Five Finger Death Punch was
founded by Hungarian-born guitarist
Zoltan Bathory in 2005, and the band’s
kick-ass-and-take-names approach has
endeared it to not only fans of heavy
music across the globe, but also to soldiers
stationed in the Middle East. U.S.
Navy fliers started playing 5FDP’s “No
One Gets Left Behind” as they zoomed
off aircraft carriers, and the group was
soon invited to perform for the troops
in Iraq and Kuwait.
“In Baghdad, there were 300 armed
soldiers in the mosh pit,” remembers Bathory. “I said, ‘Oh, my God—I hope they
have their safeties on!’”
On the 2010 Mayhem Festival, 5FDP
added co-guitarist Jason Hook—a former
hired gun who has played with Hillary Duff,
Mandy Moore, Vince Neil, and Alice Cooper.
What are the differences between European,
American, and military metal crowds?
Bathory: I don’t think there are any differences.
The fans are out of their f**king
minds everywhere we go—even in Japan,
where we witnessed the most vicious mosh
pit we’ve ever seen. Our music is aggressive,
it inspires people, and it’s fun. But we are
always very conscious of what’s happening
with the crowd. If things get out of hand,
we stop playing until things calm down.
What kind of gear are you currently using?
Bathory: I have my own B.C. Rich signature
model, and I use Diamond amps
because they deliver a lot of low-end clarity.
I control the amp overdrive with how
heavily I pick. We both use Dunlop strings,
and I also have a Dunlop speed pick with
a twisted tip. It helps me play the guitar
when it is slung low, because I don’t have
to twist my hand. My effects are from a TC
Hook: For this music, I need something
heavy, so I have a fleet of custom Gibson
Explorers. I use Marshall amps, but they’ve
been souped up by Voodoo Amps in New York.
I love the intelligent pitch shifter on the TC
Electronic G-Major 2.
How would you describe your style of playing?
Bathory: A lot of staccato plucking and
Hook: Percussive. I pretty much stab at
Which players influenced you?
Bathory: I saw Pantera when I was a
teenager back in Hungary, and Dimebag
Darrell blew me away. I went home and told
my band mates, “We’re doing it all wrong!”
What advice would you give to a wide-eyed
teenager in a garage band?
Hook: Find a role model, and then do
what they do, but do it better. Anger does
not belong in music, and ego needs to be
hidden. There is absolutely no substitute for
hard work. If you don’t go to the mountain
everyday and dig for gold, you’re not going
to find gold.
Bathory: If someone tells you that you
suck, don’t give up. There are no rules, so
what does “suck” mean, anyway?