When it came time to shoot a video for "Redneck," Lamb of God salvaged a concept they'd abandoned years before: the Virginia metallers — in debauched, beer-guzzling rock-star fashion — crash a child's birthday party and hilarity ultimately ensues.
"There are only so many videos you can make with you standing around a warehouse looking tough," guitarist Mark Morton explained. "We've done a couple of those, and we've done some live videos, too. But for this one, we wanted to do something different, so we just did a take on the old, classic '80s videos that were kind of spoof-ish. It has a little bit of a Twisted Sister vibe to it."
The video for the first single from Lamb of God's forthcoming LP Sacrament was directed by Bill Fishman (Eagles of Death Metal, the Ramones). It begins inside a picture-perfect suburban living room, where a father is playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" on his acoustic guitar for his young daughter's birthday. The child's mother flips through the phone book, looking for a band to perform during the girl's birthday party. She finds an ad for Lamb of God, and calls to book them.
The band rolls up in their tour bus, which is packed with scantily clad strippers, and disrupts all the balloon-animal and piñata merriment. By the end of the video, Lamb of God are laying an offensive, hard-as-nails set on the partygoers, sending all of the frightened tots running with hands cupped over their ears.
"It's different," said Morton. "We'd had the idea for a while. [Drummer Chris Adler] was the catalyst for the treatment; he dreamed it up. When we were about to shoot the video for 'Ruin,' " the leadoff track to 2003's As the Palaces Burn, "he came to us with this funny idea for a video, and we kind of all checked it out and thought it was a good idea. But it wasn't right for that song. That album was so serious and so dark and so politically motivated that it didn't jell with the song. It was always around, and he always wanted to make that video, and if ever there were a song to do it for, it was 'Redneck,' because that's sort of our 'party in the parking lot' song."
The reception to the video, Morton said, has been positive — the reaction from the fans has been overwhelming. He hopes the same will be true for Sacrament, which hits stores August 22 (see "Lamb Of God Ease Up On Bush But Get Deep Musically On Sacrament"). The guitarist added that, when it comes to album sales, it's really out of his band's hands — so he's not about to lose any sleep over it.
"It's not really our job to sell records — that's the label's job," he said. In 2004, the band's major-label debut, Ashes of the Wake, opened at #27 with more than 35,000 sales; the LP has gone on to sell 256,000 copies. "Internally, all five of us, we rally around the fact that this record is exactly what we wanted it to be, and we feel like it's tougher and tougher to get better in this band. Each time we make a record and we feel we've improved it's a big success for the five of us. From there, how many units it sells, what the fan response is — those are all secondary elements. Do I expect it to be a top 10 record? I don't know. If it is, that would be great. I won't lie and say it wouldn't be exciting to have a commercially successful metal record. But at the same time, that's never part of the agenda."
Sacrament will be available in a special expanded edition, featuring a DVD with the "Redneck" video and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the disc, shot by director Doug Spangenberg, who'd also worked on the band's 2005 DVD "Killadelphia." The package will also include a montage of Lamb of God being Lamb of God: driving Go-Karts, playing poker and even drag racing.
" 'Killadelphia' showed you the drunk, crazy antics — the fistfights," Morton said. "This shows you what we do when we're home, and almost lets you know how boring being in a band is."
Fresh from this summer's Unholy Alliance tour — which concluded July 22 in California — Lamb of God will be hitting the road again come September 7 in San Diego, as part of the second installment of Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine's Gigantour (see "Megadeth, Lamb Of God Reveal Plans To Shred The Road On Gigantour"); the bill also features Opeth, Arch Enemy, Overkill, Into Eternity, Sanctity and the Smashup.
Morton — who revealed that the metallers will be heading overseas for three months post-Gigantour, and are planning a headlining run for early 2007 — said he's thrilled about spending some quality time with Mustaine.
"He put together a really great bill, and Megadeth is probably the first metal band I sunk my teeth into," he said. "They're the reason why I got out of punk and into metal, so to finally get to play with them is awesome."