Originally known as Burn The Priest, Richmond, Virginia band Lamb Of God has been tearing up the heavy metal world since their inception in 1998. The band has sold more than a combined two million records in the US, been nominated for a Grammy award and has toured with many heavy-metal pioneers including Slayer.
Lamb Of God will be playing at the Moncton Coliseum Agrena Complex on Friday October 30 with Gwar and Job For A Cowboy supporting them.
When Lamb Of God bassist John Campbell recently checked in from the band’s tour stop in Cleveland, Ohio, the group’s show that they would be playing that evening was in support of heavy-metal legends Metallica.
Over the past few months, Lamb Of God has spent a good amount of time supporting Metallica all over the world.
But when on downtime away from that tour, they undertake their own shows to help fill out their schedule until Metallica are back on the road.
“Metallica tour on a week on-week off scenario. That setup provides us the opportunity to fill in our schedule with our own dates,” Campbell says.
But Campbell nor his band mates are going to complain about the opportunity to tour with the metal greats, even if the dates are a little on the scattered side.
“This experience of touring with Metallica has been nothing short of amazing. Every night, we are being given the opportunity to play huge arenas that are slammed full of people. We are getting exposed to all kinds of people that wouldn’t have known us otherwise.
“We looked up to Metallica a long time ago when we started. They were a huge influence upon us and now we are getting to travel the world with them.”
Touring is a world that the Lamb Of God members have grown accustomed to over the past decade.
“Ever since we started, we’ve tried to tour for eight to nine weeks at a time and follow that up with a couple of weeks off,” Campbell says. “The bulk of our 2009 has been spent on the road with Metallica which is fantastic. The year has definitely been a blur. We consider ourselves to be very lucky to be so productive when so many others aren’t given the same opportunity.”
Lamb Of God’s newest record Wrath was released this past February, almost three years after 2006’s Sacrament.
Being such a touring powerhouse, one has to wonder whether tearing themselves away from being on the road is difficult when the group has so much momentum going in their favour.
“I honestly think that we have reached the point where touring is a grind. We go out for up to nine weeks at a time and more often than not, we end up partying many of those nights away,” Campbell says. “But when it comes to writing, it can be tough to change gears and get into songwriting mode. We have to strategically plan almost every aspect of our professional lives including when we will get to writing new material.
“So the time between our latest record and the previous one was intentional. It is not as though we were avoiding making a new record by any means.”
Lamb Of God are slated to play headlining shows in Moncton, Halifax and London while backing up Metallica for another five dates spread among Quebec City, Toronto and Ottawa.
And if there is one thing that Campbell and crew are looking forward to it is returning to our home and native land.
“Canada has always been completely amazing for us,” says Campbell. “We have found that the crowds we play for there are over the top, totally enthusiastic and into the show.”
The public’s voracious appetite for heavy metal reaches far beyond Canada’s borders however. In Campbell’s opinion, the genre is seeing a resurgence in popularity although it hasn’t quite yet reached the heights that it experienced in the 1980s.
“Thanks to our playing this style of music, we have managed to tour all over the world and have pending invites to go play places we haven’t been,” Campbell says excitedly.
“In the next few months, we are playing China, Malaysia and the Middle East. It’s pretty mind boggling when you stop and think about it.”
And though he acknowledges the drastic changes that the record industry has undergone in the past decade, Campbell seems grateful for the continuing support of their record label Sony, who has stuck by them for their career to date.
“I think that Sony feel as though they are lucky to have us because they don’t have to put a whole lot of money into us and they still see a return on sales,” Campbell notes.
“I think in a lot of ways, heavy metal bands are lucky because their fans go out and buy the product which in turn allows them to continue making records. Even though record sales are on the outs for so many pop and rock bands, metal bands have kept their numbers very consistent all along.
“At the same token, we feel very lucky that Sony continues to keep us around,” he laughs. “We are far from being their biggest selling band, but we take little in the way of money relative to their other artists. We are fairly self-sufficient and we are proud of that.”
Tickets to Lamb of God’s show in Moncton can be purchased online at http://tickets.moncton.ca or by phone at (506) 857-4100 for $56 each which includes all taxes and service charges. The show is open to all-ages and has a 19+ licensed area.