Giorgio Mustica of The Aquarian Weekly recently conducted an interview with guitarist Jason Hook of Las Vegas, Nevada-based metallers FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Aquarian Weekly: What can you tell me about the new album, “American Capitalist”, and how did you guys select the title of it?
Jason: We always sort of try to pick titles that are a little outside of the politically correct zone. Things that might make you scratch your head and go, “Geez, why are they saying that, what does that mean?” Certainly, “War Is The Answer” — we had all sorts of fun with that one. But we liked “American Capitalist” instantly. The definition of capitalist is somebody with wealth, who is into investing and seeking business opportunities and things like that. And so we wanted to sort of clarify that our statement is more about the personality type, the thought process that drives those types of people to success. People that are considered capitalists [such as] investors, people with money and things, they don’t just turn a corner and fall into the success hole, it all starts off with a decision: I’m going to push myself to be that guy. I’m going to push myself to work harder so that I can have tons of money and buy things that make me comfortable. So our statement has more to do with the personality type than just talking about blowing cash and having cash. It’s more about pushing yourself to be that type of a thinker, you dig? And to us, that’s everything. It’s like, choose to push yourself and be successful instead of just accepting what you think life has handed you and therefore settling.
The Aquarian Weekly: In what way do you think “American Capitalist” compares with “War Is The Answer”, if at all?
Jason: I look at it like this: It wasn’t that long ago that we made “War Is The Answer”. The record came out the end of September 2009 and we started writing this record in December 2010. So on a personal level and on a musical level, we’re pretty much the same people that did “War Is The Answer”. I’ve been telling people that if you liked “War Is The Answer”, you’ll love “American Capitalist”. It could have easily been sides three and four of “War Is The Answer”, a natural addition to that record.
The Aquarian Weekly: The album came out [in October] and [it was] No. 3 on the Billboard chart. What do you think this says about the band?
Jason: That we’re pretty fuckin’ lucky (laughs). We’re keeping it real honest here. We’ve been developing skills our whole existence to be able to take one shot at this so it’s not like it’s a fluke. I mean, we’ve been studying hit songs, song structure, hooky elements of music, rhythms that transmit to the audience, I mean, all those things — how to perform, you know, everything. It was designed to work and the fact that people get it doesn’t really surprise us. That’s kind of the way we wanted it to be and we are only doing what comes natural. Nothing is forced, contrived or fabricated, it’s what we are and who we are and we’re extremely picky. If there’s a section in a song that doesn’t seem to need to be there or it’s not going to speak or it’s the weakest part of the song, we just chop it out. We’re brutal with each other to try and edit our music down to moments that only speak to the listener.
The Aquarian Weekly: It was announced in April that the original bassist for the band, Matt Snell, had departed. What was the transition like going from Matt to the current bassist, Chris Kael?
Jason: Seamless. I mean, Matt had a pretty limited role in the band. He wasn’t part of the writing team, so whatever was intact before he left was still intact after he left. The main requirement for a new member was a good musical ability, a good vocal ability and then beyond that, it was like, we hope we find someone who’s healthy, as far as mentally healthy. Someone who’s not a drug addict, not an alcoholic, not an angry person, you know what I mean? [Those things] are always available to play around with but if you’re really trying to be in business and do stuff long term, that stuff will interfere and so we certainly didn’t want to bring somebody in new that had any of those elements as a problem already, obviously. I think that would be pretty much standard for any business person that was looking to hire somebody new or add somebody new. Why would you want to hand-pick somebody who’s got problems, you know? It’s a great story.
Read the entire interview from The Aquarian Weekly.