FEAR FACTORY's DINO CAZARES: 'I Felt That BURTON C. BELL Was Phoning Things In; He Was Going Through The Motions'

August 31, 2023

In a new interview with Brutal Planet Magazine, FEAR FACTORY guitarist Dino Cazares was asked if the band's latest addition, Italian-born vocalist Milo Silvestro, has brought a new energy to the long-running California metal act. Dino responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Yes and no. I've always had the fire. I don't need anybody to bring me new energy, but it does feel good when you have somebody who can match the energy that you have. Because for a while there, I just felt that — and I'm speaking off the cuff here — that [original FEAR FACTORY singer] Burton C. Bell was just kind of phoning things in; he was just kind of going through the motions, and it just felt like he didn't wanna be there. And so it was kind of lacking. The band was going down for a little while. And as soon as Milo came in, it was a breath of fresh air to play with somebody who wanted to be there. And that felt really good. And, of course, all the trolls are gonna come after me for saying that, but it is what it is. I mean, I lived through it. I was there."

Cazares continued: "People ask me the same question that you have: Did [Milo] bring new energy? Did he bring new life into the band? Yes, he did, because, like I said, he's matching my energy that I have for this band.

"You've gotta remember: I live, breathe, die FEAR FACTORY. I live, breathe and die fucking metal and all different forms of it. I live for this shit. I love it. And that's why I'm still here."

Regarding the challenges involved in replacing Bell with Silvestro, Cazares said: "A lot of fans, I understand, they don't really know what it's like — or maybe they do. It's a relationship. Sometimes it's just not working out with that person you're with and sometimes you just need a change.

"All this stuff, it's a Catch-22 because if you get a singer that sounds like your old singer, then people are gonna complain: 'Oh, it sounds like the old singer.' And if you get a singer that doesn't sound like the old singer, 'Well, it doesn't sound like the old stuff.' And then if you get a girl singer, if you get a female, 'Well, she sounds too much like a female. It doesn't sound like the old singer.'

"Milo just knew everything," Dino explained. "And when I say that, it's, like, Milo, when it came to the physical audition, the first day he did, like — I don't know — five or six songs. And whatever song I threw at him, he got. So I invited him again the second day, 'cause he was in L.A. for a few days. I said, 'Well, come back again. I wanna hear more.' And so he came back again the second day, and he nailed, like, another eight songs. He did, like — I don't know — 10 or 15 songs. So whatever I threw at him, he knew it. He sang it. He didn't have to look at his phone for lyrics. Nothing. It was an easy transition."

Last December, Dino told RichardMetalFan about Bell's 2020 departure: "I could see over the years that he always had one foot out the door; he was always that guy. He originally quit way back in 2002, and he ended up coming band into the band and restarting the band with the other guys without me. At least that's what I thought. But I don't know. I never really got the full story of why they did what they did. But to me, it always seemed like he always had one foot out the door, and I think that this was just his time to exit, for whatever reason. I mean, you have to ask him, really, to get [the full story of why he left]. But he pretty much left me to handle the rest of the duties for [FEAR FACTORY's latest album] 'Aggression Continuum'. And so now I'm moving forward without him, and the band's gonna go on without him, and that's just how it is. He's moved on, and so have I. Fans can cry all they want and people can want what they want. And I get it; I understand. He was in the band for many years, and he was the only vocalist on the record, even though he had quit the band two or three times before that. But he's gone, and I've moved on, and so has he."

In September 2020, Bell issued a statement officially announcing his departure from FEAR FACTORY, saying that he "cannot align" himself with someone whom he does not trust or respect.

Bell later told Kerrang! magazine that his split with FEAR FACTORY was a long time coming. "It's been on my mind for a while," he said. "These lawsuits [over the rights to the FEAR FACTORY name] just drained me. The egos. The greed. Not just from bandmembers, but from the attorneys involved. I just lost my love for it."

He continued: "With FEAR FACTORY, it's just constantly been, like, 'What?!' You can only take so much. I felt like 30 years was a good run. Those albums I've done with FEAR FACTORY will always be out there. I'll always be part of that. I just felt like it was time to move forward."

Earlier this month, Dino told ADK Metal News, Reviews, Reactions & Interviews that FEAR FACTORY will tour the U.S. and Europe this fall and then embark on a "killer package" U.S. two-month tour in late January. "And then we've got some festivals — April, May, June and probably August [of 2024]," he said. "Then, in the summer, I need to take the summer off to finish the new record, get it out and then get back on the road probably by October, November next year again."

He continued: "It's a lot of planning. We're getting asked to do a lot of things and right now I've been saying yes, just to try to get the band back out there, try to get the band to rebuild our large live credibility. We want the fans to come back. And then you hit 'em with a new song and then you hit 'em with a new album. And you just get back out there and do it again."

An early instrumental version of a new FEAR FACTORY song called "Roboticist" was made available in March to promote Toneforge Disruptor, a virtual guitar rig plugin and standalone app.

Cazares told BLABBERMOUTH.NET about "Roboticist", which was mixed by longtime FEAR FACTORY collaborator Damien Rainaud: "Initially it was just going to be a instrumental for the plugin, but it came out so good that I decided to make it a song for the new album. Maybe the album will be called the 'Roboticist'. It fits so well with our concept."

FEAR FACTORY's next LP will be the band's first with Silvestro, whose addition to FEAR FACTORY was officially announced in late February.

FEAR FACTORY played its first headlining concert with Silvestro and touring drummer Pete Webber on May 5 at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California.

FEAR FACTORY's recently completed "Rise Of The Machine" U.S. tour as the support act for STATIC-X marked the Cazares-led outfit's first run of shows with Silvestro and Webber.

Webber has been filling in for FEAR FACTORY's longtime drummer Mike Heller who is unable to play with the band due to "scheduling conflicts."

FEAR FACTORY will play a one-off show on September 17 at the Metal Injection Festival where the band will perform a very special "Demanufacture" and "Obsolete" set. FEAR FACTORY will then launch a five-date headlining "DisrupTour" with special guests LIONS AT THE GATE, which will kick off on October 7. This will be followed by the band heading out on the "October Dawn 2023" tour with headliners LACUNA COIL and openers LIONS AT THE GATE. The 10-date trek will begin on October 13 in Atlanta and make stops in Louisville, Oklahoma City, and Houston before concluding in St. Petersburg on October 29.

FEAR FACTORY will embark on a European tour this fall. The 44-date trek will mark the band's first European shows since 2016. Joining them on this run are BUTCHER BABIES from the USA and IGNEA from Ukraine.

FEAR FACTORY's latest album, "Aggression Continuum", was released in June 2021 via Nuclear Blast Records. The LP, which was recorded primarily in 2017, features Cazares and Bell alongside Heller.

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