Jeremy Spencer: "We're Five Finger Death Punch; We Sound Like What We Sound Like"
Five Finger Death Punch appeals to a particular demographic in heavy metal: Their testosterone-driven, in-your-face music is heavy and angry at all that is evil -- destruction, internal struggles, politics, war, bullying. Every friend I have in the armed services loves them. I've heard of soldiers who've approached the band and told it that a friend was killed while FFDP was blasting on their headphones.
There's no doubt that the band -- consisting of vocalist Ivan Moody, guitarist Zoltan Bathory, bassist Chris Kael, guitarist Jason Hook and drummer Jeremy Spencer -- know how to connect with its fans, old and new.
Now the band is set to unleash its most ambitious release to date, the double-album The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell (Volume I arrives July 30). It includes collaborations with everyone from Maria Brink (In This Moment) and Max Cavalera (Soulfly) to Rob Halford (Judas Priest) and Tech 9. Catch Five Finger Death Punch at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival this Friday, July 5, at Ak-Chin Pavilion, along with Rob Zombie, Mastodon, and Amon Amarthe.
Up on the Sun talked with drummer Jeremy Spencer about the band's tightest album yet, the instrument he wished he could play, opening for Pantera, and how Tech 9 is "the best rapper ever."
Have you changed anything in your stage show? I know I've seen you guys several times and it's always high-energy, but with a headliner like Rob Zombie, are you guys bringing anything different?
Yeah, it'll be different -- we've come up with some production ideas that I think will be visually striking that we're all excited about. We're looking forward to getting up there and throwing out what we have, but I don't want to give it away.
Tell me about the first half of your double album, The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Volume 1, that's going to be released July 30.
It has some guest vocalists on there that I'm excited about. I think it's a well-rounded body of work -- I think Volume 2 is as well. We wanted to put them out on the same date, but we couldn't make that happen. So the second volume comes out in the fall sometime.
We worked really hard on these songs; [we] were in the studio about eight months. When we got up to about 23 or 24, we needed to figure out what to do with them all, so we decided on two records because we didn't want to take any of the songs off! [laughs]
I can't wait to release it. I feel like we've been in the studio for so long just to get it out there and over with! It's like a delivery.
Okay, so it wasn't a concept album or anything. It was just that you had so much good material?
Definitely not a concept album. We had started writing on the road with our portable studio. So anytime we had downtime or inspiration we would start demoing ideas. When we came of the Trespass tour last year we were pretty focused to get back in the studio. We were in such a flow we just didn't want to stop since you never know when it's going to strike.
In terms of the guest vocalists, you guys worked with Maria Brink (In This Moment), Max Cavalera (Soulfly), Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) and Rob Halford (Judas Priest), who contributed to the first single, "Lift Me Up." Who was one of your favorites to collaborate with?
Well, we also had Tech N9ne.