Burton C. Bell: A Rock And Roll Fables Conversation

FearFactory2015i_by_stephanie_cabral

Fear Factory’s latest, and ninth album, is barely a year old yet here they are touring the country playing their iconic sophomore album from front to back. Despite the obvious reasons (Um, 20th anniversary of Demanufacture!), the answer for the current tour is actually quite simple as vocalist Burton C. Bell cordially explains via phone:

“It’s a cross promotional sort of thing. There’s a lot of excitement about the 20th anniversary of Demanufacture and having Genexus just out is a good thing to cross promote. Because of Demanufacture we’re getting a lot of people to the shows and in that respect we’re playing songs from Genexus and talking about it so people can remember it. It just works out. Just good cross promotion.”

As for the aforementioned cybermetal masterpiece? Bell likens performing it in its entirety nightly to “rereading an old book every day” and elaborates on the crowd reaction thus far:

“The crowds energy and excitement about hearing it from start to finish in its entirety really helps me and keeps me going. They’re totally jazzed, they’re moshing, they’re singing along. Loudly. There’s a couple of these songs that most people, I’d say 99% of the people, have never heard ever! ‘Dog Day Sunrise’ for one. ‘Therapy For Pain’ some people have never heard. ‘Flashpoint’ or ‘Pisschrist’. There’s a lot of excitement. Just seeing the kids out there stoked makes it a very positive tour for all of us.”

And with most albums, some songs never make it to the stage which is yet another reason to check out the current Demanufacture celebration live:

“The one song we never played before was ‘Therapy For Pain’. For me, we should’ve had this as a single years ago because people are loving it! Where it is in the set, and obviously it’s the last song on Demanufacture, after this barrage of intensity for 50 minutes then ‘Therapy For Pain’ comes on and people go into a trance. It’s literally like watching deers in headlights. Everyone’s engaged, everyone’s looking but it’s like they’re in a trance. From my perspective it’s pretty awesome. I would consider putting that into a normal set list.”

For Bell, the goal each night is “to give the songs a live feel and get the songs across as intense as it was when we recorded it” and to do that, he’s trying out some new things this time around:

“I haven’t been drinking at all. I’m not sober but I’m doing an experiment where I’m not drinking for the entire tour so that seems to be working along with staying healthy. Warming up before the show, warming down after the show. I’m 47 so I have to do ‘preventative maintenance’ on myself (laughs).”

The new line up and label also help keep things on the level:

“I’m very happy with who’s in the band now. I’m very happy that Dino (Cazares) has been back in the band for the past three records. Tony (Campos) is a fantastic bass player and good friend and Mike Heller’s a fantastic drummer.”

And as for their newish label home, the reason for signing with Nuclear Blast was simple:

“Monte Conner was with us from the very beginning at Roadrunner. Not only were we the ones who experienced the change at Roadrunner but he felt it, too. He felt, as we all feel (Other bands, not just my band members), that the genre and the bands that made that label break got pushed to the side for mediocre bands and to become a major label. For Monte, and what he’s doing with NBE, he wanted to get back to what Roadrunner was. For bands, and bands like us that started as grassroots before the internet, to have someone like that who knows the industry in the beginning and as it is now is important. They have the drive to push their bands. They have a bank account to push the bands. They have the online presence to push their bands.”

Going forward, Bell’s main focus is on Fear Factory but that doesn’t mean older projects and relationships will be laid to rest anytime soon:

“We have a whole albums worth of new Ascension of the Watchers which we’re just trying to get recorded properly and find a home for [as well as] working on the next ‘The Industrialist’ graphic novel to basically continue the story. I believe I’ve touched upon something within my fanbase that a certain amount really appreciates so I’m going to continue with that. I’m still very good friends with Al Jourgensen. If he asks me to help with ANYTHING, I’ll be glad to do what I can with anything that he does and I think likewise goes for him if I asked him to do something for me I think he’d consider it. But for now, I’m just going to continue to be the artist that I can be.”

Fear Factory play their final US date of the Demanufacture 20th Anniversary Tour this Saturday (May 7th) at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles. Tickets are available here. You can read our review of their recent Worcester, MA stop here. For more on Fear Factory, head on over here. Their latest album, Genexus, is available now and conveniently enough easy to purchase here and here.

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