Headbanger's Ball Tour 2003

Pulled from the archives is Dan's first ever interview, conducted on 11/02/2003.

11/3/200312 min read

Conducted 11/2/2003 by Dan Barkasi

On Sunday, November 2nd, the bands Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, and Lamb of God came to Pittsburgh’s Club Laga for a stop on their Headbangers Ball tour to dish out a metal ass kicking to some lucky Pittsburghers. I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to sit down and chat with Brian Fair (Vocals - Shadows Fall), Howard Jones (Vocals - Killswitch Engage), and Randy Blythe (Vocals - Lamb of God). With some donuts for the guys in hand, I began the interview, and I had an absolute blast! These are three really cool and down to earth guys. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed conducting it.

Dan: Hey guys! Would you mind introducing yourselves?

Randy Blythe: Hey, I’m Randy from Lamb of God.

Brian Fair: Brian from donut land!

Howard Jones: Howard from Killswitch!

Dan: First question, how are you guys enjoying the tour so far?

Randy: It’s pretty ridiculous. I’m very hung-over today.

Brian: This has been amazing so far! This is going to get more and more insane as we lose our minds slowly.

Howard: Ah dude, this tour is terrible! laughter all around I just can’t wait to go home! Oh wait, I’m out with my boys! I’m having a blast. Of course it’s good, come on!

Dan: What do you think of the metal scene today?

Randy: I think it’s a real good time for metal right now. There’s a lot of good bands coming up out of the underground starting to get some recognition. I think our political climate has a lot to do with it.

Brian: People be pissed! munching on donut

Randy: People are angry right now. There’s a bunch of bullshit going on. So, I think it’s a good time.

Brian: Yeah, I mean, just years ago. The metal scene in general, you couldn’t get bands to come over from Europe to tour because there was no one who knew who they were, and the tours were very few and far between. You’re mostly playing small, little shows with your friends. And now, the touring has been amazing because metal is the most exciting live music right now. Who wants to watch a bunch of shoe-gazers at an emo show, ya know? Standing there and complaining. Like you said, it’s kind of a hectic time. So, people are getting a little more aggressive and need a place to go off, so we’re there to just rock out with them and have a good time. We’re just stoked to be here when it is and before it sucks! laughter

Howard: Definitely, gotta agree with that. The political climate is just like, making metal valid. It’s making all the derivatives of metal, and punk, and everything else. It’s bringing the underground to the forefront. So, it’s a good time for all these bands. Especially when you see on the Headbangers Ball, small bands getting this exposure. It’s not like just dedicated to the Metallica’s of the world. Nothing wrong with that, but still, it’s a different time and it’s good.

Dan: It’s about time you guys got your due.

Dan: What do you think your biggest inspiration is, musically?

Randy: Musically? The Sex Pistols.

Brian: Bad Ranch, HR is probably the biggest. Both vocally and lyrically.

Howard: Man, good call. I gotta say, probably Faith No More.

Dan: How much do you guys enjoy life on the road?

Randy: How much do I enjoy it? I enjoy it a whole lot. A couple of my guys hate touring. I have a real good time. I hate my life on the road right now, because I’m so hung over.

Brian: laughs I love it, but we’ve been on the road enough for this year. We’re going to take a long break after this because it’s definitely taxing, physically. Also emotionally. It has its ups and downs. The shows are incredible, and the rest of the day is like, hurry up and wait. You’re kind of in limbo without any real roots. So, once you recharge…I’ll be home for a month and I’ll start buggin’ out again. But, I need to go home for a couple months. Fix my liver, fix my neck. Fix my personal life, my finances, pretty much everything. My bike. I’ve got a lot of shit to fix!

Howard: Yeah, the road. It’s a love-hate thing with the road. I mean, you enjoy it, and then you look forward to getting some time off, and you just say ‘oh my god, I can’t believe I’m missing being in a moving bed!’

Brian: With all those smelly dudes!

Howard: Yeah, really. I miss hearing a motor underneath my ear. So, it’s a love-hate thing.

Dan: Alright, Here’s something non-music related. What’s your favorite TV show?

Randy: I don’t watch television.

Brian: My favorite TV show is probably the Celtics, whenever they’re on. Monday Night Football. It used to be the WWE, but that shit is just falling off these days.

Howard: Yeah, really sad right now.

Brian: I never needed to see Vince and Stephanie in a cage match.

Howard: For me, I usually don’t get to watch much TV, even though I’ll try if I get the chance. But me, it’s The Simpsons and Simpsons re-runs. That’s pretty much it.

Dan. Oh yeah. I’m collecting the DVD's.

Howard: Oh yeah!

Brian: I could also watch Sportscenter on kind of a loop for a while. Just re-watch the same highlights.

Howard: laughs Yeah, me too.

Randy: We watch the Mr. Show DVD.

Howard & Brian: Yeah!

Brian: Have you seen the ‘Run Ronnie Run!’ movie yet? The movie about Ronnie Dobbs?

Randy: Uh uh.

Brian: Oh my god! You can borrow it. You guys both have to borrow it.

Howard: You got it?

Brian: Yeah, I got it.

Randy: Full-length?

Brian: Yeah, full-length movie, from New Line Cinema, with every guest appearance you can imagine. Funniest movie I’ve seen in years!

Randy: Awesome!

Howard: Yeah, I gotta see that!

Dan: How would you compare European metal crowds and American metal crowds?

Randy: Well, I’ve only been to England. These guys have been to Europe more than me. They are pretty fanatical. I was over there playing with Slayer a couple of days. I was walking through London, and I had about 30 or 40 kids following me.

Brian: Slayer in London? That must have sucked.

laughter all around

Randy: Yeah, it was horrible! Slayer in London, it was so ridiculous!

Howard: Horrible, horrible, horrible.

Brian: We did a full, as metal a tour as you can do with Children of Bodom and Soilwork through all of Europe, and you know, the crowds are definitely uber-metal, when you play a real metal show. We played some hardcore shows and they’re very similar to hardcore shows here, but the metal shows are just like, I mean we’re talking dudes in the full metal jackets. Denim patches covering everything. The back patch. And the patches aren’t like In Flames and Soilwork. We’re talking Venom, and Raven, and Anvil…

Randy: Hardcore shit!

Brian: Yeah, they’re going back. They love that stuff. But, and also it’s, hardcore shows, the same damn thing. But metal shows, it’s like, very little actual action. Just a lot of fist banging and head-banging and clapping.

Randy: 80’s shit…

Brian: Yup.

Howard: Yeah, in the U.K. and Europe, it’s like they’re a lot more finicky when it comes to music. It’s like, you better be up to snuff. The thing is, it’s like they’re finicky, but they appreciate music a lot more there because it’s like, not as many bands from the States and everything get over there, so when they do and it’s a band that is somewhat known, they come out. They’ll come out to see ya. It’s like, where at a lot of times, especially at the hardcore shows, and actually at some of the metal shows now, it’ll be like “Oh, it’s a Tuesday,” and you’re not expecting a good crowd. Over there, it doesn’t matter. They’re gonna come.

Brian: Like here, you get spoiled with tours. They’re just criss-crossing all the time. There’s 10 shows a week. Say especially, like go to Japan. They’re so stoked you flew 14 hours just to play. Everyone who is in the scene is at every show. It’s like that. It’s cool.

Dan: What’s your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

Randy: Favorite thing…reading. Having sex with my girlfriend. Fishing, or skateboarding.

Brian: Probably skateboarding, masturbating. laughter all around And on tour, my favorite activity if possible is showering. Because they’re so rare and luxurious. I showered twice yesterday!

Howard: laughs Word. Usually, just trying to sleep steadily. And just laying around. Just being lazy, man! It’s so nice.

Dan: Where do you see your band in the next couple of years?

Randy: In the next couple years? I see us going to Japan. That’s all I really care about. I haven’t been yet, and you guys have, and everything I’ve heard is that it’s just nuts man!

Brian: It’s just not even real. It’s just a hologram. It’s The Matrix, too!

Howard: It’s from Total Recall type stuff.

Brian: It’s like when you hit the ground, you just go to a hanger, and it’s all holograms.

Randy: Awesome!

Brian: I see us, well I see myself at least in the next few years sitting in my platinum hot tub surrounded by extremely busty blondes. laughter all around Drinking Crystal and Courvoisier, waiting for my stretch Hummer to come pick me up to go to the Celtics game. It’s gonna be a good time! You should all come along!

Howard: I probably see myself with the most elaborate Simpsons collection of all time! Other than that, man, I’ve just got to get to Australia. That’s the next goal. Get bit my some outrageous snake or something. laughs

Dan: What do you think the best attributes of your band are? What makes you stand out?

Randy: What makes us stand out…our sheer stupidity!

Brian: Our outright obnoxiousness. We’re all pretty selfish and obnoxious with what we do. We’re not pulling any punches up there.

Howard: What makes us stand out? Not being able to shut up Adam D!

Brian: hahaha without a doubt.

Dan: laughs I’ve heard things!

laughter all around

Dan: What do you think of the whole MP3 craze?

Brian: Ah, it’s cool, ya know. But if people don’t go out and buy your record in stores, unfortunately, usually SoundScan is the only measure of success in the industry. Industry wise, when you’re trying to get your label to give you some money to tour, when you’re trying to get other labels interested, when you’re trying to get promoters to hook stuff up. So, ya know, I love the fact that kids are just interested to check out the music, and they download it. But, if you find a band you like, you should really go out and try and buy the record and support them. And if you can’t buy it, even at the show, because that money will actually go to the band, ya know, in their pocket. I’ve got no doubt that people are trading our stuff and spreading the word. That’s definitely a great way to spread the word, but if you really like it, plus you should want to read the lyrics and check out the art and stuff if you’re a real fan. So, buy buy buy!

Howard: Yeah, there’s really nothing else to add over that. He hit it on the head.

Dan: How long have you guys been involved in music?

Randy: Playing music?

Dan: Yeah.

Randy: Since I was 14. I’m 32 now.

Brian: Yeah, since I was 14. I’ve even done joke bands. It’s all I know how to do.

Howard: Yeah, my God, it’s been like 12, 13 years. Something like that. A ridiculous amount of time.

Dan: If there was one CD you had to listen to the rest of your life, what would it be?

Randy: Ohhh God, I hate this question!

Brian: That’s so hard.

Randy: Ahh, Never Mind The Bollocks, by The Sex Pistols.

Brian: I think I’ll just torch myself and bring Nellyville, for the hell of it!

laughter all around

Howard: Oh man!!! You’re fired! Oh, wow!

Brian: The way I figure, who would want to live in a world where I could only have one CD? So I might as well drive myself to the point of taking my own life!

Howard: That is unbelievable! Hey, go with the tried and true man. Angel Dust, Faith No More.

Dan: If you could tour with any band, present or future, who would it be?

Brian: I’m going back to Nellyville!

laughter all around

Randy: I don’t really have any.

Brian: I’m just kidding. I’d love to tour with Led Zeppelin, or AC/DC, there’s just so many. Cliff Burton era Metallica, it couldn’t get any better than that. Right now though, to pick the ideal tour I’d go out on right now, this was the tour we put together that all 3 of us wanted to do this, because who else would we want to go out with right now?

Howard: Yeah, seriously. Honestly, especially for where we are right now, this was the tour. This was it. And I mean, MTV jumped on this, because we were already going to do it.

Brian: Yeah, it was full steam ahead.

Howard: Yeah, so this, as for where I am right now, this is it. This is it.

Brian: The only true existing band that I’d want to tour with would be Iron Maiden, as far as one of the classic bands. Because they’re still amazing live, and still playing the same good songs.

Dan: Did you check out the new album yet?

Brian: Oh it’s awesome!

Howard: I haven’t gotten to hear it. It looks good.

Dan: Since Halloween was just a few days ago, what was your favorite thing you dressed up as a kid?

Randy: As a kid, I don’t even remember what I was. One year I got really drunk and took some acid and dressed up as The Kurgan from Highlander. I had this cool, real sword. Like this big, heavy one. And I walked around screaming ‘There Can Be Only One!’

laughter all around

Randy: I was chopping down mailboxes and stuff. I scared the crap out of a bunch of people! I had like the slit throat with the safety pins in it, it was the special effects makeup, this big sword, spikes and stuff. People just got out of my way when I walked into a party. It was out of control.

Howard: Man…I have no reason to even answer that! laughs That’s unbelievable!!!

Brian: I dressed in Dee Snyder and Chewbacca costumes…

Dan: I’m just getting this mental picture.

Randy: It was a mess, dude.

Howard: Unbelievable!

Dan: What is your favorite venue or city to play at?

Randy: Philadelphia, or Worcester, or New Jersey.

Howard: I think I can say that’s it for all 3 of us.

Brian: Yeah, those are the major cities.

Dan: What do you think makes you click as a band that makes you so successful?

Randy: For my band, I think it’s our deep, underlying hatred of each other. We hate each other, and so it comes out in the music.

Brian: We’re kind of stuck with each other. The only reason we stick together is because no one else could really stand us. We’re kind of forced. We’re a bunch of assholes! I’m can’t believe that we even still hang out with each other. It’s crazy.

Howard: laughs Right on. I’m in a band with a bunch of musicians, and then there’s this goofball, BOOM! Right here! I just got lucky, dude.

Dan: Is there any kind of new material you guys are working on?

Randy: Yeah, we’ve got 2 or 3 new songs we’ve got worked out. Just get off this tour, take 6 months off, and write.

Brian: We’ve just been getting these guys both to play us their demos and we’ve been stealing their riffs! laughter all around So, we should have a new record soon!

Howard: Right after this tour, we’re getting in the studio and recording the new album.

Dan: (to Randy) How’s the DVD going for you guys?

Randy: We did a premiere of it at CBGB. They closed down CBGB for a CMJ. It was packed. Open bar, off the hook. CB to me is just a legend, ya know, a total shit hole, but it’s a legend, and that was one of my highlights. I think they’d never close down CB and throw a party for it. It hasn’t come out yet. It comes out on our website around Christmas and then in stores at the beginning of the year. But, it’s going pretty well thus far.

Dan: How would you describe your music to somebody who has never heard you before?

Randy: I would say we’re very orchestrated, controlled, aggression.

Brian: Thrash-influenced, melodic metal, with metal on top of it, with little metal sprinkles on the side.

Howard: I would say hardcore-influenced metal with a hint of wuss.

laughter all around

Dan: Besides music, do you guys have any special talents?

Brian: I can fart the alphabet!

Randy: I can drink! I can drink like a mofo.

Howard: I’m a really good belcher. That’s about it.

Dan: To close things off, is there anything else you guys would like to add?

Randy: To anyone reading this, come check out the shows! If you’ve already been, thanks for the support!

Brian: Yeah, basically, just come on down, and check out our site shadowsfall.com and find out what we’re up to. Hopefully we’ll see you all around!

Howard: If you see me, give me those orange flavored Hostess cupcakes! Those things are the bomb!

Dan: I’ll make sure to bring you some the next time you guys come around!

Randy: If you see me, bring some Vicodins and some Perkasets!

laughter all around

Howard: Yeah, we’re on the same level! I love that guy.

Dan: Thank you very much for your time, guys!

Note: The show was amazing! Definitely check these guys out live if you already haven't! It's definitely a good time!