“We’re finishing up the album, getting ready to go to LA and do the next video,” Ivan ‘Ghost’ Moody lead singer of Five Finger Death punch tells me over the phone.
I ask him how the progress on the album is going and he seems very enthusiastic. “It’s still being mastered right now, we’re just finishing off the cover art and stuff like that.”
Co-produced by Kevin Churko (Ozzy) and mixed by Randy Staub (Metallica, Stone Sour) the yet to be released album promises to deliver not only FFDP’s trademark brutal metal stylings, but also some shit hot production.
“I got nothing but faith in Kevin and Randy,” he tells me. I ask about how it came together. “Before we even started off we knew what we were getting in to and I’m just so impressed with what the guys and myself came up with on this one. I’m really stoked, looking forward to getting out and kicking some ass with this one.”
And kicking ass is what Five Finger Death Punch do best, surprising from a band named after a kung fu kill move said to cause your heart to explode.
“We’re entertainers first and foremost. Who wants to pay 30 to 40 dollars a ticket to watch some fat guy lounge around on stage and do nothing? I mean we’re really aggressive about what we do. It is almost a competition actually. You wanna get out there and give the kids something that they need, something they’re expecting, something they would pay good money for. A good ass-kicking is never a bad thing.”
Ass kicking is bit of a running theme throughout the band and one can’t help but wonder if, were it not for metal, FFDP and Ivan in particular would probably be up on various assault charges, already incarcerated or kept heavily medicated. There is hope yet, as their legendary brutality still needs to be coaxed out and hasn’t yet assumed total control of their faculties.
“We take about five minutes and beat the piss out of each other before we go on stage.”
It’s a good thing Ivan has no trouble understanding their varying moral standards between real life and being on stage. In fact performing might be the only thing saving an annoying neighbour or irksome delivery boy from having an arm broken.
“When I go to go on stage a switch flips in my head and I become everything that society or day to day life won’t let me be. We’re not allowed to be that aggressive in day-to-day life. You’ve got to wear a mask, be tactful, be very courteous about things you do and say. It’s almost like turning on a monster when you go out on stage. All the aggravation, the pain, the sorrows and the happiness, it all comes flooding out at one point, it’s a unique situation to be in. It’s my church.”
While performing may be saving people in Ivan everyday life from injury, it would seem it’s having quite the opposite effect on those daring enough to test themselves at one of FFDP’s brutal live shows, which regular result in body counts easily matching any Stalone or Schwarzenegger efforts from the 80s.
“We have so many casualties at our shows, it’s like a body count. We always try to make sure we tell the kids before we get started – take care of each other, same old rules apply. Pick em up, don’t stomp on people. We had a girl who I told before the pit started going off ‘you probably don’t wanna stay in there’. I offered like three times for her to get out of the way but she wouldn’t do it. She ended up snapping like three vertebrae in her neck. It’s that sort of thing that the kids have to look out for.”
As to whether things have gotten more or less brutal over the past few years, Ivan makes it clear that FFDP fans are showing no signs of softening out.
“The pit is getting more chaotic if anything. I can’t really complain, I just want em to be safe. I love the fact that they put out that kind of energy, we feed off that shit. You just gotta realise there are human beings around you. The damage you do to them, a lot of the time it’s permanent. We had a kid at a show who busted his ankle wide open, the bone protruded through the bottom of his foot and he had to be gurneyed out. It can get out of control when people aren’t careful but like I said, we love the energy but we hate seeing the casualties.”
While their shows might be starting to resemble sections of Gaza minus all the bagels, it would seem the one thing about FFDP that’s looking to be casualty free is their future.
“We’re going to Japan first and then we’re coming back. At this point it looks like we’re going to have a run in with Lamb of God. There are a lot of acts we’re trying to manoeuvre around here. We’re looking at 3-4 months of straight touring so we want to make sure it’s as packed full as possible.”
If you’re up for tempting fate and a spinal lesion get round to one the following gigs:
13th August – Club 299 QLD
14th August – Metro Theatre NSW
15th August – The Hi-Fi VIC