Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with Chris Adler of LAMB OF GOD.
A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Who were some of the double-bass players you were listening to back in the day?
Chris: The guy that really kind of set me off on a tangent anywhere and in the direction I wanted to was this guy, Shannon Larkin, who played with WRATHCHILD AMERICA; I think he plays with GODSMACK now and he’s been in a million bands all over the place. But he really brought a really interesting progressive voice to the drums, which was lacking in a lot of the hair metal that was apparently given out fairly free in the white suburbs where I grew up. But the speed thing, I think everybody can go back to the song “One” by METALLICA where Lars goes into that infamous double bass part. Now of course, Dave Lombardo for the really fast double kick stuff and the aggression and all that stuff. I think between Shannon Larkin and another guy, Gar Samuelson, who was the first drummer for MEGADETH who brought kind of a jazzy feel into the metal, those were the guys that I kinda wanted to sound like. I did that kind of in a strange way where I was learning how to play like Stewart Copeland songs and hoping to bring some of that — not necessarily THE POLICE — but just different styles to what we were doing. And I think overall that’s definitely one of the things that has helped me stand out as a player probably more than anything.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: In your book for the song “Letter To The Unborn”, you talk about playing 16th notes at 200+ bpm. Obviously that was challenging as a player but is faster always better?
Chris: No! [laughs] In fact it’s an endless endeavor in frustration to only follow that. No, I think for me that any day of the week, style and groove are far more important than speed. I think at the time I was focused on that like a lot of guys get wrapped up in that whole world of speed and lose the flavor and the love in the music. It’s hard for me to listen back to that album and think there was any flavor or love because I was so aggressive and I was so trying to be the fastest and hit the hardest and I was caught in that race. But as I go back through the albums now, I can find where I really started to understand my place and really started to feel good about what I did.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: Ultimate-Guitar.com interviewed Brann Dailor [MASTODON] recently and he talked about this same thing. What you’re talking about is serving the song and not your own ego.
Chris: Yeah. Including “Black Label”, which is the one song that kinda took off out of that record, but all the songs that have elevated the career of the band are when we got out of the individual mode and when we started looking at the song as a whole. We started understanding the band and got out of playing for our own ego; that’s when things really started to take off. When you could pay attention to what the song needed and not necessarily what you could do. In my clinics I talk about that just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it and that’s been a very important lesson for me. On “New American Gospel” in most cases, I had not learned that lesson yet so I was overdoing it and overplaying quite a bit. Since then, as I now approach my 40 years on the planet, I’m starting to realize that sometimes it’s better not to play.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: You’ve touched earlier on your “A Throne With A View” drum clinic tour and how it has provided positive input for you?
Chris: It was a really great tour and I’ve been invited now to take it overseas and I’m considering all those things. But for me, yeah, it was great to kind of face that challenge that I didn’t think I would be particularly good at. I don’t know, I’ve always had very good luck in taking on things that I think are over my head and somehow getting through them and this was certainly one of them. Where I feel like I’m kind of a rock and roll kid that learned how to play over a whole lot of Miller Lite. This was kind of the antithesis of my playing; I don’t know how to teach and I’ve never taken lessons and doing a clinic tour I felt like I was playing in somebody else’s backyard. So to get through it successfully and to have everybody as happy as they were about it was initially a huge sigh of relief. But it also did make me feel a little more confident in what I do and that I’m not alone out there in that I didn’t go to school or take lessons to do this. There’s a lot of people out there that wanna hear that kind of story and are inspired by that kind of story. So, yeah, I think it was great for me and like I said I feel a little more comfortable in my skin and going into this record I think it’s going to show.
Ultimate-Guitar.com: While you’ve brought up the new album, can you talk about it at all?
Chris: We’re doin’ pretty well; we’ve got 24 ideas and we’re up to about 10 of them in line of just kind of working through [them]. We’ve got plenty of time to work it out this year but we’re really just getting started. But we have more material than we could ever use so we’re pretty happy.
Read the entire interview from Ultimate-Guitar.com.