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Interview: Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed

When uttered to fans of the hardcore punk and underground metal scenes, the name Hatebreed brings many things to mind, but what stands out most is the vocal talent of Jamey Jasta.

Jasta, along with bandmate Chris Beattie, founded the band in 1994 in New Haven, Conn. Jasta is not only the lead singer of Hatebreed but has also gone off to do successful side projects with bands Icepick and Kingdom of Sorrow. He has also gone off to host MTV’s reincarnation of the 80’s hit program Headbanger’s Ball. This year Jamey will be touring with both Hatebreed (on the Jagermeister Music Tour) and Kingdom of Sorrow (at Ozzfest in Texas).

I was wondering, where did the name Hatebreed first come from?

Jasta: [It’s] from the Misfits song “Hatebreeders.” We just took off the “e-r- s.”

What inspired you guys to play music?

Jasta: Well I think when me and [Chris] Beattie started the band we were already in other bands, and the other bands fizzled out. So to start this band and to play this music the inspiration was to do something bigger and better and more focused. But I think initially for both of us we were just drawn to music because of the community in itself.

What type of bands influenced your style of music as a whole?

Jasta: I would say bands like Slayer, Sepultura, Obituary, Entombed and more metal stuff like Carcass. On the hardcore side Agnostic Front, Killing Time, Sheer Terror, Integrity, Earth Crisis and bands like that.

You mentioned Agnostic Front, who also happen to be playing the Dour Festival with you guys in Belgium.

How does it feel to play such an enormous festival with bands that cater more towards the indie and punk scenes, which some fans of metal look down upon?

Jasta: Well we’ve done festivals with David Bowie, Joss Stone and Mary J. Blige and you think, “oh man, this going to suck.” Then you get out there and people are going wild and you sell more t-shirts than you ever have. It’s just a more open-minded type of thing and it works. Plus people choose what band they want to see on what stage and when. We’re always honored when we can do those bigger festivals when we get to see all different types of acts at one show. Also it's fun hanging out with bands you don’t normally get to tour or play with. Like last time we did a bunch of big festivals and got to play with Three Doors Down, who we would never really play with in the states, and they’re great guys and we had a blast hanging out with them. It’s just a fun time you know.

So, what do you think of the other bands on the Jagermeister Tour like Type O Negative and Three Inches of Blood?

Jasta: It’s a great mix. We’re fans of both bands and that’s kind of how all this came together really. We had every band coming after us wanting to be in the opening slot but we really threw ‘Inches’ out as the first idea because we are fans of theirs. Then with Type O [Negative] we wanted to team up with a band that was different that would bring a different audience and have a different sound and make it more of an eclectic experience and not keep be beaten over the head with the same style of music but really have a little something for everybody and its been working great. I got to say we close to the last 10 days of this tour and it’s been the best one so far in support of this album as far as far as attendances. Type O fans stick around for us and it’s really been a great tour.

What was the craziest thing you’ve seen on tour so far?

Jasta: We had one guy crowd surf in a wheelchair. He was a little heavy but they made it happen. We had lizard man do some stage dives during our set. We’ve had Kenny from Type O come up with a cardboard Gene Simmons, dance, and stage dive and almost smash into the barricade and almost break both his legs. There’s been a bunch of stuff; it’s been a pretty eventful tour.

Out of all the tours you’ve been on what has been your favorite?

Jasta: You know Ozzfest, we did it 6 times and it was always a blast and more amazing each time. Definitely any and all Slayer tours we’ve done and any tours with Slipknot, those are just the cream of the crop. We are so very luck and honored to be on those tours, and the crowds were insane and it was a great time all around.”

Speaking of Ozzfest, I wanted to know since you're playing Ozzfest in Texas with Kingdom of Sorrow (Jamey’s sludgecore side-project) how is the transition between that and Hatebreed?

Jasta: It’s pretty smooth. It is a side project but it’s a different experience. It’s just a different place I’m in when I do that. We did a short tour back in February and it was like a totally different experience. It’s cool to experience something else with music.

What type of equipment do you guys use?

Jasta: Gibson and Marshall.

What was the song “As Diehard as They Come” on your last album, Supremacy, really about?

Jasta: Well, the lighter note is pretty much nothing at all, but we dedicate that song to the troops and we dedicate it to the fans.

You tend to growl a lot in your songs so what do you do to keep your voice from straining?

Jasta: Well this tour I’ve been drinking a lot of water and getting a lot of sleep.

Do you plan on further hosting Headbanger’s Ball in the future?

Jasta: If they have me back, and it works within my schedule, I’ll do it. There is no plan for it though. I kind of like the time off and not having such a hectic schedule.

Do you think this will spark the end of the newly revived Headbanger’s Ball or that they will find a new host?

Jasta :No. I think it’ll remain just a programmed show without a host or interviews. Just the occasional little clips they can show when they have the time or budget for it. I don’t see it going off.

I haven’t seen it in like three months but I think that now they have started to shoot clips and will occasionally let news people or people who work in other departments do cool little pieces on a band and I think that runs interspersed with the videos. If they keep doing that that’s cool.

Thanks so much Jamey for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with The Viking News.



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Daniel Offner

Journalism professional, certified audio engineer, photographer.