American heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch formed in 2005. 2 years later, the release of their debut album, The Way of the Fist, catapulted them into the big league. By the time their gold-selling 4th album, Got Your Six, hit in 2015, the band had become one of the most successful heavy metal bands of the decade. Over the years, the band has gone through numerous lineup changes, but since 2018, the band members have consisted of Zoltan Bathory on rhythm guitar, Ivan Moody on lead vocals and piano, Jason Hook on lead guitar and backing vocals, Chris Kael on bass and backing vocals, and Charlie Engen on drums.
Hungarian-born American Zoltan Bathory’s first taste of musical stardom was in the band U.P.O, but he left the band after just one year to form FFDP. After achieving massive success with the band, Bathory took the decision to try his hand at artist management- a decision which turned out to be more than wise after the first band he signed, Bad Wolves, certified platinum with their debut album. Outside of his musical contributions, Bathory is a noted philanthropist, serving as the founding board member of the veterans nonprofit Home Deployment Project in Las Vegas, and on the Board of Advisors at the anti-poaching organization, Veterans Empowered to Protect African Wildlife. In his downtime, he manages to find time to write and provide political commentary for the national publication, Skillset Magazine.
In 2015, Chris Kael was working as a bartender in LA, debating whether to continue his, till then, failed attempts at making it in music, or pack it in and open a beachfront bar. Fortunately, fate intervened: after hearing that FFDP was looking for a bass player, he decided to give it one last shot. After connecting with the band’s guitarist Jason Hook on Facebook with the message, “Hey, I’m Chris. I’m in Vegas. I know you guys are looking for a bass player. Look no further. Check with our mutual friends–I’m sure they’ll give me a positive recommendation”, Chris abandoned any thoughts of throwing in the towel and became the latest full-time recruit to the band. His unusual “application” process is what he credits to getting the gig, as he explained to Bassplayer. “As good a bass player as I am, there is no way I could have got the audition–or won the Revolver award, which was driven by voters–without social networking,” he claimed. “I would never say I was the best bassist in metal. But the best social networker? Obviously, I’m really good at that!”
Prior to joining the band, lead vocalist Ivan Moody (birth name Ivan Lewis Greening) gigged with various bands, having gotten a taste for performing at a young age. “My grandmother put me in a choir when I was seven years old,” he told Da Belly. “I was only in it for about 2 or 3 years. Music’s always been really close to me. Like anybody else, I have had ups and downs in life and music just always seemed to be consistent, so it was easy to hold on to. I started performing in bands when I was 16 years old. They used to kick me out of the bar after the set was done.” After enjoying some mainstream success with the band Motograter, Ivan joined Five Finger Death Trap when Motograter went on hiatus. In 2017, Moody took a temporary break for the band to check into rehab. The singer has publicly battled with alcohol for years, even chronicling his addiction in the music video “I Apologize”, which saw the singer walking through a graveyard of musicians that died as a result of their addictions.
Like his bandmate Ivan Moody, guitarist Jason Hook developed his passion for music at a young age, taking drums, piano and violin lessons from the age of just 6 years old. His talents were eventually recognized by a record label, and he was signed to Elektra with his band of the time, No Love Lost. Although they cut an album under the label, it never made it to release, and the band split a short time later. Hook spent the following few years as a session guitarist, supporting the hard rock band BulletBoys and pop singer Hilary Duff, and touring with the likes of Vince Neil Band and Alice Cooper. In 2009, it was announced Jason would replace guitarist Darrell Roberts in FFDP; that same year, he recorded his first album with the band, War Is the Answer, which debuted at #7 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. Away from the band, Jason has recorded several albums as a solo artist: his first, Safety Dunce, was released in 2007, while his second, American Justice, is still pending release.
After founding member and drummer Jeremy Spencer retired from the band after a back injury, Charlie Engen was swiftly bought in as his replacement. 34-year-old Charlie played his first show with the band on November 6, 2018, in Wichita, Kansas, and has been a regular bandmember since. Prior to landing the gig, Engen had spent over 15 years teaching drums via both private and Skype lessons, as well as playing as a session drummer with the likes of Scale the Summit and Ideology. drums have long been a passion for Charlie, as he noted on his official bio. “Drums have been the main passion in life for as long as I can remember,” he said. “Going to McNally Smith College of Music for a master’s degree in percussion performance, I’ve focused on developing a personal playing style that blends elements of progressive metal, funk, Latin, and African rhythms. My goal is to utilize the many different approaches and rhythmic tools to bring them to their optimum level. I continue to push physical limitations daily and hope that the playing style represents these concepts in a unique and musical way.”