Five Finger Death Punch’s Jeremy Spencer talks about his new biography and 2015 plans

Jeremy Spencer is the drummer behind the bombastic sound of the heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch. In the past couple years the band has released two successful studio albums and performed to thousands of fans. To add even more to an already crazy schedule Spencer found time to pen his first book a biography titled “Death Punch’d: Surviving Five Finger Death Punch’s Metal Mayhem”. The book is a candid, no punches pulled account of Spencer’s life both in and out of the band. Media Mikes had the chance to speak with Jeremy recently about the books creation as well as what the band has planned for 2015.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us a little over view of the book and tell us why you chose now to the time to release a book like this?
Jeremy Spencer: It all sort of started around the time that I had just gotten out of rehab. I had started writing basically about my whole life as a way to process and get something outs. It was very therapeutic. Anytime I had some down time I would start writing. Once I had a large amount of stuff I started looking back over it and found a lot of it very interesting. I sent it out to my dad to get his take on it and he thought that some of the stuff I had written could be a benefit to people. He did think it needed to be edited down so I would be ostracized as it was very raw and real. (Laughs) He helped me with that and I ended up sending it off to our management and they loved it. From there they started shopping it around to the publishing companies. It wasn’t anything I was planning on but things took shape and we moved forward. Even though our band is still popular and on the upswing which is not when books from band members normally come out, but that ended up being all the more reason to put it out when we did. I think the story can help a lot of people and the positive feedback has been great thus far. This book has helped me with a lot of different things in so it just been a great experience so far.

AL: Being so fresh out of rehab was it hard to look back at some of these stories you put in the book?
JS: Some of it was horrifying! I wasn’t proud of a lot of it, especially when it was where I hurt someone. Those things made me sad. I have tried to work through things the best I can and I certainly wasn’t proud of who I was during those times. At the same time if I didn’t go through that stuff I wouldn’t be where I am now. I think by being a drug addict it forced me to look at things that I may not have if I was sober. Once you start dealing with the addiction side of things you realize that there is more deeply rooted stuff to also address as well. That for me has been a blessing.

AL: The books layout jumps back and forth between the past and present. Was that something that was a conscious decision or was that idea taken directly from your initial writings?
JS: That was something that happened during editing and was suggested by the book company. I am really glad they suggested that because it’s a bit different. I haven’t really read any books that do that. I wrote sort of chronologically and that has been done so much that we decided to change it up. I am really happy with how it turned out.

AL: Throughout the book you speak very candidly about the other members of Five Finger Death Punch. Was it difficult being that truthful knowing your still going to be working with them on a day to day basis?
JS: For sure. I definitely toned things down a bit as my intentions were not to throw anyone under the bus. I made sure to talk with the guys about anything I may have thought was questionable beforehand. I gave them a chance to read the parts they were in ahead of time if they wanted to just in case there was any worry or things like that. This project meant a lot to me and I didn’t want it to hurt anyone. I had to obviously pull back the curtains some so the reader could get a better feel for the story so if needed I changed people’s names or things like that. I was very cautious about all those things. Again there were a few things that got removed. Some of the things I found hilarious at first we decided to leave out after talking a little bit more about them because ultimately they didn’t fit well with the story. I think everyone was pleased with how the book turned out as no one was exposed too much.

AL: With the book having been out now for a few months is there anything that made it into the book that you sort of regret having in there?
JS: I am comfortable with. I don’t really want to change anything or wished I had done something differently. If that first draft I submitted would have come out it would have been terrible! (Laughs) The book went through a lot of editing. The whole thing was a process as there are just so many different steps you have to go through when writing a book. I have lived my several times over now.

AL: The band recently wrapped up a really great co-headlining run with Volbeat but, have there been any discussions about what the band will be doing in the coming year?
JS: The band has huge plans for next year. Once we get through the holidays we will be heading over to Japan for a run of shows there. After that we have a little time off and then we will be heading in to the studio to make the new record with hopes of a summer release. We also have some plans to do a few spring shows and a European run with Judas Priest. First thing first we have to get the new record done and out.

Book Review “Death Punch’d: Surviving Five Finger Death Punch’s Metal Mayhem”

“Death Punch’d: Surviving Five Finger Death Punch’s Metal Mayhem”
Author: Jeremy Spencer
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Dey Street Books

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

From the cofounder and drummer of Five Finger Death Punch Jeremy Spencer, “Death Punch’d: Surviving Five Finger Death Punch’s Metal Mayhem” is an inside account of one of today’s most successful heavy metal bands. The book is a revealing, personal journey told first hand by Spencer about the highs and lows of the rock and roll lifestyle. From the group’s early and from all point in between its all here told candidly by the man who lived it.

Very rarely do you get a tell book from a band member who’s still in the band they gained notoriety with let alone who is still selling out arenas around the world at the time of the books release. However Jeremy Spencer’s “Death Punch’d: Surviving Five Finger Death Punch’s Metal Mayhem” is the exception to that rule. From his earliest exposure to music to his first encounters with drugs and alcohol everything is here in this book. Even stories about the bands infighting and uncertainties about one another are included in this book. Again very rarely do you get this kind of access from a group who is still together and at the top of their game. Spencer tell it like it is approach really gives the book character while adding to each story compiled for the book.

At times I did find the books layout to be a bit confusing as past and present events are mixed among chapters. However this gave the book more of a real feel as it was felt like you were in the room listening to these tales from the road with the man himself. Throw in a slew of never before seen color photos and you have the making of a stand out biography worth checking out whether you’re a fan of the band or not.

Concert Review: Five Finger Death Punch and Volbeat – Syracuse, NY

Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Hellyeah, Nothing More
Tuesday, September 23rd 2014
War Memorial at Oncenter, Syracuse, NY

Our score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The haloed halls of the Syracuse War Memorial were rocked by the sonic landscape of not one but 4 great music acts. Headliners Five Finger Death Punch and Volbeat along with special guests Hellyeah and Nothing More made a stop in the home of the Orangemen as part of their fall arena tour which runs through October. Those in attendance were treated to a spectacular night of music as each band gave the crowd everything they had and more.

Starting off the night was up and coming progressive/rock band Nothing More. Though the 4 piece group hailing from San Antonio, TX set was brief the band used their time wisely delivering the best they had to offer to the fans who were still filing through the arena doors. The Chad Gray fronted Hellyeah would blast on to the stage next bathed in bombastic thunder thanks to the drumming styles of Mr. Vinnie Paul. The band has gone through a lineup change since the last time I saw adding bassist Kyle Sanders and guitarist Christian Brady but the two meshed well with the other members resulting in a quality set.

Danish import Volbeat would follow hitting the stage accompanied by a sea praise to which they returned the thanks will a 14 song set that mixed newer songs such as “Doc Holliday” and “The Hangman’s Body Count” with fan favorites like “Hallelujah Goat”, “The Garden’s Tale” and the Dusty Springfield penned “I Only Wanna Be With You” before closing out the set with the always rousing “Still Counting”. The band took time to thank and recognize the crowd several times throughout the night and at one point even welcomed several children to the stage to dance and sing among the members. As the house light went out prior to Fiver Finger Death Punch taking the stage the crowd erupted one more only this time they were even louder as the excitement in the Oncenter was reaching critical mass.

As the band made their way on to the stage several flashes of light went off and it was on. For the next 80 minutes everyone in attendance belonged to the 5 members of Five Finger Death Punch. Singer Ivan Moody captivated the crowd with his lyrics and stage presence while the dual guitar attack of Jason Hook and Zoltan Bathory chugged their way through songs such as “Burn It Down”, “Lift Me Up” and “Bad Company”. During the song “Burn MF” Ivan and company abruptly stopped mid song to address an issue with several bouncers attempting to control a nearby circle pit. Moody assured the staff and concert goers that everyone would take care of one another and then instructed the bouncers to leave the floor area. After a minute or two of hesitation the floor cleared and the band kicked back in without missing a beat. This would be the only incident of the night as everyone held true to their word as the ripped through several more numbers including a two song encore.

Sometimes I get a little nervous when two headliners join forces for package like this. A lot of times what happens is one or both acts cut elements out of their set which great impacts the overall experience sometimes it’s a stage effect or in a lot of cases its material. This packaged proved to be the exception as all the bands on the bill pulled out every available the stops to ensure those who came out this night got their money’s worth. The tour package runs through the end of October so if you haven’t got your tickets for one of the remaining shows I really don’t know what you are waiting for.

Hellyeah Set List:
1.) Hellyeah!
2.) Sangre por Sangre (Blood for Blood)
3.) Demons in the Dirt
4.) War in Me
5.) Moth
6.) Cross to Bier (Cradle of Bones)
7.) You Wouldn’t Know

Volbeat Set List:
1.) Doc Holliday
2.) Hallelujah Goat
3.) Sad Man’s Tongue
4.) Heaven nor Hell/Warrior’s Call
5.) 16 Dollars
6.) Lola Montez
7.) Dead But Rising
8.) I Only Want to Be With You
9.) The Mirror and the Ripper
10.) The Hangman’s Body Count
11.) The Garden’s Tale
12.) Fallen
13.) Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza
14.) Still Counting

Five Finger Death Punch Set List:
1.) Under and Over It
2.) Burn It Down
3.) Hard to See
4.) Lift Me Up
5.) Bad Company
6.) Burn MF
7.) Drum Solo
8.) Remember Everything
9.) Battle Born
10.) Coming Down
11.) Never Enough
12.) Here to Die
Encore:
13.) The Way of the Fist
14.) The Bleeding

CD Review: Five Finger Death Punch “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 2”

Five Finger Death Punch
“The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2”
Prospect Park
Producer: Kevin Churko
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Following hot off the heels of Five Finger Death Punch’s July 2013 release “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1”, “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2”
Picks ups where the previous album left off. The album like its predecessor is being released via Prospect Park and was produced by Kevin Churko.

I always have to question a bands decision when they decide to release multiple albums within months of each other. However after my first listen of “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2” any preconceived notions I may have had were instantly thrown out the window. From the albums opening track “Here to Die” which goes from zero to sixty right out of the gate I couldn’t wait to hear the other 11 tracks. Vocalist Ivan Moody seems to have tapped in to a channel of aggression which seems to be the catalyst for every track. Songs like “Wrecking Ball” and “Matter of Time” rip through your speakers and assaults whoever maybe in the immediate listening area. Even when the band slows things down with the albums closing track a cover of the classic Animals song “The House of the Rising Sun” the band still maintains the consistency of the previous numbers. Producer Kevin Churko continues to show why he is the best producer for the job as he does a remarkable job captured all the nuances of each members playing while elevating their sound with a really great mix that was music to my ears.

If you already have “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” then “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 2” is a no brainer. However if you haven’t yet grab either copy I would recommend starting here with Vol. 2 as the album takes you on a rollercoaster ride filled with raw emotion an energy that keeps your attention from start to finish.

Track Listing:
1.) Here to Die
2.) Weight Beneath My Skin
3.) Wrecking Ball
4.) Battle Born
5.) Cradle to the Grave
6.) Matter of Time
7.) The Agony of Regret
8.) Cold
9.) Let This Go
10.) My Heart Lied
11.) A Day In My Life
12.) House of the Rising Sun

Five Finger Death Punch “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” Signed CD Giveaway [ENDED]

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED AND WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED VIA EMAIL. PLEASE CHECK BACK EACH WEEK FOR NEW GIVEAWAYS!

Media Mikes has teamed up with SKH Music to giveaway 1 band signed copy and 3 regular copies of Five Finger Death Punch’s latest album “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol.1” If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite FFDP song. This giveaway will remain open until Sept. 6th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

Acclaimed hard rock band Five Finger Death Punch’s highly anticipated The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell Volume 1 (Prospect Park in North America / Eleven Seven in all other territories) has debuted as a global success. The album has achieved career highs for the band, with a mainstream chart debut at #2 in The United States, #3 in Canada, #4 in Germany, alongside impressive entries in other territories across the globe. The lead single “Lift Me Up” (featuring Rob Halford of Judas Priest) is currently #1 on the U.S. Active Rock charts for the third consecutive week. The successful debut exhibits that Five Finger Death Punch is challenging the notion that “Rock is Dead,” as they look poised to deliver a fourth consecutive Gold certified album following the successes of The Way of The Fist (2007), War Is The Answer (2009) and American Capitalist (2011). Cumulative single sales have now exceeded over 4.5 million.

Track Listing:
1.) Lift Me Up (feat. Rob Halford)
2.) Watch You Bleed
3.) You
4.) Wrong Side of Heaven
5.) Burn MF
6.) I.M.Sin
7.) Anywhere But Here (feat. Maria Brink)
8.) Dot Your Eyes
9.) M.I.N.E. (End This Way)
10.) Mama Said Knock You Out (feat. Tech N9ne)
11.) Dairy of a Deadman
12.) I.M.Sin (feat. Max Cavalera)
13.) Anywhere But Here
14.) Dot Your Eyes (feat. Jamey Jasta)

CD Review: Five Finger Death Punch “The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell – Volume 1”

Five Finger Death Punch
“The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1”
Prospect Park
Producer: Kevin Churko
Tracks: 14

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Los Angeles metalers Five Finger Death Punch are back with the first of two new albums titled “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1”. The album is the follow up to the bands 2011 release “American Capitalist” which was certified gold in September of 2012. “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” is being released via Prospect Park and features 14 hard rocking songs produced by Kevin Churko.

Prepare to have your fillings knocked loose as the boys in Five Finger Death Punch pull no punches with the first of two new releases slated for 2013. “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” Immediately amps things up with probably my favorite song off the album titled “Lift Me Up” which features a stellar guest performance by the Metal God himself Rob Halford. The album takes you on a roller coast ride of emotion as singer Ivan Moody seems to be venting his inner most demons on tracks such as “Burn MF” and “Dot Your Eyes”.

Moody’s vocal presentation combined with the thunderous bottom end of bassist Chris Kael and drummer Jeremy Spencer and the searing tandem guitar attack of Zoltan Bathory and Jason Hook the album sounds amazing! Though I’m not a big fan of albums that feature different version of the same song FFDP was able to make it work with the addition of guest vocalists Maria Brink, Jamey Jasta and Max Cavalera. Each guest performer seemed to not only give the track a breath of fresh air but also elevate them to a higher performance level.

Solid from start to finish “The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell Vol. 1” delivers. If the bands 13 original tracks weren’t enough for you the guys in FFDP take things a step further by throwing in a rocking rendition of the LL Cool J classic “Mama Said Knock You Out”. Whether you are a fan of heavy metal or not the latest release from Five Finger Death Punch is a must have.

Track Listing:
1.) Lift Me Up (feat. Rob Halford)
2.) Watch You Bleed
3.) You
4.) Wrong Side of Heaven
5.) Burn MF
6.) I.M.Sin
7.) Anywhere But Here (feat. Maria Brink)
8.) Dot Your Eyes
9.) M.I.N.E. (End This Way)
10.) Mama Said Knock You Out (feat. Tech N9ne)
11.) Dairy of a Deadman
12.) I.M.Sin (feat. Max Cavalera)
13.) Anywhere But Here
14.) Dot Your Eyes (feat. Jamey Jasta)

Five Finger Death Punch's Jason Hook talks about new album and his signature M-4 Sherman guitar

Jason Hook is the guitarist for the heavy metal group Five Finger Death Punch who in the coming months will be releasing their 4th as yet untitled studio album.  More recently at this year’s NAMM convention held in Anaheim, California Gibson Guitars unveiled the Jason Hook signature M-4 Sherman guitar which is the first guitar to bear Jason’s name. Media Mikes was able to talk with Jason recently about the creation of the guitar and several of its aspects.

Adam Lawton: What was your first exposure to Gibson guitars?
Jason Hook: I remember reading the back of the Kiss “Destroyer” album where it said that Kiss uses Pearl drums and Gibson guitars because they want the best. I think that was in 1976. At the time I think the whole band was using Gibsons. I didn’t get my own Gibson until I was in my late 20’s. I bought it in Canada sight unseen. I think I paid about $900 for a used custom. I didn’t know anything about the guitar before I got it. I probably should have held on to that one.

AL: How did the opportunity come about to do your own signature model Gibson?
JH: I know several people who work at the company so I would periodically check in with them. I play explorers which not a lot of people play. I thought that this would be a good lead in to help push this through. It took me a little while to get that point to the right person. Everyone wants something from Gibson so they are very selective about what they give away and who they help out. I had to be patient.

AL: What was it that drew you to the Explorer model?
JH: I own several Les Paul models and they are great guitars however I developed a nerve issue with my right arm. On the Les Paul model there is a hard binding that comes across and falls under that right arm. This was causing my arm to burn while I was playing and really bummed me out. Idecided to try the Explorer and it was perfect.

AL: How much of the design process were you allowed to be a part of?
JH: Surprisingly they wanted to do exactly what I wanted to do. I started off asking them if I could do certain and things and they told me it was my guitar I could do what I wanted. They didn’t resist any of my crazy ideas.

AL: Can you give us the specs on the guitar?
JH: Everything is based off the stock Explorer. I changed the rosewood fret board to a granadillo fret board as it is a very hard and dense wood with not a lot of grain. I wanted a lower profile fret that was also wide. I looked all through the factory but couldn’t find what I wanted. After asking if they had anything else they showed me the wire that’s used on the Zakk Wylde Les Paul’s which was perfect. I literally stole the fret wire out Zakk’s material stash. (Laughs) We are using locking mini Grover tuners which is something different. We also did a bevel on the upper wing of the body as well as

scooping out a portion of the lower wing which allows the player access the higher frets. For pickups we are using a Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge and a Duncan 59 in the neck. Other than the special paint scheme the last thing we did was this special wiring harness. This idea came out of when I was still painting guitars in my garage. I would take the pick guards off to paint the bodies and there is  this channel that the wires sat in. I looked pretty gnarly the way it was so I started looking around and found some plastic conduit that I got at Home Depot to wrap around the wires.

AL: When you showed them the wiring what did they think?
JH: They told me that I didn’t have to have that in there as they could route the guitar differently so there would be no channel. I wanted to make it interesting. I think the more bizarre something looks cause people to take notice. I am a big fan of Eddie Van Halen and the stuff he did in the eighties. He was using these pieces of shit guitars that he was making in his garage but, he still played better than everyone else. (Laughs) That I thought was really unique and I said that if I ever got to operate on a professional level I was going to do something similar. My explorer was supposed to be the most unique, ugliest, beat up thing I could create.

AL: Can you give us an update where you are at with the new album?
JH: We are about 65% done. We are shooting for a deadline that is at the end of April, early May. We are working hard every day on this thing. I am at the phase now where I am laying down solos here at my home studio. Generally the first portion of the recording process I am writing and working on rhythm stuff. It’s not till the last quarter that I switch over to doing the other stuff.