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Five Finger Death Punch’s Zoltan Bathory: Ivan Moody ‘Got Better Rapidly’ After Sobriety Issues Made Public

Liz Ramanand, Loudwire
Liz Ramanand, Loudwire

Five Finger Death Punch have paid their dues as one of rock’s top touring draws, but while their shows are usually solid, the band will remember their May 2015 appearance at the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis as a show they’d like to forget. The group played a handful of songs before tensions between Ivan Moody and the rest of the band came to a head. Drummer Jeremy Spencer left the stage after an argument with Moody, soon followed by his bandmates before the rest of the show was cut short. But that show also proved to be a turning point for the band, as Moody began to look at his own behavior and eventually started to address his own sobriety.

During an interview in the new Kerrang magazine, guitarist Zoltan Bathory recalls, “For the longest time, the stage was sacred. After that incident in Memphis, though, we looked at him like, ‘Dude, you’ve drawn a sword in a church! This is absolutely not okay!’ I was pissed. By the time you get to the point we’d made it to, you’ve basically climbed the Himalayas barefoot. We were planting our flag, and he was too f—ing wasted to remember it.”

While Moody decided to address his issues with alcohol, the band too made changes to assist his road to recovery. “By taking ownership, you take control,” says Bathory. “When this got in the spotlight, Ivan got better rapidly. It put him in a position where the whole world was watching him. Also, when we got to the next show, people will know not to ask us to have a drink, and not take it as an insult if we say no.”

Moody stated, “Did that public discussion force me to face up to my own issues? Absolutely. I’ve got so much to lose, and — at the same time — so much to gain [from quitting].”

The singer entered rehab to deal with his addiction issues, and he’s not been shy about putting that out there as the band’s “I Apologize” video finds the singer walking through a graveyard littered with the tombstones of rockers who died while still at their creative apex due to a variety of addiction issues. In the clip, Moody himself is seen walking through the graveyard with a shovel, digging his own grave and sitting atop it contemplating his decisions. Watch the video for “I Apologize” below and read more of Five Finger Death Punch’s interview in the current issue of Kerrang.

Five Finger Death Punch, “I Apologize”

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