5 minutes alone - Lamb Of God's Willie Adler: "A great riff is the memorable moment, not the crazy noodling you did"

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(Image: © Olly Curtis / Future)

Lamb of God man Willie Adler on noxious gig fumes, Billy Gibbons’ soul and why you don’t need to be a shredder...

I got my first real six-string…

“My parents bought me a BC Rich Bich NJ Series for Christmas when I was 12 and that actually stayed with me for the longest time. I remember playing that when we did Burn The Priest shows and early Lamb Of God. I still have it, it’s hanging up in the den in my house. I still have the receipt my dad got from the pawn shop. It was like $200. It needs a bit of TLC, it has 18-year-old strings on it, so it deserves to be taken care of.”

Just a castaway, an island lost at sea…

I love seeing dudes play crazy leads, scales and arpeggios. But that’s not where my brain’s at

“ESP just sent me a USA Eclipse model - it’s gorgeous man, it plays and feels so great. I would take that guitar, a Mesa/Boogie Triple Crown 100W amp and a Mesa 4x12 to a desert island and I think I’d be pretty set. My hair would grow back out and I’d grow a beard.”

Show me the way…

“There are a lot of guys. Like Billy Gibbons, you can just feel his soul playing that guitar.”

The best of you

“My biggest weakness is that I haven’t explored any lead or solo territory. I haven’t even tried it because it doesn’t necessarily interest me. I love seeing dudes play crazy leads, scales and arpeggios, but that’s not where my brain’s at. I think my strength lies in really heavy fucking riffs and playing those riffs super-tight; I’m really stoked on my right hand. If you can write a great riff, that’s the memorable moment, not the crazy noodling you did.”

Can’t change me

“Something I’d change on record if I could? My immediate answer is to go back to New American Gospel, polish some stuff here and there. But at the same time I wouldn’t want to change it because it led me to where I am. Everything I’ve done I put my all into at the time and I’m super-proud of that. I don’t look back and think, ‘I half-assed that riff.’ Everything was completely thought out and at the time I thought, ‘That’s so fucking cool.’”

Go your own way

We were at Bloodstock 2013 playing without a drink and that scared the shit out of me, and continued to for the first year

“Recording the new covers album was a lot of fun. The pressure I usually feel when I’m writing and recording Lamb Of God stuff wasn’t really there. Not to say that it’s not fun usually recording a record because I love doing that, but with this particular project it was fun to learn the riffs to see what we could do to make it our own and add some flavour to it.

“The Big Black song we did, Kerosene, was never a hard rock or metal tune though, it was more an industrial/noise-type song. So I had to actually write some riffs that stayed true to what the original song was but in a way that was able to be interpreted on the guitar as a metal guitar player and under the Lamb Of God/Burn The Priest name.”

That smell

“There have been countless strange gigs. There was a time we played in Poughkeepsie, New York in a place called The Chance, and they had just finished varnishing the hardwood floor and the fumes were noxious. I think Mark was thinking we all had to wear ventilation masks or we’d get cancer!”

Good times, bad times

“When I decided to quit drinking, it was tough. Until then, I hadn’t played a gig without a few drinks to take the edge off. We were at Bloodstock 2013 playing without a drink and that scared the shit out of me, and continued to for the first year. Now I wouldn’t want to play a gig without being stone-sober and tight as fuck - that’s the beauty of it.”

Lamb Of God’s covers album Legion: XX, under the name Burn The Priest, is out now on Nuclear Blast.

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