Meet the guys of Five Finger Death Punch

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Heather Norris
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch played a free show for about 500 military members, friends and family members here at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center June 10, just days after playing at Rock-am-Ring, one of Germany's largest music festivals.

I had just returned from a week of camping and concerts at that enormous festival, and to my surprise I was rewarded with the opportunity to photograph one of my favorite bands, Five Finger Death Punch. What better way to shed the dismay - as I was feeling I should have asked for more time off - than to hear them twice in one week.

When I was informed that I might actually get to sit and talk with some of the band members for an interview, I could not believe my good fortune. Not that I am a Five Finger Death Punch stalker who can tell you the family history of every member, but they do possess an unforgettable stage presence.

As I talked with the sound crew and some of the marketing and services team, I thought about what it all must be like. I have always loved music, from metal to jazz. How amazing would it be as a career? I have never found myself star-struck, and that was not the case here. I was eager to sit down and talk to them to look into their world - oddly enough it is not that different.

My hand noticeably trembled as I started the recorder.
I talked with Jeremy Spencer, drummer; Matt Snell, bass guitarist; and Jason Hook, guitarist. They had just finished a sound check and the show was going to start in three hours.

Why did you decide to perform a free concert here at Spangdahlem?

Matt Snell: We did a full military tour in Iraq and Kuwait a few months back. It was a good experience for us to give thanks for everything the military does for us. We just live in the states, and we see it on the news, and we wanted to come over and see it for ourselves and give everybody an hour to forget about it for a while and shake some hands and meet some people. We just enjoy it; we get to fly in all kinds of crazy planes and shoot guns.

Jeremy Spencer: And eat good food - yes the Dining Facility, some of the best we have ever had.

Matt Snell: You would be surprised - go on tour for a while.

Were you invited to come to Spangdahlem or just choose to?

Matt Snell: We were heading over here to do the big German festivals, and since we did the shows in Iraq and Kuwait, we decided any bases that will have us and were in the area if we are going to fly 12-15 thousand miles, we might as well do something with them. It gives us a chance to come here and everyone gets a little taste of home. It's weird for us 'cause we run into little brothers and sisters at our shows in the states that say, 'oh my brother and sister are in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Germany and wherever, so say 'hi' for me.' It's kind of why we're here.

How does playing at such a small venue like this compare to Rock-am-Ring?

Jeremy Spencer: We've done it before. It's great. It's a different energy. It's intimate, and everyone is excited as this isn't something that happens on a regular basis. For us it's great, we get that up close intimate energy that you don't get when you're playing for 80,000, even though 80,000 is cool as it is so many bodies and total chaos.

Jason Hook: My personal opinion - and I would probably get support from the other guys - is that it just really doesn't make that much of a difference to us the way we feel emotionally. The big shows are important so that we can get a chance to introduce ourselves to a lot of people if they haven't seen the band already, so we get to scoop a lot of people at once. As far as our intensity level, we treat every performance the same.

What would you like to say to military members if you could sit down and talk to them?

Jeremy Spencer: How's it going over here, their personal experiences, and then just normal stuff.

Matt Snell: I get past the thank you for everything you do really quickly as that is the first reason we are here. Thank you for doing something that I don't do; all the things you have done for me to have the life I have. We just hang out after the shows.

What is your favorite part of being a rock star?

Jeremy Spencer: It's so weird to even think of us like that.

Matt Snell: It's a double-edged sword for all the good that you get and the bad at the end of the day. I have a lot of liberties that are afforded to me now. The money is one thing, but you can always get a job to make money. It's not so much about that, but the freedom that I get to say good morning to people at three in the afternoon and that is pretty much normal. I still have the same day - mine is just three to three. I don't have a boss telling me when I have to be where and I guess that is what I like the most about it.

Jeremy Spencer: You get hooked up, get certain perks in certain venues.

Jason Hook: The best part about being a rock star is the freedom I think. I told somebody one time I think we have a four or five-hour work week, if we agree that our job is to put on our one-hour show and we have on average four to five shows a week. It's a pretty healthy payday for a pretty minimal hour work week. Living large - there's a lot of spoils that come along with it. Outside of the cliché ones, a lot of people want to extend whatever they're doing for a living.

And what about the downside?

Matt Snell: When you haven't been home in two months because you are on the road, living on a little metal bus driving around and everyone is like, 'the tour bus has to be so amazing.'

Jeremy Spencer: It's not.

Matt Snell: It's absolutely disgusting, no matter how clean you keep it. It's a bunch of farting dirty men on a bus, and there are socks everywhere.

How has your time in Germany been?

Matt Snell: It's kind of hard to say we're in Germany when we are on the base because I went to the sports bar, drank corona and had chicken wings. We stop at the stops on the Autobahn and we get some very strange ideas of what a sandwich is. You kind of just have to weigh your options - am I going to eat it or go hungry? Sometimes you go hungry.

If there has to be one thing in this article, what would it be?

Matt Snell: Thank you for everything that the U.S. military does for the U.S. public because they don't know they don't get it. They watch TV, and that's all you get to see until you come over and do it, but we are very grateful to be afforded the life that we have because of the sacrifices everybody else makes. I know it's somewhat like the politically correct answer, but it's the truth, and it's why we're here. We didn't have to come here - we could have flown to the United Kingdom and hung out there before our next show, but we wanted to do this, and we do enjoy doing it.

Jimmy Spencer: Have everyone go to our Web site or online and check out our video for Bad Company because it's all about you guys, it's all about the military. I think it will be very relatable and enjoyable.

Jason Hook: Of course I am thinking of the comedy, I mean, the free internet in the coffee shop. It's a pleasure for us to come here and give back whatever we can and if we can make people happy and step outside of their daily routine for one hour and enjoy some of the mayhem that we bring, then we have done our job and that's what we do. We're here to spread the happiness!