"I've been through many tough moments in life listening to Five Finger Death Punch," a man tells me.

He's over 40 years old, and this is the first time he's seeing the heavy metal band from Nevada, USA, live.

Exclusive Interview. Ivan Moody, lead singer 5FDP: ”I think your generation and mine have woken up, and I don't mean that in a cliché way. I won't put up with the same things my grandparents did”

English Section

07/07/2024

On a Thursday with neither rain nor scorching heat, which also coincided with July 4th, the United States' Independence Day, 5FDP arrived in Romania for the first time. This came after the concert scheduled for 2023 was canceled due to the lead singer's health issues.

Midway through the concert, the band had an a cappella moment when, on the occasion of July 4th, they presented a speech about what freedom means. Below is an excerpt from the speech:

PressOne spoke with Ivan Moody, the lead singer of Five Finger Death Punch, about how a band with hits constantly at number 1 on the Billboard charts views the music scene and audience in Eastern Europe, about the band's journey over time, and about the political context in which the United States currently finds itself.

Foto: Rudy De Doncker

PressOne: You are now rocking Europe and you have finally arrived in Romania as well. Why so late? We've been waiting for some time. 

Ivan Moody, lead singer in 5FDP: There's a lot of stuff that's been going on in the world. You can start back in Covid right and work your way up. Last year I had three hernias that I had to have surgery on, so I had to cancel the entire tour. We've waited our whole life to play with Metallica and for me to have to cancel those shows destroyed me, but it's part of what I do. I jump around like a gorilla on stage for a living so uh my body tends… Even right now I have to take shots in my back, pain killing shots to make sure that I can endure these shows. 

I know a lot of people misconstrue what we do is like „oh you just get up there and you throw down you have fun”, we take our live shows so seriously, it's more serious to us than anything else we do. When we're up there, for that hour, hour and a half, that's our life, that's everything we've worked. 

So to get back to places always takes a while. Especially because, you have to remember, there's so many things that go in line with having one show that just to travel to one place we have to strategize, so that we're doing different countries in a loop. We're not just flying in for one show or flying out. But Romania has been on our list for a long time really. 

You have to remember we've only been to Hungary, which is Zoltan's home, twice. I mean it's not like we're avoiding anyone, we still have to go back to Australia and Japan and those are on the other side of the globe. 

Mircea Geoană, secretarul general adjunct al NATO, și a obținut titlul de doctor în 2005, după 12 ani de studii doctorale. FOTO: INQUAM PHOTOS / VIRGIL SIMIONESCU

EXCLUSIV. Mircea Geoană a plagiat din doi președinți americani: Bill Clinton și George W. Bush

PressOne vă prezintă, astăzi, probele care demonstrează că Mircea Geoană a plagiat prin traducere, fără vreun fel de atribuire și fără ghilimele, zeci de pagini din rapoartele anuale prezentate Congresului SUA de președinții americani Bill Clinton și George W. Bush

Foto © Robert Van 't Hoenderdaal | Dreamstime.com

Câteva lucruri pe care ar trebui să le știi înainte să comanzi de pe Shein și Temu

Pe fundalul scumpirii costului vieții aproape peste tot în lume, cei doi giganți chinezi, Temu și Shein, au avut parte de o creștere masivă, datorată, în mare măsură, unor strategii agresive de preț. Însă în spatele prețurilor mici se ascund câteva detalii importante, pe care ar trebui să le știm cu toții înainte să comandăm.

”This part of Europe is very special. To be honest with you, as a community over here, you look at music differently than a lot of other areas in the world. To you it's bigger than religion.”

Ivan Moody, 5FDP

Two days ago you were in Sofia, now in Bucharest and in a few days you'll be in Warsaw. What do you think about Eastern Europe when it comes to live music and the possibilities to play here? Is this part of Europe on your list when you are considering a tour? 

When we're considering a tour, everywhere is on the list and that's not just saying, it's true. We want to go anywhere we can, that's what we do. 

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This part of Europe is very special. To be honest with you, as a community over here, you look at music differently than a lot of other areas in the world. To you it's bigger than religion. You guys love art, you have an appreciation for it. That's something you can't just shake your head at. There are places in the world where you just go, play a show and it's fun, but when you come here you change your atmosphere. This is an entire idea, it's not just a rock show. To be in Romania and places like this, where you guys are so militant and religious, so to speak, about your music, when we show up we want to make sure it's the best we've got. 

We just played Serbia and before that we've had a couple days here and there, but we started in London, Finland, we did Switzerland, Norway, every community, every crowd is completely different, every culture is different, so you never approach the same show twice. I do research, I love knowing my audience, I like knowing a few words before I go up there. I like to communicate openly and be free with them.

To do that, you have to understand how they feel about and look at music, because if you walk up there arrogantly and you're just up there playing another show they're gonna notice. So I want to give you guys what you've been waiting for. 

During this spring tour you've even had special guest spots in Metallica's tour and considering that the last time I saw you, you were touring with Megadeth, how do you feel to share the stage with bands like that? 

There's no words to describe it. I guess you could use overwhelming, because you grew up on this stuff. I grew up on it. I still have only talked to James Hetfield twice, I don't know how to approach him, because he was an icon to me and he still is, so I'm very nervy around. But James and Dave are very different people, different bands, they have a little bit of friction there, so for us it's just the idea that we've worked so hard and that our fans are just crazy cool and we're actually in a position now where we can do that. So we just never try to overlook it and we try to take it in stride. Being on those stages with Metallica in front of 80 to 90 000 people it's like an ocean so there's no bad to it. 

”As you grow, you learn, you become more wisdomatic. But for us in particular, especially as artists and musicians, you want to grow. I don't want to be stagnant. I don't want to make the same record twice. It's irritating.”

Ivan Moody, 5FDP

From „The Way of the Fist” to „Afterlife”, with its deluxe edition, how did Death Punch evolve?

You mean how? I think the right question is why. I mean, there is no how, because we're human. And I think one of the gifts of being human is to evolve. As you grow, you learn, you become more wisdomatic. But for us in particular, especially as artists and musicians, you want to grow. I don't want to be stagnant. I don't want to make the same record twice. It's irritating.

Growing up, I was one of those fans. I saw Metallica when they cut their hair and I was like „What the f˙˙˙? That's not my band anymore”. But as I've learned as a musician, they were morphing. They were growing. They were learning to adapt. 

Sting is one of my all-time favorite musicians. I watched him in The Police as a kid. And he made one of the best quotes ever. He goes, „I evolved with my crowd”. Because you have to realize: now we have kids in the audience, that when we first started 20 years ago, those people were our age, 20, 25. Now they're in their 40s and they have children. And they're bringing them to our shows. So instead of playing the same gig, we evolve, we learn and we grow. And I think anybody that doesn't do that, you're not being true to yourself as a spirit, as an energy. You're not letting your energy grow. 

But what do you think of the fans that say „Death Punch means only the first album”?  

They're allowed. I know people that say Kill Them All is Metallica's only good album. I know people that say Tool, Opiate is their only good album, so on and so forth. You're allowed. Anybody's welcome to their opinion. But if anybody thinks I'm going to stop growing in my own life to make them f˙˙˙˙˙ happy, well, you should listen to my lyrics more. I'm not doing that.

”This is The Way featuring DMX” has become your 11th consecutive no 1 song and 15th in total - this is the longest of any artist in the 43 years history of Billboard chart. Why DMX and how does it go along with Death Punch?

Why DMX? is the easy part of that. DMX, for the most part, is for what hip hop has to offer, heavy metal. There are certain artists in rap and hip hop, like anywhere from the Wu-Tang Clan to Ice Cube, Ice-T, who's in Body Count as well. Those are metal rock rappers. They're hardcore. They're the ones that are really hip hop the culture. DMX has always represented something like that. And for me and Zoltan, both of us grew up on hip hop, me especially, and DMX was a no-brainer.

It was something we had actually discussed with D and his crew way before he died. It was on our list of to-dos, and we started working on the song and growing with the song. Then through time, he passed and we still wanted to put the song out, but we didn't really have permission, so to speak.  It's his entire estate, his family's in charge of that. So there's a lot of details that go into that. So we had to get permission and go through the legalities and whatnot.

But Afterlife wasn't finished because that song was supposed to be on it. And so we went back into the deluxe edition. But it's just such a no-brainer. Of course, there's other hip hop artists we would love to work with. 

Like?

Like Ice Cube, Method Man, Wu-Tang Clan, any of those guys. There's a lot of new ones coming out. Well, a few of the new ones. But again, we're multicultural. I don't like to be stagnant again. And DMX was a no-brainer. To me, he is what encompasses the rawness of hip hop. He really is. He was exactly who he said he was and more. And that's very rare in this day and age. He was honest.

What was the feedback from the fans when you released this song?

50-50. Some people hate it. Some people love it. One of my good friends, Lou Brutus, who's in the States, he's an old friend of ours. He's like, this is the song of the year. And this guy's been around for 40 years in the music industry.

Then there's other DJs who are like, this is the biggest crap I've ever heard in my life. You're welcome to your opinion.

I saw that the whole European tour is very well documented, with intimate moments made public to fans on social media. Why did you decide to do that? I'm asking because since the rise of social media, fans seem to want more than just music from the bands they listen to. Have you felt that?

Absolutely. I grew up in the era of MTV and I wanted more from those bands. Just getting to see them on TV.  It was literally eye-opening. Now I got to make a face. There was a face to a band. I saw Billy Idol. I saw Twisted Sister. I saw Halloween. You know, I was like, oh my God, that's what they look like. Same thing with us. But now social media has obviously made the world smaller and things the way they are these days, people know more about each other than I think they all sometimes should. But you can't really fight that system because it's part of the new life. To deny that immediately makes you look suspect. And to be honest, it's kind of nice sometimes to be that intimate.

I do live sessions on my Instagram all the time. And usually I do it late at night, when nobody else is up. So there's only a few hundred people there, but that's that setting. I want them to know me as a person, because we talked about this before you sat me down. The media has such an idea of what they want me to be, a box they've already put me in, that I don't get a chance to defend myself half the time, much less be real about who I am as a person. So social media, in a way, and that's a lot of the reason we do this, is giving everyone an inside look to who we are as people. So if you think the music is too angry, or something's too sappy or comedic, it gives you a chance to go inside and see maybe there's a reason why. 

And do you feel you receive something from the fans as well? 

Indefinitely. Support, love. It's like having extended family, stuff that I have to leave behind when I'm out here. To me, it's half of the fun, of the success of being in a big band is getting to know and not being so distant from those people who have stood by you and continue to find you throughout time and being at arm's length.

At the same time, I guess you have to deal with a lot of hate that comes from social media, right? 

Here's the thing. Don't ever get into the entertainment industry, period, if you're concerned with what other people are going to think. That's just a fact of life in any general setting. But if you're going to live on a platform where the world is looking at you constantly, you can't go to the bathroom without them saying, well, „he's standing a little to the left” that kind of thing. You have to take that into consideration and you have to realize that everybody has their opinion. Not one person is right and they can say or do whatever the f˙˙˙ they want. As long as it doesn't impede on my personal life, have at it.

A much simpler question now: what do you do in order to relax?

At home it's fairly easy. I mean, I live in the woods. So I try to stay away from humans as much as I can. When I'm on the road… really it's trying to find your own peace.  Whether it's a song or we're on a long trip trying to enjoy the environment. It sounds so cheesy, but it's true. It's the little things. Otherwise you get wrapped up in the whole chaotic side of it. You're on a bus. You're on a plane. You're doing this.

”When I'm at home, honestly, I love jazz. There's no vocals. I can't stand vocalists. I hate my own job sometimes.”

Ivan Moody, lead singer 5FDP

What music do you listen to in your spare time?

Oh everything. My grandmother was a country artist. My grandfather listened to the Bob Barbershop Quartet. It's five, six people standing in a row with no music, singing melodies and harmonies and cannons. My mom raised us on 60s and 70s rock and roll. My stepdad was the same. My uncle played jazz, but he was a rock guy. My other uncle loved metal. So I was exposed to it all. When I'm at home, honestly, I love jazz. There's no vocals. I can't stand vocalists. I hate my own job sometimes. I do, because I think vocalists have a tendency of ruining music. Once we open our mouths, it's our opinion. Whatever information is registered to us, our life story, it is going to come back out in a different form. So the second a singer opens their mouth, they're expressing information and how they digested it. It's almost like we are expecting you to either understand it  or hate it completely and not understand it. 

I have a harder question: illiberal democracy can affect day to day life in major ways. What do you think about what is happening now in the US? Do you think such tensions should be addressed in music or should musicians stay away from them?

Comes down to the individual. There are bands like System of a Down and Rage Against the Machine that that's what they do and that's what they are and that's who they are. The numbers are saying it all. They've got millions and millions of followers who feel the same way. 

I have certain political songs, but I try to be very vague and open about it. I'm not going to answer for my whole country, because that in itself is stupid. I can't control every person nor do I want to even know what the f˙˙˙ they're thinking half of the time. But America has our own issues and we will deal with them. For fact, I mean nothing can stay with that shitty forever, right? And when it comes to our politics and whatnot, we're very aware of what's going on. Just like in any country, the people are always separated from the government. And that is something I think, in a new world, that we will find a way to get around, all of us.

How could that be addressed?

I think it's being addressed daily. I think generations like yours and mine were woken and I don't mean that in the cliche way. We're awoken. And I'm not going to put up with the same thing my grandparents did. I'm not going to go through what my mom did. My mother was in the 60s when they were burning bras because women weren't allowed to walk around without them. It goes so far back and each generation has a time to do it. Unfortunately, the old methods don't f***** work and we've seen that, people like you and I, so there will come a time when our time is going to come.

If you're talking about music, again, it comes down to the singer. The idea, of course, the band supports it. But at the end of the day, is it an opinion? Is it true fact? I tend to try to write stuff that is bigger than one moment, because I think if you embrace a moment you get lost in it and you become stagnant. You're a part of that moment, instead of looking behind or beyond it. 

There's a line in a new song I just did, called Ferryman, and it says „you got to look past the rubble”, notice you have to foresee that it's going to shake and rattle and roll, but you've got to see that there's also an end to it, that will be better. Especially having kids and living in America. I couldn't imagine what it's like to be a child right now, growing up through Covid and going through what they're going through over there. I have a young daughter who deals with this stuff every day. I've had to adapt with my platform because it absolutely reflects on them.  I don't want them going to school and having other parents or other kids hate them for what I stand for. So for me, it's become more about being very delicate with my platform and understanding that music affects everyone differently and, at the end of the day, that's why I'm here. It's not about making an agenda. If I can help relate, then so be it, but I'm not here to tell you how to think. 

Considering the rise of AI and the already increased use of it, how do you think this will impact the music industry? Should we expect to be listening to music created by AI in a few years?

Can you expect it? Depends. What do you want to hear? Would you rather hear AI act like they know what I'm going to say? Or sing a melody that they think I was going to sing? That's all it is. I will always be true to the human factor. 

Are you scared of it? 

It's AI. It's a computer. You can't generate a human soul. The energy that we have as beings, as actual life forms on this planet, you can't fabricate that. There's no synthetic answer to it. So no, I'm not in fear of it at all. It'll come time where the music industry and other industries for that matter we'll have to adjust and acclimate.

But again, music is something that is eternal and it's so indescribably perfect on so many levels, that you can't ask a computer to do it. Yeah, it's impossible. So yeah, of course it'll be involved, but I don't see it being a part of my life.

What's next for Five Finger Death Punch?

World f****** conquering (laughing). So weird you asked that, cause Zoltan just asked me that the other day „what's next?” Now we've done Metallica. Now we've done this and that. Honestly, I want to be independent of all hinges. I don't want any chains.

I want us to be able to go out there and play two hour sets and have full production on every level. Whether it be lasers and fire dancers. I don't give a f***. I want it all. Rammstein is a great example of that. Free and clear of anybody else. I want to be able to go anywhere we want in the world, at any given moment, and play as much music as we can before the next person comes along to have their voice be heard.

And what do your chains look like?

The great part about my band is that we grow. We've had lineup changes. There are bands like Slipknot who I don't even know who's in the band half the time anymore. I'm not afraid to say it. I love Clown. I love Sid. I think they're great. It wasn't for them, the band probably would have collapsed. But I also know that those changes happen for a reason and they adapt. There's an old saying and I'm sure you've heard it too: „It's not the strong that survive. It's not the smart. It's those who adapt”.

So you have to adapt with your environment. Death Punch is an adaptive band. We have new musicians. They bring in new ideas. They bring in a new culture and a new energy. And so we embrace that we make it our own and we build off of it. So as far as I'm concerned, tomorrow's not here, and until it is, I'm just focused on making today better.

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