Why Is FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH So Polarizing? ZOLTAN BATHORY Weighs In
August 23, 2022
In a new interview with FaceCulture, Zoltan Bathory was asked if he thinks FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH's commercial success is the only reason he and his bandmates have been so polarizing within the heavy metal community. The guitarist responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think so. It's just what it is. In the very beginning, it gets under your skin a little bit because you don't understand… I worked my ass off to be here. You have no much idea how much work this [has been]. It didn't just pop out of nowhere. This is 30 years in the making. I was 12 years old making my first guitar out of a coffee table because I couldn't afford one. It's a lot of work and you just do what you love doing.
"Ivan [Moody, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH vocalist] pointed this out the other day," Zoltan continued. "He goes, 'Did you notice this that any other genre if somebody gets a Number One hit, they're celebrated. In heavy metal, you're a sellout.' How? Maybe they don't understand what sellout means. Because I do exactly what I wanna do. I don't sit in a job I hate. I do exactly what I wanna do. Nobody is pressuring me to do something I don't want to. I play exactly the music I like. So that's actually exactly the opposite of selling out.
"So that's one thing — people just view this as if this genre should be underground and somebody owns it. And, 'No. This can't be popular.' So it's a combination of that. A lot of misunderstanding, I guess. We came up pretty quick. I'm sure that has something to do with it. Sometimes I read, 'Oh, a major label brought a bucket of money and…' Clearly [those people] have no idea. You don't know anything about the music industry if you think that's how that works. There's no amount of money I can give you and you're gonna like a band. You just like it or you don't like it. That's it. And how people invest in bands also doesn't work that way. You have to achieve some kind of success, and then you get signed because the label would see that you're achieving some success. They aren't investing in something that they don't know if people are gonna like it or not; that's not how this works. And then plus, our story, the first record, it was completely homemade, produced by us. We made it my living room — literally. So we were exactly the opposite of that — we achieved and earned everything."
Bathory added: "For a moment in the very beginning, I didn't understand [the criticism]… Like, I'm just doing what I like doing. If you don't like it, turn off the radio. Who gives a shit? Or listen to something else. It's almost as stupid as saying, 'I don't like tomatoes, so all tomato farmers should die.' … As if I'm in the way of your success or any other band's success.
"So it's weird. For a second it got — maybe a little bit — under my skin because I didn't understand 13 years ago. And then you just realize it comes with the territory. Anybody who pokes out their head from the crowd, immediately somebody's there [to shoot them down]. So now it's, like… In fact, if there's no hate, then you start thinking, 'I'm not doing something right. What happened?' You have to piss off some people."
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH's ninth album, "AfterLife", was released last week. The "Afterlife" title track, which was made available as a single in April, recently gave FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH the most consecutive No. 1s on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Airplay chart. The song was the band's 13th total No. 1 and eighth entry on the chart in a row.
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH's follow-up to 2020's "F8" was once again recorded at the Hideout Recording Studio, the Las Vegas, Nevada facility owned and operated by Kevin Churko, the Canadian record producer/engineer and songwriter who has worked on all of FIVE FINGER's albums beginning with the band's sophomore release, 2009's "War Is The Answer".
"AfterLife" is FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH's first album with its latest addition, renowned British virtuoso Andy James, who replaced Jason Hook in 2020. James was previously featured on "Broken World", a song that was included on the second installment of FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH's greatest-hits collection, "A Decade Of Destruction – Volume 2", which came out in the fall of 2020.
Since FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH's debut album, "The Way Of The Fist", came out in 2007, the band has released six consecutive albums that were certified gold or platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as well as two chart-topping greatest-hits albums. In addition, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH has earned numerous national and international awards and honors over the last decade, such as the prestigious Soldier Appreciation Award by the Association Of The United States Army, an honor bestowed upon only one other recording artist before them: Elvis Presley.
"F8" debuted at No. 1 on rock charts around the world, with Top 10 mainstream chart debuts in the USA, Austria, Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and more. It produced four No. 1 hit singles with "Inside Out", "A Little Bit Off", "Living The Dream" and "Darkness Settles In". The band has amassed over eight billion streams and three billion video views to date and has sold over one million tickets between 2018 and 2020 alone.
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH has just launched a U.S. headlining tour presented by Live Nation. Kicking off in Ridgefield, Washington on August 19, the trek will span over 30 dates, closing out on October 15 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The band is joined on tour by rock icons MEGADETH, with additional support from THE HU and FIRE FROM THE GODS.