LAMB OF GOD played its first two pandemic-era shows in September as part of two separate live streams. The first saw the Richmond, Virginia-based group play its latest, self-titled album in its entirety, along with LAMB OF GOD favorites for the encore, including "Ruin", "Contractor", "512" and the debut live performance of "The Death Of Us", a new song the band wrote and recorded in quarantine for the "Bill & Ted Face The Music" movie and soundtrack. The second stream featured LAMB OF GOD performing its landmark 2004 album "Ashes Of The Wake", in its entirety for the first time.
Asked during an appearance on "The Jasta Show", the Internet podcast hosted by HATEBREED frontman Jamey Jasta, if it was "tough" for him to perform without an audience, LAMB OF GOD singer Randy Blythe said (see video below): "No, it wasn't tough for me without the energy of the crowd. It was a little bit awkward at first. I think I was a lot less nervous than some of the [other] dudes were, because — I don't know. But I know a couple of them were a little worked up about it. It was like shooting a music video, sort of — that's the closest thing, I guess, you could compare it to. But for me, having not played music — 'cause we rehearsed for it, for a while, before that.
"I never go to band rehearsals — ever," he explained. "Randy doesn't practice. That's just not how I do things… Practice — what is practice? I don't need practice. As long as I can remember the first line, I'm good to go. But I actually went to practice [this time], and I was really stoked to be in [guitarist] Mark Morton's garage playing fucking music with my dudes to absolutely no one — I mean, no one. Our friend Bryce came and took some pictures one day, but other than that, it was just the five of us. And then onstage, yeah, there were lights, and there were some production, and there were a lot of cameras and shit, but I just enjoyed playing music with my friends, man. It wasn't really hard for me — especially after actually doing practice for a little bit… For me, it was super gratifying to be experiencing that — making music with my friends."
Earlier this month, Blythe said that he wasn't as financially devastated as a lot of other musicians because of having to spend so much time off the road this year. He said during the Headbangers Con live virtual panel: "For me, I've gotta be honest, my band has a large fanbase, and I'm not a bazillionaire or anything, but I save my money. So I'm not really tripping on financials. What I think about more during this time is all the people in the younger bands, and the people who are at the independent venues, and the small promoters, and the crew guys. I've done a few charity things for different organizations that raise money for different road crews.
"I had friends who were in Europe getting ready to start their tour, in smaller bands, and they had already printed all their merchandise over in Europe with the dates on it and so forth," he continued. "And then this happened, and President Trump said, 'You've gotta come home in 48 hours or you're not gonna be able to come home.' So I had friends who had to spend four thousand dollars apiece on a one-way airline ticket from Germany back to the States — not first class; just a regular economy airline ticket. So, that really put a hurting on these people. And I think about the younger bands who just have a record, their first record is coming out, and they're all excited and getting ready to go on tour on their first record, and all that's taken away. And so, for me, all those people are going through things far more difficult than I am going through. Because I'm gonna be all right — LAMB OF GOD's gonna tour again. We're gonna be straight, and I can do other things in the meantime to support myself. The younger bands, and all the people that work at the venues, and all the small business owners and people who work in restaurants — I come from the restaurant world — all those people, everybody's having a real tough go of it. So, for me, it hasn't been that hard coping not being on tour. I'm ready to do it — don't get me wrong — but it hasn't been that hard.
"I did realize one thing that was harder on me after a while than I initially thought it would be is not touching people — not touching my friends," Blythe added. "When I see my friends, I like to give 'em a hug. I can't do that, and it's really weird. Even my surfing buddies — we go out, and we're in the water, in the ocean, far away from each other, but when I see them, I can't be, like, 'What's up, dude?' And after a while, that is starting to mess with my mind a little bit. So I'm ready to give everyone a hug. [Laughs]"
"Lamb Of God" came out in June via Epic Records in the U.S. and Nuclear Blast Records in Europe. The LP was recorded with longtime producer Josh Wilbur (KORN, MEGADETH, GOJIRA, TRIVIUM) and includes special guest appearances by Jasta and Chuck Billy (TESTAMENT).
Photo credit: Bryce Hall