The 25 Most Important People in Metal: #13, Randy Blythe
As much as metal is a genre of music and a lifestyle, it is also a community. And like all communities, it has its leaders — men and women whose work, be it by design or circumstance, affects all lovers of extreme music on a regular basis.
Throughout November, MetalSucks will celebrate these industry leaders by counting down The 25 Most Important People in Metal one per day. To be clear, this is a list of the people we believe are most important to metal today, in 2016 — not necessarily the most important people overall in the entire history of the genre. Some of them are musicians. Many of them are not. Some of them are people you’ve heard of. Many of them work behind the scenes and do not routinely get to take a bow. But they all have one thing in common: more than just cogs in a machine, they are truly, undeniably irreplaceable.
Randy Blythe has always been well-regarded in the hearts of metalheads. On top of his exceptional skills as a frontman, vocalist and lyricist for Lamb of God, he’s known as a down-to-earth, “of the people” fellow. Many LoG fans got their first glimpse into Randy the human — flawed, but complex, and unflinchingly real — on the band’s 2005 Killadelphia DVD.
But it wasn’t until Blythe’s arrest in the Czech Republic in 2012 that we all saw Blythe’s true character on the world stage. Despite spending over a month in prison in a foreign land where no one spoke his language, Randy never griped or groveled. He paid the bail, was set free to return home, and never complained one bit about his stint in jail, the nearly half a million dollars he had to shell out in bail, or his upcoming trial. Despite being labeled a flight risk, he insisted he’d return to stand trial — which he did — while facing down a potential 10-year prison sentence. Nearly anyone else in his shoes would’ve cowered at EVERY step along the way, but Randy took it all head-on like the stand-up individual he is.
In the days and years since, we’ve learned even more about Randy the human: his extra-curricular activities and do-goodery know no bounds. He’s gained critical attention for his photography and displayed his arresting work at a gallery in New York. He recounted his Czech prison ordeal in stark transparency in his memoir Dark Days, and he’s already working on two more books. He launched a print magazine together with Testament’s Alex Skolnick. He wrote a movie with Billy Bob Thornton and appeared as an actor in a Taiwanese film. He’s been fearlessly outspoken about the music industry and politics. He filled in as frontman for Eyehategod when his hometown pals needed him most. He got jumped late at night in Dublin by a bunch of hooligans and basically just laughed it off as “kids will be kids! I’ve hurt myself worse skateboarding lol!” He’s a devoted skater and surfer. And most recently, Lamb of God dedicated their new EP, The Duke, to a fan Randy had become close with who died of leukemia, and supported its release with a charity auction benefitting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Randy Blythe is basically a hybrid between The Most Interesting Man in the World and the meme version of Chuck Norris, an everyman and anyman, but in metal form. He’s the equivalent of a “5 tool player” in professional sports: he’s got the musical prowess, the smarts, the dedication, the humbleness and the generosity, all in spades. If there were a Noble Peace Prize of metal, he’d surely be the recipient… every damn year. The metal world needs more individuals as classy, through and through, as Randy.
THE LIST SO FAR
#25: Mark Riddick
#24: Robb Flynn
#23: Rob Scallon
#22: Kim Kelly
#20: Rob Halford
#19: Ash Avildsen
#18: Steve Joh
#17: Karim Peter
#16: Misha Mansoor
#15: Dan Rozenblum
#14: Joey Sturgis