With over twenty years, seven albums, and scores of gigs under their well worn belts, Cyber metal pioneers Fear Factory are lauded as one of the true legends of metal. Celebrated for forging new territory and continually pushing the envelope, the iconic LA quartet are back pounding the circuit after an extended hiatus with a new line-up and their first album in five years, ‘Mechanize’. Supporting Metallica during their Aussie tour this month with a renewed passion for delivering electric performances, the masters of metal reinvention are well and truly on the comeback trail, and their ever loyal fans couldn’t be happier.
We catch up with vocalist Burton C Bell to talk metal legends, nerves and what’s coming up…
MTV CLASSIC: Fear factory has been around for a while now. For you, what's been the defining moment in your career?
Burton: Fear Factory around since 1990. Our first album was released in 1992, and we have been touring Australia since 1993. I have had many defining moments in my career. I have had many excellent opportunities to work with veteran artists from Al Jourgensen to Geezer Butler. I am still awaiting THE DEFINING MOMENT. I hope I recognize it when it arrives.
MTV CLASSIC: You're supporting Metallica on their Aussie and NZ tour. As a commercial metal act, what sort of influence have they had on your sound/career?
Burton: This is the second time we will be touring with Metallica. The first time was a few months ago in Eastern Europe and Russia. Metallica has influenced countless musicians in many ways. Musically, they have influenced me in the sense of songwriting. Not only have they been heavy, but they have written some timeless songs. I watched every show on that tour, and watched how James Hetfield related to the audience. He is truly a master of ceremonies. He is comfortable on stage, speaking before thousands. He has influenced me to be a better frontman.
MTV CLASSIC: You have an incredibly loyal group of fans - what are some ways they show their support that surprise you?
Burton: Our fans are quite loyal, and I am very thankful for that. I try to give the best performance possible in every show, and I feel they can see that passion as well. Some fans are very grateful, and show gratitude in different ways. Coming to the show is always a good indication of loyalty. In the past few yeas, I am seeing more and more Fear Factory tattoos. From album cover designs, logos, and even tattooed autographs. It is quite amazing to behold! Knowing that my name is on a fans body for life, or until they cover it up! Some fans make paintings, or drawings of the band. Those are always cool to see as well. I have received handmade gifts from artists and designers like necklaces and rings. I am always grateful, and save everything.
MTV CLASSIC: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Burton: I have a routine I always go through. I like to stretch my limbs, and breathe deeply. It is for vocals as well to settle my nerves. I also do vocal warm ups like singing to myself. Once in a while, I like a shot of bourbon before I go onstage. Gets the fire roaring inside me.
MTV CLASSIC: If your audience could walk away from your show thinking one thing what would it be?
Burton: Where can I purchase that t-shirt? No really… I give my best every night, and I hope that was visible and audible to them. As I always say, a fan can tell when it is fake, and when it is true.
MTV CLASSIC: What's coming up for Fear Factory?
Burton: We plan to continue touring the Mechanize album for a few more months. We would like to properly headline Australia. There is still much work to do.
This weekend, MTV Classic is serving up a feast of Metallica goodness, from their early days till now - all while they rip up shows across our very shores! Make sure your tuning into MTV for ‘Metallifest’ 12pm – 6pm this Saturday, (October 16) AEST!