“Kid Rock watched us fight each other”: Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta answers your questions
Is there a more industrious man in hardcore and metal than Jamey Jasta? Best known as the lead vocalist for Hatebreed, he also fronts occasional sludge metal supergroup Kingdom of Sorrow, the metalcore-flavoured Icepick and his own solo project. He’s also made innumerable guest appearances and collabs, runs a record label, a clothing line and a prominent podcast.
Luckily he somehow found time to answer your questions on everything from violent mosh-pits to copious vomiting and when that long-awaited third Kingdom of Sorrow album might arrive (spoiler: soon!).
Let the grilling commence…
From Tom Gaydos: How do you lyrically compartmentalise between Hatebreed, Kingdom of Sorrow, Jasta and other guest spots?
“I have a vision board and I write topics that I want to one day delve into. With Hatebreed I usually keep the topics very similar. I kinda do sequels and prequels if I think I’ve touched on a topic before, but I have new experiences or insights. I’ll add to it and expand on it and revisit the old song, or I’ll make a sequel to someone else’s song. One of my favourite death metal songs is Death Walking Terror by Cannibal Corpse; I liked the idea of this serial killer entering the astral plane to then take over someone’s body and have them fulfil his devious desires. I took it one step further with the new Hatebreed record with a song called A Stroke Of Red. That’s actually a weird concept for a Hatebreed song, but I wanted to go creatively to a different place with this album.
“Then on the last Kingdom Of Sorrow album I was talking about how the Roman Empire fell, and now in 2020 we hear people saying democracy is dead and every great empire must fall – this is the collapse of America. When you look back on a song like Monuments Of Ash and you see what’s happening now with people tearing down statues; we’re in this post-truth era and I was singing about that back in 2010. And I remember saying to myself, ‘Oh, this would never work for a Hatebreed song but it’s cool with Kingdom Of Sorrow.’ When you’re thinking about the collapse of society, that’s pretty fucking dark, but that music is very tuned-down and slow and dark. That song is also super-heavy and probably one of my favourite songs I’ve ever written. When Charlie [Bellmore, guitar] sent me the riffs, I said, ‘These are so heavy, I can see society collapsing. Buildings could collapse under the weight of that riff!’ ”
Charlie Parkman: What are your top three own songs?
“Definitely Monuments Of Ash with Kingdom Of Sorrow. I’d say I Will Be Heard with Hatebreed, just because it was such a game-changer and it’s my therapy every night. It’s the one thing I miss this year, not being able to scream that song every night. Then probably Strength To Draw The Line, on the last Jasta album, because that’s also kind of a sequel to [Killswitch Engage song] Strength Of The Mind. I was telling Jesse [Leach, KsE vocalist] when we did the song, it was a continuation. I got such a good response to that song and people were so happy to see Jesse and I collaborate.”
@ASHSMI: How do you maintain your singing voice?
“I was going to multiple coaches before I did the last Jasta and Hatebreed record. When I did the Dee Snider album, all those melodic singing parts I tracked first, and to do that I need to do all sorts of warm-ups and cool-downs. I’m drinking Throat Coat tea and doing exercises. A lot of it looks silly, I’m doing spits and trills, where you blow the air through your lips. People would think it looks ridiculous, but it all helps – especially when you’re also talking three or four hours a day with podcasts and interviews.”
Ben Gardner: How have you stayed positive in the madness of 2020?
“Just by spending time with my family and my dogs. Just being able to be off the road has been a blessing because even though a lot of our hang time has been on Zoom or Skype or socially distanced, we’ve been able to connect and come together as a family and I’m so grateful for that. My daughter is 21 and I now realise that being away for so many years, even though it created a great life, I think children really just want your time and your energy. That’s one of the things about being a nomadic person for work, having to go to different places for income: you don’t realise how much time you miss.”
Jello Bean: Can we have a new Kingdom Of Sorrow album please?
“You know, I spoke to Kirk [Windstein] about this yesterday. I’d been saying to him, ‘You have to do a solo record’ and he did. Then I said, ‘What about the new Crowbar?’ and they got that done – that’s going to come out next year. So now that both of them are out of his system, yeah, I think we can do a new Kingdom Of Sorrow. I will be going through my riff vault and my lyrics over the next month or two, but right now I’ve got to get at least the pre-production portion of the Dee Snider record done, so that Dee can start tracking his vocals. Charlie and Nick [Bellmore, drums], who are also in Kingdom Of Sorrow with me will work on both, so it’s just a matter of working those two out.
“But I do think it’s possible, I think it would be fun, and I think Kingdom could have a lot of cool collaborations. I’ve done podcasts with Wino from The Obsessed and he’s one of my main influences for the Kingdom Of Sorrow stuff. So I thought, maybe we’d get Wino on some stuff or do some co-writes. Then with Kenny [Hickey, ex-Type O Negative] not really doing anything with Seventh Void or his other group, I thought that because he’d filled in for Kirk in Kingdom Of Sorrow and has such a great voice, maybe that’s another layer we could add to the mix. I know Type O Negative fans would love to hear Kenny doing some new stuff, so there’s a lot of creative ideas that could come together for a really cool new third Kingdom Of Sorrow album.”
Charlotte Mackintosh: Do you still have beef with Chvrches?
“No, no, no, I didn’t have beef with them five minutes after the tweet. Nobody read the subsequent tweets but no, that’s old news. I remember the festival [Dia De Los Deftones] went off fine and they did great. It was just me doing what every fan does when a festival is announced, you whine a little bit (laughs). Sometimes that whining involves dissing some of the bands in the line-up that aren’t in the genre or the world you wanna see. There’s no beef there but still I stand by the tweet – it’s very hard to follow Gojira!”
Nate Daniels: Without drink and drugs, how do you cut loose?
“There hasn’t been a lot of cutting loose really. But I’ve been doing a lot of hiking, cooking, hanging with my nephews and my daughter, walking my dogs, making my dogs circle pit in the yard. I also burn a lot of shit, I do a lot of bonfires. I put on my lumberjack outfit and go out behind my house with an axe and chop dead wood up, then I light it up and I put on some tunes and I read comics or a book by this big bonfire.
Hayley Frow: What is the worst album of all time?
“I don’t say, ‘I’m not a fan’, I always say, ‘I’m not a fan yet.’ That’s something I’ve tried to implement recently, but there’s some stuff that I don’t know I’ll ever be a fan of, even though I’ve tried. One of the things is the Yoko Ono album Take Me To The Land Of Hell. I don’t know if it’s the worst album of all time and who knows, maybe I’m just not a fan yet.”
Xavier Jackson: How does it feel to have pioneered the hardcore sound that’s still going strong today?
“That’s very nice of them to say but we’re just carrying the torch. We were kinda handed the torch for a little while there, and we were just emulating the bands that we loved, like Slayer and Sepultura, the Cro-Mags, Earth Crisis and Madball, Kreator and Integrity and Ringworm. And a lot of bands in our era that we grew up playing with were great, like All Out War and Marauder. So it’s not just us, but we do appreciate the compliment!”
Roxy Curtis: What is the most violent mosh pit you’ve ever seen?
“There’s been a lot. Definitely the CBGB shows back in the day, all the Detroit shows when we played with Cold As Life. Probably Puerto Rico too when we played the Tito Puente stadium with Six Feet Under. You wanna talk about one big brawl? That one was just insane, but a lot of the early Connecticut shows ended in riots and insanity.”
Jack Cubitt: What is the most you’ve ever vomited?
“In the drinking days we did a Fight Club at this festival. I think Kid Rock watched us fight each other, the Mudvayne guys were there. I don’t know why we were doing a Fight Club, I guess we thought it would be better to beat the shit out of each other than continue to argue. Anyway, we were drinking whiskey, we were drunk, and beating the shit out of each other. I woke up in my hotel room and I’d thrown up a lot. I called Sean (Martin) our old guitar player to apologise and he said, ‘You were punching me and you broke the window of the bus and we have to cancel these tour dates now.’ It was just crazy. So that’s one of the many reasons I don’t drink any more. It was one of the worst hangovers, one of the worst times vomiting up Jameson’s whiskey. To this day I can’t even smell it or I’ll get sick.”
Kyle Pritchard: How will you be spending Christmas this year?
“I’ll be spending Christmas at home with my daughter and my girlfriend and my dogs. I will probably do my usual thing of just cooking, maybe watch The Nightmare Before Christmas, probably watch Elf, Die Hard. I might go and see the lights too; we’ve got a bunch of light displays around us that we can go and drive through. I will miss going to all the Christmas markets in Europe, though. That was one of my favourite things to do, touring in Germany and Belgium and Holland in November and December.
Gregory Cresswell: What would you be doing if you weren’t a singer?
“I’d probably be a booking agent or just do my label or a management company, or do the podcasts.”
Helen Lockwood: What song are you most looking forward to playing when you’re allowed to perform again?
“Oh, good question. I’m definitely looking forward to performing three or four from the new record, but definitely Cling To Life and Instinctive (Slaughterlust).”
Hatebreed’s new album Weight Of The False Self is out now via Nuclear Blast.
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