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.

Jeremy Lamberton and Todd Lincoln talk about their new documetary “Biker Fox”

I’ve spent a few weekend evenings in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the one thing that always catches my attention is the muscle-car atmosphere that takes over the city when the sun goes down. No matter where you drive, you can find parking lots full of car enthusiasts and their rides. Horror producer (and Tulsa native) Todd Lincoln and first time director Jeremy Lamberton have teamed up for the documentary “Biker Fox.”

The film tells the story of Frank P. DeLarzelere III, known to the good people of Tulsa as Biker Fox, a misunderstood motivational bicyclist, nature conservationist and muscle car guru. In helping spread the word about their new film, the two took time to answer some questions.

Mike Smith: How did you learn about Biker Fox?
Jeremy Lamberton: My first Biker Fox sighting was at a traffic light. He was on his bike, shaking his ass while staring at people in their cars. I pulled into a Taco Bueno parking lot next to an old bowling alley and he rode up next to my car and asked me if I was married. I told him I was (I wasn’t married at the time) and invited him to perform at Tulsa Overground. That night he told me about all the video he shot of wild life around his house and that I had to see it. Later that week he gave me an entire box of hi-8 and miniDV tapes. I watched everything. There were hundreds of hours of wild turkeys, coyotes, opossums, weed eaters, rabbits, lawn mowers, blue birds, bats and him hand feeding 50 raccoons. There were also tapes of him lecturing directly into the camera about the benefits of fitness and a healthy diet. Biker Fox and I started shooting together the next week.

MS: What made you decide to make a film about him?
JL: The footage he had already shot on his own was magical. He’s such a charismatic guy and it translated so well on video. But I didn’t think about it being a documentary until he started getting arrested. When trouble started swirling it grounded him and he became more genuine to his true character while shooting. And I thought it was funny that Biker Fox was continuing to preach his gospel of good health and happiness while at the same time his life was spinning out of control. He’s an indomitable being.

MS: Did you always intend to do the film as a documentary or did you consider doing a scripted feature film?
JL: “Biker Fox” was always meant to be a documentary. Or some kind of cross-genre film. Most of what happens in the movie you can’t make up. I don’t think his character would have the same impact if scripted. The spontaneity and what happened naturally is what made film special.

MS: Do you think that fans of your horror films will enjoy this film?
Todd Lincoln: Yes. Horror fans will definitely enjoy “Biker Fox.” Anyone who loves the unusual, the macabre, the dark arts and naturally occurring curiosities and oddities…. will appreciate the world of Biker Fox. While this is not at all a horror film in the traditional sense… it certainly could be seen as scarier than most. You will see blood. You will see violence. You will see killer raccoons.

MS: Jeremy, you’ve finally gone behind the camera. Was the experience what you expected?
JL: I’ve been making films for years but this was my toughest challenge. BIker Fox is a raw dog. I wanted the film to tap into Biker Fox’s psyche. Shooting with Biker Fox is like shooting a nature film. You can’t control it. You just hope to be rolling when something memorable happens. And Biker Fox has a tendency to perform in front of a camera. And he’s severely ADHD, so he’s constantly moving. He can’t sit still. The most effective way to show his true character – the character behind the character – was to make the film non-traditionally. So we set up cameras on tripods all over his house and in his shop and encouraged him to videotape himself. I would go to his house multiple times a week and pick up sometimes as many as 40 tapes at a time. He was shooting like crazy. Like video diarrhea.

MS: I’ve been to Tulsa and have observed their “muscle car culture” up close. What is your take on it?
JL: It’s crazy. The real collectors takes it very seriously. A lot of them too seriously. I’ve been to a few swap meets with Biker Fox. One time while looking at a guy’s 1967 GTO I put my hand on the car to look inside and he snapped his fingers and told me to never touch his car again. It doesn’t seem worth it. They spend all their time stressing over door dings and scratches. Seems like wasted energy.

MS: What do you have coming up?
JL: I’m working on a narrative script and producing a documentary called “Dreamland.” Also, Tulsa Overground make its return this August after a 7 year hiatus.

Monster Truck’s Jeremy Widerman talks about 2014 tour with Buckcherry

Jeremy Widerman is the guitarist/vocalist for the Canadian hard rock band Monster Truck. The 4 piece group from Hamilton, Ontario released their first full length album titled “Furiosity” in May of last year. The band is set to kick off 2014 touring with Buckcherry and Media Mikes had the chance recently to speak with Jeremy about the tour, his dislike of music videos and his take people’s perception of Canadian bands.

Adam Lawton: Can you give us a little background on the band?
Jeremy Widerman: The band started in Hamilton, Ontario and all of the guys in the band were pretty familiar with one another because of playing in the Hamilton music scene. We wanted to start a band that we could keep to ourselves and do what we wanted. We wanted to be free of self imposed rules of what we should or shouldn’t be. We started out wanting to be a bar band that would play once or twice a month just for fun. We wanted to be able to stay in control of everything as a group.

AL: When did you realize that the band could/should move forward?
JW: Things became pretty apparent within the first six months of the band. A lot of the songs came together really quickly which gave way to us being able to start doing shows just as quick. It was in those first that we knew we had something that could be expanded upon. It took us a year however to actually go for it.

AL: The bands first full length album “Furiosity” came out almost a year ago. How has the reception been?
JW: The record came out in May of 2013 and we knew that if things were done properly and we did things the way we wanted we would end up with something that could be quite successful not only with our fan base but also to new listeners as well. We worked on “Furosity” for a year because we felt this momentum that we knew we could capitalize on. The record took a little longer than we had initially thought it would to complete but once we sat down with the mixes we were all really confident that we achieved what we had set out to do. The release has gone really well as did the subsequent tour. You never know what to expect when it comes to the music industry but things have worked out well and we have gotten a lot of great opportunities because of that.

AL: Do you feel coming from Canada has influenced people perception of the band here in the United States?
JW: Yeah for sure! That’s just one of those things you can’t avoid. We try not to pay much attention to that stuff as it’s sort of a natural occurrence. I think it’s going to happen no matter what. You are going to have a stigma attached to you no matter what. If ours is that were from Canada that’s fine by us. From our perspective as proud as we are to be from Canada and be Canadians I don’t know if Canada really provided me with the kind of bands I wanted to hear growing up. We don’t take a lot of influence from Canadian music and people have told us that we don’t sound like other bands from Canada. I think that has been a bit of an asset for us moving ahead in the United States and overseas as there is a certain Canadian rock sound that bands have. Whether it was conscious or subconscious it’s something we don’t have.  It could be because our influences didn’t come from Canada and that we have tried really hard to ovoid that stigma. Naturally being from the country will cause some assumption and we are ok with that.

AL: The band has put out a couple lyric videos recently but nothing featuring the band. Have there been any talks to do a full music video production for any of the songs off of the album?
JW: We actually wrapped shooting on a video for the song “The Lion” a few days ago. Lyrics videos are something that I am not a huge fan of. The label likes to put them out to help promote the songs but other than that I’m not really sure what they accomplish. (Laughs) Music Videos in general are kind of hard to understand these days. With YouTube going downhill because of all of the add implementation it has really hurt things. On our YouTube page you won’t find the ads because we chose not to monetize the site. I thought the true beauty in YouTube initially was that you could bounce from video to video without being force fed advertisements. From my perspective videos are fun to do when you have a good idea and it fits with the music. We have sort of shied away from videos this past year but we have been asked to do some recently and it’s just part of the business.

AL: Can you tell us about the bands tour plans for 2014?
JW: Starting January 20th we will be out on the road with Buckcherry. We had sort of a slow start in the States building the band and that is something we want to work on throughout this year. We will be out for a month with the Buckcherry guys and then we have a couple weeks off before we head over to the UK, Europe and Germany. After that we will be back in States and on tour for three weeks with Alter Bridge. Once that run wraps up we will be out on another run with some really big bands however, I can’t announce that one just yet. We are really looking forward to getting back out there.

Interview with Jeremy DePoyster

Jeremy DePoyster is the rhythm guitarist for the metal-core group The Devil Wears Prada. The band recently released a new full length album titled “Dead Throne” via Ferret Records and is currently on tour supporting the album. Media Mikes caught up with Jeremy to talk about the new album as well as about the bands new iPhone app.

Adam Lawton: What can you tell us about the band’s new album “Dead Throne”?
Jeremy DePoyster: The album is not so much a reinvention of the band but more so a rediscovery. The album still fits in the mold of our previous releases while at the same time being a progression. There are some slower songs on this album which is a different sound for the band. I think the album is fun and heavy.

AL: Did you guys try any different approaches during the recording process of the album?
JDP: Yes. We pretty much did everything differently than we have in the past. A majority of the songs are written by our other guitarist on his lap top and we take them from there and re-work them. However we on occasion do write material together and jam on it as a group. That was what we did more so on the new record. All of the song structure was done ahead of time and by the time we were ready to go into the studio we had demo tracks for every song to use as reference.

AL: How many tracks did you guys go into the studio with?
JDP: The 13 songs that are on the record are what we took in with us. We had one song that wasn’t quite done yet but that was scrapped prior to pre-production. We knew going in that all the songs we brought were going to make it onto the album.

AL: How do you think the band has evolved since your first recordings?
JDP: I think it’s natural for everybody to progress as musicians. When we first started the band I was 18 and I am 24 now. I think we all have become more proficient at our instruments but also at how we approach songs and textures. For me I play a lot differently than I used to.

AL: How do you think this album stands out above those that have been released recently who are in the same genre?
JDP: I think you can see passion and reality over imitation. It is flattering to see a group of bands that have almost carbon copied what we have done as a band but, at the same time it’s not offering anything new to the musical world. I think that’s really the difference. We aren’t writing to sell records or make a career. When we started this band there was none of those things. We started the band to have fun and the other stuff just came along. I think that makes us stand out as well as the maturity of our material.

AL: Do you have a favorite track off the new album?
JDP: It depends on the day. Playing the songs live has also altered things a bit as well. I really like “Born to Lose”. I think that song is a good representation of who we are as a band. I also like “Chicago” because I wrote a majority of the guitar heard on that track. It’s a really personal song and is something we don’t normally have on our albums.

AL: Can you tell us about the “Zombie Slay” app?
JDP: We just released that a few months ago prior to us leaving for Australia. We have talked about doing something like this for a long time. Dan our drummer was really into the idea of having an app and having that communication with other I device users. All the other stuff out there we felt was just dull and boring. We wanted to make a game that would be super rad and could stand alone outside of the band. Over the past few years we have really taken control of what comes out of the band. We really try and have quality control over our products. We didn’t want this to be something a manager got on and tried to sell our fans tickets. We wanted this to be awesome! The guys did a really great job with it and the band was really involved with the testing process. (Laughs)

AL: What are the plans for the band the rest of this year and into 2012?
JDP: This tour that we are on now is really what is left for this year. This is our first big U.S. North American headliner in quite some time. We will be finishing this up soon as we have a lot going on planned for next year. Nothing has really been announced yet but everyone can be looking for those announcements soon.