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Interview with Five Finger Death Punch

By CrpnDeth, Staff Photographer/Writer
Saturday, November 10, 2007 @ 8:38 PM

It's the Way of the Fist

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While it may not seem like the band has been around long, the band members themselves have. Taking what they learned throughout their careers and wanting to cut the bullshit out of what they do, they were all drawn together for that common goal. What came about of that union - guitarists Zoltan Bathory and Darrell Roberts, bassist Matt Snell, vocalist Ivan Moody and drummer Jeremy Spencer - is a hard hitting heavy metal debut, The Way of the Fist, and two highly successful tours - Korn’s Family Values and Bitch! We Got a Problem. Before starting off on their own headlining tour, Jeremy and Zoltan took time out to answer a few questions.

KNAC.COM: Before we get things rolling here, I gotta ask about this. The guys over at the Zombie Review have told me that Ivan is playing “the creepy Incubus that is invoked by a substance known as ‘strigios’, a rare and ancient sap that bleeds from a long forgotten tree” in Idolik Entertainment’s new horror flick Bled (set for release in 2008 - apparently they have known about it since April). How did he get hooked up with that?

JEREMY: Ivan is a huge horror movie fan and a natural actor. Our good friend Sxully wrote the screenplay and invited Ivan down for the part. He was the perfect person for the role. They even used his real screams instead of doing voice overdubs.

KNAC.COM: Are we going to be seeing Ivan in more flicks between FFDP releases or was this a one off type of thing?

ZOLTAN: I'm almost sure. He loves performing, and if he gets the opportunity I'd be surprised if he'd pass it up.

KNAC.COM: So let’s move on to the band. One of the immediate things that you get when playing your new CD, The Way of the Fist, is pummeled in the face by the double bass hammering of Jeremy Spencer. How did he come to join the band and give up studio sessions? How has he adapted to road life (or did he tour when he was in Powder)?

ZOLTAN: Jeremy was Hollywood's secret weapon, and actually he did have touring experience – but drumming up shit for people was his kick (and most importantly his paycheck if you know what I mean). He's a huge metal head though and he's been searching for a band that is worth it to invest his time. When he heard the first couple of tracks he dropped everything else and came on board. It was a lot of sacrifice on his part but the man loves his metal, he's been with us for 2 years now.

KNAC.COM: What happened in the beginning of the year to the CD release – it was supposed to be in April, then it was pushed to June, then it came out at the end of July.

JEREMY: We had to iron out some management issues and with that came some overall changes that delayed the original release date. But it worked out for the best because at the end we signed with The Firm, one of the most powerful management companies in the industry.

KNAC.COM: That effected early touring as well, didn’t it? Wasn’t the band supposed to be on the April leg of the Sevendust tour? Or what happened there?

ZOLTAN: There were talks of many things happening. After we uploaded a couple of songs to MySpace, everything went ballistic. We had around 4-5 thousand spins a day, we were landing high profile shows, there was a lot of buzz and excitement around the band. Various offers were coming in and once again it all worked out because after signing with The Firm we landed the Korn Family Values Tour.

KNAC.COM: Has the band been surprised by the reaction the CD has gotten on Billboard, Billboard’s Heatseeker, Active Rock Radio charts, etc. as well as by all your fans?

ZOLTAN: There was a certain premonition that something like that may happen, because just through MySpace and the live shows alone we gained a fairly big fan base before we even had a record out. So the reaction was immediate and very powerful. Our fans were hard core right out of the gate, many kids had our logo tattooed on their bodies, they started fan clubs all around the world. They were forming some sort of a brotherhood, keeping contact with each other, growing in numbers by the day, and it has grown beyond our imagination. It's amazing to have an arena full of people screaming "Death Punch" back at us.

KNAC.COM: What other songs on the disc really stand out for the band?

ZOLTAN: That's like asking a father which one of his sons he loves the most. Every song is a little bit different, and has a different atmosphere, but we have no fillers, it's all heavy duty.

KNAC.COM: So at your CD release party “there were enough black belts to fill up a UFC fight card”. Who is the UFC fans in the band, or is FFDP’s music just something that UFC fighters identify with?

ZOLTAN: Pretty much all of us. We watch the fights and bet among each other, but I'm the one who's the most into it though. I used to fight when I was a younger (and didn't care if I broke a hand). I can't do that anymore, you know it's hard to play guitar when your hand is sticking out of your ass, so I am more of a spectator these days, I have many many friends in the sport. I go to boot camps time to time (but ssssshhh if the band finds out they will flip out). I had the honor to stand on the mat with the elite of the martial arts world. Just the other day Dean Lister, Jiu-Jistu world champion / UFC fighter came out to visit Korn on the tour, before you know… I was rolling with him in the parking lot, trading tricks… it was awesome.

KNAC.COM: How did the relationship with Beat Down TV happen?

ZOLTAN: That was a funny situation… they were big fans of the band and wanted to do some cross promo stuff, use the songs as soundtracks… they didn't even know that I'm involved with the sport – but once they found out we were friends forever, I talk to Paul Glasco (BeatDown TVCEO) all the time… we both love heavy metal and Mixed Martial Arts… we shoot the shit for hours… he's an awesome guy…

KNAC.COM: How tough is it being in a band such as FFDP and also running Alpha Dog Combat Gear (alphadog.tv)?

ZOLTAN: Yeah… more and more people are connecting the dots and find out about ADCG - as I said I used to compete and that shit just never goes away… I wanted to stay involved with the sport so I started a Fight Gear company with my best friend… we named it Alphadog … the name says it all… It's a lot of fun because I still got to work with fighters, I go to the fights whenever I can… These days we are on the road a lot but I don't party too much… so at night we throw down… daytime I'm taking care of business. The company is a year old – so people in the fight world all know us – however the hard lunch will happen in early 2008. You'll see our shit around hopefully everywhere… it's premium fight gear for the pros – but our main line is our street line… it's kind of an urban wear meets mixed martial arts… there are many Alphadogs out there that want to 'represent'.

KNAC.COM: What did you hope to accomplish with your CD – how did you want it to stand out in today’s metal scene?

ZOLTAN: The kind of music I love and grew up on is somewhat missing from today's musical spectrum. I loved the glory days of metal. Those bands were walking the golden middle path… They were not obscurely heavy with cookie monster singers nor too sweet and poppy. They were just straight ahead metal, and we missed that lineage and that's why we formed this band. There were no big plans, we just wanted to form a band we would be fan of and wanted to make a record we would want to hear… but it seems like we are not alone… there are a lot of people out there who love straight ahead metal… there was nothing artificial about it… we wrote a record we thought kicked ass… we uploaded a couple of tunes to myspace and it all went crazy from there… it wasn't a label hyping it… it was the other way around… the labels came to us because people were talking about us… and a lot of them…

KNAC.COM: How does the band view the downloading of music? It has to hurt a newer band such as yourselves but at the same time, does it fuel bigger audiences at gigs?

ZOLTAN: I think it's fairly simple. Illegal downloading is basically just plain ol' five finger discount … It IS stealing any way you look at it. Peeps don't mean any harm of course… and they don't even know that they are actually destroying their favorite bands by doing that… They just don't understand how this all works. Making records and touring is very expensive. If a band was downloaded 10 million times but they are not selling records, they could be fairly popular yet completely broke and there will be no funds for touring, making videos and after some time of struggle they will probably just fall apart… and if you take a look around… that's exactly what happens to many new bands… All genres suffer from this but probably Metal took the biggest hit because heavier music doesn't really have mainstream support, so it doesn't sell large numbers to begin with… You want your favorite band to stick around… buy their fucking record… support the cause.

KNAC.COM: You guys have been on tour since July, with a brief break between the Korn tours (the first one started before the CD came out, and the second one began Oct 1). How has the reception been – has there been much of a difference between being on the road with no CD and then the CD coming out afterwards?

JEREMY: The response has been incredible. We started touring a few weeks before the CD was out, so people hadn't heard of us in some parts of the country. You can tell now after a few months of release that people definitely have heard it. They're singing along, and we have more and more people coming to our shows. The single The Bleeding is doing really good on Radio, even though it's a bit heavier than the mainstream, it seems like people are ready for heavier stuff… it's somewhere around #24 right now… That's also helping us tremendously… so a shout out to all the DJ's who are supporting us, and supporting metal… THANK YOU!

KNAC.COM: There seems to be a lot of “family ties” woven throughout here – Korn invited the band out on two tours (along with Droid), the two bands are managed by the same firm, Ivan previously played with Korn when he was in Motograter, and Droid is signed to Korn’s guitarist’s record label (which released their debut CD). Is Korn showing the metal love or what?

JEREMY: Korn has been really good to us. We have nothing but respect for those guys. Follow their track record of band's they've signed or help sign and they've always shown love. They've taken out those bands on tours and given them and us great opportunities and we're all extremely grateful.

KNAC.COM: How was the Family Values ’07 experience? I have heard that the Death Punch pit was the most brutal place to be - 30 shows: 11 Broken noses, 7 broken ankles, 3 broken hands and uncounted cuts and bruises, not to mention the number of venues that ran out of stretchers (Connecticut for example).

JEREMY: Yes it is true. Family Values was incredible. Our show was dubbed "The Five Finger Blood Bath" because there were a lot of injuries due to the moshpits… The Connecticut show was downright crazy – in mid-set a full blown rainstorm started and it didn't slow down the pit at all… maybe made it even crazier… the scene was out of the movie 300…

KNAC.COM: How did you keep from laughing when bands like Invitro and Twin Method hit the stage? Tell the truth, I won’t tell anybody.

ZOLTAN: Tell you the truth I don't care about what other bands are doing … we come… we crush… we go to the next town… I only care about what we do is done with perfection…

KNAC.COM: The band was also offered a spot on Ozzfest this summer – why did you pick Family Values?

ZOLTAN: We had to choose from various managements, labels, and associates… Every one of these organizations had a plan of 'attack'. When at the end we signed with The Firm, we went with their plan. They manage Korn too, so it was kind of 'given' that they would try to find us a spot on FVT so Ozzfest didn't even really come into the picture…

KNAC.COM: What is next up for the band once the tour ends on Oct. 28th?

ZOLTAN: It was an awesome ride to open for Korn, we were playing massive arenas with those guys . They were super cool to us man… everyone in Korn and their whole crew is a big family, and they took us in… we'll never forget that. It was a bit of a sad day when we had to part… they are going to Europe… we are staying in the US starting our own headlining tour right away…. Check our sites for tour dates… we'll be out on the road until mid December… and then coming back out again in January.

Thanks to all the fans who have been supporting the cause! The Way of the Fist is available everywhere! We appreciate everyone spreading the word! Keep it metal!


Five Finger Death Punch Headlining dates:

  • Nov 2 2007 7:00P Club 101 El Paso, Texas
  • Nov 3 2007 7:00P Curtain Club Dallas, Texas
  • Nov 4 2007 7:00P Jake’s Back Room Lubbock, Texas
  • Nov 7 2007 7:00P Scout Bar Houston, Texas
  • Nov 8 2007 7:00P White Rabbit San Antonio, Texas
  • Nov 9 2007 7:00P Midnight Rodeo Abilene, Texas
  • Nov 10 2007 7:00P Clicks Tyler, Texas
  • Nov 12 2007 8:00P Grants St. Music Hall Lafayette Louisiana
  • Nov 13 2007 8:00P Kryptonite Beaumont, Texas
  • Nov 14 2007 7:00P The Fire Jackson
  • Nov 16 2007 8:00P Picador Iowa City, Iowa
  • Nov 17 2007 8:00P The Ritz Warren, Michigan
  • Nov 19 2007 5:30P The Intersection Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Nov 20 2007 7:00P Machine Shop Flint, Michigan
  • Nov 21 2007 8:00P The Majestic Theatre Madison, Wisconsin
  • Nov 24 2007 8:00P Frankie’s Toledo, Ohio
  • Nov 25 2007 6:00P Mr Smalls Millvale, Pennsylvania
  • Nov 27 2007 7:00P The Rock Maplewood, Minnesota
  • Nov 29 2007 7:00P Doubles Green Bay, Wisconsin
  • Nov 30 2007 8:00P Canopy Club Urbana, Illinois
  • Dec 1 2007 7:00P LT’s Rockford, Illinois
  • Dec 4 2007 7:00P Exit/In Nashville, Tennessee
  • Dec 6 2007 7:00P The Pearl Room Mokena, Illinois
  • Dec 7 2007 6:00P Piere’s Ft. Wayne, Indiana
  • Dec 9 2007 8:00P Black Sheep Colorado Springs
  • Dec 11 2007 7:00P Belly Up Aspen, Colorado
  • Dec 12 2007 8:00P Mesa Theatre Grand Junction, Colorado

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