Mayhem 2013: Interview with Chris Kael of Five Finger Death Punch

Posted on November 11, 2013

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Mayhem: Interview with Chris Kael of Five Finger Death Punch

Five Finger Death Punch performed at Mayhem Festival in Noblesville, Ind. on Friday, July 26, 2013. (Photo by Rachael Mattice/Journal & Courier)

Five Finger Death Punch performed at Mayhem Festival in Noblesville, Ind. on Friday, July 26, 2013. (Photo by Rachael Mattice/Journal & Courier)

By: Rachael Mattice

Hoosier metal fans gathered for the festival of the year on Friday, July 26, 2013 at Klipsch Music Center -Rockstar Energy Drink’s Mayhem Festival.

Mayhem 2013 bands included Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Mastodon, Amon Amarth, Children of Bodom, Job for A Cowboy, Machine Head, the Butcher Babies, Huntress, Battlecross, Motionless in White and many more.

Q&A with Five Finger Death Punch bassist Chris Kael:

Question: You played Mayhem in 2008, 2010 on the main stage like this year, what’s different this time
around?

Answer: The biggest thing is this is Five Finger’s first Mayhem appearance with me, I’m the new guy. I’ve been playing with them for about two and a half years so this is the biggest and most important as far as I’m concerned (laughs). Things just keep getting bigger and bigger.

As Mayhem progresses, so does Five Finger Death Punch. They started doing the side stage at 2 o’clock in the afternoon in the hot sun, and fast forward so many years later, are now co-headling, bringing a bunch of toys on stage. When we heard Rob Zombie was going to be up there, we knew we had to step up our game. I think we definitely have.

 I Interview Chris Kael of Five Finger Death Punch during Mayhem Festival on Friday, July 26, 2013.

I Interview Chris Kael of Five Finger Death Punch during Mayhem Festival on Friday, July 26, 2013 in Noblesville, Ind. (Photo taken by Steve Noppenberger)

Q: What’s the competitive score for the best stage set so far on Mayhem between Five Finger and Zombie? I
heard you have something pretty intense set up.

A: Well of course I’m going to say we’re winning (laughs), and I would expect Rob to say the same thing about them. It’s not so much a competition as just a collective effort to impress the audience. I mean hell, it’s Rob Zombie, he’s been doing it for awhile and who you think of for big rock shows. He has all kinds of different stuff on stage.We’re friends with Rob and John5 so it’s fun. We collectively said “game on.”

Q: As I hear the sound check in the background, “Bad Company” is one of my favorite songs. Not only did you do a great cover, but the video was compelling too. What was FFDP’s trip to the Middle East like meeting and performing for all the military groups? Have any of you served in the military?

A: We have actually done a couple of tours over there. The one you saw in the “Bad Company” video is when they went to Iraq during the heat of battle. We’re not a band that strays away from going over there and showing support. There was a huge war going on, at one point they had to actually to do evasive moves in the black hawk helicopter because they were being fired upon. It’s rock n’ roll. 

No, none of us have served in the military, but all of us have family in it. Ivan’s got family in the military, my parents are coming out today. It’s definitely something that touches close to home for us being not only to support our family, but our extended family. 

It’s a damn near thankless job sometimes and we are in position where we can shine a light on that and show our support. Every day we have people in the military that come up and thank us for our support. It’s something that is very near and dear to our hearts and we’ll never turn our back on them ever.

Q: Tell me a little more about whats in store for your two records. Originally it was set to be released on July 23rd correct? And it’s been pushed back?

A: The new album got pushed back to July 30th, I believe it was a packaging issue. A lot of work was put into the overall package. We were in the studio from September until May for these two albums. We’re still finishing stuff on the second album.

Q: How did you get such killer guests like Judas Priest, Sepultura on the first new album?

A: For the most part, they are friends of ours. We took Soulfly out on the road with us, Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed, Tech N9ne we’ve known from various circles.The only one we had to reach out to that we didn’t know the response for was Rob Halford (Judas Priest).

We had heard before from a previous interview that Five Finger was one of Rob’s favorite upcoming bands. We wrote the song and wanted to get a metal god on the album. Four days later, he flew in to Vegas and we watched him do his thing in the vocal booth.

Q: I heard you guys brought your motorcycles with you on Mayhem tour. Is this a ritual for you? Bring your
toys instead of your animals? What kind of bikes do you have?

A: Toys are easier to take of than pets on the road. You have one idiot that leaves the bus door open and the dog is gone. I didn’t want to risk that, I have two pugs at home. I have a Honda VTX 1300C, our tour manager has a Harley Fatboy, there is also a Kawasaki, a dirt bike, a golf cart Ivan has tricked out.

I Interview Chris Kael of Five Finger Death Punch during Mayhem Festival on Friday, July 26, 2013 in Noblesville, Ind. (Photo taken by Steve Noppenberger)

I Interview Chris Kael of Five Finger Death Punch during Mayhem Festival on Friday, July 26, 2013 in Noblesville, Ind. (Photo taken by Steve Noppenberger)

Q: Name one song that is a favorite of yours but never really gets to be performed live? Are you going to perform “White Knuckles?”

A: When I first started playing with Death Punch we were playing “Dying Breed” a lot and I love that song.

That is actually the first song that turned me on to FFDP. “War is the Answer” came out and I was actually was working at at the Hard Rock Café in Vegas and I went back into the kitchen and someone had it turned up. I thought, “dang, what is that?” It reminded me of Slipknot a little bit. Two years later I was in the band playing along with them.

When I first auditioned, I think “White knuckles” was one of the songs I had to play. I don’t want to spoil the set list, but I can heavily hint.

Mattice is a producer and music journalist for the Journal & Courier. She can be reached at rmattice@jconline.com or on Twitter @RachaelM_JC.

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Posted in: 2013