Gun Shy Assassin is humbled to be able to bring you an ongoing string of casual, off-the-cuff interviews with the very talented Chris Adler, drummer for the one and only Lamb of God. You know — the band from Virginia who’ve basically led the new school of American heavy metal…the three-time Grammy-nominated band behind such destined-to-be-metal-classics like “Boot Scraper,” “Walk With Me In Hell,” and “Blood Of the Scribe?” Well, Chris will be checking in with Gun Shy Assassin from time to time with updates on what’s going on in his world. He’ll also answer some topical and ridiculous questions from me. So, here now for you is a Gun Shy Assassin Exclusive — the first installment of Adler Chatter with Chris Adler:
It’s Tuesday night, and today, Chris Adler made some big announcements. He’s got a new website, rolled out dates for a clinic tour, and revealed details for his new book, “The Making of Lamb of God: New American Gospel; Drum Tablature, Short Stories and Reflections,” which will give fans behind-the-scenes insight into the making of what is now a classic release and perhaps the first signal of the eventual resurgence in American heavy metal’s popularity and international appeal. “It’s been hectic,” he says with a sigh.
You won’t find the book in stores, because Chris is selling it on his own, DIY-style. “For as long as I’ve been doing what we do as a band, we’ve always been on the bottom of the totem pole…everybody gets their piece before we split up our piece by five, so I know as long as I have control over it, certainly the quality of the product will be a lot better than anybody else would care; nobody’s going to care as much as I do [about my book],” says Adler. “It’s not a New York Times bestseller by any means, but its accurate information and a quality product.”
Any true Lamb of God fan is going to want a copy of this book because it tells a lot of the stories behind the songs on what’s a classic album for us metal folk. New American Gospel was also a lot of early fans’ first introduction to the band. “It was…we had done some work and toured as Burn the Priest leading up to that album,” Adler tells Gun Shy Assassin. “Ashes of the Wake was the first time we realized that that album was turning on super new fans, but I think before that album, New American Gospel was our calling card. As The Palaces Burn proved it wasn’t a fluke, but New American Gospel was an introduction for most people.
“I listen back to it now, and…we left the studio somewhat distraught, if you will, about the whole process and it wasn’t that the songs weren’t good. We were happy about that but it was a very trying process,” Adler continues. “I try to recall some of that in the book. It was quite a story. A lot of people think bands go in, make an album, that’s the way it is, that’s their art…but there are so many obstacles before you get to that finish line. Time, money, the equipment…whatever else. It’s almost impossible to get a product everyone walks away happy, smiling from, and only very recently — I think Wrath, maybe, was the first time we actually did that as a band.”
I asked Chris for a quick update on Lamb of God’s forthcoming disc. As you probably know, the band is writing material at this very moment for their next studio set. “We’ve been talking about getting together in mid-March, and I have heard — now — six or seven fully blossomed songs from our guitar player Mark [Morton] and four or five from my brother Willie [Adler], so we have more material than we’ve ever had going into the process, which is exciting.”
But that process is a long one, where things can change and ideas can be lifted from one tune to make another better. So who knows if those song ideas will end up on the new record. “Hopefully, we’ll really be going at it by April, and it would be nice to think we could do it pretty quickly, but we’ve had trying times before. I mean I remember the song ‘Walk With Me In Hell.’ That was the first song we wrote for Sacrament and it took six months before we were all happy about it. I feel like right now we’re ahead of the game, but we could end up in that room and everything could come to a crashing halt. We do try to make it a group process and sometimes that’s not always the easiest or most comfortable thing to do.”
Adler’s upcoming clinic tour will be a unique experience for Lamb of God fans, providing them with a trip into the mind of Chris Adler — so to speak. “It’s a really fun thing for me to do,” he says. “When I did it with my brother in Europe, it was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had playing music. It’s a lot more laid-back. It’s not that kind of venue, getting-butterflies-in-your-gut-nervous-wreck-here-comes-the-show sort of thing. Everybody is there to pick up some tips and ideas. It’s a lot more comfortable.”
On the tour, Chris will be playing on Mapex’s newly released Black Panther “Blaster” drum set, which he’ll also be playing when the band records its next full-length studio offering. “It’s an update on the kit I have been using,” explains Adler. “I have the kit. I love it, and I think it’s as good if not better than the kit I was using before, which was also from Mapex.”
As we speak, I hear the beeping of a microwave oven in the background. Adler — a family man — is in dad mode, making food for dinner time. Having a niece who makes me watch “Yo Gabba Gabba!” all the time, I ask Adler what shows his kids are making him watch incessantly these days.
“There’s one called ‘Pete and the Big Wide World.’ Your standards get lower the more you watch all these shows, but that one in particular I don’t mind watching too much. It’s actually pretty good. ‘Caillou’ is pretty annoying. We’ve just gotten into ‘Yo Gabba Gabba!’ which is pretty good. You see all these people showing up on the show. I saw Jack Black on there the other day. I should give them a call and see if Lamb of God can show up and do a guest appearance on ‘Yo Gabba Gabba.’ I know our bass player [John Campbell] has a three-year-old boy. It would be cool to bring them on there and rock out.”
I then tell Chris I often wonder what the lives of musicians in bands like Lamb of God are like. For example, I know a lot of the new music I check out is based on the recommendations of friends. Does Chris ever get band suggestions from, say, the guys in Lamb of God?
“I am the guy in the band who tries to turn people on to new stuff,” Adler tells me. “I spend a lot of time online, and instead of looking up whatever it is people look up, I’m digging up new bands. Lately, I’ve been on this huge Cloudkicker kick. There are so many bands, it’s hard to keep up. I just scour the internet; I follow reviews, message boards. I’m on the Web like everybody else and like everybody else, I get tips from people. Sometimes I have those happy accidents on the web, and I find stuff on my own. Those are the best.”
Agreed. Until next time folks.
Chris Adler is the drummer for Grammy-nominated metal band Lamb of God and the author of the forthcoming book “The Making of Lamb of God’s New American Gospel,” a comprehensive behind-the-scenes narrative book detailing the early days of Lamb of God and the writing and recording of their New American Gospel LP. This spring, Chris will embark on a clinic tour called the ”A Throne With A View Tour” and dates for that trek can be found here. Anything else you need to know about Chris Adler you can find at his web site, Chris-Adler.com.
If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.