D. Randall Blythe is best known as the vocalist for the American metal band, Lamb of God, and sometimes he “sings the fast stuff” for Bad Brains as well. He is an accomplished surfer, a talented (and hard-working) photographer, an ambassador for Leica, and has had gallery shows at Sacred Gallery in New York City, the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, and the Leica Gallery in Boston. Randy’s book, Dark Days describes his arrest, imprisonment, trial and subsequent acquittal, after a fan died during a show in the Czech Republic. He is also the host of a weekly radio show broadcast on Gimme Radio named, “The Power Remains” where he explores a wide range of punk and hardcore music, usually accompanied by an interesting guest.
I met Randy via Instagram. I first linked to his page from Nikki Sixx’s feed, whom I started following after seeing his images in a Leica gallery. I had seen Lamb of God at Saltair in 2010 and couldn’t imagine that same guy shooting such emotional, insightful images, nor did I ever imagine he would be into much that was physical beyond skateboarding so I was utterly intrigued when I read some of his posts about surfing.
I bought two issues of the Unbuilt Zine that Randy contributes to as research when we began producing RAZE because I thought they were onto something cool. We finally connected when I posted something about The Young Gods — or maybe he did and I commented but at this point neither of us can remember nor does that matter. Actually, it does because knowing about that band and anything done by Franz Tredichler puts us in a pretty small club.
Suffice to say we connected over music, shooting pictures, Leica cameras, and making physical art. We finally met in person when his band opened for Slayer in August 2018. He interviewed me for his radio show, “The Power Remains” that airs on Gimme Radio. He asked me to give him five songs and the reason why they are important. You can hear the show if you subscribe, which gives access to previously broadcast episodes. These were my songs:
1. “The Fall of Because”, Killing Joke
2. “Smothered Hope”, Skinny Puppy
3. “Guns on there Roof”, The Clash
4. “Pushing The Extreme” – live version – The Wipers
5. “We Destroy the Family”, FEAR
During the show he played them and we discussed the influence of those songs, those bands, and his own experiences with many of the artists.
Ian Seabrook, who is making a documentary about me, filmed the radio show and some of that may appear in the doc eventually. After that Ian and I shot pictures (me) and video (him) from the photo pit at the show, which was quite an incredible and moving experience: the organ-thumping bass, the crowd fenced-in behind us, the surging energy that made me sweat just feeling it … damn.
Randy joined us for episode 40 of the podcast and it’s one of the few I am quite proud of because we covered a lot of territory one doesn’t typically hear in conversation with the front man for such a legendary band. Randy’s passion for surfing and for protecting the environment, for social compassion and fighting for what’s right, and his own sense of place within the context of music and the world is compelling and humbling.
As an example, following hurricane Florence, and just off the road, having finished the top wth Slayer, Randy loaded his truck with supplies and drove to areas devastated by the storm where towns that were too small to pop on the FEMA or Red Cross radar to help out. He sent me some pictures of the carnage and I expect we will produce a long-form article in a future issue of RAZE based on his experiences.
Randy is a cool, deep, and fascinating man. Give episode 40 listen.