Whether the original members of As I Lay Dying should or should not get back together with Tim Lambesis is now only a philosophical question.
The five internationally famous metalcore bandmates are in fact reuniting for their first show since frontman Lambesis was arrested for trying to get his wife killed five years ago.
Lambesis was convicted in May 2014 to a six-year sentence after admitting he hired a hitman in an Oceanside Gym to kill his wife Meggan for $5,000. The “hitman” was an undercover cop. Lambesis only served two and a half years of the sentence and got out in December, 2016.
Lambesis blamed the felony on steroids and himself. “I was the sole offender and only one to blame.” He and the other members of the band are playing their first show since 2013 at the 300-capacity Soma sidestage this Saturday, June 16.
The $10 tickets went on sale a week before the show and reportedly sold out in four minutes. Soma’s Facebook page was inundated with complaints, begging the all-age venue to instead use its 2,000-capacity mainstage. It was reportedly the decision of the band to play their welcome back show on a smaller stage, to re-establish chemistry in a low-profile setting.
About the time the Soma tickets sold out, As I Lay Dying released the video for their latest single “My Own Grave.”
"As I Lay Dying - "My Own Grave"
Reunited and it screams so good
The clip shows Lambesis jamming with other members of its most popular lineup, guitarists Nick Hipa and Phil Sgrosso, drummer Jordan Mancino and bassist Josh Gilbert.
The release of the single and the surprise reunion show raises a lot of questions. For starters, will the band (who've been playing and recording without Lambesis as Wovenwar, with Phil Sgrosso launching a side band called Poison Headache) still get to work with its old manager and touring agent? And will Metal Blade Records still do business with a felonious frontman?
Attempts to get answers from the band were not successful, but AILD's website had previously posted a notice saying the band is “is sleeping rather than dead.” That was followed by somewhat of a rebuttal on Facebook from Nick Hipa, saying “Tim [Lambesis] is the only one with access to the As I Lay Dying site.” According to Hipa at the time, “We never want to capture attention dramatically, which is precisely why we’ve been off the radar for close to a year...though the third person statement released earlier compromises a lot of how we had hoped to unroll things, we remain positive in our outlooks and look forward to sharing new music soon”.
One fan who did not want to be named told me why the famed metal band (1.9 million Facebook likes) should be allowed to regroup: “It’s just not fair to the other four guys in the band. When they broke up, they were selling out the Soma mainstage and playing big stadium shows in Europe. They were Metal Blade’s number one band, bigger than Cannibal Corpse or King Diamond. Why should the other guys pay for Tim’s crime? They lost their careers when they did nothing wrong. I’m sure they’ll make plenty of fans very happy.”
While it’s clear As I Lay Dying has a long history with Soma, why wouldn’t the band play Brick by Brick for their reunion show? After all, Mancino, Sgrosso, and Hipa bought the 400-capacity metal haven in 2014, and their post-AILD band Wovenwar debuted on the same day with dual shows at both Soma and Brick by Brick in August 2014.
The answer might lie with Sgrosso’s ex-wife Shannon, who helps run Brick by Brick. She has used her Facebook page to blast Lambesis' reunion with the other As I Lay Dying members, saying he does not deserve a second chance.
Will the reunion of As I Lay Dying, which started in the early 2000s as a Christian-leaning metal band, matter in 2018? “It will be interesting to see if the love of the music is worth forgiving the sins of the past,” says the well-connected fan who wanted to be anonymous.