Picking the easy targets since 1993
LAMB OF GOD
Interview with JOHN CAMPBELL by T-BUX
In honor of the 15th anniversary of Lamb of God's existence, we here at the Reglar Wiglar thought it'd be as good a time as any to check in and see how the L.O.G. was getting on since we last spoke back in 2001. Ten years and a lot of hard, hard miles will no doubt put some salt in man. To find out how much, we put London correspondent, and former Virginian, Todd "T-Bux" Uzel on the transatlantic horn to holler at L.O.G. bass player, John Campbell. So sit back, grab a beer and listen to these good old Virginny boys have a jaw at one another.
REGLAR WIGLAR: Sixteen years... any insight you learned?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Not really. I learned that Willie is a gross human being. I know what dudes in the band's drinking and drugging habits are.
RW: You pretty much been all over the world. So what now?
JOHN CAMPBELL: I need some time to see my home, the world can wait. It has all been the clichéd blur. Some cities we were in for less than twenty-four hours, some all we saw were the shit-holes that we played.
RW: Yeah, that said, you think if it ended tomorrow... would you miss the dynamics of traveling and get bored
at home all the time?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Eventually I would get bored, but then I would hope to travel on my own terms. I know my wife is anxious for that. She is very bored sitting at home.
RW: Where would you go first?
JOHN CAMPBELL: My wife really wants to see Holland, and not for the relaxed drug laws. I’d like to get back to Australia or New Zealand. But that's a real kick in the dick getting there.
RW: I hear Copenhagen is pretty down.
JOHN CAMPBELL: Copenhagen is amazing! Amazingly expensive too. I could spend some time there... on someone else's dime.
RW: Thought you were rolling?
JOHN CAMPBELL: That's what you get for thinking! I'm doing all right, but I ain’t rolling.
RW: Dispel the myth.
JOHN CAMPBELL: Should I forward you my tax returns?
RW: Most would think with you chumps all up in the media, you must be in the goods.
JOHN CAMPBELL: Unfortunately, I can't pay my mortgage with printed interviews. I do get to do what I really do love doing; playing shows. It has never been about money anyway.
RW: Which brings up an insiders view of mainstream label life...
JOHN CAMPBELL: Record labels are dead. We, in some ways, were lucky to get in before the huge collapse. But it has been on its way out for awhile.
RW: So who's gonna release the LOG Christmas album? K-Tel?
JOHN CAMPBELL: LOG if it were ever to happen. There's no way K-Tel is still around. (Oh really?--Ed.)
RW: You could bring 'em back.
JOHN CAMPBELL: No point, it's a dead industry. At least on the grand scale. Boutique is where it’s at. Have you seen the Dischord site recently? Great stuff, buy music directly from them.
RW: You guys tour with a lot of older bands—Metallica, Slayer, etcetara. You ever tell Lars to suck it?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Not in those words, but we had a moment that was mildly awkward. I was warming up backstage and had just gotten in ears. He walked by and said something. I heard nothing. I looked up and saw a buncha people kinda staring at me.
JOHN CAMPBELL: In-ear monitors... molded earphones basically. You can't hear shit but what you have put in them.
RW: Ah, so kinda like you were ignoring him?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Correct. But then pulled them out, fumbling with an apology and blah, blah, blah. Kinda shrugged him off.
RW: Feel like you missed much?
JOHN CAMPBELL: I didn’t. He repeated what he said with a strained voice, "I said, are you having fun?"
RW: Ever feel like asking those dudes why they didn't pack it in after Cliff?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Are you kidding?
JOHN CAMPBELL: They’re the biggest band in the world!
RW: Don't mean it's good.
JOHN CAMPBELL: They would have never gotten there if they "packed it in.” Take your snobby opinion out of it. They have accomplished a lot! And they do put on a good show to sold out arenas every night they play, in any city in the world. That's pretty impressive!
RW: Brings up a good point. You said earlier it ain't about the money but if it becomes somewhat sub par, musically, do you know?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Who says it's about the money for them? Maybe it's looking for a broader audience that puts you off so much?
RW: Hypothetical question...
JOHN CAMPBELL: I hear ya. I ain't mad at 'tallica… least not like I used to be. The Black Album was disappointing, to say the least.
RW: Seems like a lot of bands, big or small, after going so long, just get mechanical... going through the motions, you know?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Ha! Don’t I ever! I'm reading a book about Led Zep.
RW: Which one? Hammer of the Gods?
JOHN CAMPBELL: I forget. But they talk about Page being in the Yardbirds and how they were self-destructing and going through the motions. I can’t remember the title, just cracked into it. Saving it for tour. Also got White Line Fever, Lemmy's autobiography.
RW: You ever read Our Band Could be Your Life? Ever miss the days of touring in a van, "living the life" as described in the book? Keeping it real?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Not really. In 2008 I ran around with RPG in a van.
RW: How was it?
JOHN CAMPBELL: As I get older, that ain't no way to live! Its not bad for the weekend warrior, but if you are trying o pay the bills that way.... forget it.
RW: Thought it ain't bout the money?
JOHN CAMPBELL: That’s not money, that’s about comfort.
RW: Fair point... but what about playing smaller clubs verses bigger places?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Smaller clubs are good. Its all relative. Again, it's all right for the weekend warrior, not if you’re living it, at least not for me. I’d rather be home working a schmedley job, playing once a week with my friends in a practice space.
RW: So most all of you got kids. When they get older maybe they could carry the legacy... start a band called "Lamb Chop." Got massive marketing appeal! Keep it in the family, yo!
JOHN CAMPBELL: Sounds like a terrible idea. You come up with that yourself?
RW: Do you guys talk about the life of LOG or just roll with it? Got a master plan?
JOHN CAMPBELL: You forget to pay your Internet bill?
RW: Transatlantic connections can be bunk sometimes. You shining this question?
JOHN CAMPBELL: We talk about the life of LOG, it's our business! We have a vision, a plan if you will. We are touring up until Thanksgiving, then taking time off, then writing/recording another album and touring on it for a couple years. From there, who knows? That's the three year plan, anyway. Hope that doesn’t kill the romance for you.
RW: When do you think you'll reach the pinnacle? You think kids will keep following?
JOHN CAMPBELL: I think that will be better evaluated down the road. I'm suspecting we may have hit it. I think we could maintain where we are now for as long as we wanted.
RW: Just curious about how the winds blow. Metal fans seem to be quite loyal.
JOHN CAMPBELL: Sure, probably more loyal than metal bands.
RW: Ever think of doing your own side project?
JOHN CAMPBELL: I would love to be in a shitty old man band that played a shitty local bar once every three months. Maybe once every six months.
RW: What about making records?
JOHN CAMPBELL: I think recordings would be more fun than actually trying to print/sell product. Itunes release maybe?
RW: I'm sure some LOG fans would follow it. What have you been listening to recently?
RW: The new Black Mountain record is pretty nice. Wilderness Hearts, heard it? I got In The Future, I need to get their first record.
RW: Yeah, I dig em. I tried to tell you about it last time I was in town but you weren't having it.
JOHN CAMPBELL: My only critique of them is that they sound like other bands all the time, from Thin Lizzy to Bowie to Sabbath.
RW: Yeah well, who doesn't?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Not as blatant as they do. But they do it so well that I end up not caring. They mix heavy and mellow real well.
RW: Kinda hard to find anything original anymore.
JOHN CAMPBELL: We'll see about that.
RW: How do you mean?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Just when you make a statement like that is the perfect time for something new and creative come out.
RW: You guys thinking bout incorporating more keyboards into your sound? It is the hip thing these days.
JOHN CAMPBELL: For your smart assed info, Sacrament was full of keyboards.
RW: Well, no shit. Thought I was listening to a harpsichord concerto there.
JOHN CAMPBELL: We went the opposite direction for our last release as a reaction.
RW: Still a good record. Got some ol' toe tappers on it.
JOHN CAMPBELL: Morty (Mark Morton) writes sweet riffs, lyrics and arrangements.
RW: What about Willie? Thought it was about half and half?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Musically. He writes the esoteric, weird riffs. Morty does almost one hundred percent of lyric arrangement and at least eighty percent of lyric writing.
RW: You guys still argue about song titles/album names? (reference to a scene in the “Walk With Me In Hell” video where the band debates the title for the upcoming release).
JOHN CAMPBELL: No arguing for me. I think some of those dudes argue for the sake of it. Not for my personality.
RW: Ever think of just signing off?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Sure, but I'm too stubborn. This thing has a life span like all things and one day will come to pass.RW: Either way, sounds like you guys have tapped into a "working" groove and the results are all good.
JOHN CAMPBELL: That’s what I'm saying! Two years into this tour cycle, I need to be off the road for a bit... I'm definitely on the hating side of things at the moment.
RW: Maybe we'll do another interview after you've been home for a year and see what you say.
JOHN CAMPBELL: Yeah, I probably will be anxious to get out on the road.
RW: Ever think of changing it up and swapping instruments?
JOHN CAMPBELL: You mean within the band or personally? 'Cause I really wanted to play drums when this all started.
RW: The band, moron.
JOHN CAMPBELL: That would be a "hell no".
RW: Why not? You were just talking about something new and creative. Maybe you could sing? Or get back on them keys?
JOHN CAMPBELL: You are really full of terrible ideas. No wonder Wiglar hired you.
RW: Ah shit... that's cold... you self righteous bastard.
JOHN CAMPBELL: When you're right, why can’t you congratulate yourself?
RW: Moving on... what's next for ol' J.C.?
JOHN CAMPBELL: I’m waiting on my fucking clutch cable so I can ride my motorcycle... leaving in two days for South America. Waiting to get home so I can forget about the road for a bit.
RW: You gonna put a fifth seat on that bike?
JOHN CAMPBELL: A fifth? I got a solo seat. One came with the bike, one replaced that. Then I put on struts, so I needed a seat with springs.
RW: Saw photos with a bunch of different seats. Somebody can't make up their mind? Have anything to do with an ever expanding ass?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Such a nit-picking motherfucker! The solo seat is smaller, fucklips, and my belly expands, not my ass.
RW: You wear leather when you're on the hog? Chaps?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Now you're fantasizing. Jeans, boots and gloves.
RW: Got any "colors?" Redwings?
JOHN CAMPBELL: Ha! No, I’m no where near cool enough to be a real biker.
RW: Still gotta show the world who's boss.
JOHN CAMPBELL: Ha! Fuck the world! I just wanna be left alone!
RW: We'll on that note, we'll end this here interview.
JOHN CAMPBELL: 'Bout fucking time!
Read Reglar Wiglar LOG 2001 Interview with John Campbell
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