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Five Finger Death Punch promotes veteran causes

Las Vegas heavy metal band launches fundraising campaign to help veterans

Five Finger Death Punch launched a fundraising campaign to benefit veteran service organizations by selling custom jerseys. Press photo

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If you've never heard of Las Vegas heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch (5FDP), you're probably also unaware that the group has dedicated much of its time and efforts to helping the men and women in uniform. From playing shows at military installations to tirelessly promoting veteran causes, the band's relationship with these fans is a two-way street.

"From the very beginning, we had an immediate connection with the military because a lot of our lyrical themes resonated with them. In 2007, we were a small, unknown band but our audience was growing and a large percentage of that audience was military servicemembers," stated guitarist Zoltan Bathory.

Bathory, who along with bassist Chris Kael, drummer Jeremy Spencer, guitarist Jason Hook and vocalist Ivan Moody comprises 5FDP, stated that the connection with the military fans was organic because of the similarities between the band's conviction and the dedication of those who choose to serve.

"We were not going to take a step back. Failing wasn't a conceivable option. You'll find a lot of guys with that mentality in the military, so we quickly became one of their favorite bands, which led to the invitations to play these bases," he explained.

5FDP's latest video, for the song "Wrong Side of Heaven," examines military veterans' homelessness and the extensive effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. It features a group of soldiers who have redeployed and now face all new struggles back at home; throughout the seven-minute video, facts about PTSD and other veteran issues move across the screen and at the conclusion, a comprehensive list of resources are provided.

"When I saw this video, I was really touched," said LoriLee Litman, a veteran who suffers from PTSD and resides near Joint Base Lewis-McChord. "This beautiful video was put together so well by my favorite band and I believe it really could make a difference."

So what motivated 5FDP to go further than ever before?

"We had done some research and what we found was astonishing - realizing how it's more common than it isn't - we wanted to help," said Bathory. "We decided to start a multi-level campaign where this video would be the tip of our spear."

To be clear, the band did not want to create a "blame campaign" or to point fingers and single out any individuals or institutions by hurling accusations about a lack of support; rather, they wanted to raise public awareness.

"We wanted to remind everyone that these guys are our brothers, sisters, fathers and sons and it's easy to forget that and just refer to them as the military," Bathory said. "It's easy to focus on the politics too and forget that the actual soldiers are just following orders and that they are people who took an oath to defend the rest of us.

"We wanted to hit America in the chest, we wanted people to connect to it and feel it while they read the statistics on the screen," he continued.  

The video has been viewed close to three million times since being released in early August. Beyond the viral sensation, 5FDP has also launched a fundraising campaign at www.5fdp4Vets.com to benefit veteran service organizations by selling custom jerseys. In just three weeks it has raised more than $200,000 and will close Sept. 25.

Although the band will play a few more military shows this year, JBLM is not on the schedule. However, according to Bathory, they hope to make it out here soon.

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