INTERVIEW: John Campbell (LAMB OF GOD)
On playing in Lamb of God for over 20 years…
John: “It’s been more than half my life now at this point, I hope you’re not being cheeky and calling me old? It does feel like a long time, but it still feels fresh, maybe I’m just lucky enough to have one of the best jobs in the world. It doesn’t feel old, but it definitely has been awhile.
The new album Sturm und Drang
John: We try to outdo ourselves every time we go to record another record. I feel we’ve done this. Every time we go in we say “How are we going do better than what we just did?” We just went in and did the same process we always have, we look for ways to expand too. It’s boring doing the same thing, things change up a little bit, but it’s coming from the same spot, the same dudes who have figured out a good way to make heavy music together.
Working with Deftones front man Chino Moreno
John: When we wrote 'Embers' there were two endings to the song, one was a super insane metal ending, and another was like a 90’s alternate rock ending. And when it came down it was the 90’s alternate rock ending we decided to go with. I believe it was Mark and the producers discussing, what to do on that part vocally and I’m sure Mark will correct me if I’m wrong but from my understanding is he kind of had the idea of a really cool little 90s rock alternate thing, Chinos voice is perfect for that type of music. We said "let’s see if he will help lend a hand on this part". Turns out he was interested, that’s how that came about.
'Overlord' was the first song we’ve heard Randy sing clean vocals, did the song surprise you? And were you worried fans wouldn’t accept a “less” heavy song?
John: Yes, that was a surprise for me because the vocals tend to be the last thing that gets put on the music. I remember Josh Wilbur when he was about to play 'Overlord' for me, he sat me down and said “I’m going to tell you something, Randy sings on this one” and I was like “wait, he does what?” Then he hit play and it was incredibly badass, I wouldn’t have expected it. Then to get to the second part of your question, was I worried? Or were we worried about what fans would think about the track? No, worried is completely the wrong word. When that song got released it was exciting to see all the reactions. The people that were bummed were the funniest reactions for that song. I read that a guy said “the first three minutes of that song made him want to take a fillet knife and cut the Lamb of God tattoo off of his arm”. That’s entertaining to me though, that’s hilarious. That’s great that we had that big of an effect on that guy twice, he was ready to commit himself for life with a tattoo and that one three minutes of music that we crafted totally bummed him out that hard. Believe me, we’re older gentlemen who are confident and are probably somewhat self-absorbed, it doesn’t matter what anyone’s got to say about us. We know we are good looking and badass motherfuckers.
On Chris Adler playing with Megadeth
John: When it came up… we’ve all known each other for a long time and it occurred to me that in some weird way Chris has been working his was his entire life to play drums in Megadeth. That band has motivated him, inspired him from the beginning to play heavy metal, to play bass guitar and drums and when that opportunity came up it made perfect sense. I was like “you absolutely should do this, it would be ridiculous not to”. For him to be able to do this is a really cool thing. I couldn’t imagine standing in the way of Chris being able to do that. Even, if it meant the end of Lamb of God, that’s just what it is. He knows how to play drums and he’s an amazing drummer, so why not?