Lamb Of God will release a five-track EP entitled The Duke in December, in honour of a fan who died after fighting cancer for five years.
Frontman Randy Blythe became friends with Wayne Ford in 2012 and remained in touch until he passed away last year, aged 33. He wrote the lyrics for the EP’s title track based on their communication.
Blythe explains in the video below and in a blog: “I asked Wayne if there was anything he wanted to say to the world, any particular words he wanted to be remembered by. My idea was to record him saying them, and then layer them into the record, or perhaps take the words and work them into a song’s lyrics.
“‘That’s really cool – let me think about it, man,’ he said, but he never got back to me about it. Regardless, I wanted to honour him in some way.
“Those of us who think about how we’ll die hope that we’ll do so with dignity. But no one knows how they’ll handle death until it comes for them. Wayne provided me with a living example of how to leave this world with grace. So I decided to write the lyrics to The Duke from my feeble understanding of his perspective, and in his honour.”
The Duke was the track’s working title before any lyrics had been written, but Blythe decided to keep it after being told that Ford had been named Wayne after actor John Wayne – also known as ‘The Duke.’
Blythe continues: “My band decided to not release The Duke as an album track. I was fine with that – I thought the song and the story behind it would get more attention if it was released on its own later.
“And I do want the song to get attention. Besides honouring this man I was friends with for such a brief amount of time, I want the story of The Duke to raise some awareness about leukaemia, especially the need for blood marrow donors.
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“There are not nearly enough registered donors to fill the need. People die from leukaemia and other blood related diseases because a suitable donor can’t be found. It’s easy, painless, and free to register — just go to www.bethematch.org. You may save someone’s life. Another great organisation to support is the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.”
Blythe is preparing to launch a charity auction to coincide with the EP release, with all proceeds to be donated to the LLS.
He says: “If Wayne were alive, he would undoubtably be annoyed by the attention I am trying to draw to him now. It would harsh his mellow. But his wife Courtney reassured me that he would understand why I am dong this – to try and help people – and that ‘he would be so honoured to have not died in vain.’”
Lamb Of God tour New Zealand and Australia with Slipknot later this month, followed by dates in Japan and Mexico.
Lamb Of God: The Duke EP tracklist
- The Duke
- Still Echoes (live)
- 512 (live)
- Engage The Fear Machine (live)
Lamb Of God tour dates 2016
Oct 26: Auckland Vector Arena, New Zealand
Oct 28: Boondall Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Australia
Oct 29: Sydney Qudos Bank Arena, Australia
Oct 31: Melbourne Rod Laver Arena, Australia
Nov 01: Adelaide HQ Complex, Australia
Nov 03: Fremantle Metropolis, Australia
Nov 06: Chiba Knotfest, Japan
Nov 11: Mexico City Pepsi Center, Mexico
Nov 12: Monterrey Northside Festival, Mexico