to be on CNN or something. But I think that if there is a responsibility, I think it's to do no harm, you know. That's just life in general, though."
Full Metal Jackie: I think also, with you guys being in a successful band, any time you speak your opinion on something, it ends up out there...
Randy: Regrettably, yeah. You know, particularly in times like right now, in an election [cycle] right now. Every time you fart, someone, you know, is like, 'Well, so-and-so said this and that and the other,' you know. I'm pretty careful with my remarks, because sometimes I make offhand remarks, you know, not even thinking about them. The next thing you know, someone's like, 'I read on the Internet.' I'm, like, 'Well, A) that's your first problem, you read on the Internet,' you know. B), I probably should have been a little more careful with my words that time. So I don't know, man. Freedom of speech is a son of a [makes bleeping sound]."
Full Metal Jackie: Musicians of just about every genre have expressed loss over Prince passing away. What did his music and advocacy for artist rights mean and represent to you?
Randy: Well, for one thing, you know, I think it's obvious, due to the wide-reaching and highly varied nature of this huge outpouring of sadness at his passing that the man's music crossed a lot of borders, you know, and it touched a lot of different people. Prince was pretty punk rock, if you ask me. I don't know of any other human being who has ever changed their name to an unrecognizable, unpronounceable symbol — period— much less done it in order to, like, deal with record company contracts. I thought that was pretty freaking genius. I don't know, man. He was just a huge talent. He played something like 27 instruments, you know, and played them well; he wasn't a hack. To me, the more and more of the news comes out about the way he passed, it just makes me sad, you know. He was a huge talent, though — he really was — and I certainly, you know, when he died, cruised around and listened to a little 'Purple Rain' and some 'Controversy'. Some old stuff, you know."
Full Metal Jackie: Creatively and stylistically, how would you like to see LAMB OF GOD evolve as you continue to mature as musicians and people?
Randy: I don't know. We're a heavy metal band. I never really try and look and think about how we're going to evolve; I just kind of watch it happen, I think. There's not a lot of forethought put into that, on my end of things. Of course, I don't write any of the music either; I just scribble the lyrics and scream, so… some of the lyrics. So… I don't know. For me, I think it'd be fun if we added a little… maybe some polka into it. A little uplifting 'oompa' aspect to the music might help us as humans. As we get older and more and more bitter, we could use something a little bit more lighthearted."
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