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As I Lay Dying 's Tim Lambesis on Their Palladium Show, the San Diego Metal Scene, Being a Christian on the Road, and Being Part of "The Cool Tour" (Yes, the Cool Tour)

San Diego's heavy hitters As I Lay Dying have conquered the globe, having performed in such exotic destinations as Indonesia, Dubai, Australia, Russia and of course countless tours across Europe and North America. With a thrashy, thunderous approach to hardcore and metal often times dubbed 'metal core,' by rabid fans, AILD is proud to hail from San Diego, but particularly enjoy shows in Los Angeles.

As I Lay Dying will be playing as part of The Cool Tour lineup tomorrow, July 31, at the Hollywood Palladium.

Composed of vocalist Tim Lambesis, guitarists Nick Hipa and Phil Sgroso, bassist Josh Gilbert and drummer Jordan Mancino, this heavy, hard-working musical unit is celebrating a career that has lasted a decade. Since forming in 2000, the band has risen from the murky San Diego metal/hardcore scene to play with everyone from Lamb of God and Killswitch Engage to Cannibal Corpse and GWAR.

AILD are without a doubt one of the hardest working bands in contemporary metal, and they must given credit for their five studio albums and their 2007 Grammy nomination for 'Best Metal Performance' for their song 'Nothing Left' off the album An Ocean Between Us.

LA Weekly got a chance to speak with lyricist and singer Tim Lambesis, who discussed the San Diego metal scene, being Christians and the temptations of the road, the latest album entitled The Powerless Rise, what fans can expect from the band's live set and exactly why they chose to headline a package tour called, 'The Cool Tour.'

(Well despite that name, it really is cool)

San Diego's As I Lay Dying
San Diego's As I Lay Dying

LA WEEKLY: Tell us about your favorite venue in LA to play, and what it was like coming from the San Diego Metal Scene. What were some of the underground bands that inspired you?

Tim Lambesis: We have played all over Southern California with shows and tours, opening for bands. We typically have a lot of fun at the Wiltern, that place is awesome, every show there has had a great crowd. One of our early big shows in Hollywood was at the Avalon in 2005, and it was amazing. It surprised us to know that we sold out the show in advance, and that was one of the best shows we've ever played. It was a huge milestone for us.

As for the San Diego scene, honestly there wasn't that big of a metal scene it was mostly known for punk and hardcore. Back when we started we were the odd band out, we never fit into only one category, but this is where we got labeled with the whole 'metal core' scene. But as for an influential band from San Diego, I would have to say No Innocent Victim. They influenced us as a band; they way they did business and stood up for what they believe in.

Tell us about the band's latest album, The Powerless Rise, which was released in May on Metalblade. Give us some insight as to what this album is all about; and what can fans expect from your live set?

Tim Lambesis: Well each song has its own twist, but the bigger picture is that of a better way of living in general. This can mean a lifestyle opposed to what society views as important or powerful, such as materialism, and profit. The message is to live in a more simple life in a community that enables everyone to have a much greater life free of corruption, greed. As for our set list, we try to balance things out, and while we are really proud of our new songs, we still chose to play mostly old songs, we do play a handful of new ones though and so far people have dug it.

You guys don't consider AILD to be a 'Christian' band, but you are all professed Christians. How does life on the road affect your religion? Playing in a metal band, have you ever encountered any hostility with bands that don't share your beliefs; and in some cases are anti-Christian?

Tim Lambesis: Well we don't necessarily go to church while on tour; you see certain things I am traditional with when it comes to my religion, other things not so much. To us, Church is not all about a building, but more about keeping in touch with your faith, family and friends, and developing that spiritual relationship with God. Luckily being on the road doesn't remove me from my usual schedule, it is just a part of making my life work with the band, and so far it has been easy.

And yeah as for other bands, most don't care that we are Christians or make any issue of it. What does happen is that sometimes, other bands might not get a chance to know us and might judge us but overall we've never had any issues for our religion with any death or black metal bands.

Tell us about this new headlining tour across North America, called 'The Cool Tour.' Featuring Between the Buried and Me, The Acacia Strain, Underoath and many more. Are you excited about any of the bands on this tour, and what is with the name, 'Cool Tour?'

Tim Lambesis: So far it's been going great; we've had a blast at all the shows. This line-up is so diverse that it keeps people interested and is still under the umbrella of heavy music. For us, we really enjoy watching Between the Buried and Me, the musicianship that those guys have is awesome!

And yeah as for the name, haha, yeah I know we made our jokes about it, the promoters chose it and we stuck with it. But in the end, every show is in an air conditioned in door venue, so technically with the summer heat it is a 'cool' tour!

You have been around for 10 years and show no sign of slowing down. Where do you see AILD ten years from now?

Tim Lambesis: The way I see it, I don't really think there is much need to change the cycle of how we do things. Put out new albums and tour, then go back out and repeat all over again, as needed. There is definitely enough out there to keep us going another decade strong!

Thanks for taking the time for this interview, any final comments for fans?

Tim Lambesis: No problem, my pleasure. Keep in touch with us on Twitter, Facebook and the rest; also, we would be nothing without our fans and friends, those who have supported us from day one. Be sure to catch us on tour in a town near you!

[Also click here to watch the new video for the song "Paralells."]

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