Chris Adler was born in Washington, DC on November 23, 1972. As a toddler, Chris began playing with broken sticks from his backyard on his parents coffee cans. As he grew he studied years of piano with his mother a singer, pianist and performer herself. Through middle school Chris learned alto saxophone and acoustic guitar before settling on studying bass guitar. Through high school and college, Chris performed in multiple bands and recording projects.
Once in college at Virginia Commonwealth University beginning in 1990 Chris quickly met up with musicians in the local area (Richmond, VA). Chris played bass on several records and toured the U.S. from ’91-’94. When at home, Chris tinkered with his first “trading post” drum kit in his apartment bedroom while the neighbors were at work. In September of 1994, Chris met back up with several members of his freshman dorm year experience interested in starting a band. A bass player was already in the mix, so Chris decided to put the bass back in the case and turn to the drums full-time.
“I had spent the time and rolled the dice on playing bass in multiple bands. I had toured the US, been signed to a label and toured the US. By the time I was 21, I figured it was time to move on. Maybe music wasn’t going to work out as I had hoped. I got a job and enrolled in school full time. I picked up a drum kit just for fun. I had always wanted to play.”
The learning curve was extreme for the progressive metal act, soon to be named, “Burn the Priest.”
“I was past the point of teenage idols. I didn’t want to play cover songs or sound like any one drummer. I wanted to learn the best and then retool it in my own way. The very first song I learned was ‘Message in a Bottle’ by the Police. If you’re not a drummer, you might not understand but it’s the equivalent of going for a little bike ride with Lance Armstrong.”
Burn the Priest recorded two 7-inch records, one 14 song full length CD and played hundreds of shows across the US in their 5-1/2 year career. Chris’s drumming helped drive the band and his unorthodox playing choices and agility garnered much attention and praise. The band became the most downloaded metal band of all time MP3.com which caught the attention of several record labels. The band knew that they were breaking the seams of the underground scene and forced themselves to take a leap of faith.
In the winter of 1999, the band replaced a guitar player, changed their name to Lamb Of God and signed with Prosthetic records. By September 2000, the groups’ debut CD New American Gospel was in stores and Chris was quickly approached for his first article in Modern Drummer Magazine. Chris’s atypical style, timing and speed combined with the progressive guitar work made this release stand out from the many of the underground cookie cutter metal bands of the time.
“To this day I play the drums the same way I played guitar. I riff. I focus on syncopation with the guitars and finding a universal pulse within the music”