BURNING PRIESTS AND INTERPRETING FORTUNE COOKIES:
An Interview with
Willie Adler of LAMB OF GOD

Interview by Ray Van Horn, Jr. - March 2005


Some bands work harder than others not only to climb the ladder of success in today's metal market, but to stay there, and Lamb of God is no exception. These road-weary headbangers continue to wrangle in fans by the legion and this month finds Lamb of God in the middle of a high-stakes arena tour, one dotted with controversy. It also marks the soon-to-be-released Burn the Priest re-issue, the Dual Disc version of their acclaimed "Ashes of the Wake," as well as the forthcoming DVD, "Killadelphia." I caught up with guitarist Willie Adler in the middle of their arena tour with Slipknot and Shadows Fall.


 Willie Adler: Ray Van Horn!

RoughEdge.com: How are you, brother?

Willie Adler: What's happening?

RoughEdge.com: Quite a lot, man. How's it going on this tour? You guys (laughs) are going like mad!

Willie Adler: Yeah, it's going crazy!

RoughEdge.com: Yeah? Well, I know there's probably been much ado about Lamb of God being banned in L.A. because of the former name Burn the Priest, so let's get this out of the way and talk about it. Of all the cities in this country to pull that stunt, it had to be decadent L.A., you know?

Willie Adler: Yeah, yeah, for sure. You know, it is what it is and if they'd done any kind of research whatsoever, they would've figured out that we weren't the band to ban. 

RoughEdge.com: Right, without a doubt. I mean, considering The Forum is owned by what, Faith Central Bible Church? That's big money they throw around and it makes those guys a bunch of hypocrites, I think!

Willie Adler: Yeah, like I said, it is what it is.

RoughEdge.com: Yeah.

Willie Adler: That's their decision.

RoughEdge.com: Screw 'em, you know? 

Willie Adler: Mmm hmm.

RoughEdge.com: You guys have a nice little blurb about Dime on the site and it's been a few months, but it seems like since his death, all sorts of crazy shit's going on in metal lately; you guys had your ban, Head's left Korn, Tripp Rexx Eisen has his problems, Crisis has their drumming issues, so I mean, what an inadvertent catalyst of negativity when this scene is otherwise healthy with music output, you know?

Willie Adler: Yeah, for sure. I think the majority of us try to steer away from any of the negative aspects of what's going on and try not to let it affect what we're doing. 

RoughEdge.com: Right. Now, given what we've discussed to this point, it might be said that Lamb of God gets the last laugh in the end, since you're about to re-release Burn the Priest material …

Willie Adler: Yeah.

RoughEdge.com: I know you joined after your brother (Chris Adler), but it was still Burn the Priest when you joined, so give us a little bit of flavor for this re-release, kind of give a perspective of your joining the band at that time.

Willie Adler: It was just a good time, you know? It was me finally playing music again with my brother, which is what we grew up doing, so to fall back into that was just a real good time, and that's what we were looking for at the time. 

RoughEdge.com: Cool. I guess when you talk about Lamb of God's "kidnapping" on Battle for Ozzfest (laughs)…

Willie Adler: Yeah, it was fun.

RoughEdge.com: Yeah. I've been talking with a few bands about the Ozzfest venue and that series specifically, so since you got to participate in it, what are some of your perspectives of being on the show? I know you said it was fun, but I missed that episode, so what happened, man?

Willie Adler: It was just a matter of us giving that kid shit onstage, you know, and Randy (Blythe) pretty much tortured him onstage and we saw fit to show him a good time afterwards. 

RoughEdge.com: Right on.

Willie Adler: We kidnapped him and brought him back to the bus and made sure there weren't any hard feelings. 

RoughEdge.com: That's cool, man. So as far as when you put all of that together, what, did they contact you guys and say 'Hey, we want to have you pull a little stunt on here?'

Willie Adler: No, that was our doing. We decided that once we were good and drunk that day, since we were real harsh to that kid, why not show him a good time? 

RoughEdge.com: (laughs) Now even with your band's success, you're still keeping a real hungry pace on the road like we've mentioned and right now you're currently on the Slipknot tour with Shadows Fall as well. Is doing an arena tour what you expected or is it an eye-opener for you? I mean, there's not too many metal packages playing arenas lately, so this probably has to be unique.

Willie Adler: It's definitely different and it's something that we have to adjust to every night, but as far as the crowds go, I mean, it's amazing. It's just like what you would imagine graduating from a club to playing an arena is about. It's everything that you'd expect, you know, the tons of people, the big stage … it's really really cool, but it's different as well, because we're also doing headlining dates where we're playing clubs, which is where we feel most at home. But it's definitely something that's a whole lot of fun and it's a different experience.

RoughEdge.com: Yeah. Before this tour, you guys hit Europe, so give me your impressions of Europe and that whole tour, man.

Willie Adler: The England tour?

RoughEdge.com: Right, right.

Willie Adler: You know, it's England. England is a lot different. I don't know if you've ever been there …

RoughEdge.com: No.

Willie Adler: But it's … the food sucks, but the venues are cool and the kids are great, so that's what matters, and the shows were real cool.

RoughEdge.com: Right on.

Willie Adler: But once you're in that club, it's just like playing a show anywhere else; you put on the same show and try to give the kids what they paid money to see. 

RoughEdge.com: Now, when I told John (Campbell) when I interviewed him a few months ago, one of the things that draws me to Lamb of God is your socio-political lyrics and I predicted what our country's climate was going to be like when Bush took office. Back then, I didn't factor in 9/11 and this war, so to me, it's worse, and I'm kind of seeing our country lining itself up to be the next Roman Empire. I'm loyal to neither party, so my politics are kind of fucked! (laughs)

Willie Adler: (laughs)

RoughEdge.com: But the ultra-right-wing environment we have here is what I think fuels hard music like Megadeth's "Hook in Mouth" or Ministry's "N.W.O." or even Lamb of God's "Bootscraper," so what are your thoughts on that, man?

Willie Adler: You know, it definitely helps us out with the climate being what it is, and the music that we're doing; they both kind of fall hand-in-hand, where, of course, if you're going to have an extremist view of government, people are going to react to that. To have, you know, almost a sort of a revolutionary music. It's just part of nature.

RoughEdge.com: Yeah, no doubt. I think the angrier you get—I guess you could call it related to subculture—then the stronger the music is in accordance. It's been proven historically.

Willie Adler: Yeah, it's just a more … people want more grass-roots of anything, of any kind of medium, you know, whether it be music or television or anything to absorb themselves with as opposed to the huge conglomerate that surrounds us. 

RoughEdge.com: Exactly. Now indirectly from that last question, I caught the video for "Now You've Got Something to Die For," and I read where scenes had been cut. I thought that the "Scene Deleted" flashes were a joke, but they really aren't! I mean, the overall tone of the video seemed mostly casual until the fight scenes at the end. For the most part, it reminded me of Motley Crue's "Kickstart My Heart" video with that casual tone. What the hell are we missing out of there? 

Willie Adler: Yeah, you'll just have to wait for the DVD, man! 

RoughEdge.com: (laughs)

Willie Adler: You know? There's … it's good stuff and it'll be on the DVD and you'll be able to check it out. It was just one of those times where we had to have it out and that was it, and we make it through as a band every day. 

RoughEdge.com: Right on. So that was a real fight at the end with Randy?

Willie Adler: You know, you'll just have to check it out, man. 

RoughEdge.com: All right. Well, that being said, it's going to be showing up on the DVD "Killadelphia," and I touched with John on this DVD last time, but for Rough Edge readers, can you kind of give me a small plug about what "Killadelphia's" going to be about?

Willie Adler: It's pretty much a live show that we filmed at The Trocodero in Philadelphia and it has a lot of B-roll footage in between of us, what we do, and how we make it day-to-day, and there's bonus stuff that you can check out at the end if you're a huge fan and if you're not, then don't. 

RoughEdge.com: (laughs)

Willie Adler: It's, you know … lots of good stuff … just how we roll. It's a real good description of how we get by in doing what we do. So it's a real good bird's eye view with no-holds-barred into what we do. 

RoughEdge.com: Yeah, sounds good. Now again, you have the "Killadelphia" DVD, the Burn the Priest re-issue and the "Ashes of the Wake" Dual Disc, all of which is coming out this month in March! That's a hell of a lot of product in one sitting, man! So Lamb of God fans, save up quickly!

Willie Adler: Yeah, absolutely! 

RoughEdge.com: Now you yourself have a family and you're in one of the biggest bands in the world right now. I want to use the band Seemless for a second, they're a band I talked to, Derek Kerswill … he discussed his family obligations and how tough it is to remain true to those obligations and yet still follow his dreams. So as for yourself, how do you get through it, man?

Willie Adler: You know, you get by, and you make sure you take vacations when you can and you make sure you have time for your family. It's a balancing act, but you can get by. It's hard work, but that's what you've got to do because this is what I love and my family is what I love, so both are number one priorities. You've just got to make it happen, you know? There's not a question about it. It's always a personal decision on how you make it happen, because of course there's your family involved and everybody has different personalities, so however you can make it work, make it work if this is what your dream is because you can do it … it's hard, but it can be done.

RoughEdge.com: It also helps they give you the support.

Willie Adler: Absolutely! Without it, it would be that much harder.

RoughEdge.com: All right, last question, man. I was eating fortune cookies while writing these questions and I got this fortune that read "The best prophet of the future is that past." In many ways, it encapsulates much of what we've discussed here and I definitely feel it's apropos towards Lamb of God's music and lyrical content, so to wrap up, tell me what you think of this fortune I drew?

Willie Adler: That you have to look to the past to get to the future? Is that what it's saying?

RoughEdge.com: Pretty much.

Willie Adler: Yeah, I mean, I guess you could do both ways, where you always learn from your mistakes in the past and you move forward, or you can take the accomplishments of the past and what you grew up on and what inspires you to make it into your own thing. 

RoughEdge.com: No doubt. All right, brother, thanks for calling in!

Willie Adler: All right, man. You take it easy, Ray Van Horn!

RoughEdge.com: I'll do that. Thank you, man.

Willie Adler: All right, bro.

RoughEdge.com: Peace.


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