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Mark Morton Lamb Of God - Interview
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Lamb Of God

Lamb Of God are no strangers to Australian shores having toured the country extensively multiple times over the years, most recently at the final Soundwave Festival last year which was before their latest album "VII: Sturm und Drang" was released only a few months later. They are teaming up with the mighty Slipknot for another Australian tour this October as well as performing 2 headlining shows in Adelaide and Perth so we caught up with guitarist Mark Morton to discuss the tour and Lamb Of God's history with Australia over the years.



Andrew: How's things with the band at the moment?

Mark: Well we just started a little break. We just did a 6 and a half week tour in North America with Clutch and COC and then we had about a 2 week break and then went up to Canada and played one more festival show up there and that was Saturday night. So now we are officially on a several month break which is nice.

Andrew: I love COC, how are those guys to tour with?

Mark: Yeah they're great man! That was one of my favorite tours in recent memories, they're a great band and great guys to work with. Super professional and the ticket sales were great because obviously the fans really appreciated the bill as well so it was a success all the way around.

Andrew: And it's good to see you coming back to Australia again! We only just saw you about a year and a half ago at Soundwave Festival and you are coming down with Slipknot for a fantastic tour.

Mark: Yeah for sure! It's always really easy and cool for us to work with Slipknot. I think very much their fans are our fans and our fans are their fans so it's a pretty good match for that. It's certainly always a pleasure to come back to Australia again since day one when we first got down there, we've had such a warm reception and made to feel so at home that we try to never go too long without going back and doing some shows there.

Andrew: Yeah you guys are pretty regular on the Australian tour circuit. Do you remember the first time you came to Australia and some of the best memories from that tour?

Mark: I couldn't tell you exactly what time of year it was or even what year it was but I do remember the first time we came there, we were actually supporting Killswitch Engage. We were very excited about going there because having not been there before and really what sticks out in my mind is just the reception we got, having the fans singing the words to every song we played. To show up on a new continent and have the fans sing the words to your songs for the first time you have played somewhere was just a really warm reception and very telling of things to come. We've had such a wonderful career in Australia, great strong album sales and great Billboard debuts and a great touring history there so we really do feel very much at home there and very grateful to have such a loyal and strong fanbase in Australia.

Andrew: Yeah and the fans have definitely embraced the new album (VII: Sturm und Drang), it's charted number 2 in Australia which is fantastic for a heavy metal album. It's sort of a rare thing on this side of the world so you must be super happy with how the fans have also embraced the new songs this time around.

Mark: Yeah for sure! Actually I think maybe the previous album (Resolution) didn't chart number 2 but I think it did chart at least top 3 or top 5 so we've had several really strong album debuts there and again it's just testimony to the fact that how great the metal scene is in Australia and how loyal the Lamb Of God fans are there that they go out and buy the album and they show up when we come down to play! That's all you can ask for.

Andrew: How have those new songs been playing out live so far? It's been a year since it's come out so which ones have you been playing and how have fans been responding to them so far?

Mark: We've been playing quite a few, particularly on the last tour. We have been playing "512" pretty steadily, played "Still Echoes" quite a bit. We did a U.S. tour which we didn't play on this last tour but we did a U.S. tour previous to this last tour, where we were playing "Overlord" on the tour. We've also been playing "Engage The Fear Machine" and "Anthropoid" and we also played "Erase This" for a while too so we've actually put a lot of the new album in the set, just kinda moving them in and out. It's tough as you don't want 7 songs off the new album, particularly when you are in a support slot because there are so many songs that people want to hear. We got 7 albums that people want to hear, something from every era of the band so we've been cycling the new songs in and out. But over the course of the last few tours we've definitely rolled in a lot of new stuff and it's going over well, some of them go over better than others and some of them it depends on the night but all in all the album overall has been very well received so we're pretty ecstatic about how it's all gone down.

Andrew: I'm pretty pleased to hear that you have been playing "Anthropoid" as that has to be my favorite song on the album so far. My favorite song changes all the time but that is such a groove sort of song, that one must go over really well with the fans.

Mark: Yeah it has been, it has a hell of a groove to it and translates pretty well to a live audience.

Andrew: Well it must be quite difficult now at this stage in your career with several albums under your belt, to actually pick out a setlist. Is that getting harder and harder as the years go on?

Mark: Yeah and again it's all about finding that balance. We really do very consciously try and present every era of the band and the longer we go, the more eras that come, the more albums that we have out. And we try to play a couple of songs off each album and at this point, if we play 2 songs off every album, that's 14 songs right there. I wouldn't say it's a conflict but it's a steady conversation amongst the band members because the band members obviously pick the set and we've all got our own little favorites but there's also certain songs that...of course we're going to play "Redneck" and of course we're going to play "Ruin" and of course we're going to play "Now You've Got Something To Die For" so there is certain songs that are absolute main stays. And then there are songs that we cycle in and out of the set because typically we don't play more than 15 or 16 songs so it's a challenge but it's a good problem to have when you got too many good songs!

Andrew: Now on top of the fact that you're touring with Slipknot in Australia is the fact that you're also doing 2 other shows as a headliner in Adelaide and Perth. Those 2 cities missed out on the Slipknot tour so I guess you decided to come over and make it up to the fans, it's good to see you in Perth as we missed you at Soundwave as the festival didn't come over to that side of the country.

Mark: Yeah I've actually got some friends in Perth and I noticed we hadn't been there on the last couple of tours so I'm glad to be going back there. Beautiful beaches there so I'm glad that we're going there so I can like I said, I've got friends there that I'll be glad to catch up with.

Andrew: When you have come through Perth on previous tours, did you ever get to see the Bon Scott memorial and statue in Fremantle?

Mark: We have actually, early on. It's been years ago but we did go to the Bon Scott memorial and once again, in my personal life I've got some friends who live in Perth and a couple of years back I was able to catch up with them and they took me out to the beach and it was just absolutely beautiful.

Andrew: I guess it's a big thing right now with AC/DC and Axl Rose fronting that band, what's your thoughts on that?

Mark: I always thought it kinda made sense to me. I've only seen a couple of clips of his performances but the little bit I did see sounded like he was doing a great job. I'm sure it's a big thrill for him because I can't imagine that AC/DC isn't a big influence on him. I don't know Axl Rose, I don't know anyone in AC/DC but it seems like a logical move to me if Brian Johnson couldn't do it.

Andrew: Yeah everyone seemed pretty skeptical of it but it does seem like he did a pretty good job of it. Anyway it's great to see you coming back to Australia, thanks again for your time and we will see you with Slipknot on the Australian tour in October.

Mark: Yeah man looking forward to it! Thanks for your time.


* Wednesday October 26 - Vector Arena, Auckland
* Friday October 28 - Brisbane Entertainment Centre
* Saturday October 29 - Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
* Monday October 31 (Melbourne Cup Eve) - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne
Tuesday November 1 - HQ Complex, Adelaide
Thursday November 3 - Metropolis, Fremantle

*supporting Slipknot
Tickets and tour details for Slipknot with Lamb Of God can be found at Live Nation and tickets for Lamb Of God headline shows can be found HERE.

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on July 1st 2016