Modesty and humility from popular acts in the entertainment business are a rarity, and music is no exception. Whether it's the fame, money or power associated with popularity, there are a number of groups who take not only their lifestyle, but their fans for granted. Often too good to shake the hands of the same people who spend their hard earned cash on the band's new LP or special edition DVD, these groups act as if some form of gratitude is needed. Fortunately, a select few make the effort to acknowledge the need for fans. Bands that do make an effort to thank, entertain and even befriend those who support them. One of these coveted few includes Metal Blade Records' As I Lay Dying.
Originating out of San Francisco in 2001, As I Lay Dying haven't wasted time establishing themselves amongst hardcore punk and metal greats. The past five years have created a career filled with praise, endless touring and rock solid music placing them among a select few. Currently on the highly successful Taste of Chaos Tour, the band continues to showcase why they're one of the most entertaining and energetic acts on the tour. With Tim Lambesis' powerful vocals, the entrancing guitar and bass offerings from Nick Hipa, Phil Sgrosso and Clint Norris and finally Jordan Mancino's hypnotic talents on the drums, the band creates a powerful mixture of resonating melody and emotion.
Touring has always proved beneficial for the band, and like anything, requires a great deal of effort. Bands have to deal with a lot, traveling thousands of kilometers a week, playing shows day in and day out, but drummer Jordan Mancino assures As I Lay Dying can handle the pressures of A Taste of Chaos.
"One of the great things I have about touring is patience," he says. "You learn to get along with other people. [Taste of Chaos] is a really great experience. It is definitely very organized and relaxed. We have a really good group of people on the tour that do a great job."
One thing the band has always placed importance on is how they handle themselves on the road and with other bands. Generosity and simple courtesy can go a long way, and in As I Lay Dying's case this means even more.
"We have been on tour with bands that treat us like crap and been on tours where we have been treated good," Mancino remarks. "We want to treat people well. It's funny, there have been bands we have toured with that have treated us poorly and now they're going to be supporting us at shows. No matter how big or small a band might be, we're all doing what we love to do, we're in this together. There is a form of camaraderie there."
Apart from Taste of Chaos, As I Lay Dying will be headlining Sounds of the Underground, a tour dedicated to some of the biggest names in metal today like Gwar, Cannibal Corpse and In Flames to name a few. The tour will provide the band with more opportunities to get to know their dedicated fans.
"It's awesome to be able to meet with our fans and just hang out and talk to them with the time we have," Marcino enthuses. "One of the most important things for us is to meet all of our fans and get on a personal level with them. If it wasn't for them we wouldn't be able to do this."
Despite their love for their fans, being on the road so much has its downfalls. Balancing a personal life and band life can prove troublesome, but As I Lay Dying view it as part of the job.
"I love my family and friends and when I am home I try to spend as much time as possible with them," Marcino says. "They have been supportive though, so that makes this worthwhile. It's part of living the life."
Such humility has allowed the band to rise to a position most bands struggle to ever reach. The amount of work they put into their music, live performances, touring and fans is a reflection of their success both critically and commercially. If the majority of bands out there could exhibit even half of As I Lay Dying's integrity, music as a whole would be better for it.