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Lamb Of God Interview

A Conversation with Drummer Chris Adler

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Lamb Of God Drummer Chris Adler

Chris Adler

Updated February 23, 2011
Lamb Of God drummer Chris Adler is an extremely busy guy. In addition to his duties in Lamb Of God, he's written the first in a series of books chronicling the bands' albums. They tell the story of the recording, and also have drum tablature. Adler is also embarking on a drum clinic tour beginning February 28th, sharing his knowledge and stories with fellow drummers. And if that wasn't enough, he just started a record label called Rethink Records. I was able to pry Adler away from his other responsibilities for an interesting and wide-ranging conversation about the book, drum clinics, his new label, what Lamb Of God is up to and many other subjects.

Chad Bowar: What inspired you to write The Making Of New American Gospel?
Chris Adler: There's every reason it shouldn't have been the first one. It's by far the least-selling album. When I started writing it, I wasn't really thinking that I was going to publish it or anybody else would read it. I had been beaten up by my family and friends over the years that I really should write this stuff down, that I was going to forget it and there was some really cool stuff going on. It would be good for myself or my kids or grandkids to have it all catalogued.

The past year I spent a lot of time in hotels around the world. Once I completed the entire internet I decided to write some of this stuff down. I figured I'd start at the beginning, the formation of how we all got together. Then it turned into a lot of dots getting connected as I remembered certain things. It became this “making of” the first Lamb Of God album. As I got into it, I realized I was writing it for someone to come along and read it at some point.

So I decided to piece together some other stuff that went along with it. I did the tablature myself with my buddy Travis and decided to put it out there. I don't imagine that this is a New York Times bestseller, so being the control freak I am, if I kept it under my wing I'd at least have the quality control over it, and that if anybody was interested in picking it up, I knew it would be a nice little piece about that album and contain accurate drum stuff.

Was it more difficult remembering everything that happened ten years ago for the story part of it, or putting together the drum tablature?
Once I started writing about the things I remembered, it really started coming out. I remembered some things out of order, and bounced a couple things off my brother (LOG guitarist Willie Adler) to remember certain times and dates and shows. It was a little bit of a challenge, but there wasn't any pressure on me to do it. I was just writing what I could remember.

The tablature was far more challenging. I'm not classically trained and have never had a lesson. I don't know how to teach, so I hired Travis Orban, who a very technically skilled drummer from Delaware. He came down and stayed with me. We went to the rehearsal spot where we play, and he sat with me with his computer and we literally listened to the album from the first hit to the last hit. Everything was notated, even mistakes we found in the recording. It's about as accurate as it gets.

Where can people buy the book?
I self-published it on lulu.com. It is print on demand. I hired Ken Adams, who has done all the artwork for Lamb Of God, to work with me on the cover design. The guys in the band read the book before I put it up there and felt it was well done. That's where to get it. My website www.chris-adler.com links up to it as well.

What's the timetable for the rest of the books?
As much as I can get done, I will. It's been a hectic three years, coming off the writing of Wrath and subsequent touring. This last year is when I started writing these books. I've got the second one written, and am midway through the third. During the drum clinic tour for about three weeks I'll be spending a lot time in hotel rooms again, and hope to polish up the second one and get the third one ready. Hopefully the second one will be available by April 1, and the third one by the end of the year. The tabs are done for all those, I'm just writing the stories.

The band has a presence in all the different forms of social media. How personally involved are you in things like Facebook and Twitter?
I have my own Facebook and there's a band Facebook. A couple of the guys in the band are tweeters. I don't seem to have the time. When I'm done playing all the drums I want to play and changing all the diapers that need to be changed, I don't seem to have the time left to get into that.

What can attendees of your upcoming drum clinic tour expect?
I've done a couple of drum clinics and found them interesting. I always learned something and felt inspired by everyone that I've seen. That is my goal, to inspire people. I'm doing it slightly differently in that I'm not much of a clinician. I'm certainly going to be sharing tips and ideas. I'm going to play 8 or 9 Lamb Of God songs to show what it is that I do. I really want to share my experiences, not in a clinical or technical sense. I want to share what it's been like to get to where we are, the things we've been through and things we've had to deal with, the choices we've made and things we've had to leave behind, share the experience of that.

Nobody's really asked me how to play faster, but a lot of people ask me if it's tough to be on the road when you have a family or what's it like in China. If somebody coming to one of these things wants to at some point to do what I'm doing, I want to share certain experiences and what it would take for them to have the same opportunity, as opposed to just the technical aspect of it. In doing that, I hope to inspire people in the same way that the clinics I've been to have.

What do you hope to take away from these clinics?
I was talking with somebody earlier today about drummers who have really inspired me. I've been really fortunate to meet most of the drummers that made me want to play. I didn't start playing until I was 22, and there were certain guys I molded myself after, like Stewart Copeland (Police) and Shannon Larkin (Godsmack) when he was in Wrathchild America. These were drummers that you could tell their playing style. They elevated the whole band because of their presence, and the band would not be the same without them. It wasn't just a beat for the guitar player. They added something very tangible to the project they were in.

I've had the chance to meet them and tell them what I got from them trying to find my own voice. It's hopefully someday having that same voice in my art and the music that we've made. I've talked to a lot of kids at signings and other circumstances, but have never really had the opportunity to share that kind of circle. I was inspired by them, there are people inspired by me, and to have that discussion about that and talk back and forth about some of the frustrations and difficulties and really get into that a little bit more. It's part of the growth process, and it's a special part of doing anything that inspires other people, being able to share with them how that inspired them and receive that back.

At this point in your drumming career, are you still learning new things, or is it a matter of polishing and perfecting the things you've already learned?
That's a really good question. There are an infinite amount of things I don't know and will probably never know. But I am still trying, and I am still interested in learning. I recently got into tablature books and am playing along with different guys, feeling different styles and trying to bring more of that in my playing. Being a musician or artist it's an endless quest. You're always inspired by new things, and I always want to continue to grow. If that stops, then there is no point in continuing. Stagnation is the last thing I want. I always want to challenge myself and make it better the next time I try.

How do decide what equipment you're going to endorse?
It's the same thing as when I started playing with the band. There's a sound in my head that I can hear with or without the instrument, and I'm trying to match that with the help of these different companies. The companies that I'm using now, not one is paying me to use their stuff. It's all the closest I've found to that sound in my head. I am very fortunate in that I have the option to go out there and explore and play other kits and cymbals and sticks and pedals and everything else. I've found the ones I use, although in most cases are not the most popular brands, in my head are the best of the bunch.

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