On the heels of Tim Lambesis' sentencing, AltPress published an incredibly in-depth interview they conducted with Lambesis prior to his sentencing. Lambesis did not know what questions would be asked. He only requested that it be posted after sentencing. The entire thing is absolutely worth a read to get you in the mind of the As I Lay Dying frontman. Here are the highlights:
The first signs of problems in the relationship happened after they adopted their three kids, and Tim was constantly on the road, while Meggan was in maternal mode:
She didn’t work, and I didn’t want her to, with three kids, especially newly adopted kids who need that extra nurturing and love. Work became my thing, and parenting became her thing. So even when I tried to be more involved, as a father, [she] was like, “Well, this is my thing. What are you doing?” I felt pushed out of my own family. It was difficult.
It wasn’t like I was negligent. I’m sure people have their opinions of me after the fact. I started justifying all of these weird thoughts. I started to think I’d have a better relationship with the kids if her and I weren’t together anymore. We would each have our own time with them and handle things however we wanted. Once we did separate, I realized that many of these difficult interactions still carried over from our marriage.
Tim then started battling his own insecurities, and decided to deal with them in the gym
I had my own insecurities. When I was home, I didn’t feel like my wife was excited to be with me, because she was more concerned with the excitement of other things in life. I’m admitting my big insecurity. I began to seek that adoration from my career. I thought, “Well, I want to be in the best shape of my life. I want to be the best performer.” I didn’t want us to be one of those bands where we hit our thirties and we all slowly go downhill. I decided to start going to the gym. I was insecure [about my body]. I started paying more attention to tiny details about my body. If there's anything that really caused a big divide in our relationship, it was those insecurities. Mine were obviously much worse, as far as being unhealthy.
On taking steroids:
It’s a stupid justification, looking back, but I had hit a natural plateau. My body didn’t want to change beyond a certain point. I thought, “Well, everyone takes these supplements that are as close to steroids as you can get. Why not cut the crap?”
After continually trying to justify steroids, he almost implies that the steroid use is what caused him the cheat until admitting this was all ultimately his decision:
“Did he cheat on his wife because he was taking steroids? Or did he cheat on his wife and let his lustful mentality get the best of him and allowed his insecurities to drive him from there?” They are all factors. It was a perfect storm. In the past, those things hadn’t [caused me to cheat]. But they had planted a seed. Now, when it all comes down to it, I’m the one who decided to take steroids. I’m the one who didn’t address certain issues in my marriage.
Apparently, everybody takes steroids:
The first time a guy said I should consider steroids, I said, “Well I’m just going to change my routine and shock my body with some new exercises.” He had way more gym experience than me. He said, “Yeah, that’ll help a little bit, but it’s not going to get you what you’re looking for,” and then comes the sales pitch. I found out a lot of guys I had always looked up to—who I assumed didn’t take steroids—were taking them. Even some guys who claimed to be straight-edge!
On how he rationalized cheating on his wife through athiesm:
I ended up touring, so I finished it up through a distance study program. I switched from philosophy to religious studies, as they wouldn’t let me do philosophy via distance learning. I’d get three pages of the traditional evangelical conservative point of view, then three paragraphs or sometimes even just three sentences from the atheist perspective. But even in just a few sentences, I’d think, “This point of view makes more sense,” even when it wasn’t being well represented. In the process of trying to defend my faith, I started thinking the other point of view was the stronger one.
The first time I cheated on my wife, my interpretation of morality was now convenient for me. I felt less guilty if I decided, “Well, marriage isn’t a real thing, because Christianity isn’t real. God isn’t real. Therefore, marriage is just a stupid piece of paper with the government.”
Back to the steroids:
Taking anabolic steroids can make you feel like you’re above everything. The heightened hormones make you feel literally invincible. I didn’t plead insanity or anything. But I did have insane thoughts like, “I can casually do all of these things I’ll never get caught for, and my life will be immediately better if I just do what’s best for me.” It was almost as if the rest of the world didn’t exist. It’s insane for me to think about now. I wasn’t capable of thinking through steps two and three and how much it would hurt my kids? Or how much all of my other relationships would be damaged or destroyed? I’ve always been the thoughtful, over-analyzing type. Clearly, there were major changes happening there.
His true explanation for being accused of writing satanic lyrics in Pyrithion:
As far as the video I did explaining Pyrithion’s lyrics… I was trying to put out a fire. I was afraid it would affect As I Lay Dying sales, which would affect my overall income. I was trying to put out the fire by saying the easiest thing, “I’m not a satanist!” Truthfully, I was an atheist. The “strategy” I had at the time was cowardly. Two of the songs on that record were about coming to grips with the idea that life has no purpose, no meaning. These were negative themes I wasn’t “allowed” to deal with in As I Lay Dying songs. I thought making As I Lay Dying darker would be bad for my career. That was my thinking.
Naturally, he throws the rest of his band under the bus for not being Christian either:
I actually wasn’t the first guy in As I Lay Dying to stop being a Christian. In fact, I think I was the third. The two who remained kind of stopped talking about it, and then I’m pretty sure they dropped it, too. We talked about whether to keep taking money from the “Christian market.” We had this bizarrely “noble” thing, like, “Well, we’re not passing along any bad ideas. We’re just singing about real life stuff. Those kids need to hear about real life, because they live in a bubble.”
If his bandmates knew he was cheating:
They were all pretty aware of what was going on. But none of them called me out on it. Looking back, I wish they had been like, “Yo, dude, is this really how you want your life to unfold?” I understand it was awkward. “We know he’s cheating on his wife, we know he’s going to end his marriage, we know he’s on steroids.” They all definitely knew I had [strayed] from my marriage and at least some of them know about the steroids.
After chronicling the issues he had after the seperation, we get to the meat of the story:
This guy at my gym, my workout partner, I just expressed to him how sad I was. I asked the guy I had been buying steroids from, the steroid dealer, if we could meet. I’m talking to him in the parking lot one afternoon and I go, “Hey, how’s it going?” He goes, “Pretty good, unless you maybe need me to kill somebody for you.” Like that, right off the bat.
I’m kind of like, “Whoa, what are you talking about?” He goes, “Well I’ve heard you’ve been pretty frustrated with your wife…” He just kind of had—I mean, he’s a steroid dealer. He has a sketchy background, you know what I mean? So I’m thinking, “Geez, where’s this guy going with this?” He starts asking me these seemingly rhetorical questions. “Have you tried working things out with your lawyer?” I said yeah, but it was going to be a couple of months before I saw the judge. “Have you tried taking them to a social worker? Like a counselor?” I said yes and the social worker had met with the kids.
He goes, “Well, you know your other option is I can hook you up with somebody that could do this.” And he goes, “Can you think of a better option?” He’s asking it like it’s a rhetorical question. I remember thinking at the time, “This doesn’t feel right. This doesn’t feel like my best option.” But my thinking at that time… As much as I wished there was a better option, this is my best option. Obviously, right now, I can think of a dozen things and I understand the legal system much better. Legally speaking, there are emergency type things where you can get a judge to see you earlier, which I didn’t know. There are dozens of things I can think of now. But I just started to develop this mindset of, “Alright… I guess this seems like the path I’m going to have to go down.”
As for why he met the supposed hitman, Red
Brett calls me right before I leave for the Asian tour. He says, “Hey man, I really need to talk to you.” So I go and meet him. He says, “Hey, I’ve got this guy, we’ve got it all set up. His name is Red. He’s from Texas. So when you’re on tour, sometime when you’re in Texas, I’ll have him come meet you.” My curiosity got the best of me. “This sounds interesting. This Red dude sounds gnarly.” At that point, whether a crime was going to happen or not, I was just super-interested to meet this dude. I mean, you meet a lot of bizarre characters on tour. I was curious.
After going on to say he assumes his friend Brett was wanted for something and using Lambesis as a scapegoat to get out of a charge, he continues to tell the story of meeting Red from his perspective:
So I get back from Asia late at night on May 6. I’m woken up May 7 by a phone call from Brett. It was probably only 10 or 11, but with jetlag, I was still asleep. He’s like, “Remember that guy Red I was telling you about? He’s in town. He’s going to leave soon. You have to meet with him today.”
A guy calls me, says he’s Red. He goes, “We’re not going to talk about anything until we meet in person, but, I need you to bring me these things in order for the meeting to happen.” He specifically says, “I need you to bring me pictures, an address and $1,000 for expenses. So, I’m thinking, “He’s going to be doing some research. We’re not committing a crime right now. It’s just research.”
The moments leading up to the arrest:
I’m thinking at this point we’re still doing research. He asked me for money for “expenses.” As the conversation goes on, he’s trying to get me to be more direct. He’s like, “I don’t want to do a job where I thought I was just supposed to beat somebody up and I was really supposed to do something else. I need you to be really specific.”
I was like, “Man, I just want her gone.” I wanted to make the hurt stop. That’s what I was focused on. I know this sounds ridiculous, but it’s like a big bear defending its cubs. Whatever I had to do, you know what I mean? It’s not in my nature to be growly and gnashing my teeth. I’m a pretty calm guy. I’m kind of passively saying, “I want her gone.” It’s just too much for me to handle. I don’t know how to handle any of it.
He’s pushing. “I want you to specifically say exactly what you want.” I’m thinking, “Is this dude stupid?” Obviously, I’m the one who is stupid. But in my mind, at the time, I’m thinking, “Man, I’m making it pretty clear here.” He says, “Just to be clear: You want your wife dead?” So right before I leave, I walk over to him and I say, “Yeah, just so you understand.” I don’t know why I didn’t realize I was the stupid one. There I was thinking he was the stupid one. But I’m really the stupidest dude in the world. That’s when I said, “Yes, to answer your question specifically, that’s what I want.” He’s got that recorded.
He asks me if I brought the stuff he asked me to bring. I said yes and that it was in the car. We go to the car, I hand him the envelope with everything in it through the window, I kick my car into reverse, look over my shoulder to back up, turn around and kick the car into drive and as soon as I turned my head back around, there was a gun at my head.
On the severity of the situation not kicking in:
So, they stuff me in the back of the cop car and I'm going down to the station. All I can think of at the time, because my mind is just so… I'm like, “Hey, how long is it until we get to the station?” They're like, “I don't know, maybe 20 minutes.” I’m 6’3”. I don’t fit in the little grooves where your head is supposed to go. My knees are hitting, my shoulders… I’m thinking, “Man, 20 minutes is a long time to be sitting like this.” That's how insane my mind was.
As for why he never told his fans to lay off Meggan:
To answer your question about why I didn’t tell people to lay off, as far as I knew, she wasn’t in hiding or scared for her life. A mutual friend of ours was walking down the beach on Memorial Day weekend. He saw Meggan on the beach, right out in front of her house, on one of the busiest beach days of the year. She clearly wasn’t in hiding.
As for his contact with the rest of his band:
Jordan did return my phone call. The other [band] guys didn’t return my calls when I first came home. I eventually did speak with Nick [Hipa, guitarist], really briefly. I mean, really briefly. In both cases, we never got to the details. I thought they were establishing communication, as if we’d eventually be able to talk about all of these things. But then it was almost like there was some sort of group thinking going on. It was like they all decided, collectively, not to talk to me. They cut off all communication. I sent a very long, very formal apology to all of them, trying to make amends, acknowledging how heavily my actions had impacted their lives. I got no response, so I sent another one out.
In the second one, I was just like, “Look, I know I don’t deserve forgiveness. But I just want to begin this process…” I got really brief responses from Nick and Jordan, acknowledging they had received it. Jordan said everybody just needed more time and that I was kind of hassling them, like, “leave us alone.” So I just stopped bothering them. The last email I sent was just like, “Guys, I’m not looking for a business opportunity, or to make everything okay so we can make more records together. I just considered you guys friends for a long time…” I just wanted to reach out on a friendship level. What I really needed during this difficult time were my friends. I thought they just needed more time. These emails were spread out. The last one was like nine months after I was arrested.
I’ll just say this: they made it very clear that we were business partners and nothing more. It’s heartbreaking on a personal level, but there’s nothing wrong with doing that. I have to respect it. It’s their choice. But when there are business decisions to be made, I can’t sit waiting around for answers from people who won’t speak to me. I’m definitely not going to wait for a five-person consensus, if it’s just business. The ownership of the As I Lay Dying business is actually only two people. It’s Jordan and I. We used to make things more democratic, even though Jordan and I had veto power. But for whatever minimal business that’s left, it’s Jordan and I. I would never jump back into a van or a bus [with all of them]. I want to be surrounded by people who are trying to make each other better on a personal level and aren’t just trying to make good music.
As for Lambesis' future with music:
I’m not necessarily writing a solo record, because Metal Blade could tie that up. I’m not really writing an As I Lay Dying record. It’s really just music for my friends, my family and myself. They will eventually see the light of day, but I’m not writing with any grand expectations.
Metal Blade could have cared less about anything I did [after my arrest]. But then the Austrian Death Machine record came out and sold more than any of the previous ADM records. So then the President of Metal Blade calls up Artery Recordings and is like, “Oh, by the way, I just want to remind you that was a one-off deal, letting Tim do that record with you.” I’m making music as therapy through this difficult time. If it becomes this big standstill about marketing, and record labels, I’d rather these songs never see the light of day.
The entire six page article is absolutely worth your time to read, as it goes way more in depth on these and other topics.