With Five Finger Death Punch crushing all contenders for the top spot in the modern metal arena, Jeremy Spencer is content to kick back and enjoy the high-octane ride — from the fastest seat in the house.
As a general rule, blistering double bass equals Billboard-chart kryptonite — you can’t very well dance to it, so the masses seldom embrace it. While it’s true that in the past, brutal bands like Metallica, Tool, and Slipknot have had a go at pummeling their drum machine–driven competition into oblivion, these names occupy the rarest of air. But soon, they may need to make room for another…
Spencer doing his best Uncle Sam impression during Five
Finger’s recent trip to play
for the troops in Iraq.
With the release of American Capitalist — the highly anticipated third offering from the cacophonously catchy Five Finger Death Punch — metal is making a ferocious comeback. The record’s first single, “Under And Over It,” debuted at #77 on the Billboard Top 100 in mid-August. To put this in perspective, the only other hard rock bands — not even metal bands, mind you — in the top 100 for that same week were reliable mainstays Red Hot Chili Peppers (#81) and Foo Fighters (#91).
“We could have gone with something safer for the first single, but we wanted to come out swinging,” says an amped-up Jeremy Spencer, the man whose legs are responsible for the stampede-of-elephants-sounding barrage propelling the big vocal hook in “Under And Over It.” “Those double kicks in the chorus are so loud in the mix. It’s kind of neat to hear that pumping on the airwaves — it’s not really typical.” No kidding.
One of the more affable dudes in metal today, 38-year-old Spencer is a breath of fresh air amidst the suffocating seriousness that often permeates the genre. The lanky shredder — covered in long, dark hair and sleeve tattoos from neck to knuckles — effortlessly treads the line between cocksureness and self-deprecation. Case in point, Spencer’s description of the drum kit he has waiting in the “wings” from Ddrum for the impending American Capitalist headlining tour:
“Our stage is going to look like Times Square, all full of billboards with sponsors like Coca-Cola, so I’m having [the drums] wrapped looking like Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets — every tom will be like the Colonel Sanders guy except we’ve replaced his face with our Knucklehead character [Death Punch’s “mascot,” à la Iron Maiden’s Eddie or Megadeth’s Vic Rattlehead]. And I turned the letters around so instead of KFC it’s FCK. Scott Rockenfield from Queensrÿche is wrapping it for me. It could quite possibly win the award for stupidest drum kit of all time — I’m so excited about it.” [FFDP has since dropped this idea, apparently as soon the potential legal remifications were considered. —Eds. ]
When rapping with Spencer on the phone from his Las Vegas home, it quickly becomes evident that the thrash-master not only possesses a wicked sense of humor, but also a genuine appreciation for his station in life. He’s grateful to have gotten this far and he’s enjoying every second of it. In the calm before the record-release storm, Spencer exudes the positivity and enthusiasm of a guy who knows he’s got something really good in the hopper. And he just can’t wait for everyone — metal and non-metal fans alike — to hear what he and his crazy cohorts have been up to.