Jeremy Spencer, Jason Hook and Chris Kael of Five Finger Death Punch

Chris Kael, Zoltan Bathory, Ivan Moody, Jeremy Spencer, Jason Hook
Chris Kael, Zoltan Bathory, Ivan Moody, Jeremy Spencer, Jason Hook

At a recent stop on the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival, I got the chance to sit down with Five Finger Death Punch members Chris Kael (bass), Jeremy Spencer (drums) and Jason Hook (guitar). We talked about their upcoming album, touring, and their first ever concert.

‘The Wrong Side of Heaven and The Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1’, where’d the name come from?

Jason: It’s a song title and we weren’t sure what we were going to call the record. It’s a very creative process that lasts several months. Conversations start to happen, ‘What do you guys like as a title?, ‘Blah blah blah’… We weren’t going to call it that to begin with, I think the first working title was ‘Dot Your Eyes and Cross Your Teeth’. Then Ivan came in with a song called ‘The Wrong Side of Heaven and The Righteous Side of Hell’ and we thought that would be a cool title. At that point, we were thinking of two different album covers, so we were going to span the title across two CD covers if the albums came out the same day. Blame Ivan…

On this album, you guys collaborated with Rob Halford, Tech9, Maria Brinks of In This Moment and a few others. On the first three albums there wasn’t any collaborations, why on this album?

Jeremy: Nobody liked us until now… (laughing)
Jason: Everyone said no in the first two rounds… (laughing)
Jeremy: I don’t know, we were listening back to the work and some of it was appropriate for some guest spots and we’re fans and friends of these people we got, so it just lined up for us.
Chris: For the most part, it’s all people we’ve known for awhile and toured with and been friends with for so long, so we’ve just furthered expanded the Death Punch family with people we love and appreciate.

The_Wrong_Side_of_Heaven_&_the_Righteous_Side_Of_Hell_Volume_1

How did the double album concept come along?

Jeremy: We used to take a portable recording studio with us on tour and we would lay down songs or document ideas whenever we’d feel inspired or creative. We came off the Trespass America Festival really focused and ready to get into the studio so we started cranking out songs. We got up to 24 or 25 songs and we were thinking we don’t want to take any of these off the record, so let’s release two albums.

One of my favorite lines from 5 Finger Death Punch is from ‘Far From Home’ and it goes ‘Another day in this carnival of souls’. Do you guys have a favorite line from one of your songs?

Jeremy: I like it at the end of the tour when he (Ivan) goes for the last time ‘Thank you, goodnight’… (laughing)
Jason: This is the part of the interview where I’ve always wanted to answer this question and thought ‘wow this is a great line’ and now that you’re asking me, I don’t know…
Chris: Mine is ‘C’est La Vie, Adios, Good Riddance, Fuck You!’…
Jason: Yeah that’s not bad…

In your remake of ‘Bad Company’, there’s a line that says ‘The Death Punch sound is our claim to fame’. Is it hard to keep the Death Punch sound while keeping the new stuff fresh sounding?

Jason: We don’t really think that hard about it to be honest. It’s a creative process and everyone breaks down the barriers and starts to create. What happens happens, sometimes we surprise ourselves and think that’s different for us or we’re going to do this when people won’t expect it from us…
Jeremy: Or, god that was crap… (laughing)
Jason: You’ll never hear those ones… (laughing)

Do you guys have a favorite part of touring?

Jason: Where we all say goodbye… (laughing)
Jeremy: ‘See you next year’… (laughing) I like a couple of weeks in, you have all the kinks worked out, but you’re still fresh.
Jason: Me too, I notice the band always starts off with how does this go, but then we find our stride…
Chris: My favorite part is, whether it’s here or Europe, right before we go on and people know we’re coming on and they start the 5 Finger chant. No matter what’s going on during your day, you’re like ‘ok let’s do this…’

Do you guys have a favorite song to play live?

Jeremy: Ummm, I really enjoy playing ‘White Knuckles’…
Jason: I’d say ‘Coming Down’, it’s a lot of work on my side, but it’s a challenge and it’s a big sing along number…
Chris: I’m digging ‘Lift Me Up’ a lot right now because Ivan and I had to work out some vocals parts because the vocal line goes continuous throughout the entire song and we’re in 110 degree heat. So I had to step up. We trade lines a lot on that song, so it gives me a chance to back up Ivan.

KISS

What bands did you look up to growing up?
Jeremy: Fucking KISS! Metallica, Pantera, Slayer…
Chris: Don’t leave out Devo… (laughing)
Jeremy: Well, I really enjoy Devo. I like Prince too, but Kiss was my first band…
Jason: Kiss definitely hit us hard as young guys, but also Van Halen, I was influenced by Ed. Oh Deep Purple, we all love Deep Purple…
Jeremy: Not even the guys in Deep Purple like Deep Purple… (laughing)
Chris: Same for me, Kiss was a big one. We actually did three shows with Kiss in Europe. DSI (Dope Stars Inc), Gore Guts…

What was your first concert that you ever went to?

Jeremy: Hall and Oates…
Jason: Really??

Did you go alone or did your parents take you?

Jeremy: Ok here’s the deal. Kiss was coming on the Dynasty tour, but because I was too young, they were like ‘we’re making it up to you and taking you to see this Hall and Oates band’. ‘What the fuck is Hall and Oates?’ I thought…
Chris: My first one was Cinderella, Winger, and Bullet Boys. My second one was amazing, it was Corrosion of Deformity, Soundgarden, Danzig….
Jason: Mine was Rush, Signals… 1982 Maple Leaf Gardens, with the Payolas opening and Bob Rock on guitar…

Who takes the longest to get on stage?

Jeremy: Always Jason…
Chris: Yeah Jason, he’s scatter-brained…

I’d like to thank Jeremy, Jason and Chris for taking the time to do the interview. Make sure to get Five Finger Death Punch’s new album ‘The Wrong Side of Heaven and The Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1’ on July 30th! It can be found on fivefingerdeathpunch.com, Amazon.com and iTunes!

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