LAMB OF GOD Frontman: Czech Incarceration ‘Is Not Going To Change The Way We Do Things’

Despite the fact that is facing a possible manslaughter trial in the Czech Republic over the death of a fan that occurred at a LAMB OF GOD show more than two years ago, the band’s frontman, Randy Blythe, says that he has no plans to change the way he will act onstage in the future. “What else am I going to do?” he tells Revolver magazine. “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.”

He continues, “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,” he says. “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.”

According to Blythe, he wasn’t aware of how much people were talking about him in the United States while he was imprisoned in the Czech Republic. “There was no Internet, [and] I can’t read Czech papers,” he says. “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,” he says. “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. . . 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.”

He continues, “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.”

Asked how he handled the loneliness, Blythe tells Revolver, “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.”


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