Fight To The 'Deth: Lamb Of God Vs Megadeth

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This month, two of metal’s heaviest hitters are coming to your town.

The tour dates will see Lamb Of God debut songs from this year’s VII: Sturm Ung Drang, new material from Megadeth’s anticipated 15th album getting an airing, and LOG drummer Chris Adler pulling double-duty. We caught up with Dave Mustaine and Randy Blythe for a chinwag about what’s about to go down. Killing might be Megadeth’s business, but Lamb Of God’s Randy is throwing down the gauntlet by saying he’ll make Dave “work for his money”. Will the bands be sweating bullets over the competition? Read on…

Hi, Dave. What’s your relationship like with Lamb Of God? Do you hang out much?

Dave Mustaine: “Not so much with the entire band, but with Chris. Unbeknownst to me, and very flatteringly so, Chris was influenced a lot by me and my band, so when we did the Lamb Of God tour [in 2006] I hung out on their bus a little bit. I was on their bus one time, going from Canada to the United States, and Chris has this funny story, like, ‘Man, you were in the back, completely out cold, and we’re all going, ‘Dave, wake up! Where’s your passport?’ I wouldn’t wake up, but then the customs guys came on and I sat right up and went, ‘Hi guys! You’re doing a remarkable job, I just wanted to let you know that somebody appreciates you!’ I went from being passed-out to full-on ambassador, but if you cross enough borders in your lifetime, you figure it out! A long time ago I got a DUI [driving under the influence] and I had a really hard time getting into Canada, so I know what it’s like when you’re at the border and you’re the one that’s keeping everybody from crossing it!”

Megadeth killing it onstage in Ontario, Canada 2013

Megadeth killing it onstage in Ontario, Canada 2013
(Image: © Atlasicons)

Will there be an element of competition on this tour?

Dave: “Well, I would hope so! [But] I’d be kidding myself if I said I’d never thought, ‘I wouldn’t want to have to follow us’, because there’s been some times when we’ve been opening for other bands and it didn’t work out so well for them…”

Randy Blythe: “I want any band we go out with to be competitive. I want them to go out onstage every night and say, ‘We’re going to fuck Lamb Of God up!’ I don’t wanna bring some soft band out – someone who’s gonna make us look good. Of course, when you’re booking tours there’s all sorts of different considerations like ticket sales and who’s gonna bring what to the bill, and the bottom line is you’re trying to make a living out of this. But you’re also trying to put on a good show, so I really like it when a band comes out and just crushes! We have that attitude towards any band we’ve opened for – it doesn’t matter who it is. Not in a disrespectful way or a ‘fuck you’ way, more like, ‘We’re gonna make you work for your money tonight!’ We’ve been doing that since the very beginning when we first went out with GWAR.”

Do you guys have a workout regime to keep your energy levels up?

Randy: “No. I surf a lot when I’m not on the road, and I skateboard, but out here the show is a cardio workout. People I respect, who are pretty active frontmen, have been telling me I should work out before the show because I’ll have more energy, so I might have to pick that up. But my back hurts… I think my vertebrae is compressed from flying around like a moron like I’m 17 years old. I wear an ankle brace and a knee brace, and I think I’m gonna have another ankle brace because that’s starting to hurt, too.”

Dave: “Well, there’s a form of yoga that a lot of mixed martial artists do, called Tai Chi, and that’s a part of my routine – I don’t do a lot of physical training anymore because of the plate that’s in my neck, but as far as exercising, strength and flexibility are the two most important things. If you start getting sedentary, regardless of your age, the party’s over. Stay moving!”

Randy: “Duff McKagan has been encouraging me to do yoga, and I’m hearing that from a lot of people, so I guess it’s a sign!”

Randy, are LOG gonna be playing more new songs on this tour?

Randy: “Well, we’ve only played two new songs: Still Echoes and 512. I enjoy playing 512 the most, because I like the groove of it and it’s not as fast. We play it fourth in the set right now, and we’re coming out with some fairly rapid-hitters, so it’s a nice dynamic shift in the set, but really I enjoy playing anything new. I’d be fine with doing a different set every night, but that would melt people’s brains, I think.”

Those songs are about your time in prison. How does it feel playing them live?

Randy: “Sometimes it can be a bit intense if I think about it, but they’re good songs, and after you play a song so many times, no matter how intense it was in the writing, it becomes muscle memory. If it didn’t, I’d never be able to go on tour, because I don’t write about pleasant things, so if I was in the mindframe that it takes me to write lyrics for every single song every single night, I’d just quit, because it would be too fucking depressing and I’d be mad all the time.”

How about Megadeth, Dave? Will you be playing new songs?

Dave: “We hope to. Right now, a lot of that is up to Kiko [Loureiro, new guitarist] and Chris, because we’ve got to add those songs into our repertoire. We’re hoping to play several songs off the new record, but a lot of that [depends on] when we can determine who our permanent drummer is.”

What direction does the new album go in?

Dave: “Well, for me, some of the music could have been outtakes from Peace Sells [1986] and Countdown To Extinction [1992]. There was a couple of times I was working with David Ellefson, and I was giving him blow-by-blow commentary while he was doing his track, like, ‘OK, this is the part that’s like Bad Omen, or this is the part from the end of In My Darkest Hour.’ It was really great to be able to use those classic songs as defining the way that these songs will go, instead of using Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?!”

Randy Blythe on ferocious form at Hellfest earlier this year

Randy Blythe on ferocious form at Hellfest earlier this year
(Image: © Derek Bremner)

How do you both feel about Chris Adler doing double duty and playing for Megadeth, too?

**Randy: **“I don’t care. As long as he can play his stuff, he can play for 18 bands at the same show and I don’t give a shit. It doesn’t affect me whatsoever. I mean, I’m not gonna do two sets, fuck that! My voice would be destroyed! But if he wants to do that, it’s fine by me.”

Dave: “We have a great friendship. I keep joking around that I hope we can clone him, but if it’s possible to go forward with Chris then you’ll know it, and if not then we’ll need to make up our minds and pick someone else. I like to have a plan B and a plan C with my work, but as far as my career, I never had a plan B because I always knew that this is what I wanted to do. Picking a new drummer is a little tough, because we don’t know how it’s going to pan out: if it is Chris, then great, if not, then at least we have his wonderful talents on our new record.”

Randy, last time you played Wembley Arena, you were out with Dio. What do you remember about that tour?

**Randy: **“In Plymouth, Willie [Adler] and I were still drinking at the time, and there’s Dio sitting in the hotel lobby, at a table by the bar. He was like, ‘Come on over, I’m gonna buy you guys a drink.’ You know about the infamous garden gnome incident, right? [A large, porcelain garden gnome ornament fell on Ronnie’s hand and severed the end of his thumb – Dio Ed.] He told us that story, and the question I always wanted to ask was, ‘When his thumb got whacked off, did he think about the horns?’ Dio basically invented the horns, or popularised it, and when his thumb goes, how are you gonna do the horns? He said that was the first thing on his mind! And he drove himself to the hospital to get his thumb reattached! He was just super kind and super nice.”

Megadeth first played Wembley back in 1990 on the Clash Of The Titans tour. Does it still have the same buzz?

**Dave: **“It’s funny you say that, because sometimes some places become like an old friend, where it’s like, ‘God, it’s good to be back’, and sometimes it’s like an ex-girlfriend. I like Wembley, and I’ve always loved playing in London. It’s really a great feeling to be able to come to all these major cities around the world – Tokyo, New York, London, Moscow, these places that get thrown around like you’re James Bond!”

Megadeth and Lamb Of God tour the UK on November 11-15. LOG’s VII: Sturm und Drang is out now via Nuclear Blast. Megadeth’s Dystopia is due out January 22 via Universal