recently conducted an interview with guitarist Mark Morton of Richmond, Virginia metallers LAMB OF GOD. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. During Randy’s [Blythe, vocals] imprisonment [in the Czech Republic], did you ever feel that the band’s existence was in real jeopardy?

Mark: “I want it correctly said, because I feel, and we feel, that nothing should overshadow the loss of [LAMB OF GOD fan] Daniel [who died after sustaining injuries at the band’s May 2010 concert in Prague]. Other than the fact that we feel that Randy is innocent of the charges that are being brought against him, there isn’t a real feeling of us against them in terms of people who are looking for answers for Daniel.

“We’re devastated by that. Unfortunately, that gets lost in us defending Randy publicly and us fighting to get him back home, and him fighting for his freedom, essentially, along with us wanting to get back on the road and on the stage in front of our fans. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that this is really about Daniel. I think about him every day. I hate that it went down the way it did, and I’d do anything to make it come out differently.

“That said, it’s the heaviest part of all of this. I don’t blame anyone for wanting answers, and I don’t think Randy does either. In that sense, we were worried, and we’re still worried, that Randy is going to be scapegoated for this and take the blame for things that he’s not to blame for. It could possibly affect a lot of people. So yes, we were worried about this trial and how it could impact us as a band, our families, the families of our crew. But we’re also very concerned about what happens to one of our fans at a show. That never should have happened.” You touched on this already, but has this experience made the band closer?

Mark: “I’m going to answer that honestly: While Randy was incarcerated, I think we were all working towards the same things in a big-picture way. There were some competing opinions about how things should be handled. Ultimately, it took us to hear everyone out and recognize that we had different ideas about how this should play out within the band, and then us deciding that we’re going to listen to the people who know best.

“Did it bring us closer together? I think a big moment for us was when we decided to play those couple of SLIPKNOT shows. If you saw us, if you watched us, we were running through our pre-show rituals… but there was a real moment when we took the stage. The eye contact and the connection to how we were playing and the way we were playing… and afterward, the joy we had coming off the stage. Everyone was impacted by this emotionally. It wasn’t lost on anyone how special it was to be back on the stage again.” I have to imagine that the support you got from fans — and even people who didn’t know the band; they just heard about the situation — gave you a lot of strength.

Mark: “It did. It was nice to see people show their support and rally around Randy. But it would be silly for me to say that I needed strength — I wasn’t the one sitting in a jail cell in the Czech Republic. I was home with my family. But it was weighing on us quite a bit, and we needed answers to questions, as well. The support from our fans — and even people who weren’t fans, as you said — was really special.

“There were some big names that came out, too. They didn’t need that shit on their shoes, you know what I mean? They’ve got their own image and public perception to think about. Slash was very vocal about what was going on and how ludicrous he thought it was. There was David Draiman from DISTURBED; the Osbourne camp issued a release; Rob Halford said some nice things. I don’t want to leave anyone out… Sebastian Bach. There were some pretty big name folks who rallied around Randy, and that didn’t go unnoticed, for sure.”

Read the entire interview from