Zoltan Bathory, Five Finger Death Punch guitarist, spoke with me recently while on a brief touring break. Fresh off of The Mayhem Tour, FFDP are already preparing to head back out on the road again, this time with Godsmack and Drowning Pool. Here is what Zoltan had to say.

You guys just finished up The Mayhem Tour. What was that like?
Zoltan: Oh my god it was unbelievable. We did the 2008 Mayhem Tour on the side stage and we are the first band to have progressed form the side stage to the main stage. Playing on the main stage means we are playing in front of 15,000 people every night.

What was the response like?
Zoltan: Oh my God it was unbelievable. We kind of push the envelope as much as we can. It is always important to us to give back. We kind of recycle the money and get stage props and flying drum sets, whatever the hell we can. We want to give people a show that is memorable. We don’t want to be four or five guys on stage just running around. It is important to give the audience a show. This is the first time we were playing on a big stage and we could bring a big stage set, it looked awesome and it was really cool. The response from the show was amazing. People were walking away from the festival really really happy.

I understand you have about a week off and then you are going back out again, is that correct?
Zoltan: Well basically right now we have a week off. We have a couple of little things lined up. We just did Jimmy Kimmel and we are doing this little acoustic performance and a few other little performances here and there. Technically we have about a month off before we start our next tour with Godsmack. We are going to do a really major tour cycle with Godsmack. Originally we wanted to go back and do another studio record, but because of the success of the songs on radio and The Mayhem Festival there is a demand and if people want to see the band you have to put on your backpack and just go. So we are going back on the road with Godsmack.

That will be a pretty big tour right?
Zoltan: Yeah it is going to be Godsmack, us and Drowning Pool was just added… I think there are going to be other bands on the tour as well but I am not sure which ones yet.

You guys did a bunch of stuff over in Iraq. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Zoltan: It is an experience that words can’t really explain. We were in places and saw stuff that is not available to many people. We were waking up in Sadaam Hussein’s palace and eating cereal on his table and it was all pretty amazing. We enjoyed supporting the guys out there who don’t have anything. Being able to bring them a piece of hope was really amazing. Over here in America we have really huge mosh pits and if someone falls we can tell them to pick him up. Over there everyone is armed with machine guns and pistols and Ivan has to yell “Hey guys! Everybody make sure your safeties are on and no grenades in the mosh pit…” It is a little different over there.

When I was listening to the record I stumbled upon a Bad Company cover that I really dig. How did that come about?
Zoltan: Well, it was a song we started to play on the first record cycle. We became a headlining band on the first record and we simply did not have enough material to play for an hour and twenty minutes so we had to play a few covers. We didn’t want to do a pop song or a song that everyone else has covered so we went through a list of songs and somebody suggested Bad Company. Ivan loved the lyrics and it is a great song to begin with. So we started to play it and the crowd reaction was great. So many people were asking about this that we actually decided to include it on the second record.

I think it is sounds great… it is a great version of the song for sure.
Zoltan: Well you know covering a song like that is suicidal task because if you don’t pull it off, people will kill you for it.

Yeah because it is such a classic. In a hundred years from now what will the music history books say about Five Finger Death Punch?
Zoltan: Well we are a new band so it is still to be decided. We are only together since 2005 and the first record came out three years ago in 2007, so it is a really short period. If I would wish for something I would be happy if the history book said that in a time when radio was not touching heavy metal and would not even come close to it. I would like them to say we are opening the door for heavier bands and bringing it back into the spotlight again. If the music history books do recognize us I would like them to say that in a time of need we were bearing the flag for heavy metal.

Any closing words at all?
Zoltan: Everything that we have achieved is because of our fans. We were a small band and everything that we have achieved is because we have a hardcore fan base that always shows up. I want to thank them and everyone else out there who gave us a hand. I also want to thank you guys for doing this.