As I Lay Dying is Alive and Thriving
J. Gordon
3/18/2006 9:29:44 PM

"This band has never been about ‘let’s go to Ozzfest and take what we can get!’ It’s about playing and doing what we love"

First, Ozzfest 2005. Next, Taste of Chaos. This summer, they’ll be headlining Sounds of the Underground. The facts are that As I Lay Dying are about as far from dead as any metal band can be. We caught up with drummer Jordan Mancino to get the latest news.

NT: You’re second on the main stage at Taste of Chaos this year. What is it like to mingle with so many great bands, and to share a stage with a band as legendary as the Deftones?

JM: “Taste of Chaos been going great. The crowd been really responsive, and it’s a really cool tour. The Deftones I’ve listened to for years and years, Thrice I’ve been listening to the past few years. Yeah, it’s really cool to hang out. It’s still early on in the tour so we’re just still getting to know each other. But yeah, we’re developing relationships. It’s really cool.”

NT: So was Ozzfest 2005 the big turning point for your success?

JM: “I don’t think there really has been a turning point in this band, you know? It’s just been a slow progression. When we started, we never expected to get to this size, to this scale. You know, we just love playing music, we love metal, we love people-- the people we want to play for. I wake up every day and have to slap myself, to make sure I’m awake and not dreaming! This band has never been about ‘let’s go to Ozzfest and take what we can get!’ It’s about playing and doing what we love.”

NT: The video for “Darkest Night,” filmed mostly in Malibu while looking convincingly placed in the middle east, is awesome. It’s a video of rescue, hope, war and peace. Do you want to talk about it?

JM: “What we wanted to do with this video was have it be more conceptual, as opposed to all our other videos, which are mainly performance. We wanted to give them something more to look at than just the band, know what I mean?

“[To the viewer we say,] take what you can from it. There’s a lot of stuff going on in this world. There’s something out there that can save us, you know what I mean?

NT: And at the same time, you’re not getting all political. Is it true that a whole city set was constructed for this video?

JM: “Yeah, and they brought all these horses down from Washington [state]. There’s a beach shot where all the horses run. I guess horses are kinda stupid,” he laughs. “The tide was coming in on the beach and when the horses looked down, they got dizzy and fell over.”

NT: Unless they’re into literature, your younger fans probably don’t realize this, but As I Lay Dying is the title of a classic novel by William Faulkner. Is there a message behind that?

JM: “Yeah, As I Lay Dying is named after Faulkner’s famous book, but the meaning and mission of the band, what the band’s about, has nothing to do with it. It’s a name you see and you say, ‘that’s gotta be a metal band! It’s kind of poetic and makes you think a little bit. We want people to think, that’s a big part of the band.”

NT: Your lyrics seem to have the mission of opening the mind up to the afterlife…

JM: “But a lot of it is this life, though. A lot of our lyrics and what we’re about is this life and doing what we can with it. Living by the truth and not by what other people tell you.

NT: So is that easy or hard to do in your position? I mean, we see bands like Underoath that have a lot of faith and are totally hardcore at the same time. But we have been on plenty of Ozzfest tour buses to see what goes on. How do you balance metal with ‘living by your truth’?

JM: “It’s just one of those things. We chose this life and we know what happens around us. It’s a matter of staying focused. We struggle as much as the next band and we’re not saying we’re perfect by any means. We do what we’re out here to do and we try not to get sidetracked by any of that stuff.

NT: So are you saying you present a less destructive alternative for your fans?

JM: “Yeah, it’s not all about partying and that cliché metal or rock and roll lifestyle. There’s something more to life than that. Obviously we want people to enjoy our music, but we do have a message. We want people to think about their purpose of life on this earth.”

NT: As I Lay Dying will soon be re-releasing their early stuff from the Pluto label, Beneath the Encasing of Ashes, and an EP you split with the band American Tragedy in May or June. What brought that on? Is the demand high for the old stuff?

JM: “One of the reasons we did it was that a lot of our fans really wanted our old records. There are these idiots on used record sites, selling our stuff for like sixty or seventy bucks, and kids were paying it! We were like, ‘We do not want this to happen, this is not what we’re about.’ So, we decided to re-release them for those who might want them.”

NT: We’ve heard that the EP won’t include American Tragedy. So any other changes to these re-releases we need to know?

JM: “Encasing was pretty much left as it is, it was re-mastered and cleaned up a little bit. All the songs on the split CD were re-recorded except for one, and all of it will be remixed and everything.”

NT: Thanks for your time Jordan. Is there anything you’d like to close with for readers?

JM: “Yeah, we hope everyone will come out and support us this summer for Sounds of the Underground. We’ll be playing a whole set. Also, I know this sounds cliché, but I really mean it when I say that we want to thank our fans. We wouldn’t be able to do this without them and we appreciate all their love and support.”

Go to to see the Darkest Nights video, as well as some great live footage from the Taste of Chaos tour!


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