Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch Opens Up About “American Capitalist”, Movies, “Under and Over It”, Being a Dad and More
Fri, 05 Aug 2011 10:42:47
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Five Finger Death Punch have been making statements since the moment they burst onto the scene in 2007 with The Way of the Fist. Each one of those aforementioned statements has hit like a sledgehammer and paved the band's path to becoming a leader in modern metal. However, on their forthcoming new album, American Capitalist [Available October 11, 2011], is a decimating declaration of classic proportions. From the entrancingly violent "Under and Over It" and "If I Fall" to the searing vulnerability of "Everything", Five Finger Death Punch leave every bit of blood they can on the tape. It's a metallic rollercoaster about to derail at any moment in the best way possible. This is the release that will cement Five Finger Death Punch as the kings of 21st century heavy metal.
In order to dive deep into American Capitalist, Five Finger Death Punch singer Ivan Moody spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about the first single "Under and Over It", the theme at the heart of the album, movies, advice from Rob Zombie, and how being a dad influences his art…
After you record a song does it take on a life of its own and evolve? Has "Under and Over It" undergone that process yet?
They absolutely do evolve. When I wrote the song, it was more of a lashing out. As I've listened to it and to other people's reactions more, it tempers the inherent anger, releasing it in a fun and witty way instead of letting it sit inside and fester. We just played in Tulsa, OK, and a kid walked up to me and said, "That has got to be the wittiest song I've ever heard in my life". I think that was the coolest compliment I've ever received. It shows that somebody's actually listening to it beyond the aggression of the scream or how hard the guitar is. He was listening to what I was saying and he got it. Singers like Maynard James Keenan and Mike Patton have such a great way of executing sarcasm. At the same time, you know there's a certain amount of seriousness. To know someone else got that out of the song is a pretty proud moment for me.
What's most special about "Under and Over it" for you?
The verses are so powerful. It's just like the old saying, "The grass is always greener on the other side". People have heard it a hundred times but music is an industry. It's really hard to get through this. You have so many fingers in everything you do. Opinions are thrown at you constantly, and your life is basically on display. That chorus is me saying, "If you really truly want it, this is what's going to come with it. I'd love to trade you for just one day." There are some days where I'd love to wake up, work the job the rest of the world's doing, live the same schedule they are, and be able to sleep in my bad every night. That's not a reality for me though. It's an amazing job, and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. At the end of the day, it's just as taxing as anything else in life.
Audiences don't realize how grueling touring in a band is.
Everybody says, "It's the hurry up and wait game." The music industry is all about hurry up and wait. One time, we were talking to Rob Zombie backstage, and he looked at me and said, "Just remember that you never get paid for that hour you're on stage. You're getting paid for the 23 hours of bullshit you have to deal with getting there". I thought that was genius, and I've always tried to keep that in my head.
Are you most excited to bring American Capitalist to life on stage for that hour?
Most definitely! Being on stage is therapeutic. It's that one hour of release of who I really am on the inside. With the new material, the production we're going to have involved, and everything we're doing, everybody is going to walk away from it with either a smile or a middle finger in the air from being there [Laughs].
How connected are the lyrical themes and the stage show on Share the Welt?
They're absolutely intertwined. We didn't make a story for the album, but by the same token we wanted all of this to go hand-in-hand. It's almost symbiotic with the music. What we're going to bring to the stage production-wise is so in line with the music we're playing. I'm pretty awed by it. I've lived for so long, saw so many shows and ideas, and I couldn't wait to get to the point where I could do something like that for our fans. Now, we're in that position. If we didn't go over the top with our production and make sure these people are going to make the most amazing show they've ever seen, then we're neglecting who we are and who they've given us the right to be.
What were the most memorable concerts you went to as a kid?
I saw Metallica on the …And Justice For All Tour. It was Jason Newsted's first tour ever. I remember the whole brick wall that they had behind them with the statue that came out over Lars Ulrich. Iron Maiden's Powerslave tour was my first concert ever. The first time I experienced Rammstein was actually in Germany; it changed my life forever. Then there was Tool at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. Tool has to be one of the most phenomenal bands. I don't even think there are words for it. I'd love to leave people speechless in that manner. You can sift through a thesaurus and you can't find the right word to describe it. That's worth the money of the ticket. That's why the fans are so loyal.
The show becomes an experience, and those are the moments music fans live for.
I think of the quote "Anticipation of death is worse than death itself". I remember driving 45 or 50 minutes to Colorado Springs to see Tool because they weren't playing in our area. The week prior to the show, that's all my friends and I were talking about in school. We were listening to it every night and getting amped up. You can't sleep because you're so edgy about what they're going to pull off. I want that feeling. When a kid is coming to the show from school, he's been anticipating it all week and he got his tickets early. He shows up at the parking lot, and there's a smell in the air. He knows something's about to happen that will change his life. I want to be that band.
If you were to compare American Capitalist to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
Let's see…I'd definitely go with Scarface because of the American dream, finding it, enveloping it, not letting it overtake you, and if you do facing the consequences that come along with it. This album is such an emotional rollercoaster. There are so many elements to it that I've never gotten to put into music before. I don't think there are one or two movies that I could narrow it down to. It'd have to be an entire Mike & Ike's weekend festival of odd men films, pieces, and blurbs [Laughs]. I don't even think one movie would be enough. So many are coming to mind. I'd even want to dabble in old '40s films—The Ghost and Mr. Chicken maybe? You know Don Knotts? We could do it in black and white [Laughs].
What about Taxi Driver?
I'd go with that—Scarface and Taxi Driver!
The album makes an overarching universal statement that encapsulates all of these personal feelings.
You have to do that. It's like if you write a story within a story. If you're writing a mystery novel, you can't give away the ending. You can't let them know the butler may have done it. You have to underlay it as the story goes on. I really pride myself on stuff like that. I like making sure there's one giant picture, but the details create it.
The lyrics to "If I Fall" come across so vividly.
"Coming Down" is another one. "Everything" is a really powerful song. You can look at it as a third party looking from the outside and saying, "Wow, that must be rough" or you can really relate to it on a different level yourself. I absolutely wrote it about my own experiences, but I know for a fact that there are going to people who see differently in it.
Do you feel like this is always what the band was meant to sound like?
When we started out, we didn't know how to be diverse yet. Through time, we learned each other. We got the chance to dig into our roots on this album and not necessarily write for what radio was going to like or what some shmuck in the middle nowhere is going to get. We wanted to put all of our musical references into a piece of art and see how it comes out. It's night and day from the stuff we started doing. It still has some of the same elements that have drawn people in from day one.
You also preserve that metallic side.
I'm a metal kid at heart. That's where it all started with Pantera, Black Sabbath, Slayer, Crowbar, and Kyuss. I love metal. It pisses the world off, and it's one of the greatest forms of music for that reason.
Does setup the next batch of songs too?
We're not going to stop there. I live and breathe music. This is all I've ever wanted in my life. If anybody thinks we're making four or five albums and walking away from it, they're highly mistaken and we're going to prove them wrong. We're going to be here for a long time to come.
How did you choose the lineup for Share the Welt?
All That Remains is one of the most diverse heavy bands. Phil LaBonte is a great friend of mine. He's done a lot of work as well throughout the years, being with Shadows Fall and rebuilding on his own with All That Remains. His first show was opening for Motograter. That was the first time I met him over eight or nine years ago. I've seen him come up through the ranks. There are very few people in the industry who work as hard as he does. They were a no-brainer. Let's be completely honest, Hatebreed is the new Slayer. Jamey Jasta has personally put his stamp on the music industry. He's another one of those guys who has clawed and bitten his way through the ranks to be where he is. His fan base is one of the most militant on the earth. They've earned those stripes. Rev Theory are really good friends of ours. I love where they're going. Their new album is just stellar. It also creates a different element. They're a great rock band. There's rock, metal, and a heavier diverse sound that crosses different genres. Then there's ourselves. It seemed like the perfect bill to come out of the gate with on the new album. What better title than Share the Welt?
Does being a father ever influence your art?
Absolutely! From the moment that I wake up until I go to bed, everything I do revolves around my daughter. I treat other people's kids with the same respect. She is inspiration encompassed in this beautiful little girl. She's still a sponge. She's gathering information every day. She's still teaching me stuff. It's only going to get bigger and better. I see the way the world treats her and the things that will come for her. It's been no easy road for my daughter either. She hasn't gotten to see her dad more than a cumulative one year in the past six. Everything that happens in this world, the first thing I think is, "How is that going to affect my little girl?" I have to. It's the most brilliant gift ever to be a parent. I've gotten to surround her with some really great people. She's not starstruck whatsoever. She was hanging out with John 5. She had a big rubber ball she took from Zombie's stage setup. I've introduced her to Fieldy and Jonathan Davis, and to her they're just normal everyday people. I think that's great because it shows there's a certain respect but these same people are just as human as she and I. She's in love with my band. Jeremy and Zoltan are her idols. Zoltan is one of the smartest human beings I've ever met on earth. Jeremy has to be one of the funniest and most charismatic people I've ever met. It's an honor.
Are you excited for American Capitalist?
See our review of "Under and Over It" here!
Watch our 2010 interview with Ivan Moody here!