Lamb Of God need no introduction because they have spent the over two decades melting our faces off (figuratively speaking, my face is still intact). Whether it’s the unflinching, in your face attitude of Randy Blythe or the tasty riffs served up they’re a band that isn’t going away anytime soon. Yours truly recently had a chat with guitarist Mark Morton about all things Lamb Of God, and he was happy to open up about favourite LOG songs and his personal life. They are set to travel our way once again in support Slipknot. Man, what a bill!
Tell me how was the North American tour that you just got back from?
The tour was great, the bill was great. That bill, in particular, was one of my favourites in recent memory. Clutch and Corrosion of Conformity are such great, legendary bands in their own right and super professional. Everyone got along great!
So you guys have been a band for over 20 years, does it feel like it’s been that long just ?
That’s an interesting question. There were different phases of the band, you say 20 years but Burn the Priest started in 1994, and we worked and toured at BTP until 1998. So that’s its own kind of window of time and that was very much like a punk rock band. We were riding around in a van playing basements and playing for a case of beer and a bowl of spaghetti, so it was very different to what we do now. So in one sense it feels like it’s been 20 years but in another sense, it’s been broken up into different phases. Then we switched the name to Lamb of God, got a little independent record deal and we then started touring and work that came with being at that level, and then we got signed to a major. It’s been a slow steady trajectory but ultimately I’ve felt like I’ve spent my life with these four other guys. We’ve been around the world half a dozen times, made seven or eight albums and our kids are growing up together, it’s really a lifetime thing.
You guys have toured Australia a number of times now, but prior to coming what was did you think it would be like? I know Aussies get a bit of a stereotype of being a bit Bogan.
[Laughs]. To be 100% honest I wish I had of done a bit more studying, I don’t think I had a very clear picture of what Australia was like. Except I always gotten the impression it was sort of like America, sort of a distant cousin. I guess because of the shared history that we America and Australia have being from British colonies and that kind of thing. Actually, you take this as an insult, you may take it as a compliment, but I did find it a lot like America. I guess the fact of the space, and there’s is a very free attitude of the people and we felt very comfortable there once we got there. The first time we set foot on your shores, I think the first tour we played we were opening for Killswitch Engage and we played our first show and everyone was singing ever word to our songs. We felt very welcome and at home.
From your large back catalogue of songs, what it your favourite song on CD, and if it’s different, what’s your favourite song live?
Well, I don’t really spend much time listening to Lamb of God. In fact, I don’t spend any time at all listening to Lamb of God. I mean I’m quite proud of a lot of our songs I’ve put a lot of heart and soul into writing a lot of these. On CD I would say Grace [off Wrath] is one of the songs I’m most proud of writing. It was written about my relationship with my father who I was very close with. It addresses the sort of evolution of my father and I’s relationship and it also has some pretty gnarly guitar work in it. There’s a song called Straight For the Sun [Resolution], and I like that a lot because it’s very “doomy”. I think that’s a victory to sneak that on a Lamb Of God album because it’s very different to what we have done before. Vigil [As The Palace Burns] is another I’m very proud of, I think that song is very special. Live, Walk With Me In Hell is still my favourite to play live. I’m really proud of the way it was put together, I think it was arranged very well, the performances are really great and lyrically is something I’m very close to. It’s a song a sort of wrote to and about my wife.
Do you remember the point when you realised that you could play music and make a decent living out of it?
There wasn’t this glory moment where I flipped off my boss and clocked out and said fuck you I’m never working here again. It was around the time of As the Palaces Burn, we were still on an independent label and I was self-employed as a roofing contractor. It was really a transitional timeframe where I would do roofing jobs and then go on tour and then come home and do roofing jobs and then go back on tour. Then it was somewhere in 2003 I released I hadn’t put the ladder up in 5 or 6 months and never kind of went back.
Lastly, do the songs usually have different meanings to you before lyrics are added? Do you have your own idea of what it’s about before Randy comes in does his thing? Or are you just about the riffs?
Well, it depends on the song. I actually write a lot of lyrics for the band. So very often when I’m writing the music, and putting the riffs together, I will already have a vocal idea and lyric in mind, but that’s not always the case. I’ve written a lot of lyrics for the band from Walk with Me in Hell, Redneck, Descending, Vigil and on and on and on. There are times when I’ve had a vision for how a song would sound vocally but it ended up sounding different once Randy got a hold of it. I think that has more to do with the fact that I do write so many lyrics for the band and do contribute so much vocally to the band because that gives me a jump start on having a vision for the song. Again, Randy is a fantastic lyricist and a great vocalist so I very much trust his judgement when he has a vision for a song as well.
Lamb Of God are touring nationally this October with Slipknot. Dates below.