The members of San Diego Christian metalcore rock band As I Lay Dying have reunited for a new record and an upcoming show here with their vocalist, Tim Lambesis, who made national headlines in 2013 after being arrested for hiring a hit man to murder Lambesis’ estranged wife.
After pleading guilty in 2014 to a felony murder solicitation charge, he served two years of a six-year prison sentence. Lambesis completed his parole and probation requirements in 2017.
Now, he has quietly returned to the As I Lay Dying fold.
The five-man band will perform with Lambesis on Saturday at the all-ages San Diego music venue SOMA Live, according to a post on As I Lay Dying’s Facebook page and a listing on SOMA’s website. The announcement of the SOMA show follows the Friday release of a new As I Lay Dying song and video, “My Own Grave. The video now has more than 700,000 online views on YouTube.
The band’s first new song in six years, “My Own Grave” features the blazing guitar riffs and strangulated vocal style that As I Lay Dying has long favored. The song’s lyrics of regret may be about Lambesis specifically, but are general enough that they could be about anyone owning up to the consequences of past actions.
Witness such couplets from “My Own Grave” as: The lies, the weight, deceit, decay / The lies, the weight / It's clear I lost my way / Deceit, decay / Decomposing… The deeper the walls the less anyone could hear fall / So now I know there is no one else to blame… Buried alive inside of my own grave / And there's no one else to blame / Buried alive inside of my own grave / Inside of my own grave.
It’s difficult to determine if the song is a heartfelt plea for forgiveness, an attempt to exploit Lambesis’ well-documented felony murder solicitation for commercial gain, or — perhaps — a combination of the two.
The band has yet to explain the reasons for its reunion with Lambesis, although it may do so soon. A post Monday morning on As I Lay Dying’s Facebook page reads: “It’s difficult to encapsulate all of the topics we want to address with a written statement. We understand there are many questions and we plan to address them this week.”
His apology concluded: “I do not feel deserving of a second chance and am not asking for anyone’s trust. The way many people feel about me makes sense, and only time will tell if my future actions line up with my remorse, something I pray for every day. In the last five years, the ripple effect of all my actions has extended further than a written statement can address. Thus, I will continue to apologize in both words and actions moving forward."
The reunion of As I Lay Dying appears to represent a change of heart by the band’s other four members. They had continued without Lambesis, using the band name Wovenwar, but achieved little success
Three of Wovenwear’s members — Nick Hipa, Phil Sgrosso and Jordan Mancino — bought the Bay Park music club Brick By Brick in 2014. As I Lay Dying’s decision to perform its Saturday reunion show at SOMA may be because SOMA is an all-ages venue, while Brick By Brick has a 21-and-up admission policy.
In a 2016 interview with Alternative Press, guitarist Hipa expressed anger and dismay about Lambesis’ attempt to have his wife killed. Hipa also criticized the singer for seeking to file a $35 million dollar lawsuit against two Southern California detention facilities for gross negligence and allegedly denying Lambesis prescriptions for his steroid withdrawal while in prison.
"It’s sad to see somebody that we spent so much of our lives with end up in such a place,” Hipa said at the time.
“He could have made such a great impact on this world, but he just gave in to the worst parts of himself. Even more discouraging for me is the fact that he’s trying to file a lawsuit for that amount. It says to me he’s still the same sort of personality at his core; nothing has changed. He thinks of himself a certain way, and he thinks of himself in a situation he created as a victim."
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