Armed with music

S'pore Rock Festival

WHEN: March 5 to 6, 6.30pm

WHERE: Fort Canning ParkTICKETS

$118 to $250 from Sistic (6348-5555 or

There are no official statistics.

If there are, we're pretty sure Californian heavy metallers Five Finger Death Punch would come out tops on the list of most-loved bands among the US military.

The quintet - formed in 2005 and best known for their cathartic head-banging numbers The Bleeding, Coming Down and Hard To See - are a bona fide hit among the men and women in fatigues.

On invitation by the US armed forces, they have performed countless times at bases in Iraq and Kuwait.

Some of their songs are tributes to soldiers fighting on the frontline, such as Death Before Dishonor and No One Gets Left Behind.

In a phone interview with M from his home in Los Angeles, US, lead guitarist Jason Hook, 43, described the solid "rapport" between the band and US army as "something special for both sides".

"When we get to play for troops based in the Middle East, it's a huge honour as we are hand-picked by the military.

"The troops react to our gigs with enthusiasm and appreciation.

"It definitely feels different from doing ticketed shows.

"It's almost like a sense of relief for those guys there.

"When they enjoy our music, they get a break from their daily routine where everything is by-the-book."

Five Finger Death Punch - also comprising frontman Ivan Moody, 34, rhythm guitarist Zoltan Bathory, 35, drummer Jeremy Spencer, 41, and bassist Chris Kael, 39 - have nothing but "utmost admiration and respect" for the armed forces.

"We're very impressed by what they do, but somehow, they don't get enough positive attention," said Hook. "So we try to bring them to the fore."

The band will be here next month to play at the inaugural two-night Singapore Rock Festival, headlined by industrial metal legend Rob Zombie, nu-metal veterans Korn and grunge stalwarts Alice In Chains.


It will mark the first time all five members of Five Finger Death Punch will be setting foot here.

Hook, who professes to "taking to spicy food quite well", even asked this reporter for recommendations. (Laksa and roti prata were my picks.)

"I heard it's illegal to chew gum in Singapore," he said. I told him it is not illegal to consume, but against our local law to sell, import or litter gum in public places.

"I had better leave my gum at home," he said.

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