Fear Factory’s Burton C. Bell Talks Shockwave Cancellation, ‘The Industrialist’ + More
Fear Factory frontman Burton C. Bell was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. Bell spoke candidly about exactly why the Shockwave tour was canceled, as well as upcoming Fear Factory dates for the rest of the year. He also talked about his friendship with guitarist Dino Cazares and the band’s new record ‘The Industrialist.’ If you missed Full Metal Jackie’s show, check out her interview with Burton C. Bell below:
I want to start by talking about what was supposed to be a really rad festival that I was presenting because you guys were headlining the Shockwave Festival which unfortunately got canceled. You guys now have your own tour setup but kind of a bummer how that all went down. I’m sure you guys were not psyched that the organizers decided to bail at the very last second.
Yeah it was a huge bummer for Dino [Cazares] and myself and the rest of the band because we had a lot of expectations and plans being made and we were already starting to set up for the tour, ready to go. The organizer, also known as the Pantheon Agency, they pretty much pulled out of the whole tour at the eleventh hour, at the last second.
Were you guys getting ready to leave for the first date?
Absolutely, our bus was showin’ up so we could leave. We had already put a lot of our own money into it just so we could get started and year everything was just falling apart, promoters were pulling out, there was no contract sent to any band, including Fear Factory. They were doing type of deals that we did not know about, like door deals. We were expecting a contract because we’re expecting guarantees, all bands are expecting guarantees and that’s why and that’s why Voivod pulled out because there was no money for them so they could start the tour, their own tour.
It was just really sad how everything was handled so poorly and we were just very disappointed as much if not more than the fans. It makes us look bad and it makes us look like we pulled out because of reasons that the Pantheon Agency made and that wasn’t the case. The Pantheon Agency pulled out because of poor organization.
After the festival was canceled a lot of kids came and said to me “Hey why did you cancel your festival?” I’m a DJ and I am not a booking agent and I did not put this thing together and all I did was want to help my good friends out in Fear Factory and promote the festival.
You were doing a great job too, everybody knew about. All of our fans knew about it, they were all psyched. We apologize to the fans but honestly it has nothing to do with any of the bands that were on that festival. Thank goodness, we started booking other shows around the Shockwave and also afterwards we got that started on early not knowing what was going to happen, just so we could continue touring because ‘The Industrialist’ is freshly still out and we just wanted to keep promoting the record. So luckily we started booking more shows around the country.
Let’s talk about the new album ‘The Industrialist.’ It’s the second album written by Dino and Burton since reuniting in 2009 after what was a seven year split. It’s kind of funny I was at the show that you guys sort of started talking again.
I remember it was the Ministry show at the House of Blues. I remember that because you had come up to me and was like, “I think Dino is gonna be here” and I’m like “Okay” [laughs] but yeah you were a witness to that whole thing and that’s where it all started. Dino and I just kind of buried the hatchet and it was the best thing that we ever did.
Thank goodness that you did, we’ve got this great record ‘The Industrialist.’ What do you hear on this record that you’ve never heard on a Fear Factory album?
Never? Wow, I hear a real cohesive nature about it. There’s something so tight about this record, it’s very natural even though it was a focused and a very deliberate album that we were writing and it all came very naturally to us. We were very focused and I think that word right there, is the one thing that is on this record that doesn’t really appear on any other record, the focus of the music, the sounds, the aggression and the concept and just everything. Everything had it’s purpose and we knew exactly what we were doing, we knew exactly what we had to do.
Fans and many bands call Fear Factory pioneers of industrial music. Do you embrace that praise or does it make you feel uncomfortable?
I don’t embrace it and it doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable, I just like to help educate people. Fear Factory took a sound of industrial and moved it forward, industrial music was around before Fear Factory came about and I could name a lot of bands I liked in the past but we definitely took it to another level. What Ministry was, I think we took that to a whole different level and made it our own sound. There was a lot of industrial metal bands but I think Fear Factory definitely made its niche and its genre and maybe created it’s own sound.
How does Dino impact both what you do as a vocalist and a lyricist?
In music history there’s always duos that have a chemistry between them that you can’t explain. There’s a spark that only really exist in that arena of music and talent and interest of really moving forward with career. Dino and I became friends before we were in Fear Factory, we lived in a house together but we became friends because we shared a musical vision, we shared the same feelings, we shared the same vision of philosophy towards music of sound and conceptually as well. We’ve always talked about what we liked to do and what the sound should mean, not just on a sonic level but on a deeper level on a philosophical level.
Believe it or not Dino is a very deep individual, he really takes the sound to a whole other dimension and where I take it lyrically, he takes it sonically. We’re just able to talk and between him and Rhys Fulber whose been really an integral member since 1992 the three of us really sit together and we’re able to discuss ideas and sounds. I come up with ideas and lyrics and words and we really sit and talk about it, we talked about the title Fear Factory. When we came up with the title Fear Factory and what it means and that’s the question we always ask “What does it mean?”
Does the comradery between musicians affect a band's music more than their actual musical ability?
Wow that’s a great question, I think so. Dino is like a baseball coach, he knows how to push people in a positive nature to get the best out of them. I as Dino’s friend, I push him as well, I offer different ideas or different perspectives that really makes him sit back and think. It’s the comradery between us both that only two friends who’ve known each other for 22 years can achieve. We’re not just band members, we are business partners, we’re friends in arms fighting the world to show our musical talents and what we want the music to express. So the comradery really pushes the band.
I want to talk about some of your other projects. You guys are always involved in different things. How are you able to focus and distinguish the projects that you’re working on?
For me it’s just easy, Fear Factory definitely has its mindset, it’s something I’ve been doing for years so I know what it requires. My other projects there’s The Watchers then City of Fire, it’s really, to go back to the last question, the comradery that I have with the different members of those bands and what we want to express with that music. Fear Factory I have my comradery with Dino and there’s a comradery in City of Fire and The Watchers, it’s all different beasts.
This coming weekend, Full Metal Jackie will welcome Metalocalypse and Dethklok co-creator Brendan Small to her show. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.