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Zoltan Bathory (Five Finger Death Punch) | Audacy Check In | 4.5.24

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Joining us for an Audacy Check In today is Five Finger Death Punch's Zoltan Bathory, talking with host Abe Kanan about the band's brand-new single featuring DMX, their upcoming summer tour, and much more.

Five Finger Death Punch's ninth studio album, AfterLife, was released back in August of 2022. and their new deluxe edition with bonus tracks, including the single "This Is The Way" featuring late rap icon DMX is out now.

“We always thought he's kind of the ‘metal head’ of Hip Hop,” Zoltan says. “His delivery, the dog bark, the whole attitude… There are obviously other Hip Hop artists that I really like, but we always thought, how cool this would be to do something with him, because of that attitude. This conversation of trying to do something together has been going on for years and years, maybe 5-6 years, and for obvious and more reasons, he was not available from periods of times that we could really work with him, and then when he was available, that's in the last couple of years. It never really came to fruition because, unfortunately, he passed. However, what came out of it, since the conversation continued, we had access to some of these masters that he recorded.”

“Obviously people around him, the family, the estate, the producers, everybody, his friends, is super protective about his legacy, his art, everything [that] has to do with him,” he continues. “So we had to be super respectful and we worked through the channels, got the green light to use some of these songs, some of his lyrics, and then we arranged the song… it's a true collaboration. We have our part, and then where there's a part that both DMX and Ivan [Moody] sings the same thing, and there's a part that the verses are all DMX -- and we kind of tone down the guitars there so you can really hear what he's saying. His cadence, his flow is DMX, you can't mistake it… if you know DMX, there's no mistake.”

Because of publishing issues and red tape, the band was unable to include the song on AfterLife as intended, but luckily fans get to hear it “as it was meant to be” on the record’s deluxe edition, which also includes “a couple of really cool acoustic bonuses that we had,” says Zoltan. “The feedback was incredible,” he adds. “Everybody thought this is super respectful to him, the arrangement and the song, everybody loves it. Everybody thought, ‘Man, this is a hit and this might be the last thing we hear from DMX. And if it's the last thing we hear from DMX, then it's a proper track.”

“That's how Hype Williams got involved too… as this was making its way within the community, we thought, ‘OK, how are we gonna do a video for this song?’ Hype did the movie ‘Belly’, and he worked on [DMX’s] music videos. He was very, very close with DMX.” After sending Williams the track, he immediately responded saying he wanted to be a part of the project. Then he told me his whole story… how close he was and he was like, ‘You don't even know what you guys are sitting on, this is huge.’”

5FDP is about to hit North American cities this summer and fall with special guests Marilyn Manson and Slaughter To Prevail. With dates fast approaching, performing the song live would be the next logical step. “The way to do this I think would be, we would have to have guests,” says Zoltan. “We would have to have guest rappers,” he says, rather than incorporating a backing track. “We’re definitely working on figuring out how and who we could install as a guest to do it together.”

Looking ahead to this fall’s Aftershock festival happening October 13-16 in Sacramento, CA, where 5FDP are co-headliners amongst metal titans Iron MaidenJudas PriestSlayerPanteraDisturbedSlipknot, and Mötley Crüe, as well as an opening spot for Metallica coming up, Zoltan says it’s “crazy” to think how many people will be seeing them for the first time, some who may not even give a band named Five Finger Death Punch a fair chance. “I can tell that we're turning them,” he admits. “I can tell that especially after the show… after every show there's a jump in visitors and a jump in downloads and jump in statistics. When you bring in new people, that's what you can really see. Festivals, same thing. There are people who came to see very specific bands, right? People who are not necessarily your fans. That's your chance to pick up people or expose your music to people that either didn't give you a chance, or didn't hear before, or they read it online… You gotta have haters though, because if you don't, then you're not doing it right.”

Tickets for 5FDP's Summer/Fall tour are on sale now.

Don’t miss our full Audacy Check In with Five Finger Death Punch's Zoltan Bathory above -- and stay tuned for more conversations with your favorite artists on Audacy.com/live.

Words by Joe Cingrana Interview by Abe Kanan

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