Long before the bill for last summer's free Ozzfest was revealed, Metal File spoke with Lamb of God guitarist Chris Adler to gauge his opinion on the long-running fest going gratis. His response wasn't surprising, until a month or so later, when the metallers were named as one of the festival's mainstage acts. That's because the idea, at first, rubbed him the wrong way.
"As a fan, I'm excited. But as an insider, I realize something is funky about it, and I don't know how they're pulling it off," he said at the time. "At the end of the day, someone is getting paid, and to expect the performers to walk up there and do it for free while someone is benefiting from it other than them, that doesn't seem right to me. I love the idea that people can come and see bands they love and not lose their butt on the ticket's price, but for it to be free? You can't tell me the organizers are not making money at the end of the day. To expect the performers to perform for free, it devalues the performer and the living we're trying to make. If you can do it for free now, what was the point of ripping everyone off before?
"It's dangerous, because the young, innovative bands helping metal evolve will get shut out of this whole thing," he continued. "If people expect every show and every piece of music to be free, we will lose the ability to continue to evolve. There will just be the same established acts that can somehow figure out ways to make money."
Last week, Adler — who is in promotion mode for the band's upcoming co-headlining run with Killswitch Engage — defended his earlier statements and said that, in practice, the free tour actually worked out well for Lamb of God and several other bands on the lineup.
"We didn't want to be put into some kind of support slot with restrictions," Adler said. "If you want us to be part of the tour, and you're not going to pay us our market value, and we're going to give 110 percent to every fan that shows up, we have to have our say in how it's done. And they were extremely accommodating to what we wanted to do. The options at the time were to do a headlining tour, which we'd just done with Machine Head and Trivium; [or] to go out with Korn, who had offered us a slot [on the Family Values Tour, but it [wasn't the offer they had hoped for] or to take this Ozzfest on, to see what happened, and to play in front of an audience who's maybe never seen or heard of us before.
"As a musician, of course I want to make a living and come home and keep the lights on," he added. "But really, the spirit of what I do is share the music we create with people who might be interested in hearing it. So to get in front of an audience that maybe hasn't heard of you before, it would have been irresponsible for us not to do it. In the end, was it undervalued? Were people not paid? Were people struggling to get through the whole tour, including us? Absolutely. Did the fans get their money's worth? Yes. And did we make some new fans out of it? I think so."
Adler said he doesn't think Ozzfest should be free going forward but reiterated that he's glad Lamb of God signed on for the trek last summer.
"How do you turn down main support to Ozzy Osbourne on Ozzfest, playing in L.A. to 55,000 people?" he asked. "That's an experience I'll never forget. For us, I know next year we're not doing anything because we want to write a record, but we thought this year's [Ozzfest] was massively successful and exposed the ... normal Ozzfest fan to something a little deeper in metal than what's out there."
With 2007's Ozzfest behind them, Lamb of God are preparing for the last tour in the cycle for last year's Sacrament. After that, they'll head into hibernation mode and begin work on their next LP, Adler said. The band's upcoming run is a revival of sorts, of the 2003 Headbangers Ball Tour — that trek featured Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage, the latter of whom are co-headlining the new LOG trek, which kicks off November 28 in Lowell, Massachusetts, and runs through December 17 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. DevilDriver and Soilwork will serve as main support for the tour.
"It's the exclamation [point] to the album cycle," Adler explained. "We're going to go away and hibernate for a while after this tour, so we wanted to make it something special — and get back with our friends in Killswitch, especially. On this tour, we want to dig a bit deeper on all of our records, so we're not bored with it. It's important for us to step it up a notch and give people a reason to come out and see us."
Adler said LOG plan to inject into their new set several songs from the self-titled album they released under their previous name, Burn the Priest, in 1999. After the tour, they'll spend some time away from the band, "so we can remember what our wives look like." Then, they'll get serious about writing new material: "It's time for us to put out an unpolished, nasty metal record," the guitarist said.
"Actually, in our talks of this hibernation next year, we've really, all of us, have gone back and revisited the Burn the Priest album and what it meant at the time, and what we can learn from it in going forward to the next record," he continued. "I think it's definitely something we're going to be considering in the writing process. We have some ideas floating around, but nothing cemented or named yet. One of the things we've all done is [gone] backwards in our history and pulled out [2000's] New American Gospel, and the Burn the Priest record, and we want to take the experience we have now as writers and players, and revisit those records — to get back into that headspace again but bring the experience we have now to that process. We want to get a little dirtier, because we don't want to be this homogenized metal band."
Adler said the bandmembers are considering producing the LP themselves but may also consider assembling a team of producers — some they've worked with in the past, some they've never worked with before — to help guide them through the process.
In the meantime, LOG have two releases on the way to hold fans over until the next record, which Adler said could be ready in time for a late 2008 release. This spring, the band will release another DVD, which the guitarist said is the companion disc to the DVD that came with deluxe editions of Sacrament. It will feature tons of tour footage and include "more of the drinking aspect of the band."
Adler also said Sacrament will be reissued on November 27, but in a unique form.
"The label came to us several months ago, right before Ozzfest, and said they wanted to repackage the record with some kind of bonus track and sell it again," he said. "We didn't want to do it. Being fans of music and people who buy music, it always sucked to go buy a record and then two months later, there's another version of it with a live track that you love, and you have to spend your money again. We came back to them and said, 'No, we don't want to do it. Please don't do it. We will be very unhappy if that happens.' They brought us to the table and asked if there was any way we'd feel good about re-releasing Sacrament."
So Adler came up with a rather genius idea. "It will come with a disc of every music file, every instrument, separated, for every song on the record," he said. "The solos, the effects, everything, so that anybody can reassemble them, can cut them up, lay down their own vocals, cut out the drums, do it themselves, produce it better than we did. This is the studio experience of the record, and with any recording program, you'll be able to import these files and do whatever you want with them."
The rest of the week's metal news:
As Killswitch Engage prepare for their tour with Lamb of God, frontman Howard Jones revealed to Metal File his desire to work once again with Blood Has Been Shed, the band he led before replacing Jesse Leach in KSE back in 2002. "We'll probably do something else again," he said. "It's still just [drummer] Justin [Foley] and I, [guitarist] Corey [Unger] and [bassist] John [Lynch], and we'll probably record something again. We might drum up something here, because the band's been around for quite a bit of time, and we need to celebrate our anniversary and put out something — maybe do a few new songs. We'll reconnect at some point, because it's something we've tossed around. It's just a matter of everyone connecting." Meanwhile, Killswitch guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz is continuing to work on his side project, Burn Your Wishes, with Unearth's Ken Susi, Seemless' Dave Pino and Derek Kerswill, and former Poison the Well bassist Iano Dovi. ...
Iron Maiden have pulled back the curtain on the double-DVD release of their classic concert video "Live After Death," which was originally issued in 1985. The new package will come out February 5 and coincide with the beginning of the band's Somewhere Back in Time world tour, which launches February 1 in Mumbai, India. The first DVD captures a 90-minute concert performance at California's Long Beach Arena during 1984's Powerslave tour while the other one contains the second part of the documentary "The History of Iron Maiden" (part one is available on the DVD "The Early Days"). There's a glut of bonus footage too, including an hourlong documentary, interviews and 50 minutes' worth of footage from the band's Queen-supporting set at Rock in Rio in 1985. The total running time of the package is over three hours. "It was one of the first full concerts to be filmed after the advent of video, and of course the live album [of the same name], recorded on a different night to the video, has long been considered to be one of the seminal metal live albums and has sold millions since," the band's longtime manager, Rod Smallwood, said in a statement. "Fans have been begging us to do this DVD for some time now, but we wanted to wait until we were able to re-create that whole tour to go with it." ...
Ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist and masked maniac Buckethead will release a pair of DVDs on December 11. The first, "Young Buckethead," features a complete concert by his old experimental band, Deli Creeps, that was filmed in 1990 at the Cactus Club in San Jose, California. The disc also contains footage under the headers "Buckethead in the Basement" (with the guitarist on synth) and "Buckethead's Backyard Solo" (a 14-minute jam of virtuosic weirdness). For those who can't get enough, the second DVD, "Young Buckethead 2," contains a Deli Creeps show from 1991 at the Kennel Club in San Francisco; the band's debut, at San Francisco's I-Beam in September 1990; and a comedic backstage-monologue feature called "Buckethead in the Park." ... Between the Buried and Me, August Burns Red and Behold ... the Arctopus will launch a three-week tour on November 29 in Charleston, South Carolina. Dates run through December 16 in Asheville, North Carolina. ...
The Hard Rock/ Metal nominees for the seventh annual Independent Music Awards are: New Jersey's Ashes Are Nutritious ("Genocide"); Sweden's Electric Earth ("Words Unspoken"); Canada's Unexpect ("Another Dissonant Chord"); the U.K.'s Weapons ("Terrorist Youth"); and Canada's State of Shock ("Life, Love & Lies"). The winner will be announced in December. Past winners include God Forbid and Lacuna Coil. ... Goth-rockers the Gathering will release a double-DVD and CD called "A Noise Severe" on February 5. The recordings were made in Santiago, Chile, during the band's South American "Homelands" tour and will be the group's last releases to feature singer Anneke van Giersbergen, who left in June to focus on her new project, Agua de Annique. She has not yet been replaced. "There was an incredible noise the whole concert," drummer Hans Rutten said in a release. "The audience was superb. I think it's a very elegant way to end an era — with Anneke, that is — and it gives strength to us and what the future will bring. I think the recordings speak for themselves. It's unique. It's a statement. It's something to be proud of." ...
Veteran thrashers Testament will re-release two albums, 1997's Demonic and 1999's The Gathering, January 8. The discs were originally released on Spitfire but have since gone out of print. Recorded during the period when guitarist Alex Skolnick, bassist Greg Christian and drummer Louie Clemente were out of the band, Demonic features guitarist Glen Alvelais (Forbidden), bassist Derrek Ramirez (Dragonlord), and drummer Gene Hoglan (Strapping Young Lad, Death), while The Gathering features guitarist James Murphy (Death, Obituary), bassist Steve DiGiorgio (Death, Iced Earth and Sadus) and drummer Dave Lombardo (Slayer). Testament are currently working on their first album of original studio material since The Gathering. ...
Western Massachusetts band the Acacia Strain have added a second guitar player Jonathan Dennison (Unholy, Another Victim) in time for their upcoming tour with Despised Icon, Full Blown Chaos and the Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza. "I couldn't be happier with our decision," singer Vincent Bennett said in a statement. "Everyone is really excited to have him onboard, and we can't wait to see what he has to offer this band. We're wicked excited for this tour." The upcoming trek kicks off November 24 in Chicago and runs through December 22 in Worcester, Massachusetts. ... Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta has signed Florida sextet Catalepsy to his Stillborn label. The band recently finished recording its debut full-length CD, Iniquity, with producer Brian Elliot at Miami's Mana Recording Studios. The disc is scheduled for release on February 12. "It's great adding yet another young and hungry band to our new and improved roster," Jasta said in a statement. "Catalepsy crushes, and I'm glad to have them onboard. Plus they are from Florida — that state f---ing rules and has produced so many great extreme bands." ... In related news, Hatebreed will headline this year's Stillborn Fest, a 10-day tour that kicks off December 20 in Springfield, Virginia, and ends December 30 in Rochester, New York. At All Cost, God Forbid, Agnostic Front, Necro and new Stillborn signees Thy Will Be Done are also onboard, and additional to-be-announced bands will play select dates. ...
Stoner/psychedelic metalists Danava will release their second album, UnonoU, February 17. The disc will be the follow-up to the group's self-titled 2006 album. ... Progressive Canadian death-metal band Into Eternity will launch a North American tour with prog veterans Symphony X and Epica on April 4 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dates run through May 3 in West Springfield, Virginia. "The whole band is blown away to be touring with Symphony X," Into Eternity guitarist/singer Tim Roth said. "What a way to kick off the new album cycle. I look forward to seeing Epica as well. This is going to be a heavy tour with lots of high singing and shredding, and an amazing package for the fans to see." Into Eternity are currently working on their first concept album, which will be the follow-up to 2006's The Scattering of Ashes. ...
French electro death-metal band the CNK, will release its second album L'Hymne à la Joie, November 20. The album, which was produced by Stefan Bayle (Anorexia Nervosa), has been described by the band as "Rammstein and Alec Empire, sitting together on a heap of human corpses, rambling on the death of our modern world." What could be finer? ... French dark-metallers the Old Dead Tree have parted ways with Foued Moukid, who has stepped down from his drum-wielding duties after three years with the band. Moukid has decided to devote himself full-time to his other band, Arkan. "We have been working together for almost three years and we shared some unforgettable experiences together," the band said in a statement. "We will obviously remain friends and this 'breakup' has been on very good terms from both sides." The Old Dead Tree are now on the lookout for a new drummer, and those interested in trying out should e-mail the band at Info@TheOldDeadTree.com.