Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta Talks New Album, Touring with Lamb of God, Rowdy Fans + More
Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. He spoke all about the band's forthcoming album ‘The Divinity of Purpose,’ as well as hitting the road with Lamb of God and how playing shows has changed since Randy Blythe's arrest. Read the full interview with Jamey Jasta below:
You are obviously part of this awesome Lamb of God tour and you are probably doing 12 bazillion things, as you do? Metal is a life style and no one in the metal community is more immersed in that lifestyle than you. When did you realize that metal would become so prominent in so many aspects of your life, musician, songwriter, label owner, media personality.
Coming from the punk and hardcore scene – I just saw that there needed to be more unity with metal. We always played with metal bands and we always enjoyed metal bands like thrash bands, death metal however you want to call the different sub-genres and I thought “It’d be good to just be more involved and bring people together.” I always liked the inclusionary aspect of metal whereas coming from the punk and hardcore scene a lot of it is exclusionary where there’s a lot of strong beliefs.
So I thought “Man, it would be great to have a balance of the two” so very young I started learning about how shows were booked and how tours were booked and how different bands got signed and I just tried to learn so that if I ever was to be in a band, which I ended up being in – I had a little bit of an edge. Especially coming from the punk and hardcore scene there’s so many bands and it’s so hard to break especially in the Northeast – being from Connecticut we were sandwiched in between New York and Boston where there’s hundreds of bands, you really have to work super hard to get noticed.
Growing up and having bands like Biohazard and Sick of It All but also bands like Anthrax and all of the Florida death metal bands, we ended up getting to play with a lot of those bands. You see how die-hard the fans are and how truly supportive and they stay with the band and now we’re seeing it more than ever with Testament and Anthrax and even Megadeth – they constantly keep having these huge rebirths in a way where the fans pass it along to younger fans. We just wanted to do that but for bands who were crossover bands who had roots in the hardcore scene and everything comes with that – the lifestyle aspect of it, trying to make a brand, have your own clothing, have your own label, have your own TV show or radio show or whatever it is.
You want to have a medium to promote the stuff and it’s been cool and a lot of people are still doing things like that; Kerry King from Slayer had a clothing line, Scott Ian has a web TV show and it’s nice to see that through metal there are all these cool opportunities being had. I believe in abundance I’m like, “Share the wealth and have everybody express their views and interests and have the music be that medium to get the message across.”
As you mentioned there’s a new Hatebreed record coming out in January and tell us what will fans love most about this new record?
I just think if you like any one Hatebreed record there’s a little bit of something for you on this one. I feel like if you like ‘Satisfaction [Is the Death of Desire]’ and you’re in your thirties and that hardcore was a big part of your life, there’s some stuff you’ll like on this record. If your more ‘Perseverance’ type of person and from the last ten years onward have been a fan there’s a lot of themes that are similar.
Then there’s the thrash and the crossover influence, as well. I think it’s got all of the cool elements of Hatebreed records in the past but has that identity where it’s fresh and new but you know when you put it in, you know it’s Hatebreed. Even if you hate us at least you won’t be like “Who is that? What is that?” you know who it is.
You guys are celebrating an anniversary coming up right?
We just celebrated the 10 year anniversary of ‘Perserverance’ and Nov. 11 [marks] the 15th anniversary of ‘Satisfaction Is the Death of Desire.’ I don’t think we’ll get the chance to do a tour or a re-release of the record or anything which would have been cool but the past is the past – we’re proud of it but it’s like we got to put this new record out in January and it’s onward and upward.
This is a huge tour for us to play out to a new audience. It’s great to see Lamb of God – even though they might not be new to some people, we’re seeing a lot of young kids and I feel like they’re the new leaders of aggressive metal or modern metal.
Both Hatebreed and Lamb of God are both powerful aggressive bands in an instant how did things change for you as a musician, entrepreneur and for metal as a whole when Randy [Blythe] was arrested in Prague?
Well it was crazy because it instantly put this magnifying glass on how a concert should go as far as searching the fans, security, barricades and we come under a lot of scrutiny because we’re from the hardcore scene. There are some people who are very vocal about us becoming a big band – they don’t like that. There’s always been this kind of punk rock guilt in the scene like “You can’t be successful, you can’t make money or play big shows on big stages” but we’ve always been looking for the most success possible – we’ve never been ashamed of that.
Randy getting arrested has really brought that out and people have said, “What are you going to do? Are you going to be able to play shows without a barricade.” We’ve been playing shows with barricades for the last 12 years it’s just people that wasn’t to cause a stir and act like we’re compromising our integrity in some way. They’ve brought all this stuff up like, “Everybody should be welcome on the stage” and all this stuff – not at a metal show maybe at a punk and hardcore shows and God Bless them if they can police the stage and be on top of it.
God forbid somebody breaks their neck like we had happen at The Staircase in PA and that’s probably going back to 2002, 2003 – that club shut down, we almost got named in the lawsuit. Even before Lamb of God we were dealing with these types of issues before Lamb of God was even signed so they just brought it to the forefront – it’s such a unique incident where they feel Randy is at fault which he isn’t, he’s totally innocent. Regardless I think it’s a bigger question or a bigger thing where people just need to respect each other at a show, respect the security and vice versa. What do you want out of the show? Do you want to enjoy it or do you want to hurt people and hurt yourself? You have to ask yourself that. If you’re looking to hurt people or hurt yourself then maybe you should just stay home.
As far as the bigger metal bands like Lamb of God, Anthrax and Slayer – don’t ever expect to be allowed onstage. Hatebreed has already done shows since this has happened without barricades and it was just a couple random shows like my birthday show in Switzerland and everything was fine. We took a risk by doing that and if could’ve gone wrong but we told the crowd “Look this is super important that everybody respects each other, if somebody dives you got to catch them, if somebody falls you got to pick them up.” I don’t see that being something that can still go on especially not in America, definitely not in America.
I think that in America, especially after the ‘Perseverance’ tour which was probably our most violent tour we’ve done in a long time, with the exception of Pomona. Pomona was incredible, seeing all the unity and everybody picking each other up and really no fights – that was great but every other place was super violent and I’m not complaining. I understand it’s heavy music and a crazy show and we write some stuff that’s going to cause the kids to go crazy but at some point you have to say “Enough is enough, let’s respect each other.”
If you get hit in the pit just deal with it and shake it off. At the Detroit show there were girl fights and it was crazy. I know when you involve booze and heavy metal you’re bound to have a couple fights but we had a lot of shows where it was literally like 30 fights – two, three fights every song and you’re like “Alright this has got to chill for a little bit.” That’s why with Hatebreed we try to do the bigger tours like Mayhem Fest where we can play to a ton of people, get out message out and not have to worry about people getting hospitalized.
In terms of Hatebreed, what surprises people most about you in terms of their perception that’s based on Hatebreed and your music?
Well now after the whole CNN debacle where they basically misreported us being a racist band or having a racist agenda – because our fans stood up for us and really just bombarded them with Tweets. It actually got us a little bit of mainstream attention and now people who might not know about Hatebreed at least they get it and they say, “Okay their negativity or the negative aspects that they see or feel in the world they’re trying to do something positive with it” and they get that we’re trying to have a positive agenda. So I guess when people meet us and we’re regular guys and we’re not out here beating people up or sacrificing goats or whatever they think that we’re doing – they get it.
Also, when you perform at this level – we’ve done more shows than most bands who’ve been around for 20 years, 30 years, we’ve done a higher volume of shows. We’ve gotten out a lot of energy, when you scream your head off for 40 to 90 minutes a night – it’s hard to be upset during the day, that’s the therapy. That’s probably another thing that people don’t realize – I get all the bad stuff out, I have that release.
That’s why with this whole record and going into this new world tour and everything, I have a really good outlook because I still get that fulfillment – that’s why I feel like we’ve had such long term success it’s a cyclical power, people get that from the show and we get that from performing. We just need now to make it be more of a fun experience and hopefully the next tour won’t be as crazy and violent. We write some heavy stuff so it is to be expected.
Do you think looking back at starting out in terms of punk roots and you have to be in an angry mindset in general on that whole genre – thinking back then to now do you still feel that anger and rebellion in general?
Yeah, but also I think it goes in waves now we have the election coming up and the way the economy is and as you get older you see so many people are down and out. People are dealing with depression and anxiety and struggles that you face throughout your life, it’s just constant fuel for the fire I think. I feel like life is never going to be a hundred percent peachy so you got to have that balance.
You don’t always want to eat pizza, you can’t eat pizza for every meal, you want to switch it up just like you don’t always want to listen to Hatebreed, maybe some people do and God bless them – but for when you do need that release or you want that aggressive music whether it’s in the gym or on your ride to work hopefully we’re that band.
Full Metal Jackie will welcome Dez Fafara of DevilDriver on her next show. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.