Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe doesn’t like to speculate on what the future might hold — the prospect of spending five to 10 years behind bars for manslaughter is certainly a sobering thought — though he understands why folks keep asking him about it.
After all, ever since he was arrested in June by Czech police and charged with manslaughter stemming from a fan’s death at 2010 Lamb of God show in Prague, his story has garnered international attention … as has the ongoing drama surrounding his bail and the subsequent 37 days he spent in prison before being released last Friday (August 3). And now, back home in Richmond, Virginia, he’s attempting to focus on the present, though with his case still pending, that’s proving tougher than he ever could have imagined.
“It’s been a little strange … since I just came home, it’s kind of like everywhere I go, people remind me of it … it’s always on my mind,” he told MTV News on Friday (August 10). “I’ve been talking a lot about prison, because everybody wants to see me, so I’ve been visiting my oldest friends and my family, and I’m trying to answer about a thousand text messages that I got when I got out, telling everybody thanks for the good thoughts. I’m slowly easing back into normality. The first day I was home, I woke up and sat on my back deck and just looked around, and everything is just so green, a lot of trees, and I was like ‘Wow, it’s not cold and angular and concrete like prison was.’”
Blythe added that, in the week since he returned to the U.S., he’s been overwhelmed by the support he’s received , not just from fans and his fellow musicians, but from residents of Richmond as well (“The UPS guy drove by and he was like, ‘Welcome home, brother!’ ” he laughed). He said he’s kept busy by doing normal, everyday activities — trips to the movie theater and the grocery store, mowing his lawn — and is looking forward to skateboarding once the weather clears up. But clearing his name in a Czech court, and bringing closure to the family of the fan who died following that 2010 show, remains his primary mission.
“I feel that it’s the right thing for me to do, to go back [to the Czech Republic] and face trial. I won’t be extradited, but ethically I think it’s the correct thing for me to do,” he said. “So if I start feeling some trepidation about that, I just remind myself that I have to do the right thing … this poor young man’s family deserves some answers.
“I believe that I’m 100-percent innocent … but I also believe as a responsible and compassionate human being, I should go back and, if necessary, and go to trial and give this young man’s family some answers,” he continued. “They’re suffering greatly, and I’m not interested in [making them suffer more]. I will certainly fight for my freedom, and do everything I can, legally, to maintain that, but I’m also not going to hide when these people are undergoing the worst emotional trauma.”
And though he’s not exactly sure when — or even if — his manslaughter case will go to trial (“My attorney gave me a rough estimate of maybe the court date being some time in December,” Blythe said), he’s confident that he’ll be acquitted of all charges. In fact, he doesn’t even hold any ill will toward the Czech legal system, despite its handling of his bail and his 37-day stint in prison.
“It could become very easy for me to become aggravated over the fact that my bail was appealed twice, and that the prosecuting attorney was really just spinning the wheels of the system in order to keep me incarcerated … you know, ‘This isn’t right and that’s not how we do it in America’ … Well guess what? I wasn’t in America,” he said. “Their system is different; I think it’s archaic, but I’m not a lawyer, and I’m not familiar with the ins and outs of our legal system, much less the Czech legal system.
“I certainly think the prosecuting attorney is going to come at me with everything he has … due to the fact that the American government did not comply with their requests. Initially, after this young man died, they wrote a letter saying ‘We want to investigate this,’ and the American government said, ‘No.’ ” he continued. “So I think that’s one reason why I remained in prison, because the prosecuting attorney was very angry with the American government. I’m not too pleased with our justice department either, because, if they don’t want to comply with an investigation, OK. But have the common courtesy and do your job to safeguard your citizens by at least maybe popping me an email saying ‘Hey, you’re wanted for manslaughter in the Czech Republic.’ ”
And until his trial date is set, Blythe is content to focus on living life in Richmond and gearing up for Lamb of God’s return to the stage. After his initial bail was challenged by Czech prosecutors, LOG was forced to scrap a co-headlining tour with Dethklok … meaning that their first shows following his arrest will take place at next week’s two-day Knotfest. And, as you can probably imagine, Blythe definitely has the dates circled on his calendar.
“It will be really good to get on stage again, to sort of let it out, I guess,” he said. “Playing is pretty cathartic for me, and I’ve got a big ball of weird emotions going on right now.”