As I Lay Dying have shared a new 31 minute video in which they discuss their decision to return. You can watch that and read some excerpts [transcribed by The PRP] below. Frontman Tim Lambesis infamously tried to hire a hitman to kill his wife in 2013 and was released from prison in December 2016. He has since reunited with the band’s classic lineup to release a new song called “My Own Grave”. The group are also playing a sold out show at the SOMA Sidestage in San Diego, CA tonight (June 16).
Lambesis started the discussion with the following:
“So there’s, there’s a lot of awareness of things that happened very recently in music and stuff. And then last year there’s an awareness of the public apology in my expression of remorse.
But behind all that there was the individual conversations we had and it was for me, expressing more remorse publicly. It’s one like one thing and that will be shown very slowly over time, people have to kind of get to know and see if they can trust that I was sincere or not.
But in terms of individual conversations, those went back even a year and a half before the public apology, almost two years before that. And those conversations were much more in-depth than anything we could ever like explain, you know even just this discussion or a written public statement or anything like that.
So, I first reached out to Jordan and Josh because I felt like that was just… I had to start somewhere and I felt like that seemed the most natural place for me. And I reached out to them in an email a long time ago and the first individual conversations we had were mainly me listening so that I could better express my apology for the ways that everything… Like I guess what the concept I talked about, the ripple effect.
There’s the obvious wrongdoings that I made and there’s the little ways that they sort of spread out beyond that and hurt people in so many ways that like I really wasn’t entirely aware until I got home.
And those conversations kicked off and I was sort of better able to understand what they’d been through and I think more sincerely apologize because of that.”
Later in the clip guitarist Phil Sgrosso opened up about how the band’s relationship with Lambesis was strained before his arrest:
“What happened in 2013 wasn’t like the start of the end of our relationship. It was like years before that and finally it was like when this happened, as terrible as it was, I felt like a sense of relief that I don’t have to do this band anymore. Like I don’t have to be so angry about a lot of things that are going on.
And, so it took me going through that and then being like ‘what I am going to do?’ ‘What are the rest of us going to do?’ And just kind of set out to keep doing music. however we could.
And when you went to jail it seemed like a peaceful period for us. We didn’t have to deal with you. We didn’t have to deal with any sort of manipulation, didn’t have to resent you.
But every little thing that came out, whether it was an interview after your sentencing, it was just like all of us were like fueled by this hatred of like ‘God, even when you’re not in our lives, we’re still being affected by it and will continue to be affected by it.’
So it put a lot of strain on other relationships amongst us as well. Because Nick and I didn’t really process our problems either in the most responsible way, so our relationship was deteriorating. So when I heard that you were getting out of jail. All of us were just on edge. Our community was on edge of just like ‘What is this guy going to be up to, now?’
Not just our local community, the music community, everywhere. Because we were all touring around and people, our friends in other states, countries, would be talking about stuff. Everyone was like ‘What is going to happen?’
And you I try, we all tried avoiding those things as much as possible. And I said ‘I will never do that band again. I will never play music with that guy again.’ Why would I? I was already enjoying playing with musicians that weren’t putting a strain on my life…”
Guitarist Nick Hipa added that Lambesis‘ emotional statement at the sentencing helped change his opinion of him, but things changed again after Alternative Press released an interview with the singer. However, Lambesis said the interview was recorded before his sentencing and that he changed as the case moved forward. Hipa said the following about that time:
“An interview came out that was just one long excuse. There was no ownership, it was just ‘I did this for all these reasons and there everyone else kind of led me to this.’ And that’s the moment that whatever shred of empathy I had for him turned into blind hatred. I was like this dude went too far down that dark road and he’s never coming back. And he almost fooled me once, but he’ll never fool me again…”
Hipa also talked about the strained relationship between him and Sgrosso, as well as Sgrosso‘s departure from their shared venue, Wovenwar, etc. He went on to say Lambesis was partially blamed for that resentment as well. He continued by saying constant speculation regarding Lambesis and interview questions were overshadowing his work and “destroying him,” leading to more hate and a refusal to grant interviews.
Hipa also said he did resist Lambesis‘ request to meet up for awhile, and when they did meet he tore into Lambesis with years of resentment. However, the way Lambesis carried himself in the face of all that gave him a change of heart:
“It took all of those years, him facing punishment, the consequences for his actions. Living in the ruin that he made for himself and also acknowledging that it would never end. What he did was very public and it would never be forgotten and it shouldn’t. But that’s part of what he has to endure for the rest of his life. But when I saw who he was and who he had genuinely become, I let go of that, and I wanted to let go of it.
Because I had never handled it… I let that pain and that hurt and that hopelessness… I let it become my life force in the form of hatred. And I used that as my strength for all those years but it devastated me on the inside.”
Lambesis also spoke of how he handled his arrest, sentencing and incarceration:
“Immediately after I had been arrested I went into this mode of just like ‘How do I kind of survive this situation?’ And you hire people, you find the best attorney who knows how to put together the best defense and all these people are speaking on your behalf. The mentality is like defend, defend.
I definitely bought into that and that influenced the person I was while awaiting my sentencing. There was that person Nick had all those hard feelings about. He was right, so it was literally leading up to the actual sentencing. That was the timeline of when I had said all those things [in the Alt Press interview.] Those things had been said and recorded, to come out sometime later after my sentencing.
Then my sentencing happened and my moment in the courtroom was true and genuine, but I didn’t have any ability to follow up with it in any way. So the way that Nick viewed it made absolute sense to me when he explained it to me. I get that because how insincere does that seem? I’m in tears in this courtroom and then you read this statement by me that says something opposite of that.
And then there was such an unbelievable sense of relief after my sentencing of like, defense is no longer in my vocabulary. I don’t defend what I did because there’s no defense for it…”
He later added: “All I can do is just make amends where possible, express my remorse and… just put my energy into something positive.” Lambesis also said he sees his and the band’s return as an ongoing process:
“…I’m not in a rush to handle this all today. I just have to be… If I’m genuinely confident in the person I’ve become I’ve just got to be myself over a long period of time.
You know in like two years from now, maybe there’s a portion of people that say ‘You know what? Ok, I’ve seen it consistently over time.’ And there’s definitely going to be a portion of people that are like ‘It doesn’t matter.’ It could be 20 years from now, I’m not ever going to give these guys a chance. And that’s fine, I have to accept that.”