LAMB OF GOD frontman Randy Blythe will be forced to miss the band's concert tonight (Tuesday, April 19) in Grand Rapids, Michigan after testing positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. He will be temporarily replaced by CHIMAIRA's Mark Hunter and "a few friends".
Earlier today, LAMB OF GOD released the following statement via social media: "Grand Rapids – Randy Blythe tested positive for COVID over the weekend and has been isolating away from the rest of the band. While his symptoms have been mild and he's on the mend, he will not be able to perform tonight at the Van Andel Arena. However, the show will go on! We are working to put together a special show with our brother Mark Hunter from CHIMAIRA taking over the mic and a few friends helping out as well. We'll see you tonight!"
The group added: "We are hopeful [Randy] will be able to return later this week and will update as soon as we can."
LAMB OF GOD is currently on the road in North America with MEGADETH as part of what is being called "The Metal Tour Of The Year". Also appearing on the bill are TRIVIUM and IN FLAMES.
Last October, Blythe urged everyone coming to see his band perform to get vaccinated against COVID-19. "I believe in fucking science," he said during an appearance on MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn's "No Fuckin' Regrets With Robb Flynn" podcast. "And I have friends who are doctors and scientists and nurses, and these are people I'm going to listen to — not someone on social media, not another musician, not a talking head on CNN, Fox News, USA Today, PBS; none of this stuff. I talk to my friends who are molecular biologists, immunologists, emergency room doctors, and I have friends who are nurses, one of whom works in a COVID ward — and someone very close to me. These are not my friends' neighbors' second cousin's buddy [saying], 'I heard this or that or the other'; these are people who are friends of mine I talk to directly. They're, like, 'This is real. This is the science. This is the data. This is what I see. These are the people I see dying.' So I'm going to listen to my friends 'cause they're a lot smarter than me.
"For me, everybody has to quote-unquote do their own research, I guess," he laughed. "My research involves talking to friends of mine who spent years of their lives pursuing degrees that cost them thousands and thousands of dollars, or who dedicate their lives to the service of others in the medical profession. And this is what these people are telling me. So I don't have to filter through all this data, through all these different media sources; I just talk to my friends. 'Are you vaccinated?' 'Yes.' 'Tell me about this vaccine. Tell me about the technology.' And I've had these conversations.
"When the vaccine came out very rapidly, comparatively, like anyone else, I was, like, 'Well, that's quick,'" Randy admitted. "But then some friends of mine explained to me, 'This is old technology. They've been working on this for 15 fucking years. It's not new. So cut it out with that.' And also, this is not just an American or one country's or one corporation's push; this is a massive international effort to get this vaccine ready — different ones ready — for distribution.
"I have a friend who works in intelligence — pretty high-level intelligence — and one of their jobs right now is helping out with COVAX, which is the international vaccine distribution arm. And he [was] talking to one of his co-workers from COVAX, and it was just, like, it's very frustrating with certain places where the vaccine is available and people don't wanna take it, and there are countries that are begging for it.
"All that aside, for me, like I said, it's a matter of talking to my friends and being, like, 'What's the deal with this?'" Blythe added. "Because these are people I trust, and they're a lot smarter than me… So I'm going to listen to them — I'm just gonna."
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).