by Amy Harris
122 days ago
Posted In: Live Music
at 04:29 PM | Permalink
Halestorm, Five Finger Death Punch, Seether, Nonpoint, HellYeah take to the high seas for ShipRocked 2016
CityBeat was on-board for all the fun of the seventh annual
ShipRocked cruise, sailing from Miami to Costa Maya, Mexico last week.
The cruise provides a unique experience for diehard rock fans to get up
close and personal with their favorite bands on the high seas.
ShipRocked is made up of a tight-knit group of fans called
“ShipRockers” They are divided into two categories: Survivors who have endured previous ShipRocked cruises, and first time cruisers called
Newbs.The ShipRocked group of friends stays in touch with each other
year-round through a Facebook forum where cruisers can support each
other and reminisce about their amazing cruise experiences.
Diehard Shiprockers start a day early on Sunday night at
the official pre-party at the Clevelander Hotel in South Beach, where
fans saw performances by The Dead Deads and a surprise acoustic
performance with Joe Hottinger and Lzzy Hale from Halestorm.
Halestorm kicked off the party playing “Apolcolyptica” off
their new album, Into the Wild Life, and continued to play their hits
for an hour as the Norwegian Pearl sailed away from Miami.
While on board, fans saw live music everyday from 1 p.m.
until 2 a.m. These fans go from show to show with no nap in sight to see
all of the bands perform live. Every band performed two to three shows
while on-board to give each person a chance to see every
show. Bands included Halestorm, Five Finger Death Punch,
Seether, Nonpoint, HellYeah, Stitched Up Heart, Red Sun Rising, Helmet,
10 Years, Avatar, We Are Harlot, Doll Skin, The Dead Deads, and many
Besides the non-stop Rock, other activities also take place, like Deck Wars, where
fans competed against each other with members on Nonpoint band teams.
Some activities were canceled due to the high winds at sea, but there
was always something to do between your favorite band
performances. Whether you started your day with Rock & Roll yoga,
participated in scavenger hunts or tried your hand at late
Cruise ships in general are pretty fancy, so you really
never get over the sight of dudes with mohawks and huge tattoos sipping
beverages and eating their four-course meals on fine china.
On Tuesday, Avatar performed as the sunset over day two.
Avatar was the most fan-requested band to be added to the ShipRocked
lineup and the Swedes did not disappoint. Their high energy show kicked
off a night of music that included We Are Harlot, Seether and an on-fire
set by HellYeah on the deck that may have been the loudest of the week.
Band members can be seen all throughout the boat taking photos and talking to fans. All
bands also participate in meet and greets, where fans can meet and take a
photo with their favorites on Tuesday and Thursday.
The cruise pulled into Mexico on Wednesday and cruisers
could disembark for a beach-party option in Costa Maya, where Like a
Storm led beach wars and fans could relax with an open bar on the
beautiful Mexican sandy beaches.
One of the highlights of Wednesday night was seeing The
Stowaways perform. The Stowaways were assembled by Danny Hill with
guitar axe throwers like Dave Ellefson of Megadeth/Metal
Allegiance, Oli Herbert from All That Remains and Bumblefoot. The
band pulled in as many artists onboard as possible and practiced for many hours on Monday and Tuesday to pull off a
show that highlighted everyone on stage. Special tribute was made to
Scott Weiland and there was also an all-hands-on-deck finale tribute to Lemmy Kilmister
There were weather issues that forced the cruise
to move live performances scheduled for Thursday indoors.
Five Finger Death Punch was one of the cruise headliners that was supposed to
close out the whole event on the pool deck stage. In true ShipRocked family
fashion, when the storm rolled in the band stepped up immediately and
said they would play two back to back shows inside the Stardust Theater so that all fans could see the final show. The band played until 2 a.m. to make sure everyone could close out the party in true Metal
fashion.For Amy Harris' photos from 2016's ShipRocked, click here.
by Amy Harris
Band plays Trespass America Festival with Trivium and Pop Evil at Riverbend
Five Finger Death Punch is one of the most popular Metal bands in the world. The band has a catchy, melodic sound that resonates with its crowds and the band's songs have become arena anthems across the country. Five Finger continues to tour on its third studio album American Capitalist. Currently, the group is out headlining the Trespass America Festival with the bands Trivium, Pop Evil and Killswitch Engage.
CityBeat was able to spend some time with the band’s lead guitarist Jason Hook to discuss, among other things, the band’s feverish tour schedule and the effect it has on the band members' relationships, as well as what makes the music so addictive. The Trespass America Festival comes to the PNC Pavilion at Riverbend tomorrow (Wednesday) night.
CityBeat: What has been the highlight of Trespass Festival so far?
Jason Hook: Well, the first show was awesome. We opened the show on Friday the 13th just outside of Denver. The place was almost sold out, packed. We had all of our friends, family, record label, managers and agents with us. It was a massive party (and) it was day one. It was awesome, really awesome.
CB: Who leaves the biggest mess backstage at Trespass?
JH: The biggest mess? As far as what, a hot mess or just messy?
CB: It could be either.
JH: I’ll give both to Ivan (Moody, Five Finger's frontman).
CB: OK, I wouldn’t picture that.
JH: Well you don’t know him as well as I do.
CB: Is it true that he still throws up before he performs?
JH: I haven’t seen that lately but it might be because I tend to steer clear of him a little bit more than usual because of that. But he does do that. That is not an urban legend.
CB: You consistently are having these hits with huge sports and military following. What is really the formula for creating a modern day Rock anthem?
JH: I think that you have to keep things simple. People like a really consistent beat, something that has a good thump to it. Obviously, an easy to follow storyline or a relatable storyline and as many hooks as you can get into each section of the song for example the intro, the verse, the pre-chorus, the chorus, the bridge, the solo — all those are sections — and if they get too long or drawn out or too complicated or the resolution set too high for the listener, they just miss out and it will go over their head. A big part of having an anthem is having something that is simple enough that many people can grab it easily like “Rock & Roll all night and party every day.”
CB: Does the band ever write songs for a specific audience?
JH: Not really. Most of us in the band have a background where we grew up listening to heavy bands but bands that were also on the radio. That reflects in the music we make. None of it is really contrived. We just do what we like. Fortunate for us, it catches with a lot more people. Once you try to do something that is not honest, it is really hard to repeat it. You are always chasing or guessing what to do. It is better to know what you like to do and just do it.
You always have the crazy crowd surfing at the shows, the biggest Rock on the Range crowd surfing in history. Do you ever worry about fan safety?
JH: All the time. All the time. It freaks us out. I see people getting beat up pretty good out there, especially the people in the very front row because people crowd surf up from behind them, they can’t see that these 220 pound guys are being launched forward and the people in the front row are the last people that these heavy people land on their heads on the way into the pit. You get a lot of people getting smashed, and they have no idea it is happening until it happens.
I keep saying, “Is there something we should do to discourage this? Should we say that we want people to be careful and keep your eyes open?” I do see a lot of people getting hammered, and it freaks me out. We are always thinking about it.
CB: How do you stay friends living in such close quarters and being on the road almost all year?
JH: How do we stay friends? We stay away from each other. The only way to control how we all get along is to make sure there is a good amount of separation. You need a little bit of on and a little off.
For example, we get hotel rooms. The band gets hotel rooms. We get them every other day. The hotel rooms are essential and it doesn’t matter what it costs to have everybody be able go and have their own private space to go make phone calls, answer e-mails, relax, watch the TV program they want to watch, whatever. The off is just as important as the on because if you get too much together time all the time, then you are likely to have the engine run a little hot, you know what I am saying?
CB: Who in the band is more likely to get into a fight backstage and who is more likely to get laid?
JH: I don’t really want to focus on the fighting, but as far as the sex part of it, I would say, all the girls like Ivan. The rest of us are just sort of swinging the bat. They all seem to want to get to Ivan. So I would say answer "A"—my final answer — Ivan.
The thing is, to chase girls around, which is also to chase the party or stay up, all these people show up and they want to hang out with the band. This is their big night out. The problem is, if we participated in everybody’s big night out, then we end up having 42 or 55 nights in a row, and it is physically too hard. Imagine having 45 New Years Eves in a row. What kind of shape would you be in after that?
CB: Yeah, bands now are a lot more, I don’t want to say mellow, but you can’t sustain (that type of partying) for long periods of time if this is what you are going to do.
JH: God knows we have tried it. We don’t want to hurt the band. We don’t want to hurt the tour. We have a responsibility to not only talk to people during the day but to play in front of these large audiences, and I don’t want to go up there hung over and feel like crap and be fuzzy and making mistakes. It’s very hard. It’s OK when you are a club band — nobody cares; “Get me another beer.” Everyone is drunk anyway, but now we are talking about playing in front of 15,000 people at 9 o’clock at night and it is a business now. It is for real.
by Amy Harris
Hard rockers to perform at Ohio's Rock on the Range festival this weekend
Five Finger Death Punch will be one of the headlining acts of Rock on the Range, one of the nation’s biggest Hard Rock and Metal festivals that takes place in Columbus this weekend. FFDP has become known for its “active” show, encouraging crowd participation that can get on the edge of out-of-hand at times. The band released its third studio album last year, American Capitalist, which quickly shot to the top of all Rock and Metal charts.CityBeat caught up with drummer Jeremy Spencer to preview next week’s Rock on the Range and discuss the grueling nature of the industry (especially as a drummer) and the advice that has driven him to be in the position of leading the rhythm and timing of Five Finger Death Punch. FFDP performs Saturday night on the main RotR stage in Columbus.CityBeat: I was excited to talk to you because I know you just won the Golden God award for Best Drummer. How was that experience for you?Jeremy Spencer: It was really great because I am a fan of all those drummers in the category and to be put in the same category was humbling already, and then to win, it was “Wow, this is really cool.” We couldn’t be at the show because we were out on tour. I got a call saying, “You know he won and if you could put together a video for the acceptance that would great.” So I made this really ridiculous acceptance speech video where I dressed up as redneck fans mocking me giving a speech, so I did a multi-character video for winning the award and it was really funny. It is all over the internet in case you get a chance to see it. Everyone got a kick out of it, but overall it was a really humbling experience and really cool.CB: You guys just made another trip to Kuwait as well. I know it is really important to the band to support the troops. What was your most memorable experience this time around?JS: We got to hang out with the troops a lot during the day and talk to people and we do extensive signings for them. The shows were pretty crazy. They don’t get a lot of entertainment over there so they are really excited when we get to come and play. And it is exciting for us too because they are such huge supporters of the band so it is the least we can do to give back to them because they sacrifice so much to be away from their families. It was very cool. The only thing that wasn’t cool is that there is an 18-hour plane flight to and from Kuwait. That is the only brutal part but the rest of it was incredible.CB: I actually did see some of the YouTube videos from the shows over there that were posted and they looked like they were crazy with the crowd surfing and the moshing and they really go into it.JS: They really do. They get after it. It’s insane, like I said it is all pent up energy so they really get after it.CB: I have listened to the album since it came out but in a lot of the recent songs there is serious hardcore drumming action. How do you stay in shape and how do you condition for that kind of hitting?JS: I do a lot of stretching. That is the thing I didn’t do much growing up but now as I am getting older I have realized that stretching is vital. It is almost like doing yoga really. I use hard foam rollers to roll out my muscles and get the knots out. Stretching is key; any drummers that are doing this I would recommend doing that starting as young as you can. I also don’t party anymore. I try to take care of myself. I try to eat things that are relatively healthy. So that is pretty much what I do.CB: I think that is a misconception for a lot of people. I talk to a lot of bands from a lot of different genres and I think people think the road is a continuous party and for some bands it is, but for a lot of bands it is about having a healthy lifestyle because it is so grueling.JS: It really is. We are kind of like athletes. We have to get up there and perform for 75 minutes sometimes or 90 minutes and it takes a toll on you physically. We are not playing Pop music. It is pretty aggressive. It is physically demanding. When we started out, we definitely participated in that party lifestyle. I am one to try it, but if you are going to be successful and have a long career then you can’t get wrapped up in that stuff. Rarely does it work so I figured it was time to treat this like a job. It is a job but it is a great job. CB: Let’s talk about Rock on the Range. I have seen you play there before a couple years ago. It is always a good time. Is there anything that you are looking forward to specifically around that show?JS: Last time, we had one of the biggest crowd surfing experiences that Rock on the Range had ever experienced and it is well documented on YouTube. So we will see how crazy the fans can get there this time. We certainly enjoy it. Every time we play there, it has been great. And you know, all the other great bands, and hanging out with our friends, it has always been a positive experience and I look forward to getting back there and doing it again this year.CB: I was there last time. I am a photographer so I am always down in front for the beginning parts so it is always a little sketchy with the crowd surfing for us. JS: Absolutely, you might want to wear a helmet or something.