Metal band Five Finger Death Punch tackle Weighty themes in their music
Proving that celebrities are just like you or me, Five Finger Death Punch guitarist Jason Hook is shopping for pressure washers as his agent connects him to a pre-arranged media call.
“I’m shopping in a hardware store right now — I always forget when I’ve got something like this to do,” said the affable Hook, who performs with his metal band on Sunday, June 29, at the Tail Creek Mud and Music Festival, which runs June 27 to 29 near Alix.
The self-described “clean freak” admitted he and his girlfriend run a robotic Roomba vacuum overnight to keep the rugs in their “gigantic” Las Vegas house free of cat hair from his four felines.
No surprise, then, that Hook would spend an afternoon off seeking a pressure washer to keep his driveway looking brand-spanking-new and clean.
“Right now there are black tire marks on it,” said the 43-year-old, who proceeded to reassure that he’s an excellent multi-tasker and is keen to talk about his next festival foray into Alberta.
“I’m the token Canadian in the band, so it’s always really great to go home.”
Hook grew up in Toronto and developed an early interest in music — not because his mom made him take piano lessons, but because his friend’s mother disapproved of KISS records. The young friend ended up gifting his contentious KISS albums to Hook, who had his seven-year-old mind blown by the sounds they recreated.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God! What is this? I must do this!’ ”
He took up the guitar and later played with various bands, such as No Love Lost. The melodic Toronto rock group that sounded something like Bon Jovi was signed to a record deal in the early 1990s, just before the winds changed and Nirvana and other grunge bands became the next hot thing.
“Our record was shelved,” recalled Hook, who dealt with his disappointment by moving to Los Angeles in 1995, more determined than ever to make it.
He spent the next decade playing with different musicians before meeting and bonding with Jeremy Spencer, who became the drummer for Five Finger Death Punch.
In January 2009, Hook was asked to join Spencer’s heavy metal band to replace former guitarist Darrell Roberts — and the rest has been a thrill ride for the ex-pat Canadian.
“God bless that people actually like our band. There are other bands out there that work equally hard but don’t get the response we do,” said Hook. “I enjoy every minute of it and feel very lucky.”
Five Finger Death Punch stands apart from many other heavy metal bands because of the weighty themes the group’s songs deal with. For instance, the group’s No. 1 hit Coming Down, from the 2012 American Capitalist album, is about depression and failed expectations.
The song’s music video has a story line about suicide caused by bullying.
Hook is proud to have composed the music for this tune, although its searing lyrics were written by vocalist Ivan Moody. (Hook jokes that he’s tried suggesting where the lyrics should go; “I have ideas, it’s just that (Moody’s) are better.)”
The guitarist also contributed grooves to several songs on the group’s last album, The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 2. Hook said the riffs tend to come to him while he’s noodling.
“You’ll do a chord change and then something sparks ... something will hit me, channel through my brain and filter through my fingers. ...”
The band — also made up of guitarist Zoltan Bathory and bassist Chris Kael — is already sketching out song ideas for a new 2015 album.
“We’ve learned that preparation is key,” said Hook, who still regularly returns to visit family members in Canada — “only I try to avoid the cold season.”
The Tail Creek Mud and Music Festival will also feature Korn, Theory of a Deadman, The Road Hammers, The Glorious Sons, One Bad Son, local groups Oldbury, Diesel May, The Well Witchers and many other bands.
For more information about tickets, location and the festival lineup, visit tailcreek.ca.