|OOTB PUBLICATIONS | OOTB646.COM
|Local & National Entertainment Coverage Since 2001. For The Fans, By The Fans.
|The first weekend of October will mark the debut of Louder Than Life, a two-day music and camping festival in
Louisville, Kentucky at Champions Park. More than 30 bands will perform Oct. 4-5 in the Bourbon Capital Of The
World and will feature more than 70 stand out gourmet food and beverage vendors with celebrity chefs including
Vic Vegas, Bill Kunz and Chris Santos. Louder Than Life is one of the first larger events of its kind claiming a new
territory to feature hard rock and metal artists since Metallica's 2000 tour at the Louisville Motor Speedway with Korn,
Kid Rock and System Of A Down.
The Louder Than Life lineup includes powerhouse live act Five Finger Death Punch, one of the closing bands on
Sunday, October 5. Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Zoltan Bathory spoke with media outlets in a conference call
interview that included Out Of The Blue to discuss the band's fall tour (which includes Louder Than Life performers
Volbeat, Hellyeah and Nothing More), writing the double album The Wrong Side Of Heaven and The Righteous Side
Of Hell, recording with Judas Priest's Rob Halford, the norm of package tours, deciding on a set list, unity among
bands in heavy metal music and much more.
Q: The flow of song writing that went with this album, have you guys ever had a time where the songs were coming
so quick and were sounding that good and have you ever had a moment where it was that prolific as songwriters?
A: We basically write a little bit different than most bands do. Usually the band writes the music together and once the
song is done, once it feels like it’s a complete song and it has lags we like, we add vocals, we give it to our vocalist
Let’s say today I come up with a close that I think is great, I will e-mail that to let’s say Jason the other guitarist, and
then he adds a verse to that and then he e-mails it back. And then we kind of ping pong back-and-forth until we all feel
that it is a really good set, add the drums on it, send it back. And basically it’s a constant revolving kind of thing that we
[are] just balancing the song to each other; that’s how we do it. Once that is done, once everybody agrees that it's
okay, we all like it, then it goes to Ivan and he writes the vocals.
This always works for us, our way, because it’s--the marker thick I would say and it also gives us multiple layers of
quality control, so-to-speak. I mean by the time the thing is done, everybody was involved, everybody had their two
cents and everybody signed off on whatever was in the song.
Q: Each of the bands really has a very unique sound, which I guess the goal of any band is to be very identifiable upon
first listen. Does the unique nature of each band play a role in getting the bands together for this tour?
A: All these bands share a common fan base. So when you talk to people who are into hard rock/heavy metal, you’re
going to find out that fans that are fans of ours will be the fans of Hellyeah and vice versa. And so is Volbeat. But we
are different enough though that every single band has its own unique and very loyal fan base.
You go to the Hellyeah show, there is going to be a set of people that will come to every Hellyeah show, you know
what I mean? That’s their band. They have Hellyeah of a specific sound, a specific style, a specific kind of people that
they speak to, and those guys come out to specifically see them. And they will come out every time.
And we, Five Finger Death Punch, have the same thing. We have a hardcore fan base, and so does Volbeat.
When you put together a tour like this one, you have to find fans, but this fan base overlaps, but not completely.
Like you don’t want to have three bands that sound identical because then you’re hitting the same exact crowd. You
want the diversity, you want that ability of we’re going to play for both Hellyeah and not going to play for fans that are
strictly there to see Volbeat, you know.
So when you put together a deal like this, it’s important that it has a good common fan base. So I think we have
achieved that. It’s very powerful bands with their own unique fan bases, but you know, I think we’re going to have big
crowds and I think this is going to go down as one of the biggest ones of the year, when it comes to hard rock and
It sounds easy but it’s actually pretty difficult to put together a tour with three really busy bands. And when something
like this comes together it’s magical because it’s just hard to get this done.
Q: It seems as though in the last year or two a lot of bands have been coming together and going out on, you know,
three, four and even five band tours sometimes and it’s really allowed them to expand the fan base, play bigger rooms
and arenas, and that’s just what you guys are doing on this tour with Volbeat. Have you guys found that touring has
become kind of a united we stand, divided we fall kind of thing? Like let’s come together and take on an arena and kick
some ass for a couple thousand people.
A: Concert goers have a certain amount of, you know, they have a budget of how many shows they can see, right.
It’s also important that you give them value for their money. You cannot just go out there, and especially not in today’s
economy, it’s not really that great, you can’t just go out there and wing it, you have to have good show, you have to
make sure that they will get their money’s worth. So that’s one of the things how you assemble your line up.
This is the thing about the hard rock guys, the heavy metal guys, that we’re not going to go away. You know what I
mean? This is here to stay. And if things get difficult, we’ll figure out a way how to do it anyway.
And that’s what you probably were talking about, that all these bands figured out like we will get together because this
is, not that it’s a unique club, but we have such a lot of this part of the music. This part of the genre that we do stick
together because we have a long history of being hard rock, heavy metal was sort of the voice of rebellion, the voice
of, it was sort of the middle finger to the system. And that trait is still there.
Naturally, those kind of people stick together and form coalitions and that’s what you’re witnessing. This is their way of
saying like, “We are [here] and we refuse to go away.” And this is what it takes--if we have to put together eight bands,
then it’s going to be eight bands. But we will not lose, we will not lie down and we will not go away, you know. And we
are in a lucky position right now because we don’t have to have eight bands. If you put together a deal of four, but they
are really powerful, then that will do the trick. That’s where we are at with this one.
Q: How do you decide on the set list?
A: Let’s say here’s a festival, right. When you get a festival, then you’re going to assemble your set just a little bit
differently. I mean obviously that’s what we do. I look at the festival, who we play with.
If we were to go out six months later, obviously we would not put a heavier set together because I know that’s going to
be the majority of the audience. If I go out with Kid Rock and 311, then I know that I have to pick more of sample songs
because that’s what kind of audience [is] going to be there. So to a degree, the environment will modify our set.
When it’s a headline tour or co-headline tour, a situation like this where we’re close to that page, then I know that a lot
of people are going to be there to see us, a lot of the fans are inviting their friends, then they’ve probably seen the
band, 16 times already, you know.
There are going to be some songs that you get crucified if you don’t play them; you just have to play them. Because
they are that staple hit songs that everybody loves about your core sound, that’s your core song. You have to play
So that’s how you do it. You put together a list of the songs that you can absolutely not leave out from the set and then
you look up what you have left, how much time you have left.
And almost when a DJ plays music, you have to watch the crowd and how they react. It’s kind of the same thing; you
have to create a journey of upside down. You have to play maybe three (heavier songs) and then you drop in
something to give a bit of a breather to go there.
It’s an actual art form, to tell you the truth, to put together a set list that most of the people are going to be happy with.
You have to know your audience really well to do that. So that’s how we look at it; it has to be the right balance of
things. The big songs we have to play.
Q: What was it like working with Rob Halford on "Lift Me Up"?
A: The song with Rob Halford was recorded in Vegas. It was kind of like a wild idea. You know, we were recording the
latest few albums and it was an afterthought, so the record was already done.
We were listening, mixing the songs and somebody made a comment at the studio like "hey this song is, remember like
old school Judas Priest, maybe Ozzie-ish a little bit." You know, just as a comment, right. And a couple of weeks before
that we actually heard that Rob Halford said on TV that one of his favorite bands of the new crop is Five Finger Death
Punch. And, you know, that's pretty much good enough that you can hang up your guitar right there. Like you're
justified, you achieved everything. We met our god, life should end, you know what I mean.
But we had this wild idea like "hey, we know that he likes the band... what if?" It's a long shot. I mean he is a metal god.
I imagined what would he do in his down time--strike down the nonbelievers with lightning bolt? I don't know. But, you
know, let's reach out and let's see if he would actually sing on our song.
You have to imagine this scenario. We are still a new band and you're talking about the legend that was touring when
I was just popping out from the egg. I mean it's a long shot. And to our surprise he actually called and said "oh my god,
guys I like this track. And I want to be involved definitely. In fact I'm going to come to Las Vegas. I'm going to record it
there with you guys."
So instead of just doing it in a studio somewhere, he actually came to Vegas. And we were sitting in the studio, looking
through the little window there or the cameras or whatnot and Rob Halford is singing the song. I mean it was an
unbelievable kind of a surreal experience of like "oh my god, that is Rob Halford that's singing the song."
Then he stayed for a couple of days. We went out to eat. I remember driving around town, I usually drive like a
madman, you know what I mean... I'm that crazy guy. [Now] I'm doing like 40 or 30 or less, you know. Rolling down the
window, "get out of the way, metal god is in the car!" I was driving like grandpa across Las Vegas taking him to [the]
restaurant and whatnot.
Amazing guy. He knows everything about music. He's really aware of what's happening right now, what bands are out.
It's pretty crazy that after all this time, he still loves heavy metal and knows every band. I mean the newest bands, he
knew who that was, what records coming out. That was really, really shocking that he would know all these new bands.
So it was an amazing experience. And every chance we got, so far it happened two times, he came out on stage and
sang the song with us. And then once he came out and sang it on the Golden Gods Awards. So I actually can say that
we--I played on stage--if I die right now it's okay because I played on stage with Rob Halford singing one of the songs
that we wrote. So if lightening comes right now, I'm good.
Q: Your new album has gotten such a great response, charted so highly. What do you think that says about, number
one, your music and, about number two, heavy metal in general?
A: Well we are here to stay. That's what that really means. I mean look at this genre, you know, as I said people who
are into rock music, there are a couple of characteristics of rock and heavy metal music fans. One of them is loyalty.
When you get into this it's not just the flavor of the month. It's almost like you're committed, you know what I mean?
This is something like this is a lifestyle thing. It's a lifelong thing.
I don't know anybody, personally I don't know anybody, who would say "yeah man, when I was younger I used to listen
to these crazy bands, but not anymore." You know, "I used to listen to Slayer, man but now I'm a big Eminem fan."
Which I love Eminem, but my point is people who got into this style of music, people who got into the scene they don't
really ever leave. It's more than that. It's not just the music.
Because these bands are banding together and more and more of these tours, everybody's grouping together.
When the genre is not the most popular, that's when it's really tested and when you are being really tested, that's when
brotherhood happens. That's what bonds people together: hardship and suffering.
When you have to accomplish something together, those are the real bonding elements of everything in life. And when
it comes to a musical genre when it's hard, when it's not, you know, and hard rock is not the most popular thing in the
world, the believers, the bands, look at us, Hellyeah and Volbeat, we stick together and do this together and form
friendships and brotherhoods. And that's the only way.
Calm seas don't make great sailors. It's always the hardship, it's always the difficult times that forge these things.
Look at the soldier--the reason that soldiers have such a connection [is] because they really depend on each other,
their lives depends on each other. And so they forge brotherships and friendships that are lifelong and an almost
And I know it's maybe a little bit an offshoot example, but that's kind of what happens, in my opinion, with rock music
today--these bands are sticking together. And when anybody gets successful for anything, we are actually happy for
each other, you know.
I'm just happy that I'm part of this scene that I got addicted to this when I was a little kid and I'm proud to be a member
of that heavy metal community, especially in times when we are sticking together and doing something great.
Q: Five Finger Death Punch had a slew of special guests on the latest albums. Who haven't you worked with that you
might like to yet?
A: When we were talking about it a minute ago, about Rob Halford, you know, if we didn't hear from television that he
was saying that Five Finger is one of his favorite bands, that would have not come together really. I think these are
naturally occurring things.
Like if you're friends with a band or you were on tour together or who knows? These things come out of friendships
and natural connection and you can't really will it. As for who would I? I'm talking from my personal perspective, who
would I like to do something with? Maybe this is going to be an odd choice, but I would really like to do something
I really like the way he puts together his lyrics. I mean the guy is very, very talented. And I'm not really into the hip-hop
scene, but he's special. And I always imagine like how cool it would sound like, he's doing his thing and puts some
nasty, mean freaking rock heavy beats, some nasty guitar under that flow that he has, how cool that would sound.
I sometimes have ideas like that, because of the experiment's sake, I would like to hear how it would sound.
Another possibility maybe that I would be interested in would be, let's say Prodigy. I mean the beats that those guys
are bringing are freaking insane. And the first time I heard Prodigy back in the days, those guys used to be raw guys.
They used to have long hair and whatnot and I remember they collaborated a little bit with a band called Pop Will Eat
Itself, which was more of a rock band, and it was amazing. But it was only one song and it was back in the days when
they just kind of started out.
Q: Is there anything career wise that you haven't done yet that you'd like to?
A: As for [the] career thing, that what we didn't do yet, at one point I would like to make some kind of a movie. Like a
full feature movie that's sort of like The Beatles had a movie, there were a bunch of bands that made movies. And
something like that I wouldn't mind to maybe even direct it, a real movie, a band movie, come up with a cool story or
our own life stories and use our own music as the soundtrack. I would love to do something like that.
Topic: Becoming a better musician.
Whatever you do in life, right, if you want to be better, if you want to be more successful, it is actually not the thing that
you're doing that you have to work on. It's you. Because you are the person who does the thing. And in our case that
thing is music, right.
As long as you keep yourself interesting, as long as you take care of your own life you will always have something to
sing. If I sit home and watch TV and eat pizza, I tell you what, the next record I will have nothing to tell you, because
what are we going to write a song about how the Kardashian girls' ass looks like? Who cares, you know what I mean?
Because I was not living life, I was watching TV.
If you take care of yourself, in a sense of you go out and have experiences, you learn new things, you just live life to
the fullest then the music and whatever you do will come along. You always have to work on yourself. Once you're
proficient in something of course you can somewhat get better. The real point is that you work on yourself, you work
on your own personality and if you're the creator of that music then the music will follow. I think that's the key really,
to have a long lasting career that you're going to have a new record and you will have something to say.
All the artists on this autumn's Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Hellyeah and Nothing More tour will be part of the
weekend long Louder Than Life music festival in Louisville, Kentucky on Sunday, Oct. 5. Tickets for Louder Than Life
are $64.50 for single day and $109.50 for both days. For more information on VIP tickets, camping, hotel packages
and to purchase tickets, visit Louder Than Life at this link.
Zoltan Bathory, Five Finger Death Punch (5FDP) guitarist. Photo By Neil Shumate, OOTB.
Louder Than Life Artist Interview
Zoltan Bathory • Five Finger Death Punch
|Out Of The Blue
Publications Association, LLC