Sweetwater editorial director Mitch Gallagher recently conducted an interview with guitarist Jason Hook of Las Vegas metallers FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH. You can now watch the chat below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On playing with BULLETBOYS in 2000-2002:
Jason: "That was kind of my first real gig, as far as…. BULLETBOYS had some success in the late '90s. I think their first record went gold, and it was '89, with 'Smooth Up In Ya' and 'For The Love Of Money', which was a cover song. Then they had a couple of records after that. I always thought the band was really cool — very organic and a four-piece, kind of raw, almost GUNS N' ROSES-meets-VAN-HALEN type of band. Flash forward to when they asked me to join, they just got hold of me, and there wasn't really a lot of money in it, but they had a bus and we were going on a tour of clubs. That was kind of my first experience on a real tour. And it was a lot of fun, actually, 'cause I was the only guitar player, and it was low pressure, 'cause it wasn't like we were going on to the 'Letterman' show or anything, it was just, like, these saloons.
"Every situation will teach you something, so every time I was in a situation, no matter how frustrating it was or how difficult it may have been, you're thinking, 'There's something I'm supposed to extract from this.' So figure out what it is, and then you start to think, 'Well, that's the reason I'm here then."
On playing with pop singer Mandy Moore:
Jason: "That whole thing was great. I mean, that sort of sticks with [my] original idea of, 'No matter what, I'm gonna play my guitar [for a living], and that's it.' So I started to meet more musicians, and they'd be, like, 'There's an audition tomorrow. They're looking for an acoustic guitar player. Do you have an acoustic?' 'Of course I have an acoustic.' But I didn't have an acoustic. I remember just getting a lead to go to this audition, and I went to the audition and I got the gig. So I left the BULLETBOYS situation and now we're off touring all over the world doing mostly TV shows. It was kind of a weird thing. Back then, it was 'TRL', 'MTV Beach House', all these kind of, like, 'The View' morning-show-type appearances, and I'm just up there playing, some of them were just me and her. Some pressure there. But I loved it. I was happy because I was sticking with the plan [of playing my guitar for a living] and the plan was working, and that, to me, was success. Instead of, like, lifting paletts at Home Depot on a forklift going, 'God, I should have taken the gig.'"
On his 2007 solo album "Safety Dunce", which also featured FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH drummer Jeremy Spencer:
Jason: "See, Jeremy and I had been friends… He was one of the first musicians that I became friends with in Los Angeles. He's an incredibly talented and hard-working guy, and we just clicked, and I remember thinking that, 'Whatever I do, I wanna do it with this guy.' 'Cause he's very fiery and very high-energy, exciting… So I had kind of my Alex Van Halen type. And I tried to pull Jeremy into all these gigs I had, and he was, like, 'I don't know, man. BULLETBOYS…' and all this stuff. I started playing with Vince Neil, and when I started I started playing with Vince Neil, I was trying to get Vince to do a record. I was, like, 'I've got this great drummer, and I can write all the music.' And Vince was, like, 'Yeah, cool, man. That's cool.' But I could never nail Vince down to get any work done. So Jeremy and I ended up having all this music that we were working on and recording, and I said, 'You know what?! Let's just turn it into an instrumental record, and I'll just do a bunch of leads over it, and we'll look at it like that.' So 'Safety Dunce' essentially started off being what was… we were trying to make a solo record for Vince. And it ended up being my record."