Lamb of God didn’t win a Grammy. And that’s OK with bass player John Campbell.
“We’re going this weekend to watch Slayer get a Grammy,” he said, a few days before finding out that Slayer did in fact beat out his band in the best metal performance category at this year’s awards.
Things are still going well for Lamb of God. Its 2006 album “Sacrament” was widely heralded as one of the best hard rock albums of the year. And now the group is back touring in the U.S. after a successful international run.
Question: With this tour, you guys are trying to go to cities that you think are often overlooked, right?
Answer: Yeah, we’re playing some of the secondary markets and stuff that we haven’t had the chance to get to, which is really where we built our following. By playing these smaller tours that weren’t just hitting the big markets and arenas, that we’re playing the smaller clubs and playing to the real people in a much more rock `n’ roll environment than an arena.
Q: I read that when you guys went to Australia and Japan and all that stuff, it went over really well; did you expect such a big interest over there in American metal?
A: Well, we had had some friends who had gone over and told us how good things were. Never having done it ourselves, we didn’t really know what to expect. In Japan, we just played one show at a festival, which is a bizarre experience in and of itself, regardless of what country you’re in. In Australia, we got kind of a heads up before we got there that “Yeah, I think there’s a lot of people waiting to see you guys in Australia.”
Q: That’s gotta be nice to know that what you’re doing ...
A: Yeah, it’s amazing, man. We are honestly just five pretty normal dudes who have a love for heavy music and making it, who are just lucky enough to have caught the attention of a lot people all over the world.
Q: Explain the religious connotations in the name. There’s Lamb of God, but before that it was Burn the Priest. Is there a lot of confusion with people thinking you’re a religious band?
A: There is some confusion, but there’s less now than when we were Burn the Priest. When we were Burn the Priest, it was assumed we were a satanic band—and we’re not. As a whole that got frustrating, being pigeonholed as a satanic metal band and in a lot of ways, written off, I think. That was why we ended up changing the name.
The whole religious connotation really comes down to Black Sabbath starting it off in the late `60s, that heavy metal is a religious-esque—that’s such a horrible word I just made up—movement. I really think it has to do with how serious fans of the music take it. Because we’re using Christian symbols and words and such, I would blame that on Black Sabbath.
Q: Let’s talk about the state of metal. It seems like every big new metal band that gets big is “saving metal” or it’s “the rebirth of metal.” Give us kind of a state of the union.
A: I would like to think we stand at a bit of a crossroads. I think metal has come back, and now it’s up to metal to prove why it’s worth being back. You will see kind of like that happened back in the day, where a handful of bands made it through, and some fell off, some worthy bands fell off and some (expletive) bands thankfully fell off.
In the next few years, that may be the direction metal is heading. But it’s really a guess. I never would have guessed it would come back this way. Maybe that’s just me being pessimistic.
Q: How does Lamb of God play into all this? What’s your guys’ role?
A: Somehow we managed to set ourselves up as role models, in a lot of ways to what metal is to American kids now. It’s a pretty huge responsibility, but never having gone out and sought that sort of responsibly, we’re just gonna keep doing it the way we’ve known how to do it, which is putting out music that is up to our standards. It’s amazing that we’ve been able to make a job out of it this far, and hopefully that continues.