Having previously caught up with Five Finger Death Punch’s six string player Jason Hook backstage at the Download Festival in June (read that interview here), FFDP returned to the UK on a press trip at the end of August. Rocksins was lucky enough to have some time with Jason once again, so we sent Fran along to catch up with him and see how things had progressed over the Summer.
Download Festival was the only major UK show you’ve played this year and the reaction was pretty amazing, how did that feel?
Jason: “Yeah good, I think it’s important to have a good Download show, there’s a lot of people there watching, a lot reviewing and it’s hard to tell what will happen, so it’s nice that we got a good show.”
Do you think your time away got the fans even more excited to see you?
Jason: “Yeah I think so, I mean it’s the kind of thing where because we don’t come very often, the people who are anxious to see the band obviously get very excited, we’re trying to make more time for the foreign countries for this year and next.”
How was the rest of the summer’s festival season? Particularly Mayhem Festival?
Jason: “Mayhem was great, Mayhem is a really fun summer tour, it’s all day, it’s hot, there’s loads of people, loads of bands and lots of extra activities going on so it’s a very cool day.”
How do festival crowds in the US compare to those over here?
Jason: “I think they’re crazier here in the UK.”
So moving onto albums, the first volume of your new double album was released exactly a month ago, that again had an amazing reaction, hitting number one in the Official Rock Charts, how was that for you?
Jason: “Well better than being number 2 (laughs), we can’t complain though, things are going really well, people like the band and like the record so I feel really fortunate.”
There’s a pretty impressive handful of guests appearing on that album, massive names in metal from obviously Rob Halford to Jamey Jasta, how was it working with all of them?
Jason: “Well for me Rob Halford was certainly one of the more special moments, we hadn’t met him before but we were throwing round ideas working on “Lift Me Up” and somebody suggested that it sounded like an old Judas Priest riff, so that turned into imagine if we could get Rob Halford in! It’s fun when new meets old, he’s telling all these stories and has lived through so many different things so it’s just so fun for us to hear the stories.”
What made you decide to put a group of the songs with guests on as alternative versions at the end of the album?
Jason: “I don’t know, the original idea was that with Rob Halford’s song, that was the only version on the record, then we started to do that more and more with different guests, so we had a talk whether they should be on the record properly or if we had both versions and that’s what we ended up deciding, it means the fans can choose which version they want to listen to as well.”
Can we be expecting some similar guests on the second volume coming out in November?
Jason: “We do have a couple guests but they won’t be on the record properly, they’ll all be released as separate tracks.”
Has the insanely positive reaction to The Wrong Side Of Heaven and The Rightious Side Of Hell (Vol 1) put any pressure on the release of Volume 2?
Jason: “Not really, both are done so I think if anything the excitement from Volume 1 has helped the second, people can’t wait to have another part of it.”
Obvious topic, but you have the massive Avenged Sevenfold tour coming up, how are you feeling about it as it slowly gets closer?
Jason: “I think it’s going to be a really great tour, it’s a band that we’ve always thought we’d be a great pairing with, we do share a similar kind of fanbase so I think the tour will be a huge success.”
Will you be using it as a chance to play a lot of new stuff?
Jason: “We’re going to learn about three or four songs off the new record, as in Volume 1, I’m not sure how many will make it into the show but I think it’s time to switch it up a bit, we’ve always played the same core set give or take a few songs, I think it’s time for some new material”
With both volumes being out by then there’s a lot to choose from, does this make it harder to pick the setlist? Instead of when releasing the standard one new album.
Jason: “We don’t want to put too much new stuff in, it is a lot and we don’t want to kill the audience, obviously we won’t have the longest set on this tour either so I don’t think there will be anything off of Volume 2 yet.”
It’s only a short tour but are you looking forward to being on the road with the guys from Avenged Sevenfold and Device?
Jason: “Yeah, I’ve only met M Shadows once so I think it’ll be interesting to see how we all fit together, but I anticipate it’ll be a lot of fun.”
So what kind of stuff do you get up to on tour?
Jason: “Just recently we’ve started bringing motorcycles with us and that’s been fun, it’s a nice added freedom from being trapped in hotels or on the bus. Other than that I stay pretty quiet, I play around a lot on computer software, real geeky shit (laughs). We’ve tried to live the crazy lifestyle but it’s way too hard to maintain that but still play and do interviews and stuff, so we keep it down.”
Thanks for chatting today, just one last question, do you reckon any members of the band would be able to deck a horse with one punch?
Jason: “I don’t think I’d like to try it myself, maybe Zoltan he’s got some martial art chops (laughs).
As discussed above Five Finger Death Punch will be back in the UK with Avenged Sevenfold and Device to play some arena shows at the end of 2013. Full details of the tour can be found here. The second part of Five Finger Death Punch’s double album – The Right Side Of Heaven & The Wrong Side Of Heaven Volume 2 will be released on the 19th of November 2013. Any further updates from the FFDP camp about the tour, the album or anything else will be available here as and when we receive them.