All That Remains’ Phil Labonte on ‘Victim,’ Honoring Oli Herbert + More

2019-04-24

Story by Anne Erickson, Courtesy Photo

Interview: Phil Labonte of All That Remains talks with Anne Erickson about the band’s latest album, the loss of guitarist Oli Herbert and more

Massachusetts’ All That Remains delivers a rousing set of melodic metal on their ninth studio album, 2019’s “Victim of the New Disease.” Songs such as “Everything’s Wrong” and “Alone in the Darkness” are packed with creative energy, proving why All That Remains is one of the most popular bands on rock radio today.

“Victim of the New Disease” was the band’s final record with longtime guitarist Oliver “Oli” Herbert, who passed away last year. It’s been a harrowing time for the band, but they’ve given each other strength during this period of trial.

Frontman Phil Labonte spoke with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink about how the band has moved forward in Oli’s memory, the new album, working with WWE’s Enzo Amore and more. Read the full interview below.

All That Remains will hit the road on a new headlining tour in late May, with support from Unearth, Big Story and The 9th Planet Out. Find tour dates here.

Find All That Remains online at AllThatRemainsOnline.com, Facebook.com/AllThatRemains and Twitter.com/ATRhq, and find Labonte at Twitter.com/PhilThatRemains.

Anne Erickson: Congratulations on the new album, “Victim of the New Disease.” Your music video for “Everything’s Wrong” features Enzo Amore from WWE. That’s so cool! How did that come together?

Phil Labonte: It was kind of a surprise! I had a conversation with our record label, and they had cast me to play the part in the video that Enzo played. I thought I was clear in our initial conversation that I wasn’t going to be playing that part and that I was going to be in the wedding band playing in the video. Then a couple days beforehand, they sent the final call sheet, and they still had me listed as being the actor. So, I got the phone with my manager, and I said, “You have to find someone else. I don’t want to be the actor. I don’t want it to be about me. That’s not how we want the video to be.” So, we showed up one day, and there was Enzo. Apparently one of our production guys or director knew Enzo and called him up, and he was available. So, he jumped in, and when we showed up to do the video, he was there, we were like, “This is super cool!”

That’s great. I was surprised what a good acting job he did in the music video.

He really did, and he took direction really well, too. He was absolutely a dream to work with. He was great and did a great job, and we’re happy with how it came out.

You guys suffered a terrible loss recently when your guitarist, Oliver “Oli” Herbert, passed away. How are you guys doing?

It’s hard. We were in a band together for 20 years, and it was a shock. You don’t expect a guy at 44 to pass away. It’s been something that we’ve been trying to work through, and there are a lot of emotions, so it’s been difficult, and we’ve been essentially just doing the best we can. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to deal with this kind of loss. There can be destructive habits that people can get into, but thankfully, nobody in the band fell prey to any of that stuff, so we’re just doing the best we can.

How has Jason Richardson helped the band move forward by stepping into that role of guitarist?

The fact that Richardson has joined the band and we don’t have to worry about band things…the only thing we have to worry about is the personal and emotional side of it. We know Jason will be able to take care of playing shows and learn the songs and is more than capable of playing our music, so that’s a big relief.

What are your thoughts on the current state of rock and metal music? People often say “rock is dead,” and I personally don’t agree.

People like to talk. (Laughs) People have declared rock dead multiple times in history. I do think it’s probably cyclical. There’s time when rock is predominant, and then it kind of cools off and becomes more underground, and then a new sound will come and kick rock into the forefront again. There’s always going to be a scene for rock and heavy music. I don’t think it will ever be dead. The biggest band in the world is still Metallica. Maybe there’s a larger variety of music out there, but to say rock is dead when Metallica still plays stadiums is probably one of the more stupid things I’ve ever heard.

Very true. I was just at Metallica’s WorldWired tour at an arena show. It was sold out.

Yeah. Saying rock is dead…I don’t know of any artist or act that brings in the same kind of attendance as Metallica. You’re talking about Metallica, Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift and everybody else is a tier below them, and the people that are a tier below them that are saying rock is dead aren’t playing the same size venues that Metallica is playing. So, when you’ve got the largest touring acts out there, and Metallica is if not the largest one of the top 5 largest, I don’t know where they’re coming up with the idea that rock is dead, and I think they’re trying to punch up.

What’s next for All That Remains after your upcoming tours?

We’ve got some things we’re talking about. We’ll be busy this fall, at least until the end of October, and the response to this record has been really, really good. So, I imagine we’ll probably be looking at doing another record next year at some time, but I don’t know for sure.

Do you have any ideas for the next album yet?

No, because right now, the most important thing that needs to get done is Jason Richardson has to do a solo record. And, after the solo record gets done, then we can start talking about an All That Remains record.

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