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Five Finger Death Punch: All About The Fans

By Karl Lean

Five Finger Death Punch return to Australia in April as part of Black Sabbath’s ‘The End’ tour. Bassist Chris Kael offers up some thoughts ahead of their third tour Down Under.

Kael’s journey with 5FDP began five years ago. Originally from Kentucky, his desire to pursue a career in music had led him to work at the Hard Rock Café in Las Vegas. Original bassist Matt Snell had departed the band in late 2010, and at that point the power of social media entered the picture. “I heard the band was looking for a bass player”, recalls Kael, “so I reached out to Jason Hook on Facebook of all things. He took the chance to answer that message and the rest is history. It’s been amazing since then; I think I completed the puzzle for the band’s line up.”

It’s been a hectic ride since then, a near constant cycle of recording and touring as the band has worked tirelessly to bring their hook-filled metal to the masses. This year has started with some down time, which Kael has used to regroup and refocus before they kick things back into gear in Australia. “I’ve been doing a whole lot of road trips on the motorcycle, there are a lot of great roads out here near Las Vegas,” Kael says. “And I’ve been hitting the gym pretty hard, with a lot of Muay Thai to clear the mind. Right now, just clearing my head before we bring the chaos to Australia in mid-April. Heading to Australia with Black Sabbath, we couldn’t ask for a better way to get back again.”

The Australian tour is mostly support slots at Arena venues with Black Sabbath, but also with a few headlining side gigs as well. Kael knows that the Sabbath shows are a huge opportunity for the band. “With the support slot, it’s a good thing for 5FDP because we have our own audience but then it’s always good to play to new people, to let them hear the 5FDP style. There’s a lot of Sabbath fans out there so for us to get out there and play to people who may not have heard us is always a good opportunity.” On a personal level, Kael is looking forward to this tour even more than normal. “One hundred percent excited”, says Kael. “Growing up listening to bands like Kiss, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, and now with 5FDP getting a chance to play with all 3 of them, it’s a dream come true for me.”

The tour is also a chance for the band to unveil some more tracks from last year’s, Got Your Six, album in a live setting. “We added a couple of songs the last time we were out on tour, Got Your Six and Jekyll and Hyde and the reaction live has been great,” offers Kael. “We’ll get together for rehearsals before we head to Australia and will probably add a few more new tracks, so you can be ready for that.”

The enthusiasm and hunger in Kael for what he is doing is evident. It’s a vibe and good humour that was captured so well in the clip they released late last year for the single Jekyll and Hyde. How often would you expect to see the bass player for one of the biggest selling US metal bands of 2015 sitting and knitting baby socks? “It was actually a clip where we decided, ‘you know what, let’s not do what everyone else wants us to do, let’s do one on our own’ “, Kael says. “We just had fun with it. Given the opportunity to do exactly what we wanted to do, I think we did it well and it came off.”

His dry humour also flows over to his own website (chriskael.com), where he has a range of his own merch, his dreadlocked beard has given rise to a ‘Cthulhu’ tee for example. It’s important to him to remember that it wasn’t so long ago that he was on the other side of the fence. “Joining the band five years ago I was coming into this beast called 5FDP, that already had its identity. So, I really had to work through things like social networks to get my feet on equal ground. I feel I’m really a genuine guy and I feel that translates into a connection with the fans. For me, being in 5FDP is in the blood, yet I’m still that guy that goes out to see shows. You’ll always see me at concerts, tonight I’m going to see Between the Buried and Me.”

Perhaps the most unique offering on his web site is the chance to own the bass he plays after each gig.  He has a signature bass build by Spector, and offers that up for sale each night. “Yeah, it’s important to me to try to give the fans that chance. I worshipped at the throne of Gene Simmons, and for me to maybe someday have a Gene Simmons bass would be the be all and end all,” he says. “There’s such a lot of fans out there that are right into 5FDP and we want to have a personal connection with the fans, so every single night the bass I play is available to buy. They get some gear, and I hand it to them after the show. It’s a great experience for me, and the fans as well.”

For the upcoming Australian tour, the bass from each night has already been snapped up. It’s just another sign of how strong the Australian fan base is right now. And there’s no doubt it’s only going to grow more following this tour.

FFDP 2016 Tour Dates:
20 April, Festival Hall, Melbourne
22 April, Big Top @Luna Park, Sydney

Black Sabbath + FFDP 2016 Tour Dates:
Perth Arena – Friday April 15
Adelaide Entertainment Centre – Sunday April 17
Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne – Tuesday April 19
Allphones Arena, Sydney – Saturday April 23
Brisbane Entertainment Centre – Monday April 25

*Tickets on sale now. Complete tour and ticket information, as well as VIP packages available HERE.

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