Gun Shy Assassin is humbled to be able to bring you an ongoing string of quick, casual, off-the-cuff interviews with the very talented Chris Adler, drummer for the one and only Lamb of God. Chris will be checking in with Gun Shy Assassin from time to time with updates on what’s going on in his world, and will occasionally answer some topical and ridiculous questions from me. Without further explanation, here is a Gun Shy Assassin Exclusive: the twelfth installment of Adler Chatter with Chris Adler.
Chris Adler’s drum tracks have been committed to a hard drive, and now, Lamb of God is down in Virginia Beach with producer Josh Wilbur, recording the rest of their forthcoming LP. About a month ago, I stopped by the New York City studio Chris was working in, and got to hear some of the new Lamb of God. I was blown away…by Chris’ drumming, by the riffs I heard, and the imposing bass lines. But I did not hear any of Randy Blythe’s vocals.
‘There are vocals on almost everything,” Adler told me during Gun Shy Assassin’s studio visit. Josh doesn’t play Randy’s vocals for Chris because he wants Adler to hear the music. Sometimes, Randy’s roar can overshadow the music.
“The vocal gets in the way, if there’s, say, a triplet versus a straight pattern beat,” Adler says. “I don’t want me to mishear it because Randy’s screaming over it.”
So, I had to ask Chris…with his drum parts done, does this mean he gets to just chill at home and relax?
“In the past, I’ve alway been one to have my head over people’s shoulders,” he says. “I’m not distrusting or anything, it’s just the control freak in me wants to be around and hear it, and just, as part of the group, to hear how it all come together. It’s really neat.”
In the studio, Josh and Adler were — right in front of me — bouncing ideas back and forth, and changing things up with Chris’ drum parts.
Experimenting with sounds. Even on his way up to New York, in a rental truck carrying his massive drum kit, Adler tells me he was changing things in his mind.
“Driving up here, I had it in the truck, just jamming out, thinking about it — ‘What if I did this’ or ‘What if I did that?’”
As I was watching them, Wilbur had Adler re-do various parts of the song. Before Josh came to the studio, Chris recorded four or five takes of each song, “and we’ve focused in on where there were issues with those takes, and retook those pieces to put them into one of the best original takes, wheras before, we would play four of five takes and pick the best one,” says Adler. “Now its almost more time efficient to get through it once or twice, know that its 85 percent there and then fix the 15, rather than hope for 100.”
Wilbur perhaps knows the new Lamb of God demo material better than anyone else. This is obvious, as he tinkers with the songs on a Mac, right before my hungry eyes.
“Josh has spent more time than even the guy’s in the band, really studying this stuff,” Adler tells me. “We would do six or seven hour days in Richmond in the rehearsal space, but then he’s at a hotel room in Richmond by himself, so he would go back and really study this stuff while we were having diner with our kids.”
At times, Wilbur would stay up all night, “moving stuff around, and every morning we’d come in and he’d have four or five ideas: ‘Make this slower, make this faster, make this longer.’ His attention to detail and work ethic are off the charts. I trust him; he is the first guy where I feel like I can hand him something and it will shine.
“He’s not pushy with his opinion either,” Adler continues. “He might come up with ideas we don’t like, and he’s OK with that; its not a personal thing and he’s not bummed out and not offering ideas. He’s also in tune with what we want to do and who we are and what we’ve done in the past.”
Chris Adler is the drummer for Grammy-nominated metal band Lamb of God and the author of the 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. Anything else you need to know about Chris Adler, you can find at his web site, Chris-Adler.com.
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