As previously reported, Unearth, Chelsea Grin, and Fit For A King will be opening for As I Lay Dying on their European tour despite Tim Lambesis’ criminal past. The singer was released from prison back in December 2016 after infamously trying to hire a hitman to kill his wife in 2013. Now, during an appearance on the BREWtally Speaking Podcast, Unearth guitarist Ken Susi has discussed the band’s decision to take part in the trek.
Susi said the following [transcribed by The PRP]:
“Not to get into a huge As I Lay Dying/Tim Lambesis conversation, because I know that’s what forums or… everyone’s going to be hyper focused on what I have to say about it.
When Tim went to prison it was a shock for all of us. We couldn’t believe it, after knowing him for so many years it was tough to wrap our heads around what actually went down. The fact that he did what he did. But with everything, with life. Nothing ever happened—nothing happened in the sense that no one was hurt, thankfully. But what he did was incredibly wrong.
A lot of my guys were conflicted about doing the run in general. But at the end of the day, me personally, speaking on my behalf—not my band—I can say that we’ve known As I Lay Dying just as long as we’ve known about anybody else. We knew them back when they were on Pluto Records.
Funny enough Tim gave us a demo tape outside a VFW hall when we were touring maybe with Indecision back in 2000 or 2001. And we became friends with them off of him handing us a demo tape, and us staying in touch over time.
Back then we weren’t frequenting the West Coast as much, so it was just good to know somebody back then, and they were always really good genuine guys.
Beyond that, Jordan Mancino played drums for us for a year, year and a half when Nick blew his back out and had to get surgery.
We’ve been super tight with those guys from doing Slipknot tours, and headliners and co-headliners and all the stuff throughout the years, being labelmates with Metal Blade, especially at that time and even now. The bands have a lot of camaraderie, us and Black Dahlia Murder, a lot of the bands that were just signed to that label at that time, it was a family atmosphere…
Also I’m a rep for Fishman Pickups and Fishman brand and I’ve supported Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso the whole way, even when they were in Wovenwar, or if they didn’t have a band I told them flat out that they’re my friends I wanna support them regardless. They didn’t do the horrible thing that has been inflicted onto their band, and their legacy. I don’t think we should hold them accountable.
Tim did something wrong, he spent time in jail. In my opinion, he’s done his time. What he did is unspeakable, and I don’t condone it, and I don’t think at this point he does either.
Like I said to him when he and I had a talk, he’s gotta walk this earth humbled at the fact that MAYBE people will give him a second chance or not. Hopefully he’s a changed man, I wish them the best.
Thing is this: a lot of people may say that’s a bad thing, and no one deserves a second chance after that. But I’m not the one to make that decision, neither is my band.
We’ve known that band for a long time and supported that band, minus Tim, and we’re not gonna change our position on that… because the guys in the band are extraordinary people.”
Other artists, such as Zao‘s Scott Mellinger, have called out Lambesis for his crimes. Susi also touched on that a bit as well:
“It’s good that things worked out for Zao as far as the Tim Lambesis thing goes, but Tim Lambesis is a hot button topic. If I didn’t have the relationship that I have with him for all these years, I may have a different perspective—and I know a lot of people have a different perspective.
It’s just one of those things. What he did was wrong. He knows it. I hate to say it, I treated him, when he came to talk to me, like I would my brother, I was VERY hard on him. I think a lot of people were too.
So it’s a hot button topic, but the thing is, the best part about America is that anyone can have their own opinion and people can do whatever the hell they want and we shouldn’t really typecast people, for instance, for their beliefs.
So for instance, if someone chooses to side with Tim—which I’m not saying I do—and some people that chose to go against him, or support him—which I believe there are plenty of people that are practicing right now. The best part about our world is we have the choice… to follow the bands we want to follow, listen to whatever music we wanna listen to and as long as that’s still happening, I’m a happy person.”