Lamb of God’s RANDY Blythe Surprised at Support He Had While in Prison; Talks About Upcoming Knotfest Show
Revolver conducted an in-depth interview with Randy Blythe over the weekend about a variety of topics such as performing at Knotfest to seeing his elderly grandmother again. Check out a portion of the interview below. You can read it in it’s entirety here.
REVOLVER Has your experience changed at all the way you’ll act onstage?
RANDY BLYTHE No. What else am I going to do? We don’t have a big production set up or anything. We don’t have purple dragons that fly out of the sky and breathe fire. We’re just a bunch of dudes who get up there and rock and roll. This incident that occurred, it was an unfortunate occurrence. A tragedy. And there’s a lot of details that need to be clarified that came out of this, and hopefully they will in court. But it’s not going to change the way we do things, because I didn’t do anything wrong. So why should I change what I’m doing? They’re saying I committed a crime of intent, like I went out and hurt someone. That’s total bullshit. Why would I try and hurt fans of my band? That’s ridiculous. So no.
If anything good comes out of this, as far as a change to how we operate, I would hope it would be a more far-reaching thing than just my band. I would hope it would raise the awareness for the need for adequate security, not just for the band but for the audience as well. Most of the time, none of this stuff is an issue because security is entirely adequate. Security knows how to keep the kids from getting hurt while letting them have a good time. To the outside world, to people who aren’t in our scene, it all looks like a great big violent mess. They don’t know that everybody’s just having a good time. There is a very big need for security, though, to ensure—especially if kids are going to be crowdsurfing and coming over the barricade and stuff—there’s got to be guys there to catch them. So if anything good comes out of these, I hope we will lessen any injuries incurred by concert-going folks.
Your big return to the stage with Lamb of God is coming up next weekend at Knotfest. How are your preparing for that?
Well, I’m really excited to play these two shows. Right now I would not be able to go on a tour this soon, because my head is still just decompressing and dealing with family and friends and answering a million text messages. But these two shows are perfect for me to do because I’m really looking forward to getting onstage and letting it rip. These guys, a lot of the band that are playing, are friends of ours. I’m really stoked to see them.
Machine Head is on there. When I was in prison, the laundry section where the inmates were, you had to go there every now and then to get your clothes or whatever, but these were some guys who had been in there for a while, so they had some freedom, but they were metalheads. So on the wall there’s posters of Metallica, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Dimmu Borgir and Machine Head. So I walk in and I’m like, “Oh, I know them. I know them. I know them.” And I’d wave at the little poster of Robb Flynn and the boys and be like, “Hey dudes, what’s up?” It’s like a little visit with my friends. So I’m looking forward to seeing them. Like, “I haven’t seen you since you were hanging on a prison wall in the Czech Republic.”
When you finally made it to New York City, where you flew before going to Richmond, how did it feel?
It felt just freaking’ amazing, man. When I left Prague, it was a great sense of relief. When I touched down and actually got off the plane and walked out into security, it was like, Holy crap, this is really real. It was kind of surreal. I was like, Oh my God, thank God I’m back in America.
When I walked out of customs, there was this woman named Lia there. I’d never met her before. She said, “Hey Randy, I just wanted to let you know I’m happy you’re home. I’m glad you’re out.” She was like, “I don’t want to bother you.” I’m like, “No, let’s kick it. Let’s have coffee.” So we had coffee and talked for an hour or so. We called her boyfriend who had to work. She didn’t really know which flight I was going to be on; she found out the time I was leaving Prague, I guess, through the internet. It was a really super special kind of moment for me. It felt really good to just talk to someone.
I’m sure. In other interviews, you’ve said you weren’t aware of how much people were talking about you here.
Yeah, there was no internet, I can’t read Czech papers. The mail there was very slow because it went through censors. I got a postcard from a guy in Seattle who had just signed with Metal Blade, who I think he had to be in Prague, because it was mailed from there. And then I got a nice letter from this guy from Tennessee, he and his wife, and he had enclosed a couple internet clippings. My friend, [Testament guitarist] Alex Skolnick, had done a blog about me. It was just a couple of cool things just to let me know that people were thinking about me. And that was really hugely important. I don’t know if he ever got my letter, but I’m going to write him soon. Beyond that and my lawyer, I saw my wife once, and my American lawyer was over there for a couple of days. I had two or three meetings with him. They said that people were speaking up, but I really had no idea of the amount of support I had. It was pretty crazy. I couldn’t read any of the Czech papers, which were not very supportive of me. One day I walked out into the yard for a walk and a prisoner came up to me and said [with an accent], “Ozzy Osbourne says, ‘Good for you.’” And I’m like, “Wow.” Because it was in their paper, but that’s about it.
I know Municipal Waste. Phil Hall, the bass player, his brother, I skateboard with him. And he saw me yesterday and said they were in Prague and they tried to go visit me, since they’re from Richmond. But you’ve got to have all of this shit written in advance and you’ve got to write this form and the guard yelled at me that I hadn’t written it right for people to come visit. It’s got to be at least a week in advance and you get only one visit every two weeks. So I was kind of isolated.
How did you handle the loneliness?
I really try to stay in the moment. When I went to prison, I was like, OK, you can either just sit here and feel sorry for yourself or you can try and make the most of your time. And I just didn’t allow myself to feel sorry for myself. If I did, I quickly mentally kicked myself in the ass and said, don’t be such a sissy.
Dude, I toured Auschwitz about a month before I went to this prison. I walked around Auschwitz and Birkenau all day long by myself, listening and reading at all these places where all these people were killed in this one tiny area. That puts stuff in perspective. I also try to remain grateful for what I had. I had food, clothes and shelter.
We recently toured places—I’ve been to some pretty brutal places on tour on my days off where you see people starving in the streets. And in our media, of course, there’s all sorts of crazy shit going on in the Middle East. Our soldiers are getting shot at in Afghanistan and Syria’s blowing up. If you think about all these things, I wasn’t in such a bad place and I just reminded myself of that. I could eat, I wasn’t freezing or sweating to death, and nobody was shooting guns or throwing grenades at me. So I was like, I’m just going to sit here and make the most of my time and read and write. And learn a little bit.
Read the rest of the interview here.