AS I LAY DYING: There Is A Misconception About How Much Money Successful Metal Bands Make

Justis Earle of Hails Horns magazine recently conducted an interview with vocalist Tim Lambesis of San Diego metallers AS I LAY DYING. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Hails Horns: You guys are one of the few bands that can tour with ASKING ALEXANDRIA or SLAYER. What would you say as a response to some of the negative [social media] comments [for] bands like ASKING ALEXANDRIA?

Tim: I’m not sure what to say to those kind of people, because everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I think people are more likely to share their opinion in a more abrasive way on the Internet. I know we’ve gotten a lot more flak for touring with ASKING ALEXANDRIA than we have for something on the more “true metal” side of the spectrum, whether it be SLAYER or whoever. Sometimes with the younger, up-and-coming “sceney”-type bands, we recognize that they are drawing a younger, different fan base and that it’s important for us to try and play in front of different audiences. We came out of the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal, and metalcore and that kind of scene, but we don’t consider ourselves locked into one particular genre, we just try to write the best music that we can, and let other people throw the tags on us. It’s like if I want to eat healthy, and someone else doesn’t, were not gonna yell at each other for it. It’s just a difference of opinion, I like chicken and broccoli and someone might be like, “That’s disgusting,” but were not gonna argue over the Internet and call each other terrible names. I view music like that; it’s subjective. There’s no right or wrong answer.

Hails Horns: In the late ’90s, there was this big nu-metal thing with weird hard rock stuff, but metal really made a resurgence around the turn of the millennium. Where do you see metal going in the next five or ten years. Do you see a trend?

Tim: Well, I think with all the trends, there’s a big rise in the trend and then all bands in that entire trend do really well for a small window of time like two or three years, and then there’s like four or five survivors. You think of thrash metal obviously it had its huge hey day, and [the] really the big survivors are the obvious ones like METALLICA, MEGADETH, ANTHRAX… When us, KILLSWITCH [ENGAGE], LAMB OF GOD and SHADOWS FALL… [came out] there was that initial big break in what people consider that new movement, and even with that, unfortunately some of those bands aren’t making the same living they used to. When it’s all said and done, there’s probably a couple hundred metalcore bands that got signed, and now there’s maybe five or six that in ten years people will still remember. Hopefully, me crossing my fingers, it’s us, LAMB OF GOD, KILLSWITCH [ENGAGE], and a handful of others. The same thing happened to nu-metal, KORN, I dunno… I didn’t listen to nu-metal…there’s only like two or three nu-metal bands that people take seriously anymore and the rest of them are almost a laughing stock. The trends come and go, and the more extreme trends come and go quicker, like deathcore and stuff; that trend is coming and going much quicker than metalcore did.

Hails Horns: If someone looks at you and they say, “This guy has it all,” what would you say to that, and where do you find your contentment in the midst of this?

Tim: I think there’s a misconception about the money that is made even for the successful bands in our genre. Again, to bring up us and the KILLSWITCH guys, none of us are extremely comfortable with the amount of money [we earn]. It’s not like were gonna make enough money that were just gonna retire when were done playing music and just sit around for the rest of our lives. The amount of income is a comfortable amount, but it’s certainly not the kind that that alleviates the stress of having to get another job at some point. That’s one misconception, and beyond that, I think there’s value in a human that has their own goals and ambitions and just wants to work hard, regardless of what it is. To me, I could be organizing our studio equipment, and even though it’s a tedious task of cleaning stuff, it’s in my nature as a person to just keep working on it and when I’m sixty, even if I had the money to retire, I would probably still work… I’m sorry, the initial question?

Hails Horns: Where do you personally find contentment?

Tim: Finding value in work. I’m content when I’ve put my heart into something and I feel productive, whether it’s outwardly productive where the world sees it and gives praises, like when a new album comes out and gets good reviews, or if we put together an album that I was personally very proud of and every one else was like, “Whatever,” as long as I was personally proud of it, when I’m old, I’m not going to regret that album. I think the ability to be content is in the heart of an individual, not necessarily in goals and achievements. I’m sure the quote has been overused: “Life is about the journey and not the destination,” but the people who live life that way are actually content.

Read the entire interview from Hails Horns magazine.