LAMB OF GOD’s RANDY BLYTHE Says Writing A Book Is More ‘Nerve-Racking’ Than Making An Album
In a new interview with Full Metal Jackie‘s nationally syndicated radio show, LAMB OF GOD frontman Randy Blythe, whose 2015 memoir, “Dark Days: A Memoir”, focused on his ordeal in a Czech Republic prison and his subsequent acquittal, was asked how writing prose is different from writing lyrics. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Well, they’re two different things — two very different things. I always say that writing a book makes writing an album look like going to kindergarten. It is a much more intense, much more sustained [and] much more nerve-racking extended creative effort. There’s pros and cons to it, of course. And the thing that I dislike about it, just as a lazy bum, is I’m having to do it all by myself. If there’s something bad in the book or it doesn’t work, then I can’t blame it on my bandmates. ‘Cause we’re a democracy — we really are a democracy — and if someone is unhappy with something, then we won’t move forward with it creatively, if they’re really emphatic about that. That being said, we make a lot of compromises with each other in order to work as a band. So, if there’s something that I don’t particularly like in one of our songs or on an album or a song that I’m not particularly feeling great about but the rest of [the guys] love the song, then I’m, like, ‘Oh well. So be it.’ It’s part of the business of being in a band. And then if it comes out and I still don’t like it, I can be, like, ‘Well it was their decision, not mine.’ When you write a book, if you screw up something or something’s not good or something later you review and it doesn’t pass muster, that’s on you. So it’s a bit more nerve-racking. No, conversely, that’s kind of the same thing I like about it, because I don’t have to bounce my ideas off of anyone else. I say exactly what I want to say without having to go through any sort of filtration process with anyone else — it’s just me. So, in a way, it’s a much more creative process — or a purely creative process, I would say — because it’s just you and the blank page. But it is nerve-racking — it really is. And also, as I get older, I just enjoy quiet more and more and more, and writing is a very quiet and solitary activity — at least it is for me. So I enjoy that. My ears don’t ring after writing a book, but they sure as hell do after writing an album.”
Last July, Blythe said in an Instagram post that he was about to begin writing his second book. The now-51-year-old singer wrote: “It’s been six years since my 1st book, Dark Days, came out. I’ve been kinda busy but I can’t screw around any longer- it’s finally time to write a new one. The proposal is done, the publishers accepted it, & the contract is hammered out & in the mail.
“Shit- that means I actually have to write this thing! All I’ll say is: A) it’s another non-fiction book, & B) I just spent over two weeks utterly consumed by writing the freaking introduction. 2,296 words in 15 days- that not a lot, but I want it to be RIGHT. Plus, I’m just stretching the old muscles, getting back in shape for the brutal long haul that lies ahead. The sustained creative heavy lifting required to write a book makes writing the lyrics for an album look like preschool finger painting. Plus, if what you’re doing is turning out shitty, you can’t just blame the rest of your band. (sorry dudes)
“Most books on writing of are bullshit, collections of pointless ‘exercises’ from people who haven’t sold any other books of their own (I should know, I’ve bought most of them.) No book on earth is gonna turn you into a good writer. There is no magic pill. Just like playing music, shooting photos, or pursuing any other creative endeavor- the ONLY way to find out if you’re any good is to DO IT. You gotta write, & the hardest part of writing is sitting your ass down to do it, & then repeating that process day after day after day. There IS a book that can help you start to do that though- ‘The War of Art’ by @steven_pressfield. This book (& his other books) got me through writing my last book, & it will get me through this one, goddammit. As my friend the writer Brian Pulido said when he gave me a copy ‘It’s like a fireman’s hatchet when you’re stuck in a house burning down around you.’ I can’t even remember how many times I’ve already read this book. I’m reading it again now.
“If you want to try to be a writer (or pursue any sort of art) but you’re too intimidated to start, BUY THIS BOOK. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Read it. Do what it says. Then sit your ass down in the chair and write- you’ll find out eventually if you’re any good.
“Cheers to all the writers out there- I’m rooting for y’all!”
In 2012, Blythe was arrested in the Czech Republic and charged with manslaughter for allegedly pushing a 19-year-old fan offstage at a show two year prior and causing injuries that led to the fan’s death. Blythe spent 37 days in a Prague prison before ultimately being found not guilty in 2013.
Blythe‘s prison experience inspired two songs on LAMB OF GOD‘s 2015 album “VII: Sturm Und Drang”: “512”, one of his three prison cell numbers, and “Still Echoes”, written while he was in Pankrac Prison, a dilapidated facility built in the 1880s that had been used for executions by the Nazis during World War II. It also led him to write the aforementioned “Dark Days”, in which he shared his whole side of the story publicly for the first time.
LAMB OF GOD‘s latest, self-titled album was released in June 2020 via Epic Records in the U.S. and Nuclear Blast Records in Europe. The follow-up to “VII: Sturm Und Drang” marked LAMB OF GOD‘s first recordings with Art Cruz, who joined the band in July 2019 as the replacement for the group’s founding drummer, Chris Adler.