Toby Cook of The Quietus recently conducted an interview with guitarist Mark Morton of Richmond, Virginia metallers LAMB OF GOD. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Quietus: So Mark, given the success of “Wrath”, was there an added sense of pressure when creating “Resolution”?
Mark Morton: I don’t think so; not really, man. “Wrath” did really well for us, and it’s exciting that the momentum has continued. But “Resolution” — if you count BURN THE PRIEST [the name under which LAMB OF GOD released its self-titled debut album in 1999], which I do, because we all kind of lived it — is our seventh studio record, and we’ve got to the point now where we certainly hope that our albums do well commercially, and it’s nice when they do, but ultimately the goal remains to just respect the band and our sound and just write some songs that feel like where we are at this point in time. And that’s always been the process, so to change it now, or to try and react to any response or the success of an album before, seems like it would be a mistake.
The Quietus: So as you said, for all intents and purposes, this is your seventh album and as a band you seem to be somewhat of an anomaly, where with each release and tour you seem to garner more fans, more respect, more acclaim. Why do you feel that that has been the case with your career?
Mark Morton: It’s not only potentially awkward, but it’s also pretty hard for me to answer that question, as I don’t really know — I’m so inside of it. What I can tell you is that we’re a very honest band, be it with our music, with our lyrics, with our interviews, with the access that, over the years, we’ve provided fans into who we are and what we do. There’s not a lot of pretense. When we walk on stage, we look exactly like we do when we walk across the street to get a coffee. When we meet our fans, they find that we’re really just like them. So I would speculate that some of those things have to do with the staying power and the level with which our fans connect to the music and to the band. But why it has grown and spread like it has? If I knew the answer to that, I could probably make a lot more money than I do… [laughs loudly and manically]
The Quietus: Do you ever take a minute, or catch yourself thinking that, y’know, 15-20 years ago you were just jamming in a garage, and now you’re doing world tours and getting Grammy nominations?
Mark Morton: I do, yeah. You really do. Years ago I did a piece for a magazine we have in the states called Revolver, you know it?
The Quietus: Oh yeah, I know the one.
Mark Morton: They used to do a piece, they still do I think, where they have a young gun — which I was at the time, I’m certainly not anymore — interview a veteran and an influence. I got to interview Dave Mustaine [MEGADETH]. It was really, really cool. I hadn’t yet met him, it was years before we wound up touring together and I could say I’d spent some time with him. I’ve forgotten what my question was but it alluded to: “What can you tell me about getting from where I am to where you are?” or some shit like that, but he said: “Make sure you look out of the side window, and see where you are and what’s happening right now. Because so much, and so often, people such as ourselves get caught up looking forward, simply because that’s the way the business is structured.” We live off of calendars. Come January, I’m going to go on the road for 18 to 24 months, right? As a guitar player for LAMB OF GOD, I realize that those things are very important and there’s going to be a lot of very amazing experiences that go along with that. As a father, as a husband, I realize that the balance to that is that there’s a lot of things I’m going to be needed for that I’m just going to be absent for, and there’s a lot of incredible experiences — some of the most important things in my life — that I’m going to miss, right? So, it’s a balance. I don’t expect an 18-year-old fan to understand that, and I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for me, I can stop whenever I want, it’s a choice I make. It’s the career I chose and choose to continue. But there are challenges that go along with it and there are balances that go along with it, and the way it’s structured, as I was saying, is that everything is moving forward and you’re always looking ahead to a certain point. Mr. Mustaine gave me some very profound advice, and that was to look out of the side window and see where you are; to take a minute, take a deep breath and soak it in, because you’re never going to be at that spot again. I would say that advice applies to anyone, no matter what you do, we get so caught up as people, as a society, in trying to get more; to get ahead and to get bigger; to get richer and to get more successful; to get here and go there and we forget where we are. What led me to that rant was that you asked, do I ever stop and go, “Holy fuck, look at what we’ve done.” And I try to, I really try to, because it’s pretty remarkable that we’ve come as far as we have with the music that we make.
Read the entire interview from The Quietus.