Five Finger Death Punch Bassist Chris Kael on Striking His Way Into the Band
Five Finger Death Punch made a big impact in 2011 with the release of their third studio album ‘American Capitalist.’ They also headlined the recently wrapped Share the Welt tour with support from All That Remains, Hatebreed and Rains.
Loudwire recently got a chance to sit down with 5FDP's newest member, bassist Chris Kael, before the band's Share the Welt gig in New York City. Kael told us about how he got the gig of a lifetime, the new album, his positive way on handling haters, pre-show rituals and much more.
Congrats on ‘American Capitalist.’ What was the influence behind the name of the album and overall tone of the disc?
A lot of people have taken it to be a political statement, but it’s not that at all. The idea behind the whole concept is, you know as an American is taking advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you and capitalizing on those opportunities. We’ve done it, those that are successful, it’s more about the idea between actually going after things, taking control, controlling your own destiny that sort of thing. That’s the same thing that happened to me with this whole thing. Had I not taken advantage of the opportunity before me, I wouldn’t be sitting here with you right now. It’s about powering through and making your future your own.
How has it been getting into the groove and playing with Five Finger Death Punch?
It’s been great. I mean nine months ago I was bartending on the strip in Las Vegas and now I’m out playing these huge shows; it’s just been great all the way around, huge crowd responses, nothing but support from all the fans. It’s been just absolutely mind blowing.
How did you end up becoming a member of 5FDP?
Basically what happened was, I knew they were looking for a bass player. A buddy of mine is [5FDP stickman] Jeremy [Spencer]’s drum tech, so when I heard they were lookin’ for somebody I was putting my name out there through him like, “Hey let them know I’m in Vegas, they’re all in Vegas, let’s get it done." So once they got the album finished up they were talkin’ to my friend about it and I actually facebooked Jason Hook and I was like “Hey I’m Chris, I’m here in Vegas, look no further. I’m your guy.”
Her responded basically saying “Well that’s a very confident message, how are your vocals?” Stuff I’d done before that I‘d been doin’ lead vocals and bass at the same time so I was like vocals, please I got you covered. So I sent an MP3 and they all liked it and went in to audition and killed it and here I am today.
Playing live, do you find the ballad-y or the up tempo songs more challenging to play live?
It’s different in both sense, the aggressive stuff, Zoltan the stuff that he writes, the heavier stuff is very right hand driven with the bass, it’s different. But then when you’re playing those intense heavy songs and then trying to back up and relax a little bit, I’m very relaxed when it comes to one to one conversations but once I’m up onstage I’m an animal out there. I would say for me the hardest part would be pullin’ back enough to relax and let the slower stuff ring out a little bit because naturally onstage I’m very aggressive and the heavy stuff is very comfortable. [Laughs]
Tell me a little about the latest single ‘Remember Everything’ musically and lyrically.
Musically it is what it is, if I had to say the one ballad on the album, it’s the one. Lyrically speaking, it’s something that Ivan [Moody] definitely got in and tapped the inner vein, it hit really close to home for him, he dug deep and basically tried to open himself up on that one, dealing with some inner turmoil. You touch that nerve and you get a great song like ‘Remember Everything.’ It’s a lot of fun for me, probably not a lot of fun for Ivan on stage, a little teary eyed at some points.
What’s your experience been like on the Share the Welt tour?
It’s been great honestly, it’s been a breath of fresh air, with the opportunity to come out and do what I’d been wantin’ to do all my life and finally having that opportunity. I’m the most calm, relaxed laid back individual in the world so it’s nice for them to be able to not have to worry about me being ridiculous. It’s been really good, getting’ along with everybody. I’m on the same bus as Jason and Zoltan so it’s a lot of hanging out and watching the military channel with those guys.
5FDP have a lot of fans and gets a lot of love but then there the flip side and there are haters out there; what do you think it is about you guys that divides people ?
It’s the music period. People are very passionate about the stuff that they like. Hell, when I was 13 if I had the chance to get on message boards and talk s--t the whole time, I’m sure I would’ve too. I was a heavy Slayer fan back in the day and if it didn’t have the guttural death metal vocals I didn’t even want to hear it. I totally missed out on Nirvana, totally missed it because I was listenin’ to Obituary and Cannibal Corpse, that sort of thing. With that kind of mentality you like to defend what you like and talk s--t about people who you think aren’t up to your standard for whatever reason.
The comments don’t bother me at all; it’s something that happens, it doesn’t affect me in any way. I enjoy reading em I think it’s fun to read them, it’s comedic to me. Regardless of how many people are out there talkin’ s--t the whole time, come to a show. It’s impressive, the lights are crazy, we’ve got great songs , who’s going to argue with a great song?
Are there any pre-show rituals before a show -- anything that calms you down or pumps you up?
Basically all of us get back to the dressing room, there’s a couple of different things that we’re listening to right now that kind of get us into a pre-show mood. One of them is one of Ivan’s and Jeremy’s favorite bands called Middle Class Rut, not metal at all -- just good, strong, nice grooves. We’ve also been getting into a new band called Ghost recently, it’s great, it’s Blue Oyster Cult meets Merciful Fate and totally satanic, it’s great. From what Jeremy was telling me, the whole band, there’s no names, their whole mission is to deliver the word of Satan through the medium of rock 'n' roll. [Laughs] You can’t argue with that. So we listen to that and you know the stretching, we gotta do that, as much as we’re running around and assuming the rock pose.
With all of this touring, what is one thing you must bring on tour with you. No electronics.
The thing that I find that’s in my hand the most is the Monster Energy Drink Absolute Zero. I probably drink five of those a day. It’s ridiculous; I would be in a coma over here if it weren’t for those things. I don’t want to say it, but at some point it might be an addiction.