by | May 6, 2010 | METAL, PUNK, THRASH & HARDCORE

RVA magazine planned to do a story about Richmond metal and wanted to interview Randy Blythe of Lamb of God and myself. I thought well we’re friends so why don’t you just have us interview each other? They went for it and the following is what took place.Thanks RVA!

RANDY: And we are rolling, here. We are at City Dogs in Richmond, Virginia.
TONY: Glorious City Dogs!
RANDY: Glorious City Dogs.
TONY: All right, I’ll kick this one off.

RVA magazine planned to do a story about Richmond metal and wanted to interview Randy Blythe of Lamb of God and myself. I thought well we’re friends so why don’t you just have us interview each other? They went for it and the following is what took place.Thanks RVA!

RANDY: And we are rolling, here. We are at City Dogs in Richmond, Virginia.
TONY: Glorious City Dogs!
RANDY: Glorious City Dogs.
TONY: All right, I’ll kick this one off.
RANDY: It’s-
What was your first introduction to the Richmond music scene?
RANDY: My first introduction to the Richmond music scene—I really owe my familiarity with Richmond musicians, Richmond bands, and the Richmond sound, to a guy named Scott Hudgens, who is now the guitar player in Hex Machine, and he’s also in Tulsa Drone. I moved here under the excuse I was going to go to college, you know, but really it was to go to shows, because I’d come up from the Tidewater area to see shows up here. I had a class my freshman year with Scott Hudgens, and we’d start talking about music, because I was this insane punk rock kid who thought I was the coolest dude ever—I wasn’t. He was like, “Well, my band’s playing,” his first band—well, I don’t know if it was his first band, but his band at the time—Brain Flower, and I went to go see them. If you weren’t on drugs when you went to the show, by the end of the show you felt like you were. They were just really intense. Kepone wrote a song about them.
TONY: Oh, wow.
RANDY: Called “Brain Flowers”, an instrumental. And Scott later went on to be in, most notably, in Sliang Laos.
TONY: Oh, shit.
RANDY: Which is one the most intense bands I’ve ever seen anywhere. And he was really, really nice to me, to a dumb, goofy kid with a mohawk who thought he was from England or something. I was a little shit. And he was really cool to me, and turned me on to some local stuff, and to this day he still gives me music if I pester him about it. Great dude.
TONY: That’s good, that’s real good. Shit, my first experience was an Action Patrol show.

Action Patrol – Eq45

RANDY: What was his name? The guy with glasses?
TONY: Nappy?
RANDY: Nappy, Nappy, yeah.
TONY: I just moved here you know from Florida, and one of my best friends, Matt Mills, fucking dragged me up. “Ah, we gotta go see this band, they’re amazing!” and they were.
BACKGROUND [There he is.]
TONY: Hey!
RANDY: Hi everybody, world-famous Ward, owner of Chop Suey. Come on over, we’re interviewing.
WARD: Let’s talk about Randy coming into Chop Suey Books all the time.
RANDY: Where’d my picture go?
WARD: We have it. It’s on ice right now.
TONY: On ice?
WARD: Waiting until it goes up so we can eBay it.
RANDY: You’ll be waiting a long time. Well, there we go, a little brief introduction by one of our local business owners. God bless Chop Suey.
TONY: So I went to see Action Patrol which totally blew me away. I said, “When’s Action Patrol playing again? What bands are they playing with? The Peetanks? What is this band?” I would go and investigate, try to find out what the hell was going on up here. This was when I lived in Colonial Heights, about thirty minutes south.
RANDY: Colonial Whites.
TONY: Shortly after that I went and saw Rancid and Avail play at the Flood Zone.
RANDY: I was at that show.
TONY: Yeah, and a band called Men’s Recovery Project opened up. Their set was about two minutes long. They just came up with bags over their heads, made a bunch of weird noises and walked off.
RANDY: Was John Skritza in that band?
TONY: Men’s Recovery Project? I’m not really sure. I knew that line up just changed so many times that it got confusing to keep track of.
RANDY: John was in Hose.Got.Cable. Did you ever see them?

hose.got.cable- Proof Without Mark

TONY: No, I never saw them, that was before my time, but they were fucking awesome.
RANDY: Hose.Got.Cable was kind of how I got my job. I used to hop up on stage when they would play basement shows, and sing part of their song “Purple Head”. I would sing it in a death metal voice. That’s kind of how people started to know I could do that. So I owe it to them.
I have a question for you. Speaking of basement shows, Richmond has a pretty strong house show scene. It seems to go in waves for a while; I thought it was dead, then I found about different places that were still having it. Which makes me really stoked that the kids are still doing it. Anyway, I heard about a show you guys played in Jackson Ward in an abandoned house, and you guys ran power or something. Someone had told me about it but I didn’t go, and I’ve been kind of pissed about that. I heard it was really good. You want to talk about that?

photo by Michelle Dosson

TONY: That was actually wasn’t in Jackson Ward. It was a block away from here, and we played with this band called Toys That Kill from California at our friend’s house. Me and Ryan were eyeballing this burnt-down house the whole time we were there. We were like, “Fuck it, man, we’re going to break in there and fucking play in there.” The inside was just charred remains. We start playing and this guy brought dry ice, and he threw dry ice everywhere, like in a cooler. It was like a smoke machine, and all these kids packed into this sketchy-ass, burnt-down house and we started playing and we did our whole set. But towards the end kids were dancing and moving around, and shit would start falling from the ceilings. Some people were trying to stand on the stairs, and the stairs were falling apart. It was definitely sketchy.
RANDY: It’s like being in West Philly.
TONY: We ran extension cords from the house next door. It was definitely one of the most interesting shows I’ve ever played.
RANDY: That’s awesome. I’ve always wanted to obtain a generator and go down to Belle Island and have a show in that in that power station, you know, the pump house?
TONY: I’ve thought about that too. Yeah, that’s a great idea.
RANDY: Dude, Foresta and Bly Productions. We could do it, start pimping that shit.
TONY: These kids are doing shows now under the bridge.
RANDY: Really? The Lee Bridge?
TONY: A couple times a summer. I’m not sure if it’s the Lee Bridge, but a couple times a summer, they had shows down there, generator shows.
RANDY: Tell me about your punk band.
TONY: Oh ok. Well I guess it’s similar to what your doing with the Samhain guys. The band I sing for is based out of Florida so we write all of our songs through email and I fly down and practice between Waste tours. It’s really fun. We’ve only played like 6 gigs so far but the gigs have been pretty nuts. We’re called No Friends. No Idea put out an LP for us.
RANDY: No Idea? They put out a Cavity record right?
TONY: Yeah!
RANDY: Can I have a CD?
TONY: Of course. I’ll give you one when we go to the river tomorrow. Ok so next question time. Who would you least expect in this world to be a Lamb of God fan?
RANDY: Hmmmm. From what I understand Will Smith is a Lamb of God fan.
TONY: Ha! Really?
RANDY: Yeah. His wife Jada Pinkett has a metal band called Wicked Wysdom.
TONY: Yeah I heard them. They’re terrible.
RANDY: I never heard them so I’m not going to comment. Haha. Yeah so I guess the Mastadon guys played with them and met Will Smith and he told them he loves us. Also Max Wineberg from Conan O’ Brien and The E Street Band is also Lamb of God Fan.
TONY: Oh man that reminds me. Do you remember the L.A. show that we played together and fucking Kenny G showed up?!?
RANDY: Oh yeah! Kenny G!
TONY: Yeah one of the weirdest sights ever. Kenny G and fucking Glenn Danzig chilling in the same dressing room together.
RANDY: So Mark and I found out that Kenny G was coming to that show and we were stoked. We were like “we gotta get a picture with Kenny G”. So I hunt down “the G” and I start talking to him. I asked him if he liked metal. He responed with “Do you like smooth Jazz?” and I’m like “No Kenny G I do not….not at all Kenny G…lets take this picture.”
I really tried to get a picture of Kenny G and Danzig sitting together but no luck. I don’t think Glen would have been too into it.
TONY: Haha.
RANDY: Awesome!

photo by David Kenedy

TONY: Yeah, it rules. Is it true you worked at Avalon? So did the guys from GWAR, if I’m correct. Is it possible you can get me a job there, so maybe I can get a Grammy nomination too?
RANDY: It is absolutely true that I worked at Avalon. The mighty mighty Mike Derks has done time there bartending. From time to time he’s been known to appear just for fun. I could probably get you a job at Avalon, but I don’t know if you want to work there.
TONY: I don’t really want to work or anything.
RANDY: Well I didn’t, either.
TONY: [laughs]
RANDY: I used to go in, hang out, cook and wash some dishes every now and then, but mostly I would drink.
TONY: How long did you work there?
RANDY: I worked at Avalon off and on for a couple years. The restaurant I worked at longest was Commercial Taphouse down the street on Robinson.
TONY: That place is awesome.
RANDY: Yeah, my distant cousin actually owns it. James Tally, who’s an OG punk rocker from back in the day.
TONY: Really?
RANDY: From way back in the day. He has a couple seven-inches, lived in New York, he was around during the late seventies, early eighties. It was one of the coolest jobs I’ve ever had because I would leave for awhile. I wasn’t even in a band, I was just going out to hop freights and shit. I’d leave and he’d say, “Just give me two weeks’ notice” and then I’d leave and come back and he’d work me in right away.
TONY: I love bosses like that.
RANDY: Great dude does a lot for the community, and he’s a musician himself. Avalon was really interesting. Mike Derks’s sister used to be the chef there. And lots of sort of seedy things went on there after hours, you know? Some of which I’m not at liberty to disclose. Let’s say I’ve left there when the sun was up several times. Whether or not that had anything to do with the Grammy nomination, I don’t know.
TONY: It’s good preparations. What is the whole Grammy thing like? Are you going to attend this year? Did you go the last time you were nominated?

photo by Ian M. Graham

RANDY: I did not go. My band likes to think, “Oh, you’re just making a big deal about it, throwing a boycott,” whatever, blah blah blah. I don’t make a big deal about it, I just prefer not to go. I don’t care about the Grammys because they’re not my peers. You know?

NUMBER 1: I hate Los Angeles. I cannot stand it. I mean, I have some good friends there you know, but I would kill myself if I lived there. Either that or become a really bad heroin junkie or something.
NUMBER 2: I can’t stand most of the people in the music industry; not most of the band people, but most of the business people.
NUMBER 3: I can’t stand famous people who think they’re better than other people. So the Grammys, basically, is a combination of all of that: Los Angeles, industry, and a huge amount of ego, all combined under one roof. If I were to go there, I would probably get wasted, get in a fight with someone from American Idol, or something stupid like that. But I don’t care. It’s not for me. The Grammys can suck it, I don’t care, and on a—

TONY: The Grammys can suck it.
RANDY: Yeah, they can fucking suck it. I don’t give a shit. On a lighter note, the last time we didn’t win, but everybody who’s nominated for a Grammy gets a little Tiffany’s medallion in a nice little bag. You get papers and all this shit. With my last Grammy medallion my lawyer, Todd Stone, great dude, —he’s a founder of a foundation called the Stone Circle of Friends. It’s for miotonic muscular dystrophy. Both his sons are afflicted with it, and it’s a progressive fatal nerve damaging disease, it’s relatively new. Some of the best research being done at UVA, and they’re close to a cure, so with my last Grammy medallion I did an eBay auction and a Lamb of God fan bought it for a little over three grand.
TONY: Wow, that’s amazing.
RANDY: It was up to two grand, and in the last ten seconds of the auction, he threw in another thousand on top. Really cool dude from California, he came out to a show and I hung out with him. So when I get this next Grammy medallion, whether I win or not, I’m going to auction it off for the same charity, and try to do a little bit more of a publicity kind of thing about it.
TONY: Press release!
RANDY: You can check out the foundation at stonecirleoffriends.com. So if anybody gives a shit about a hunk of metal from Tiffany’s about a Grammy award I don’t give a fuck about—
TONY: You’re doing something positive about it
RANDY: Yeah, man, fucking buy it and I’ll get you in on a guest list and chill with you. And you get to keep the damn thing.
TONY: All right, you’re next.
RANDY: I’ve always bragged relentlessly about the incredible talent pool in this town. What is it about this fucked up little hamlet we live in that produces so many talented musicians?
TONY: We kind of touched on this when we did the interview with Dave Brockie, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it’s basically the only creative place between DC and Virginia Beach. All the people that are creative, and want to live for cheap, and not work a bullshit job, they move to Richmond. Most of the people I know that are in bands shit from the Beach or DC—
RANDY: Yeah. everybody’s from Northern Virginia or Tidewater.
TONY: See, you’re here from the Beach.
RANDY: I’m from Tidewater, yeah.
TONY: My theory is that the reason why so many creative people are here because DC sucks, and Virginia Beach sucks. People move here to create shit.

photo by Steve Crandall

Lamb Of God

Municipal Waste


RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.

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