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Five Finger Death Punch’s Zoltan Bathory Talks Fall Tour With Volbeat, Hellyeah + Nothing More

Five Finger Death Punch
Mary Ouellette, SheWillShootYou.com

It’s guaranteed to be one of the biggest rock tours of the year! Five Finger Death Punch and Volbeat will be co-headlining a fall U.S. trek, with Hellyeah and Nothing More providing support. Shortly after the tour was announced, Loudwire spoke with Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Zoltan Bathory about each of the acts on the bill, his excitement for the run and the plans for putting together the production. Check out our chat with FFDP’s Zoltan Bathory below:

Before the Five Finger Death Punch tour with Volbeat was even announced, we spoke with Ivan Moody and Chris Kael, and they let told us they were plotting one of the best and biggest tours of the year without giving away the details. Your thoughts on the bill?

We wanted to tour with Volbeat for years but it’s always been a scheduling issue. To synchronize it, it’s always been a little difficult, especially since those guys are in Denmark but finally here it is. It’s important for us because these are two rock bands that are very relevant right now and both bands have a pretty serious draw. However, it’s like the idea is polarized. Our fans like Volbeat and probably their fans like us, but we have a pretty different fan base. So that kind of creates an environment.

If you put together bands that kind of sound the same, they will draw the same audience. So you didn’t really enlarge anything. However, when we have a fan base like this, we have different fans but close enough. Then you end up having Volbeat, who is capable of drawing thousands of people on their own, and then you have our fan base, same thing, you put it together — it’s going to be a big show.

That’s what makes a tour big and powerful. What happens when you play festivals, you’re exposed to people who normally do not see you. That’s the plus for a festival. You play a festival, there are 30,000 people let’s say. Half of them maybe never even heard of you, or heard of you but have never seen the band. So, you need that opportunity to expose the music, expose the live experience to those people.

Putting two bands like this together will accomplish that, they’ll be exposed to our fans and we’ll be exposed to theirs but both of our fan bases are extremely loyal and hardcore. So, our fans always come out and their fans always come out. So whoever would be on the bill with Volbeat, their fans will be all there regardless and it’s the same for us. Now you put these two together, if you see where I’m going with this, that’s how you end up with a big crowd and even though it’s a co-headlining tour, even though it’s our tour, it’s still going to give you a similar scenario of a festival, where you are exposed to people who haven’t seen you before.

Volbeat seem like great guys. Talk about your relationship and having the opportunity to share stages with them.

It’s always important that a tour is friendly. I’m a music fan, first and foremost. I’ve been going to shows my whole life, and if there’s tension between the bands on tour, I can feel that. If they are friends, and you can tell it’s a big fun thing. I can feel that as well. Their energy. It’s always really important that you tour with bands you like as friends.

With Volbeat, we always run into each other at festivals. We’ve never toured together before. There’s always respect to what they do and they have respect to what we do. We just hang out, I wouldn’t say we’re super close friends but as much friends as you can be. We only meet each other a few times each year to play a show together and what not.

But there’s a glue there. Hellyeah are another band on the bill. Hellyeah are very good friends with those guys and very good friends with us. Hellyeah and Volbeat have toured together for some time, and we toured with Hellyeah so many times I can’t even count. Who doesn’t love Vinnie Paul? Vinnie — those guys are the guys on tour where the first thing they’re doing is bringing out the BBQ. Those guys are in my opinion glue all of this together because they’re friends with both bands. I’m looking forward to a very friendly, fun thing where we’re going to have some fun times besides the great shows. Backstage is going to be fun too, it’s put together that way and that’s really important.

I see Nothing More will be playing this tour. You guys have been great about bringing out up-and-coming bands. Can you talk about them?

When Nothing More was [suggested], I clicked on the YouTube link or whatever the hell they were sending me to listen to and I was like, “Oh s–t, I’ve heard this song. It’s on the radio.” I was wondering who it was, so it kind of came together that way. Someone will suggest it, and when I listen to it, I recognize it and hear it from the radio and was actually wondering who was the band. It had a vibe of a rock band but very modern, a really good song, but it has a vibe of Rush maybe. I haven’t heard that. I’m a musician. I’m always looking for a different experience, I’m always looking for something that’s different. I get excited about stuff, just like other music fans. This is what I do for as a life occupation, I still want to hear bands.

When I heard these guys on the radio, f—, that’s a really interesting twist. It’s a very nice, very well written, well composed rock song that they have. It’s doing really well on the radio, right? But it had that progressive kind of Rush tone to it. I had not heard anything like that in the last 16 years for sure. So that’s how it came together, it was a suggestion, obviously but when I listened to it and the rest of the guys did, when we listened to it we recognized “Oh yeah!, That band, OK cool!” That’s how they ended up on the tour. It’s a new band and [they're] hungry and ready to go and writing great songs. So this is our pay it forward. Let’s see what they can do.

Who knows, it opens the possibility that they’ll be huge by the time this tour is on the road, Second, you never know. It’s a possibility always that this band is the full package is out on the road and the band that’s opening the doors, blowing up at the same time, that’s just a perfect storm. You couldn’t imagine a better situation, it’s good for them, they are blowing up and they are being exposed while it’s happening and it’s good for the tour because a band that was given an opportunity is actually utilizing it and making the jump.

That’s what we did, we were on a bunch of these tours where we were given a hand by Korn or Disturbed, even Hellyeah. All these guys gave us a hand and helped us out and we were on their tours, but while we were on their tours our songs were blowing up on the radio so it helped their tour as well. That’s what you want. Ideally they’re giving us an opportunity and we manage to pay it back with at least bringing in an audience, blowing up and helping the tour that was their tour, so that is the perfect storm, the most desirable possibility. It can happen because that band is capable of doing that.

The tour doesn’t start until September. How soon does planning for the live show happen on the production side?

That’s a great question. When you’re putting together tours, you’re usually in the studio writing your record. Obviously on a new record, you will have to hit the road. So what’s happening while you’re in the studio, the tour is being planned already and tickets are going on sale, fresh out of the studio and you have to go on your promo tours and what not, which is talking to press that surrounds a release of a new record and then you go on the road. So what happens is, you don’t really have time to pay attention to the tour itself that’s coming up. It’s always rushed.

In this situation, this tour will be the actual first proper tour on these two new records we have. We went out on Mayhem, but we were not closing. We were co-headlining with Rob Zombie but he was closing, which prevented us from setting up anything substantial on stage because we had to move it off in 15 minutes. Since then we went to Europe, Australia, Japan and everywhere else and we didn’t do a proper headlining tour. Right now we’re playing festivals, we fly in for the weekend, play these big festivals and fly home. Same thing, we can’t bring substantial production.

So this fall tour is the first proper tour where we can come out with full glory and all guns blazing on every aspect of our live show. We’re closing every night and we have plenty of time to play. We’ve never been in the optimal situation where I can start designing the light rig, right now. We can design the things that’s going to happen on stage right now, we never had this opportunity before. So I expect this time we can do proper pre-production, we can really build what we want to build and test it and avoid panic. I’m really excited because we’re building everything ahead of time and literally the plans are already happening now. This is when we plan, start building things. It’s happening now. I’m really pleased with this situation, how it came about and how much time we have to do this. I think we’ll be able to do something really cool.

Our thanks to Five Finger Death Punch’s Zoltan Bathory for the interview. Be sure to catch them on the road this fall with Volbeat, Hellyeah and Nothing More. Dates can be found by clicking the button below. And you can also enter our contest below to win tickets to a show on the tour.

Five Finger Death Punch + Volbeat Reveal Fall 2014 Dates

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