FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH Is Creating New Fans On METALLICA Tour: 'I Can Tell We're Turning Them', Says ZOLTAN BATHORY

April 7, 2024

In a new interview with Audacy Check In, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH guitarist Zoltan Bathory spoke about what it's been like for him and his bandmates to support METALLICA on a massive stadium tour in 2023 and 2024. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "That's great. Eighty, ninety thousand people in a stadium, that's massive. And it's one of those things where, obviously, we have a big fanbase that overlaps. So, METALLICA is such a huge band; they had four decades to gain that fanbase, so you're gonna have three generations of people in there. And it's such a big band now that — and in some ways they're growing, believe it or not, METALLICA, still; it's crazy. And so it's such a big band that even if you're not necessarily into metal, you've gotta come; you have to come and see. And so that means there are gonna be a lot of people in that arena that, hearing a band named FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, they're probably not gonna us a chance because they have no idea what that would be. So that means that we are playing to a substantial amount of people who never heard of [us] before. And I can tell that we're turning them, I can tell, especially after the show. You can definitely see it, because we have, obviously, statistics and online we can measure that. After every show, there's a jump in visitors and a jump in downloads and a jump in statistics, so I know that we're hitting a massive amount of people with that."

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH played its first show as the support act for METALLICA on the "M72" tour last August at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH was originally supposed to support METALLICA on several European shows in the spring of 2023 but ended up canceling the dates in order to allow singer Ivan Moody to fully recover from his recent hernia surgery.

When FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH played a few shows in Europe as the support act for METALLICA in July 2022, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH shared a video report on the pairing in which Moody said of the experience: "Everyone sets goals, as you should. But you have to understand, for us, this is the apex, this is the climax, this is the top of the fucking hill. And it's amazing to me that we've been on tour for almost 15 years and never crossed paths with this band. And I've gotta tell you, they paved the road for any of us, and anyone that argues that fact is out of their fucking mind. The one and only METALLICA."

Back in 2016, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH bassist Chris Kael told Loudwire that METALLICA's classic third album, "Master Of Puppets", represented a turning point in his music tastes. He recalled: "I went to a place called Disc Jockey Records back in Lexington [Kentucky] and I had in my hand 'Master Of Puppets' and RUN-DMC 'Raising Hell' and I had to make that decision. Which one? I've heard about this band METALLICA through Circus magazine and whatnot, but I haven't heard the music, but I know RUN-DMC."

He continued: "I ended up picking up METALLICA and 'Master Of Puppets', and right from the first notes of 'Battery', hearing that beautiful guitar piece into crushing and everything that Cliff Burton did on that basically shaped me melodic-wise on bass right from the very beginning. So that album is probably one of the most influential in terms of making me want to play bass. I'll never be able to get to the same level talent-wise that Cliff Burton was, but it was a challenge."

In 2015, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH's then-drummer Jeremy Spencer said that Lars Ulrich was a huge influence on him as a drummer and credited the METALLICA sticksman for inspiring him to play double bass.

"['Master Of Puppets' is] definitely my favorite, probably, metal album ever," Spencer said. "It's gotta be top two for sure. It's a toss-up between that and… I actually like 'South Of Heaven' by SLAYER too. But when I first heard 'Master Of Puppets', man, the drumming and the double bass, I never heard anything like that before as a young kid. It made such an impression on me that I just kind of wanted to do all things double bass. There's some really fast moments in 'Damage Inc.', and it just stuck with me and made such an impression on me as a drummer when I was younger; I instantly fell in love with it."

Asked what was so special about "Master Of Puppets" in particular, Spencer said: "I think they blended… They kind of had some European melody going on in the guitars, especially in the early records. That was different. But it was just… It was a different beast at that time; nothing sounded like it. There was an energy coming from that, and I think the riffs and the arrangements of the songs, it made such an impression on me and on so many other people."

Regarding how much of an impact Burton's contributions had on the way "Master Of Puppets" turned out, Spencer said: "I really don't know, but, obviously, he had some serious influence on them, 'cause their sound drastically changed [after his death]. But I love it. I think the first three records are incredible, to me."

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH is continuing to tour in support of its ninth album, "AfterLife" which was released in August 2022 via Better Noise.

This past Friday (April 5),FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH released the digital deluxe edition of "AfterLife", featuring the original 12 tracks recorded with the band's longtime producer Kevin Churko (OZZY OSBOURNE) in addition to four bonus tracks: three acoustic versions of the album's songs "The End", "Judgement Day" and "Thanks For Asking" plus a brand new song, "This Is The Way", featuring the late rapper DMX.

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