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. 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 second installment of Adler Chatter with Chris Adler.
A lot has happened in the two short weeks since we last chatted with Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler. It was announced that Adler and LOG manager Larry Mazer had launched ReThink Records, a joint venture with The End Records with distribution through RED; the label’s first signing is Portland, Maine’s Too Late The Hero, and the band’s debut Statement Of Purpose drops April 12. Lamb of God released a digital single called “Hit the Wall,” and, of course, the band lost out to Iron Maiden for this year’s Best Metal Performance Grammy.
“It’s so hard to talk about because I feel like I’m kind of on a tight rope talking about it, because of course, you want to win and say, ‘Hey — we won a Grammy,’” starts Adler, when asked if the band were bummed they didn’t take home the prize. “But at the same time, you know going into it — certainly as an artist in a metal band — that the whole thing is kind of a sham, and has always been a sham from the very first one that they screwed up. It’s just been kind of a joke. So it’s really hard to walk that line.”
That doesn’t mean Adler didn’t want to win, but “even if we had won one, I know, inside, that I would still feel a little bit like it’s kind of hokey. It’s kind of BS. I don’t mean to say that just because we lost — if we had won, I still don’t think i would just be filled with a feeling of success. I just think its kind of a sham — but at the same time, I went out there in hopes of receiving one, and bringing it back for the guys in the band that didn’t make the trip and it didn’t happen, so…it would have been nice to show the folks. They’ve seen us on the magazines, and they’re aware of our success within our genre, but I know if I showed my dad a Grammy, he’d lose his mind. For his generation, that’s the epitome of music. But hey — Iron Maiden needs a little love now and then as well.”
We talk more about the Grammys, and the whole process. agree with Chris’ sentiment that really, a lot of Grammy voters don’t know the difference between Lamb of God and The Cranberries, and he provides some insight into what goes on before the Grammys are handed out.
“I don’t know how the actual names show up on the ballot, but the first year we signed to Epic, they made us members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which meant that at the end of the year, we got the forms to vote,” Adler tells Gun Shy Assassin. “And there’s 110, maybe 120 categories given out that day. When you get the form, they won’t accept it unless it is completed, which means I have to vote for the best short form country duo and…I have no fucking idea! I have to vote. When I first got my form, I was excited. It was like, ‘OK, I’m like a legit metalhead — maybe I’ll help them get this shit right.’ But there’s nobody well-rounded enough to fill out this form appropriately, and so I get why it doesn’t work.”
Then I ask Chris about ReThink Records, which actually took root back in late 2009. Adler tells me he wanted to get his hands dirty, and get more involved in A&R and the behind-the-scenes stuff.
“I just wanted to get more involved,” he tells me. “[Larry and I] started talking, and decided we could keep it small and cool; we don’t have to sign crap we don’t want. We can do it the way we want to do it. For me, I was mostly interested in it because of one specific circumstance that was an obvious circumstance and I hope the following releases have a similar story.”
Basically, longtime Lamb of God producer Josh Wilbur — who will be working with the band on their next record, which is being written at this very moment — informed his friend Adler that his brother was in a band in Maine called Too Late The Hero.
“I went up to New York for something else, and Josh’s brother’s band happened to be playing so we went and checked it out, and I thought the band was great,” says Adler. “Josh is their biggest fan and it kind of hit me — Josh has done great work on all kinds of different stuff, but certainly on the Lamb of God stuff and I thought, ‘Imagine if Josh worked on his own brother’s record.’ I know — for both of those guys — that this would be the opportunity of a lifetime. They would make it as great as it possibly could be.”
So, Adler says ReThink will act “almost as a facilitator” to bring talented people together to make amazing music. “We just wanted to start putting really great people together, almost like a facilitator role instead of a label. There’s no plan to put out 20 bands and take over the world or make a million bucks. We just want to wait for the right circumstances and make really good records.”
On Tuesday, Lamb of God fans were treated to a new song called “Hit The Wall,” which the band wrote for the “Iron Man 2” video game soundtrack. Sort of.
“It was a leftover from Wrath that we thought enough of not to finish and not do vocals,” Adler jokes. “Actually, it’s a great tune, and it just never got to the finish line, and then Sega approached us about this video game. They said they needed a song. Normally, we’re not in the business of writing songs for video hames, but it looked to be a cool relationship so it came out in the game, and caused a bit of a buzz, and once the exclusivity contract ran out with them, we were able to release it.”
Adler says he was disappointed that “Hit The Wall” didn’t make it onto Wrath and stressed it’s not a new song, as such.
“I’ve gotten a lot of emails today saying, ‘Is this the direction of the new Lamb of God — it’s great. Its somewhere in the middle. We did the vocals post-Wrath but the music was written during the wrath sessions.”
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.
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