To be fair, Anesthetic is plenty heavy, with its hard rock moments leaning towards full metal and the occasional guitar part that could’ve fit into a Lamb Of God song shining through. But though the album features guest performances by vocalists like Chester Bennington, Papa Roach’s Jacoby Shaddix, Arch Enemy’s Alissa White-Gluz, and even Lamb Of God’s own Randy Blythe, Anesthetic never comes off as a collection of unused material or a gallery of famous friends. Mark’s guitar is the star of the show here, and as the guitarist gears up to take the album on tour, the guitarist is excited for fans to hear a side of his playing they may never have expected.
“Honestly, I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into,” laughs Mark. “I figured I had some tunes, I’d record them with Josh, get a little deal for the thing, record them, put them out, and that’s that. But as it started getting legs under it, and gaining momentum, then I started wanting to do [play it live]. Because the project has its own identity now.”
You’ve just announced your live band for the upcoming Anesthetic tour. What went into choosing who would be playing the album?
Picking out a live band was just about finding dudes who are good players and I want to hang out with, and finding who among that bunch was available. Mark Morales from Sons Of Texas will be singing. Doc Coyle from Bad Wolves and God Forbid on second guitar. Art Cruz, who I’ve been playing with lately, filling in for Chris in Lamb, will be my drummer… and I’ll be there too.
Will the guest vocalists from the record be making live appearances along the way?
Yeah, I think so. We’re looking at those possibilities. There’s a lot of guests on the album, but I’d love for that to happen wherever possible. We found out the tour was going to happen not too long before we announced it.
While recording the album, were there specific moments you played and thought, ‘Man, I can’t wait to play this live’?
Initially, it was the opposite, because the project, as it was originally conceptualized, was just a studio thing. I’ve made plenty of albums with Lamb of God, I’ve had great success with Lamb, I’ve had continued success with Lamb. I’ve made plenty of albums with Lamb Of God, so I figured I knew something about how all this stuff works. But I had no idea what I was biting off with this project. And that’s exciting -- I’m humbled, thrilled, energized, motivated by that, but I didn’t realize it was going to be all that. But once the album was done, and you could see the people who participated in it, the caliber of talent, you kind of realize, Okay, this is a bigger thing than I thought it would be. And then it became obvious, and kind of necessary, to put a band together and make this thing live, to give it kind of a pulse.
Where did the creative nutrition behind the solo album come from? Did it come from the same place as what you write for Lamb Of God, or is it a different creative process all together?
My intuitive response is that the solo album is probably more of an accurate reflection of me personally and my musical influences, and the way they manifest and how I play, because it includes everything. It includes that rock and poppy side, it includes the ’90s influence, and it includes metal. Whereas with LoG, it’s a metal band, and at this point it’s a metal band with a certain signature sound. And that doesn’t limit what I’m able to do, but it does influence what I’ll contribute to that band. Within LoG is a very established body of work, which I aim to respect, to add to, to push boundaries with but to respect with the body of work and the other four members of the band. The solo album is more directly reflective of me as a player and an artist, but it doesn’t take any validity away from my contribution and role of LoG, that’s just a little more focused genre-wise.