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Randy Blythe: It is okay to do the right thing even when you’re really scared

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Lamb of God singer Randy Blythe has written a book about his 2012 arrest and incarceration in the Czech Republic following the death of a fan at a Lamb of God concert. Blythe, who was acquitted in 2013, was accused of pushing the 19-year-old fan off the stage during a show in Prague. Blythe was arrested and jailed in the Czech Republic when he and his band returned to the city for a concert following the fan's death.

Blythe talked about his memoir Dark Days during an appearance on Virginia This Morning (scroll down for a transcript of the conversation). During his visit to WTVR CBS 6, Blythe was able to fulfill one of his life's goals.

"I have ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS wanted to go on a local news morning show - a lot of my friends from restaurants have been on these types of morning shows, making crab cakes or pastries or whatever. I missed out on doing one back in my restaurant days, & NO ONE wants to have lamb of god on the local morning show," Blythe posted on Instagram. "But now that I am a PUBLISHED AUTHOR, I have been given the GOLDEN INVITE TO THE LOCAL MORNING SHOW. I HAVE MORNING NEWS STATUS & I AM UBER-STOKED. I hope they let me into the studio kitchen so I can show them how to make a refreshing summer chilled mint dessert drink, then say "Back to you, Janet!" or something zippy like that!"

It did not take Randy long to cross that off his bucket list.

Cheryl Miller: Our first guest has written a newly released memoir called Dark Days. Richmonder D. Randall Blythe, known as Randy, is the front man for the heavy metal band Lamb of God. They have released nine CDs with a new one set to drop in a couple of weeks. The band has sold millions of records worldwide and has had several Grammy nominations. But three years ago Randy was arrested and indicted on a charge of manslaughter involving the death of a young fan in Prauge. That incident, incarceration and trial are part of the story he tells in his new book. Randy Blythe joins us this morning. Good morning.

Randy Blythe: Good Morning.

CM: We mentioned that a lot of this book comes out of an incident that happened in your life a few years ago. We do want to mention you were acquitted of these manslaughter charges. This book, what was the idea behind writing it? Why did you want to tell the story of that incident and then part of your life as well?

RB: There was a lot of news coverage about this back at home, in America, when I was still locked up in the Czech Republic. And there was a lot of misinformation, because most of the pieces that were coming out were via Google translate of Czech tabloid papers. So it wasn't exactly clear.

To this day, people ask me all the time, you know, what really happened there. So I wanted to write a book to clarify the situation. Also, there are some aspects of my story that can be useful to some people. Maybe can take it and learn from some of my experiences. Because that is what I try and do now, is not make so many mistakes on my own, but learn from other people's experiences.

CM: One of the main things I got out of reading the book is that you're very open and very honest about everything.

RB: Yeah, that is what a good writer is, I think. Unless you're writing fiction. I have always been a pretty open person. I'm fairly restrained right now.

CM: Well it's an early morning for a rock and roll star. You say you want people to learn some lessons, what are the biggest lessons that you want people to learn from this book?

RB:  When I say learn from, I don't want to come off as pedantic and preachy and moralizing or anything. But basically, the story in the book of my arrest, incarceration, trial and exoneration is really a framework that carries along the theme of personal accountability, which I believe is something rather lacking in today's world.

For me, this is very, very scary experience. I was not some sort of stoic tough guy. It was scary. But, I did what I had to do. I returned for trial after I was let out on bail. I did that because I felt ethically compelled to do so. And that's what I'd really like for people to take away from the book, that it is okay to do the right thing even when you're really scared.

CM: Covering the story as a news person, we did follow you're story, and when you came back released on bail, you did not have to go back. People, I understand, told you 'don't go back.'

RB: Yes. Everyone and their uncle told me not to go back. I would have never been extradited. The United States government didn't cooperate with an investigation that the Czech government wanted. They said this was not worth their time, but they never informed me of any of this, so. But for me, it just felt like the right thing to do. I had to follow my inner, moral compass.

CM: One of the interesting things I found in reading this, you were talking about the parents of the young man who died never really confronted you. I think, in a way, you were able to empathize with them because you lost a child in your life.

RB: When you're dealing with people, there are so many preconceived notions about people, whether they're from a different culture, a different economic bracket or a different country. I think you have to look for things you can empathize with people with. I tour around the world all the time and what I've discovered is people are the same everywhere. If you can find some sort of commonality, whether it be in tragedy or in something you both enjoy, you can have empathy with this person. You can try and understand them. The world might be a better place if people tried to understand each other. It's a shocking idea, I know.

CM: Some of the stories you're sharing in your new music, come from something that you wrote while you were incarcerated.

RB: Just two of the songs on the new record dealt with that. I wrote those while I was in there because I'm a writer, that's what I do.  It wasn't like I was thinking 'this is going to be great source material' for the new Lamb of God record. They come from a very real place. So, I didn't get out a write a whole record about going to prison or anything. I'm not a gangsta rapper. Even though unlike some gangsta rappers, I've actually been to prison. I'm not going to front about something like that. It doesn't seem appropriate to use as a creative well.

The book, if people want to know about the whole prison experience, they can read the book and it will clarify everything. And the two songs that are on the record that come from that. They're real songs.

CM: Has this tapped into something new in your creative source?

RB: I've always wanted to write books. This just showed me that I could sit down and have the discipline to work in the long form prose format. That's the toughest thing, just sitting down and facing the blank page. It's not the writing itself, it's looking at it.

CM: Was this cathartic for you having to relive this experience to write the book?

RB: I would not call it cathartic or any sort of therapeutic writing. I had already come to terms with what had happened, as it was happening.

But the story needed to be told and a literary agent convinced me to tell it. I wanted to tell it artfully before my memories of the place faded. I'm a big fan of descriptive writing and I think I did a good job of creating a well-crafted book.

Randy Blythe will sign copies of Dark Days Friday night at Urban Farmhouse in Scott's Addition. The signing begins at 7 p.m.