Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe talks about new album “Resolution” and his memoir “Dark Days”

Randall Blythe is probably best known for his work as lead singer of the band Lamb of God. In 2012 while on tour in support of their latest album “Resolution” Blythe was arrested upon entry into the Czech Republic as part of an investigation related to the death a fan at one of the bands shows 2 years prior. “Dark Days: A Memoir” is the first book release by Randy which details this ordeal from the days leading up to the arrest and the roller coaster ride which ensued during the preceding months. Media Mikes had the pleasure of talking with Randy recently about the book, what it was like reliving those experiences and also about the bands upcoming album and summer tour run.

Adam Lawton: What was it like going back through your journals and reliving those experiences during the writing of the book?

Randy Blythe: I think people were looking for me to have some sort of cathartic experience during the writing of this book and it just wasn’t. For the most part it was an unpleasant experience. It wasn’t fun while I was going through it and it wasn’t fun writing it. I think the story has value and there are some things in there that might help some people actually. I think this story needed to be told before my memories faded too much. I was thankful for the journals I had. It was weird to look back at them and read about this low point in my life. This wasn’t the first time I had looked back at journals where things weren’t going well but when I looked back at this specific journal and the fact that I was writing it while in a Czech prison was really heavy. There are some funny parts in the book but for the most part it was not a lot of fun going back. I learned a lot about the writing process through this whole thing but again it wasn’t very enjoyable.

AL: Did you have to do a lot of self editing when you were making your way through the chapters?

RB: I all heard was that we have to amputate things. (Laughs) That was more at the very end. Prior to that I was able to just write and write. When I write I am very clean and careful so there is not a lot of re-writing that has to be done. Aside from some grammatical era’s which the copy editors handled there wasn’t a lot of restructuring. When I first started I had this sort of romantic view of a writer/editor relationship as I had read stories about writers that I liked that had these intense relationships with their editors where they fought back and forth about what was going in the book. That’s what I was expecting but instead I got a lot of encouragement which is what I needed. I guess I wanted my hand held a little bit through the process but, I didn’t get that. (Laughs)

AL: Was there ever any worry about bringing further attention to these events and their relationship to the band?

RB: I had to examine that and certainly think about it for awhile. I don’t think there can be much more attention drawn to the situation that what has already happened. Anytime an article or something comes out whether its something it’s something as simple as going to Disney Land the events from the Czech Republic are going to be mentioned. No matter if it’s applicable or not it gets mentioned. There’s just so much misinformation out there about this that I figured if it’s going to be talked about I might as well set the record straight. If this brings the story to new people then at least they will know the real story. It won’t be something they found on the internet which needed to be put through Google translator or something like that. They get the straight dope from me. I wrote the book in a way that people from outside the metal scene will understand. I wanted people not from that world to read this as well. There is enough universal treatment and value related to personal accountability that no matter where you are in life you can relate to a degree.

AL: When this is all done do you feel you will be able to close the book on maybe just a small piece of that experience?

RB: Yes. I know I am going to be still continually asked about this but once press and everything is done for the book and it gets brought up later on I can just refer people to the 500 page book I wrote about it. That’s it. Just a very short answer as the book has everything people need to know about what happened.

AL: The first two songs from the band’s new album “512” and “Overlord” are quite different from one another can you tell us about that and if there was anything different in the creative process this time around for you guys?

RB: “Overlord” is actually the first song the guys have done where I can sing over the top of it. It isn’t a bid deal or something that was done consciously. One day Willie was playing some blues licks and I started humming along and that’s really all that happened. It just was very natural and organic. As far as how things were done with this album it was all the same. We have been doing this for 21 years now so we aren’t reinventing the wheel or anything like that. We have been doing this a long time and it is what it is. We just try and grow as musicians with each new album.

AL: The band kicks off a summer tour run in a few weeks can you tell us about that and any other plans you guys might have for 2015?

RB: We will be out on the road with Slipknot for 8 weeks. After that we have about a month off before heading over to South America for 3 shows. After that we head to Europe for about 5 weeks with Children of Bodom and then we will be in the UK with Megadeth.

AL: After what happened in the Czech Republic does traveling to these other countries every worry you at all?

RB: No. From time to time when I’m walking down the jet way I do get a little nervous. (Laughs) I have been around the world twice and it wasn’t ever like I was in hiding for two years or something like that. I was right back on the road immediately after everything was over.

Be sure to check out our review of “Dark Days: A Memoir” in the review section of the site.


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CD Review “Immortal Randy Rhoads- The Ultimate Tribute”

“Immortal Randy Rhoads- The Ultimate Tribute”
Various Artists
Produced by: Bob Kulick
Label: UDR
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“Immortal Randy Rhoads- The Ultimate Tribute” is a collection of 11 classic Rhoads co-written songs. Twenty top contemporary artists including old friends and former band mates make up the roster of performers and include Serj Tankian, George Lynch and Frankie Banali to name just a few. Produced and compiled by Grammy Award winning producer Bob Kulick the album certainly lives up to its title.

Right off the bat fans are greeted with what is undoubtedly Randy’s best know track, “Crazy Train”. Helmed by System of a Down” Front man Serj Tankian and former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello along with Rudy Sarzo and drummer Vinnie Appice the track remains virtually unchanged with the exception of Morello’s signature toggle switch stutter solo which certainly gives a modern day feel to a staple in guitar wizardry. Chuck Billy steps in lending his growling vocals to “Mr. Crowley” while Children of Bodom shredder Alexi Laiho lays down some flawless solo work that could easily be confused for the original.

This is not just another tribute album made up of the most well know songs of Randy’s career as it is much more than that. Songs such as “Back to the Coast” and “Killer Girls” originally performed by Quiet Riot appear on this album as does the song “S.A.T.O.”. A deep cut from Randy’s Ozzy era material. As if the star studded line up was enough these three songs alone will have music fans clamoring for a copy of this album. Grammy Award winning producer Bob Kulick lends his production stamp to this release further solidifying that this release is worth its weight in gold.

If you still need further proof that this is not just another fly by night tribute release then how about the fact that Randy’s own brother Kelle Rhoads appears on two of the albums tracks! Randy is often imitated however never duplicated but if he could be “Immortal Randy Rhoads- The Ultimate Tribute” is the closest yet.

Track Listing:
1.) Crazy Train
2.) Over the Mountain
3.) Mr. Crowley
4.) Believer
5.) Back to the Coast
6.) I Don’t Know
7.) S.A.T.O.
8.) Killer Girls
9.) Goodbye to Romance
10.) Suicide Solution
11.) Flying High Again


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RED’s Randy Armstrong talks about album “Of Beauty and Rage”

Over the last decade, RED has emerged as a career artist.  The three piece band is honest about who they are and what motivates them as a band. The group’s latest album “Of Beauty and Rage” is based around suffering and finding the beauty within. Media Mikes spoke recently with the bands bassist Randy Armstrong about the band returning to their roots during the creation of the album, the albums first two singles and the bands tour plans over the next several months.

Adam Lawton: Can you tell us about the bands new album?
Randy Armstrong: The new album is called “of Beauty and Rage”. We started working on it this time last year up in Maine which was like being in a polar vortex. (Laughs) We actually got stuck there as it was around -40 degrees and you just couldn’t go outside. It ended up being the perfect opportunity for us to listen to some music and go through old demos that we had. We got inspired and talked about what we wanted to do with the album. Ultimately we wanted to go back to the sound that made us popular. We decided to put everything else aside and just really focused on making songs that people would love.

AL: Aside from returning to your original sound did the band set any other goals that you wanted to accomplish with this record?
RA: Our fans sort of let us know they weren’t fond of what we did on our fourth album. We were trying to get back to rock radio with that album and we stripped down the songs quite a bit. We wrote songs specifically for radio. Fans were taken back by that change and they certainly let us know it. We have always been hands on with our fans and while we were in Maine we decided that we were going to go where we were wanted and not necessarily where we wanted to go. That was something that we all had in the back of our minds.

AL: Does working like that make it hard to keep things fresh for the band as musicians?
RA: We have our core fans who expect certain things from our albums. They expect a lot of emotion, production and symphonic elements. We wanted to make sure that we pushed those things and get very cinematic with the record. We wanted this album to be one that you had to listen to the whole way. We wanted to display all the things we have learned making records over the last 10 years. When you get to the end of this record you can feel a resolution. Along the way we wanted to have people feel things they hadn’t felt before. I think our writing has definitely matured and we wanted to keep challenging ourselves to continue down that path. I think we did that and accomplished something that had yet to accomplish.

AL: Can you tell us about the two singles you have released?
RA: We always find a song during the recording process that encapsulates the entire emotion of what we are looking to get with the album. The song “Darkest Part” by sheer coincidence was the first fully completed song we heard. When we all heard that first time we couldn’t believe what we had done. When the label heard the album they wanted to go with the song “Yours Again” as the single. We hadn’t written any of the songs with the intention of going to radio so it was a bit difficult to decide. “Yours Again” is a very spiritual and emotional song and after some talking and several listening tests it was decided to release both of the tracks as people really liked both of them.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands upcoming tour?
RA: The first tour of the record is always very exciting. The first week of this tour the record won’t even be out yet. We will be selling the album early at those live shows which will give fans that come out something to take home with them. This is going to be one of the longer tour runs we have done as we will be out for about 6 weeks this time around. When this run is done we have a week off and then we head to Australia. We come back from that and have some time off while our singer Michael’s wife has a baby and then were off to Europe for another 6 weeks.

Dweezil Zappa talks about Randy Rhoads tribute album “Immortal Randy Rhoads- The Ultimate Tribute”

Guitarist Dweezil Zappa appears on the latest Randy Rhoads tribute album titled “Immortal Randy Rhoads- The Ultimate Tribute”. The album which pays tribute to legendary Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads reads like a who’s who of hard rock musicians. Along with Dweezil the album also features the likes of Tom Morello, Rudy Sarzo and George Lynch. Media Mikes had the pleasure of speaking with Dweezil recently about his work on the album, his first exposure to Randy’s Music and also about his first solo album release in over 10 years.

Adam Lawton: What was your first exposure to Randy Rhoads and his music?
Dweezil Zappa: I grew up listening to music my dad made and whatever he was listening to around the house. I didn’t really know about other music until I was about twelve. We never listened to the radio or anything like that. Around that same time I started to get into guitar. I liked all of my dad’s music but I thought it was a bit hard and not the easiest place to start. At that time the most popular music on the radio was hard rock music. I would hear bands like Van Halen and Ozzy Osbourne when I was hanging out at a friend’s house or what not and I was super into what Randy was doing. When I started reading about him and his playing what really stuck out was just how much he practiced. You could tell what he was did in Quiet Riot and a short time later with Ozzy was just leaps and bounds ahead. Hearing that made me very dedicated to the instrument. Seeing what he was able to accomplish in a very short amount of time made it seem possible to me. I could start from one place and get to another in big steps.

AL: How did you get involved with the album and, what do you think make’s it stand out above other tribute album?
DZ: I have been in touch with Randy’s family over the years in different ways and been involved in a few different tributes they have put on. This particular record was being produce by Bob Kulick who had contacting me to work on previous projects he was involved in. It was a simple thing to want to be involved with as everyone who worked on the project is really great and just good people. Randy’s playing was something that was very life shaping for me and ever night that I’m out doing a show I try and throw in a Rhoads lick as sort of a tip of the cap. It’s one of those things I decided to do a long time ago. So getting to just be part of this has been great.

AL: How did you go about approaching your performance?
DZ: I felt that what Randy did was so great that I didn’t really want to change it any way. Bob wanted us to make the pieces our own so I did do that to an extent but, I tried to keep things true to what Randy did. I feel like in order to play Randy’s music you have to play it as he did.

AL: Were you involved in the song selection at all?
DZ: All of the songs on the record are ones I appreciate. The one I was invited to play on buy Bob was “S.A.T.O.”. That song has always been one of my favorites. The solo is one of the ones that Randy didn’t have completely composed solo for. Most of his work is done as a complete composition but this song has always felt like it was more free form with him just going for it. With that being said the song still has great structure and flow. What’s also cool about this song is that it goes through a series of chords that are a little different than what he had been playing over. There are elements of major pentatonic along with a few other things that are different. There are also some bluesy elements to it as well. He really seems to have dug in and just went for it which I love.  I added a few slight changes of my own and who knows they may have been things Randy may have done later on.

AL: What do think it is that keeps Randy’s legacy still going some 33 years after his passing?
DZ: I think you have to put things in to context by what he did and the time that he did it. That makes a difference. There wasn’t anyone doing what he was doing at the time. The intricacies of his recordings can still be listened to today and you can hear all the pieces and how they are connected. His style of arranging and songwriting hadn’t been done up to that point. He added classical styling’s making his work very sophisticated. There were a lot of rhythmic things in his riffs which I think made him stand out. He was in his early twenties when he did all of this and the fact he was here so briefly adds to his body of work which really stands the test of time. Everyone took notice of him and those two albums were burned in peoples mind. The energy and emotion just jumped out of the speakers. I think all of these things helped Randy and his body of work transcend time.

AL: Can you give us a quick update on some of the other projects you are currently working on?
DZ: I have a lot of things in the works right now. I have a new solo album in the works. I haven’t been able to make a record of my own for over a decade as I have been busy doing Zappa plays Zappa. I have a pledge campaign started at and the plan is to have it out sometime in April. There’s a lot of stuff on the record which sort of showcases everything that kind of got me into the guitar and taken me to where I am. There are a lot of different styles and influences on there. I even did a track by the Bulgarian Women’s Choir on guitar. It’s a very song oriented album with lots of strange moments of guitar spread throughout. I am also working picking out dates for the next run of Dweezilla boot camps. Along with that I recently shot a new DVD lesson series, I will be out doing more Zappa plays Zappa date along with a few other appearances.

Randy Couture talks about his new film “Ambushed” and returning to “The Expendables 3”

Five-time World Champion and Hall of Famer, Randy Couture came to spotlight with his fighting skills in Mixed Martial Arts and Ultimate Fighting Championship. Besides fighting, Randy has appeared in films like “The Expendables”, “The Expendables 2” and “The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior”. Randy also reunited with “The Expendables” co-star Dolph Lundgren in the film “Ambushed”, which will be released on November 12th. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Randy about that film and also get a sneak peak into “The Expendables 3”.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you end up reuniting with “The Expendables” co-star Dolph Lundgren in “Ambushed”?
Randy Couture: It was actually more like an “if then” type of deal. We have become good friends over the years. We heard about this project and they were thinking about him and wanted to know if I would be interested. I said if Dolph was going to do it then I was absolutely interested. He said the same thing that he was in if I did it. We were looking forward to the opportunity to work with each other again outside of “The Expendables”.

MG: You also co-starred with Vinnie Jones in last year “Hijacked”. Was this Accident or propose?
RC: Actually that was an accident. I didn’t know that that was coming and I was very excited to find out that he was going to be part of this film.

MG: Tell us about your role Jack Reiley and how you prepared?
RC: Jack Reiley was a challenge for me to play such a nasty character. It was very outside of the box. Part of the acting process is figuring out how to relate to the character and figuring out who they are. I had no real basis in my stream of experience to give to him, so I had to create a back story. He was doing the things that he was doing in my mind and perspective to get ahead and provide for his family and keep them in his life. Once I wrapped that frame of mind into the things he did that I felt like I was able to find him and tell the truth, which is the process in acting.

MG: What made you also take on the role of producer for “Amushed”?
RC: It was due to the relationships that I have been lucky to build. I was able to throw my name in that hat and get some credit under my belt. It was nice being able to pull the entire piece together and I have a great group of guys to help me out. Sam Spira, my manager, was great in putting me in a position to be a part of that.

MG: Do you see your taking on that role again or even stepping behind the camera?
RC: Absolutely, I am already producing a few TV shows for Spike. I am definitely looking for more opportunities in that regard. In terms of directing, it is definitely something I see myself doing. I am learning more about cameras, film speeds and all those sorts of things as I am around guys like Sly (Stallone) and other guys that I have been getting to rub elbows right. So I will definitely want to try that out at some point in the future.

MG: Tell us what we can expect from “The Expendables 3”?
RC: Actually we just finished it. It is all in the can now. I am sure that they are organizing it and getting it line out. I am hearing net August probably for a release. I will be excited to see how it comes together.

MG: Give us a rundown on some of the new additions to the cast?
RC: We have a very interesting story. It puts an interesting twist on “The Expendables”. Wesley Snipes joined the crew and how that unfolds is very cool. We add some new younger guys to the group Kellan Lutz (“The Twilight Saga”), Victor Ortiz (Former WBC Welterweight Champion), Ronda Rousey (UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion) and Glen Powell (“The Dark Knight Rises”). I think that storyline – the young vs the old – the tech savy vs. us older guys who are like the Planet of the Apes when it comes to techical stuff [laughs]. It is a pretty interesting juxtaposition and creates some interesting conflicts and I think people are going to dig this story.

MG: Besides acting, tell us about your work with Xtreme Couture MMA?
RC: The gym is going very well. We just picked up a new MMA coach, Robert Follis, who has changed a little bit of the atmosphere and energy in the gym. Some of the top pros are starting to come back into the gym setting. We have a great group of young guys. Our amateur team has been great and is kicking butt under the training of Dennis Davis. I am very exciting about the things that are happening now. We have just started an affiliate program. We have two in New York and Colorado Springs. So keep an eye out!


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