Peter Atkinson of KNAC.COM recently conducted an interview with guitarist Mark Morton of Richmond, Virginia metallers LAMB OF GOD. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
KNAC.COM: How was the METALLICA tour?
Morton: Very, very cool. It was good opportunity for us, of course, opening for one of the biggest bands in the world. We were really flattered for them to have asked us to come out with them. We had some great shows. When we go out with like a SLAYER or a MEGADETH or a band like that, chances are most of those people are at least aware of what we do. It's safe to say that a good portion of the METALLICA crowd had not yet been exposed to us. So for us, at that this stage of the game, it was a golden opportunity. In addition to that, it was a lot of fun to go on tour with people who were our heroes when we were coming up as musicians and to learn first hand that they really are a great bunch of guys, really down-to-earth people, surprisingly, so given their celebrity and their status in the industry and some of the ways they've been portrayed. They made us feel at home and made us feel welcome, and for that I'm grateful. We've got about 20 more shows with them next summer in Europe, so we're very excited about that. So, all in all, it was a great experience.
KNAC.COM: Playing in front of a crowd that was, like you said, not really familiar with you, how did you go over?
Morton: We went over really well. We were, not concerned, we were curious how we would go over with an unfamiliar audience. To be fair, we certainly had our share of fans there every night, the LAMB OF GOD fans were showing up and they were very vocal and very visible and we love them to death for it, but I could definitely feel the momentum of the shows. When we would start playing, people would still be taking their seats, and by the end of our set the faces changed from deer in the headlights to fists in the air. There were no train wrecks, no boos, no catastrophes, at least that I was aware of, and I think we won some people over. The thing about, say, SLAYER is, they are a very, very heavy band, very dark, very aggressive, and the music, at least to my ears, is a little bit similar to what LAMB OF GOD is doing, so it's not such a stretch for the audience. METALLICA has gone through different phases at different eras, until very recently most of their modern stuff is pretty commercial, so their fans are there to hear that. But, like I said, they seemed to like us and I know we made some new fans.
KNAC.COM: Since everyone else has chimed in on it, what is your opinion of METALLICA's new album?
Morton: It's great, it's their best record in a lot of years. They had moved away from where my interest was in them, but good for them, they've redefined themselves over and over again, reinvented themselves. And they are a great band and nice guys.
KNAC.COM: LAMB OF GOD is certainly a veteran band, but METALLICA's been around for a lot longer and at a much higher level, no disrespect. Is there anything you guys can take away from someone like that?
Morton: The answer to your question is yes and no. I don't think there's things, or lessons, that we picked up directly from them as a band because we're two very different situations and two very different types of bands in very different levels of our careers, as you mentioned. But working with them has taught us some things. It's one of the few times where, like I said, we've been in front of an audience that we felt we had to win over. Early on in our career, when no one knew who we were on our first couple national tours, it was like that, and maybe the main stage at Ozzfest that we played a couple years ago. But even then we felt like we were on our home turf. We learned how to work in an environment that wasn't necessarily hostile, but it wasn't necessarily friendly either. And METALLICA plays in the round, which is like being in a boxing ring in the middle of the arena, so we really had to work a four-sided stage instead of a one-side stage. And 14-15 years into our career, that's the first time we've had to do that. We picked up really quick, and I'm really proud of our band and especially our crew for adapting, because those guys really bear the brunt of that. If things don't get set up just so, it can make things a lot more difficult and really limit your mobility, which you really need in a situation like that.
Read the entire interview from KNAC.COM.