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Интервью Five Finger Death Punch 2014

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Five Finger Death Punch have continually gone from strength to strength, to say they’re one of the hardest working heavy metal bands is an understatement. If putting out two albums in 2013, double-parter The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell’, isn’t enough evidence to prove their tenaciously dedicated elbow-grease, selling out Kentish Town Forum for two nights on top of a largely sold-out Asian and European tour should indicate that 5FDP have put in the legwork to become one of the biggest players in the contemporary metal circuit.

Standing at the bar in the Forum and it becomes clear that Five Finger’s fanbase are ridiculously courteous and polite, those who see metal fans as angry, devil-worshiping scoundrels couldn’t be further from the truth. Even if they do worship the devil, a mosh pit is rife with camaraderie and brotherhood, plus they all remember their please and thank-yous.

5FDP entertain with vigorous precision, each member’s instrument an extension of their body and, despite being on the tail end of an extensive tour, hugely energetic performers. From the moment they launch into opener “Under and Over It” to crowd-favourite closer ‘The Bleeding’, frontman Ivan Moody leads the crowd through a non-stop barrage of the beefiest of metal tunes. They stop between songs to throw knock-off merch that they found being peddled outside with the words “F**k Pop, Let’s Rock” imprinted on them before pulling out a raucous version of ‘Bad Company’, Jason Hook’s flawless command of his LED-embellished double-necked guitar notwithstanding. Five Finger Death Punch pull out all the stops when they perform, whether they’re on a down-tempo ballad or an all guns blazing attack, they’re a spectacle to behold.

MUZU.TV caught up with their bearded bassist Chris Kael ahead of the show to talk all things Five Finger Death Punch.

How has the tour been going so far?

Its been unbelievable, great, honestly. We started off in Okinawa, we did a marine base there, we went to Auckland, New Zealand for a festival, Soundwave in Australia, Soundwave to Singapore, Singapore to all of Europe and now finishing up in the UK before we head back

Has there been any memorable moments so far?

One of the cool things was right in the very beginning when we played in Okinawa at the military base. You’d expect the military to be very rigid, very regimented throughout the day so you don’t know what to expect from the military crowd. As soon as we started the first song there was a barricade that got lifted up and passed out across the crowd, people going in the pit, it was crazy! So I mean that’s a hell of way to start off a seven week tour in Okinawa, Japan with people going that crazy in a military base. It was playing to US military marines, so yeah they had a whole lot of sitting around, doing their drills and being regimented so they definitely needed time to blow off steam and the barrier was lifted up at the very first song and thrown to the side.

I couldn’t speak to you now without mentioning your most recent video for ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ which is absolutely epic! I heard there was tons of footage that you had that was great but obviously you had to chop it down to under 4 minutes…

Oh yeah, we’ve got a massive amount of footage that will eventually end up in a director’s cut so you’ve seen the short version now. It was an incredible experience being out there in the middle of the Las Vegas desert with all those hot rods, my buddy Steve Darnell actually does all those Rat Rods and built the full set out there in the desert. It’s a dry lake bed out in Vegas and we were driving our cars down through there and there’s nothing, nothing, and then a little, small town pops up and that’s where he had built this whole little scene over there. Some ridiculous Rat Rods in there, man we had helicopters, tons of cameras just a great, great vibe and it was a lot of fun that day – rough day of work!

What was the concept behind the video?

The inspiration was a Zoltan thing on that one, he directed it so it’s really his vision. Essentially, the idea is basically crooked gambler tries to borrow money from people that he probably shouldn’t be borrowing money from in order to make a profit. He’s given very strict guidelines as to what he’s supposed to do to be able to make that money, takes it in there, and as happens in Vegas all the time – we live there, we know how it is – you lose it all and then somebody wants to come shoot you in the head. That wraps it up in a nutshell! Had a chance to dress up in some fun costumes that day, kind of a Mad Max theme, I got to play an enforcer essentially so I got to walk around all day mean muggin’ the entire time!

Last year you released your two-parter, ‘The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell’, how’s that gone down with the fans?

For us to put out not only two albums in one year, but to put out two albums that both debuted at number 2 on the Billboard charts with songs called ‘Burn Motherfucker’ and ‘As Angry As You’ you know, for us to be able to do that, it’s a hell of a feat. People these days aren’t buying nearly the amounts of that they were buying back in the day and for us to be a metal band that has three gold records under our belt and two new ones on their way to doing that as well, essentially by this time next year we’ll have literally five gold records underneath our belt, being a band called Five Finger Death Punch playing heavy metal! That’s a testament to the fans we have that are appreciative, that know buying records is a part of the process, without the record sales we can’t put the money into doing these huge shows that we do.

If we weren’t selling those type of numbers, we wouldn’t be able to come over here and do all the European tours, all the Australian tours, you know? So we’re very appreciative that they understand that, as cool as it is to steal these days, if you really want to support your band and really want to see your band, you gotta buy the record to give us the vehicle to get out here and be seen.

You’ve been a part of Five Finger Death Punch since 2010, in that time what stands out as defining moments for you so far?

Obviously on the new record having Rob Halford of Judas Priest singing on the disc. One of the big highlights for me where it really set in was live when we played the Golden God Awards in LA, we snuck Rob into the venue, didn’t tell anybody he was coming out and singing with us and it was a complete surprise to everybody, and getting up there and singing backing vocals with Rob Halford of Judas Priest! I remember sitting around as a little kid listening to ‘Screaming for Vengeance’ that many times, acting like I knew how to play guitar way back then! Fast forward twenty years and I’m acting like I know how to play bass now but Rob Halford is actually there!

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened in your time with the band?

Honestly, the craziest thing to me, cause again I went literally from bartending in Vegas to being in one of the biggest rock/metal bands in the world right now, I’m still the same person and I haven’t changed but you see the reactions of people. Like just the other day we were in Cologne and I went sightseeing and was walking back the venue and this real polite girl comes up and says “Are you Chris Kael?” and I say “yeah”, “from Five Finger Death Punch”, I say “yeah” and she says, “what are you doing just walking around!?” “The hell am I supposed to be doing? I am supposed to be hiding in the tour bus, back in a room somewhere?”

You’re pretty hard to miss with that beard of yours…

With the beard you can’t hide! I have a very visible presence and you can’t get away. If you see me walking around with this beard then you know it’s me because nobody else has got it.

Have you guys been penning any new songs, is there another album in the pipeline for this year?

I mean we’re always writing, honestly, Jason Hook always talks about writing being like a muscle, you know you always want to work that muscle all the time because if you don’t work that muscle it’s going to deteriorate and you’re not going to have it anymore. So we’re always writing, we’ve been writing ever since we first started playing instruments way back in the day so the muscles strong, materials strong, we’re out on this album cycle right now for Volume 1 and Volume 2, things are plugging away, really going through Europe and reactions have been great.

We’re coming back and doing a lot of touring but yeah, the writing muscle never stops, we’re always working on that, that way you don’t get into the studio and be like “err, what do we have to do right now?” So we always have a solid amount of songs going into the studio before we even press record.

The last time you guys came through I saw you supporting Avenged Sevenfold at Wembley…

With that Avenged Sevenfold tour that was realy cool for us because back in the States we’re not really used to opening up for people any more, you know, it’s our show, we bring our own production and to be given the opportunity to come back and open up for Avenged, good friends of ours, and be forced to go out there and kill it again it really gave us a hunger where we’re not resting on our laurels any more, we’re coming over here and building the fan base. It shows now that we’re back here on our own headline tour, playing all these sold-out shows – I think 90% of these shows have sold-out on the European and Australian tour, so yeah, they gave us a hunger and really lit a fire under our ass and gave us that ol’ Pantera swagger! We’re here, we’re Death Punch, get on board!

Your reach as a band now is pretty extensive and you’ve got quite a devoted following around the world…

It’s amazing the reach that this band has, we’ve got fans all over the world and it really comes down to a testament of the song itself. That’s first and foremost what we’re worried about, you always want to write a good song, the song that will last forever. We can get up there and be as brutal as we want, as pretty as we want but unless it’s in the form of a good song, no-one is gonna give a damn, you know it’s not going to reach near the amount of people that you can through a good quality song.

You guys are always very engaged on your social media with your fans, always replying and talking to them. How important is this to Five Finger Death Punch?

The whole idea, cause again I’ve been in the band for 3 years now, I thought about the opportunities social networking provides not only for me but as a fan too. Were I able to be a 13 year-old with a Twitter account and reach out to ask Gene Simmons a question and have him answer me, I’d be like “what the hell!?” I was very conscious about staying on top of that, as all of us our in the band, you know we all have our own Facebook pages and everything out there is run by us, not a staff that answers questions for us it’s actually us. But if you ask me in a message on Facebook or Twitter “Is this the real Chris Kael?”, I will always say “no”, just because don’t ask me that question!

What does Chris Kael do on a day off?

Right now I’m a huge fan of college basketball and my college basketball team just got into the final four. I’m a big fan of the University of Kentucky Wildcats, went to college there and last year was not a good year for Kentucky basketball but this year we’ve defied the odds and are in the final four and have a really good chance to win the whole thing! So I’m always following college basketball, NFL, living in Vegas, I’m a casual sports gambler. Also, a lot of working out too, I recently on the last break started lifting weights for the first time and I used to do a lot of MMA, Ju Jitsu and Muay Thai, now I’ve really taken a liking to weight lifting.

What are you looking forward to in 2014?

We’ve got a lot of festivals coming up, we’re going to be doing a headlining tour hopefully at the end of this year in the States. We’ve been focussing on Europe quite a bit right now developing that fanbase, so we’ve been away from home for a little while so looking forward to getting back there and seeing some familiar faces and playing for the American crowds again.


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