Lamb of God’s Chris Adler on Their Nightmare Summer, Touring Again and Taking Up the Drums at Age 21
In just a few weeks, Lamb of God kicks off a much-awaited tour in the wake of the international scandal involving their singer, Randy Blythe, who was detained in Prague following allegations of manslaughter. Blythe was released on bail Aug. 3 and will return to Prague early next year to stand trial regarding the death of a fan at a show in 2010.
The rock music community has rallied around Blythe, who has steadfastly declared his innocence. The three-time Grammy Award nominated Lamb of God is anxious to return to support their latest album Resolution, which debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart when it was released earlier this year.
Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler spoke candidly to Noisecreep about returning to the stage, Blythe’s situation and how it might affect the future of the band.
Chris, has the ongoing episode with Randy tested the strength of the band?
I think on a personal level, yes. It was shocking and really daunting to look down the barrel at the end of your career with something so out of left field and unexpected. In many ways, this train has been rolling a long time, you get kind of lazy and you just expect to show up at the next gig the next day. So to get derailed so violently was quite a shock. I think everyone is in a state of shock. At first you scramble around in disbelief then it sinks in. We did our best in every way to get things back on track, but during the time, there is introspection about what might be next. What is plan B? Even though I am a bit of a fatalist, I do know I have to try to find a different way to look a things and try to be able to take something from the experience that can benefit me.
What has struck you from that point of view?
One of the things that has really shone through was that even though we’ve been doing this like 17 years, and it’s scary to think about it being taken away – it also brings you back to reality. It reminds you that we are really doing something special; it shakes you out of that sort of safety zone that you can fall into. Not a lot of people get to do what we do, and this has certainly reminded us of that. When I realized how fragile this all is, it definitely brought me back to the level like back at the beginning – the excitement and everything.
Watch ‘Ghost Walking’ Video
Describe how the fist shows back at Knotfest were.
Having the guys together was really no different, we have stood backstage together to get ready many times of course. But the feeling was entirely different. There was a renewed sense of the excitement, the innocence and the lust for what it is we do, all front and center. There was tangible energy that maybe, somehow, we had started taking for granted the last few years, but now the energy was totally renewed. Outside of my continued support for Randy, that is how I have to look at it – as a wake up call for this band.
Was the feeling from the crowd different, too?
There was a difference. Very noticeable form the start. It was a day, two days actually, full of bands, then us, then Slipknot. So maybe a 20-30 minute changeover between us and the band before us. And almost that entire time was filled up with the crowd chanting Randy’s name. As we took the shuttle to the stage we could hear it. We’ve heard the kids scream the band’s name before. But this was special. Look, this was a nuclear crisis in our band and family. But we didn’t know how much people out here actually knew. There was some community that formed between bands, but we didn’t know how far it reached. But to have these fans excited not just about a great heavy metal show, but it was like we’d been gone for 20 years. The welcome back. The energy that came to us was just so intense. That, combined with the feeling we had between us, made for something unforgettable. That crowd created something I will never forget.
Does that sort of energy set the table for the upcoming tour?
Oh yeah. We are extra excited for this upcoming tour given this new energy.
Watch ‘As the Palaces Burn’ Video
How do you see the future shaking out, if you can forecast just a bit for us?
It’s hard to see it from the outside. It’s weird. We’re still day-to-day. Randy has to go back in January for the trial and he wants to go back and clear his name and speak to the family and try and answer any questions they may have. We are all very proud of him and believe he is absolutely innocent. But what could this all do to Lamb of God potentially? Who knows? Could there be a prison album coming up? Maybe. I hope not. But I know we will be energized to do anything and everything we can. Me, personally, I’m excited to get back on stage and start writing new material. So something new will be coming as we move ahead.
Chris, you didn’t start drumming until you were 21. Talk about how you started. Was there a show or something you saw that inspired you to drop the guitar and pick up the sticks?
The first enormous concert I ever saw was Aerosmith, but the one that changed my life was when I was in high school in Maryland. There was a band that came through called Wrathchild America. Shannon Larkin [currently in Godsmack] was the drummer. They were more progressive and more musically interesting than a lot of other metal bands. But when I watched Shannon, I thought, if could do anything that would be it. He made me want to risk it all, quit my full time job and risk every penny on a cheap drum kit
Have you told him this?
I did. When he was in a band called Amen and we toured with them years ago. I told him the story and his reaction was incredible. He appreciated that so much. So when people say those sorts of things to me today, that maybe I influenced them a little, it’s special and I don’t take it lightly.
Watch Wrathchild America’s ‘Climbing the Walls’ Video