During an appearance on the latest episode of the "Sing For Science" podcast, LAMB OF GOD frontman Randy Blythe joined Georgia state social psychologist Dr. Tony Lemieux for a conversation about identity politics, intergroup conflict in America, pathways to radicalization, mob psychology and more.
Speaking about the fact that social media's "alternative facts" are creating our alternative realities, Blythe said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Everyone's interpretation of reality is subjective, but there is an objective reality. And that appears to have been thrown out the window. And I think when people are presented with facts that go against the system of beliefs they've constructed around this identity around their political beliefs, they don't stop and go, 'Hmm, maybe I'm wrong.' I think they experience extreme cognitive dissonance. And the way that they deal with that is just to ignore the facts. And we've seen that a lot lately: 'That didn't happen'; 'I never said that'; blah blah blah. It's, like, yes, you did. These are easily provable things. Veracity is important. It does exist. But lately it seems to have been thrown out the window. And I certainly think social media has helped push that forward."
Blythe also addressed the fact that there is a surge in science denial at a time when we need to follow science-based practices if we want to find our way out of this pandemic. He said: "I think one thing we've seen with the coronavirus pandemic that has been problematic is that because the science on this is new and it's imperfect, and science is a process — it grows… When you get additional knowledge, additional data to analyze, you gain more understanding. Science doesn't have all the answers at all the times; it's a process. So that being said, I never thought I'd see the demonization of science that I'm seeing right now. But it's a growing thing. So I think it's hard for people to accept, when they look to people in positions of leadership, for them to say, people in positions of leadership saying, 'I don't know. We have to do more research.' And I think that has led to a lot of the conspiracy theory stuff, because people just don't wanna accept, 'Hey, we don't have all the answers right now. I know this sucks. But we have to hang in there and wait.'"
When asked what he thinks needs to be done to help deliver us from the current state of affairs, Blythe said: "I've come to the conclusion that there's questions that aren't being asked. And part of it, personally, on my part, I have to watch for my biases and my judgmental nature, as it were. But when people think very, very differently about reality than you do, in certain things, I think it's important, if you have the chance, to ask these people, 'What makes you think that way? Why do you feel this way?' instead of just saying, 'You're a fucking idiot' or writing them off. Because there's a myriad of factors that have brought people to this system of belief. It's not just like one day they woke up and decided, 'I'm going to totally distrust science.' Something has brought them to this point. So, for me, I think that is achievable on an individual level only.
"We were talking about crowd psychology or group psychology," he continued. "My job is to be in front of large crowds, and also I've been in large crowds in some rather contentious situations where the group mentality has taken over. It's impossible to change the mind of a mob. If there's a riot going on, you can't walk into the middle of a riot and say, 'Hey, everybody, what are you rioting about? This isn't right. You shouldn't do this.' You can't change the mind of that mass organism which is what it becomes. But if you can talk to an individual and say, 'Why are you angry? What are you upset about? What is causing you to express yourself in this manner?' and have an open conversation and maybe present your viewpoint, an alternate view to what's going on, maybe you can meet in the middle somewhere. And that can only really happen on an individual basis. I can get up and spew my ideas of reality in front of a crowd, and it will either be sort of people that already agree with the kind of things that I believe in, and thus I'll be preaching to the converted, or it's gonna be a bunch of people throwing bags of dogshit at me or whatever. It's impossible to alter the mentality of a crowd, but you can engage with an individual. So I think it's important for people to have individual conversations, one on one, and that gets harder and harder, I think, as people retreat more and more into their phones and their use of phones to communicate."
LAMB OF GOD's latest, self-titled album was released in June 2020 via Epic Records in the U.S. and Nuclear Blast Records in Europe. The follow-up to "VII: Sturm Und Drang" marked LAMB OF GOD's first recordings with Art Cruz, who joined the band in July 2019 as the replacement for the group's founding drummer, Chris Adler.
"Lamb Of God" was recorded with longtime producer Josh Wilbur (KORN, MEGADETH, GOJIRA, TRIVIUM) and includes special guest appearances by Jamey Jasta (HATEBREED) and Chuck Billy (TESTAMENT).