Metal’s blue collar heroes Fist Fight have dropped their excellent sophomore full-length, Notebook Full of Hate, which was co-produced by Ahrue Luster of Ill Niño and Machine Head.
Here are the Fist Fight guys on the new album, what makes them hate, and all the things they love about metal.
How did you first get into music? Who or what turned you onto metal?
Dustin Hollmer: My mom made me take piano lessons, and I didn’t dig it so much. I got a guitar and that was cool. My cousin John let me listen to Ozzy Osbourne, and that’s where it started … metal.
Joey Cushman: One of my friends back in high school first showed me Lamb of God’s New American Gospel and I’ve been hooked on metal ever since.
Adrian Montoya: My family is all music lovers, so music has always been a big part of my life. So I guess I was just born into it. As for getting into metal, I was about 10 years old in El Paso, Texas, and my best friend at the time was a few years older … he was a metal head … he also had a older cousin in high school that was a singer in a thrash band. We would go check out there practices, and I loved that powerful music being made, and boom, I was hooked!
Jon Maggard: I got into music early. My family turned me onto artist like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Lynyrd Skynyrd. While living in Central America in the early ’90s I heard the band Sepultura from Brazil. From that day forward I knew metal was what I wanted to be a part of.
Nick Rich: My dad is a metal singer; the whole music/band thing has been there my whole life. So, hard rock and heavy metal have been there from the get go. I remember being in kindergarten, the other kids would bring in, like, Sesame Street or something to play. And I’d bring in Megadeth … my teacher looked like she was gonna have a heart attack … it was awesome. I’ve always been drawn to the heavier, more aggressive side of music. Music that makes you wanna get up, run around and be crazy. ‘Cause nap time sucks.
How did you become a (insert instrument played here)? Are you proficient in any other instruments? Have you always been creative?
Joey: I’ve been playing drums for almost 12 years now, started when I was about 16 or so. Before that I mostly played trumpet in concert and jazz bands in school for five years, dabbled in a little guitar and bass, too. But drums are my one and only now.
Adrian: Well, I became a bassist out of necessity. A friend of mine was in a really good band that needed a bassist. I really liked them so I offered my services. I had been playing guitar for many years, so I figured I could learn on the spot, Next thing you know I am a full on bassist ever since. I am proficient on the guitar, bass, and drums. I have been pretty creative my whole life. I have always loved art, music and creative writing, so I guess I am right where I am suppose to be in life.
Dustin: I became a singer because they didn’t have any other options, and they were worse than me. I kind of play guitar, and I write some of the music as well. I come from a family that likes to tell stories, make shit up, and I like to do that in song form.
Nick: Since I was a kid I was drawn to the guitar, it helped that there was always one around the house growing up, too. And I was not very good at drums. I’d say I’m pretty much self-taught. Though I did play violin and cello in middle school a little bit, because that was the closest to guitar that they had. My music teacher would get mad at me for playing Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden in class all the time, so that didn’t last. I’ve played bass in a few bands over the years as well. And I can hold an AC/DC beat on the drums for about a minute-and-a-half now.
Jon: I always knew I wanted to play guitar. Ever since a little kid I loved watching the lead guitarist in the band shred. I do play other instruments but nowhere near as good as I play my axe.
What is the local scene like where you’re from? Was there ever a particular local band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?
Jon: When I first started playing music the local scene was amazing. Every show on any night would’ve been sold out if not close to being sold out. The Denver metro area had way too many bands to list that were talented. But in today’s world local bands have it hard. They don’t get any love from any radio stations locally. Also the venue owners and promoters want to take every penny they can in most cases. Hey, we have some really good bands here in Denver. Bands like Havok, Cephalic Carnage, The Medina Grooves, SmackFactor, Draghoria, and many, many more.
Dustin: I am from Alamosa, Colorado, and there wasn’t much of a scene there. There were a couple of metal bands. I was in one of them and we were playing a local bar. This old dude stood up and told me that he would open up the garage door if I put my stupid band back in it. I used to travel to watch this band from Denver called Wish Doctor. These dudes could play any requests that you had, and that made me very happy. I don’t think I could name a local band that is my favorite around here because this scene is strong in Denver. I like just about everybody we play with.
Joey: I feel like I’ve been lucky enough to always be around great local bands around here in Denver that always support one another. There are always a few bad eggs, but generally everyone wants to see their fellow musicians thrive and flourish. Back when I started playing, I loved watching bands like Scalafrea, as well as Dissonance in Design, Dekatur and Controlled Demise. I always wanted to be like the dudes from Allegaeon, though, to this day they still blow me away and make me want to continue making music every day.
Nick: The local scene in Denver is pretty crazy. There are so many awesome bands it’s hard to keep track. I feel for the fans out there that can’t be everywhere at once.
Adrian: The Denver metal scene has always been very supportive, lots of great venues and hip to shit metal fans. When we were coming up not really any bands that were doing what we are doing, we have kinda paved our own path in this scene. Favorite local band right now would be Havok, they are amazing musicians and excellent people. Not to mention they are killing in internationally, too.
How did Fist Fight come about? Where did you develop the name? Where is it derived from? What other band names were considered? How would you best describe your sound?
Nick: Jon and I started jamming just to see where it would go. Jon brought Adrian into the project fairly soon after that. But once we got Dustin on board, everything clicked, we were off and running.
Adrian: I knew Jon from back in the day when our old bands used to play together and we had a mutual respect, so it felt natural to start working together.
Jon: It came about in late 2010 when Nick and myself got together and started writing music. Dustin and Chris joined about midway into 2011.
Adrian: We had Chris Day on drums back then, but now we got Joey.
Dustin: I don’t remember how we came up with the name. We wrote a bunch of names down on a paper.
Nick: Dude, I think we came up with over a hundred names between all of us. Then we cut it down to about five or so that we liked.
Jon: We had our friend Amanda Sherman draw a name from a hat, in which case she picked the name we have today.
Adrian: I guess it was fate (laughs)
Nick: When that name got pulled out, it just fit what we were doing so well, it’s kinda crazy when I think about it. And looking back on some of those other names … damn we got lucky (laughs).
Dustin: It fits our sound … very intense, heavy, aggressive, blue collar, go-to-work-everyday hardcore metal.
Joey: I think our sound is like a mash up of Hatebreed and Lamb of God. We’ve got our hardcore moments, but I like to throw some groovy riffs and thrashy riffs in there to spice it up a bit.
Adrian: Yeah a mesh of thrash, hardcore, groove and meat and potatoes metal.
Jon: We have an amazing sound that’s not like any other. We’re not just your typical metal or hard-core band. The new album stands out very much from other bands. The vocals definitely separate us.
Nick: I think the best description of our sound is in the name, Fist Fight.
Your sophomore album Notebook Full of Hate just dropped. Did you get everything you wanted from the songs? How about the album presentation as a whole? Is there anything you wish was different?
Jon: The new album Notebook Full Of Hate challenged us all. We pushed each other to go faster, harder, better and heavier. At the same time, we were figuring each other out as far as writing styles. It came together pretty smoothly all in all.
Dustin: I like this album just like it is. It took forever for us to get this done, and I was so happy to get it out. I want to give props to Nick for all the hard work he did producing it.
Joey: I feel like I got everything I wanted out of our songs. They’re heavy-hitters with some solid riffs and pounding drums. I honestly couldn’t ask for much more than that. I think the album has a nice flow to it, and it looks pretty killer too!
Adrian: I believe we got we got everything we wanted out of the songs. We really took our time on this album, so no stone was un-turned. We were pretty meticulous with this one so the presentation is exactly what we wanted. Only thing I would have done different is making sure to speed the process up, this was a long road to this album.
Nick: With hindsight being 20/20, there is always something you wish you would have caught before everything went to press. We had some setbacks and just life delayed the whole thing a bit. But I think for what it took to get this thing out into the world, I could not be happier with it.
Why do you feel people should hear Notebook Full of Hate?
Joey: I think it’s got a great collection of songs and we’re super proud of the quality we were able to achieve on the album that I hope everyone enjoys
Dustin: Because we dumped our heart and soul into this album, and we want to share it.
Jon: I think people should hear it because it shows everyone a different way of thinking. It shows that real life can be crazy. Just when you think you have it figured out, it’s slaps in the face. Plus, the songs kick ass.
Adrian: Well, with the world we currently live in, we need some honest blue collar metal that speaks to the common man. We aren’t artsy or pretentious and we feel music has gotten away from it’s roots a bit.
Nick: People know pretty quickly if they like something or not. So, hopefully we made something that more people like than not. We know we ain’t reinventing the wheel here. We are just trying to play some metal the way we wanna play it. All you can do is put yourself out there & hope people dig it. And never read the comments section, cause if they don’t like you, they will let you know (laughs).
What is the plan for recording new music, where, when and with who will be recording you? Will there be bonus tracks, cover songs, vinyl and cassette?
Nick: We record in my home studio SteamPunk Audio. We did both albums there. For the first album we tracked everything there and then had Ahrue Luster of Ill Nino do the mix and master. For this album we did all the tracking there again. Then I did the mix with Ahrue and he did the master. We try to do as much as we can ourselves to cut down on costs, but you also have to know when you need that outside help to take it to that next level. Ahrue has been awesome with this. The guy really knows shit and he is just super cool. We’ve been kicking some cover ideas around just for fun, but you never know what will come of any of that.
Adrian: As of right now we are planning on putting out singles moving forward. I guess that is the new way. Or so we hear. We plan on putting making a few limited edition vinyl for sure!
Dustin: We always record new music and we are planning on dropping the songs here and there for you guys. We talked about doing a couple cover songs, but we are keeping that undercover. This is secret shit.
Joey: We’ll be hitting the studio again sooner rather than later, but first we gotta write some more killer tunes! I’ve been floating the idea of a cover album for a couple years now; I’d love to play some of our favorite bands’ material with a Fist Fight twist.
Jon: For now, we’re going to ride this album out for this year. We will start writing a new album, but the days of full-length CDs are almost over. We will probably release many singles throughout this next year. We did have Ahrue Luster from the band Ill Nino/Machine Head help us work on this album.
Who are your original influences and who are your current inspirations and admiration’s local and or national?
Adrian: Well, I was introduced to metal in the ’80s as a young child, so Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and DRI were my favs. My current favs are Gojira and Whitechapel. They kick ass!
Jon: I have been inspired by many bands throughout my life. I listen to all types of music, but metal is where my heart is. I have been influenced by bands like Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying, Soulfly, Pantera, Terror, Hatebreed, Slayer, All That Remains, Slipknot, and lots more. But I also respect artists like Johnny Cash and Tim McGraw. I like their writing styles as well. It makes for good music no matter what.
Joey: Lamb of God, Pantera, DevilDriver and Slipknot were huge influences on me as a drummer. Chris Adler is my hero and idol. I dunno who will ever dethrone him in my book.
Nick: My dad is my original influence and he still plays in a band himself. Just shows that music never goes away. But growing up it was all the same classic hard rock and metal bands of the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and ’00s that everyone lists. Dude, way too many bands to list.
Dustin: Eddie Rabbit is my original influence and then Glen Campbell. My dad listened to Western music and so I listened to Western music as well. I really like what Madball is doing. I’m impressed with their sound.
What’s the biggest show you have played so far, and do you still get nervous before a gig?
Dustin: I think the biggest crowd we played in front of was with Superjoint Ritual or Texas Hippie Coalition and maybe Soulfly. I only get nervous before a show if I eat too much, because then I can’t breathe.
Nick: Yeah that Texas Hippie show was packed. My thing, and I’ve been this way since I was I kid, is when I get excited, I get super hyper and twitchy. It seems like I’m nervous and freaked out, but I’m just going a hundred miles an hour in my head trying to think about everything at once. I’ve really had to learn, over the years, how to slow down and deal with what’s in front of me. One thing at a time, not everything all at the same time. And stay away from the Red Bull.
Joey: So far, I was lucky enough to play with both Battlecross and Phil Anselmo on one occasion. We also played with Soulfly and Nile bout a year ago, that one I’ll remember for a long time to come. I always get nervous before a show. I want to put on the best show we can so you’ll generally find me pacing around the venue, tapping on my chest or legs trying to warm up, and telling myself that were gonna shred tonight.
Adrian: 1,100 people at Ogden Theater in Denver, Colorado, and I really don’t get nervous, but I do get really amped!
Jon: I really don’t get nervous anymore. I haven’t in a very very long time. I enjoy playing on stage and I enjoy entertaining people. Sometimes I get a little crazy up there. Throughout our many years as a band we have had the honor of playing with some great bands. Some of our bigger shows included Soulfly, Ill Nino, Super Joint, Hed PE, Allegaeon, Battlecross, Texas Hippie Coalition, Child Bite and Black Oil.
What makes a good Fist fight song?
Nick: With this being only our second album, I think we are still learning what that is ourselves. I think, me personally, I dig it when we fall into a riff or idea that we have not done before yet also doesn’t feel like we are trying to be different, just to be different. The riffs don’t come from just one source in this band, which is always a benefit. But if we all don’t dig where a song is going we’ll back burner it for later or let it go.
Dustin: I have to travel a long ways for work. I see some silly shit sometimes, and I like to write about it. A good Fist Fight song comes from some sporadic event that captures our interest.
Jon: A good Fist Fight song can only be explained after all comes together. It takes all five of us to make a good song. Anyone can write songs but when you have the minds that we have working together it comes out amazing. Don’t get me wrong, we butt heads a lot. At the same time we love working together and pushing each other. And that’s what makes for great music.
Adrian: Usually a real life problems add some killer riffs and manic behavior and boom great Fist Fight song!
What kind of references or influences do you take from other mediums? Is there any particular book, or other artists that you are inspired by?
Adrian: I am inspired by the writings of Carlos Castaneda. He is an amazing author and wrote the book The Teachings of Don Juan a Yaqui Way of Knowledge plus a bunch of follow up books. It is about self-empowerment and the way of finding inner power.
Dustin: I listen to talk radio, and that’s where I get my inspiration for songs.
Joey: I’ve always had a thing for Fight Club, both the movie and book. Something about it just speaks to me, and it’s got “fight” in the name so that works well with the band (laughs).
Nick: I try to read as much as I can in my free time because you can’t have any new ideas if all you have to go on is the old ones. I just got done reading Louder Than Hell the oral history of metal, awesome book and well worth the read. You will laugh your ass off. I started reading Stephen Hawking’s Brief Answers To The Big Questions. I am not going to claim to know or understand any bit of what he knew (laughs). But it’s awesome to see how a man of his genius looked at the world in which we live … and now I want to go write a song about space.
Jon: Inspiration comes from all around. My friends, fans, family and other artists. You just have to mix it all together and put it out there. You can never be close-minded to create greatness.
How much time do you spend on social media a day? Which do you hate the most but can’t live without? Which do you like and why?
Joey: As a band we spent a lot of time promoting and sharing stuff with our friends and fellow musicians on social media. It’s the only way to survive if you’re in a band nowadays. My favorite platform is still Myspace, though; I miss my Top 8 and the dope ass page that took me two years to perfect.
Jon: I am usually on Facebook and Instagram a lot. We all chip in to help promote on social media. Except for Dustin, he hates it. I just don’t look at all the negativity that’s on there. I don’t go on there to read news or to hear other people’s opinions of the world. We try to spread our music and reach fans that are unreachable physically at this moment.
Adrian: A few hours a day. I hate how people bitch and moan everyday on Facebook but can’t live without it. Great way to keep everyone in the loop with the band. I like Instagram the best because it is usually just pictures not a soapbox for everyone to bitch and moan (laughs).
Dustin: I don’t do none of that shit. I beat the street. I’m old school, and I feel like I need to shake hands and pat people on the back to get them to come to our shows and appreciate what we are here to offer.
Nick: Yeah, I’m horrible at the social media stuff, but I’ll talk your ear off in person. I don’t really hate any of them; they do have a purpose to serve. And they are all about the same. It’s all in how you use them. So, now who wants to see a picture of my cat?
Who living, or dead is in your dream four-piece super group?
Nick: We’ll need a case of beer and the rest of the night to answer this. I really do love this question and hate it, too, ’cause every time I think I got it, I’ll remember some other musician I love and then I have to start all over again. We’d need like a super festival or something to fit them all in. But a quick, today list would be – Chuck Billy (Vocals), Jeff Loomis (Guitar), Martin Mendez (Bass) and Mario Duplantier (Drums). Wait can I start over (laughs).
Adrian: Dio vocals, Cliff Burton bass, Dimebag Darrell guitar, John Bonham drums.
Jon: I don’t think you can make a perfect super group. So many artist have tried. I don’t really have a favorite for any musician or band. I have a lot of favorites. But, I would love to see Dimebag Darrell play once again.
Dustin: I would put Dave Mustaine back in Metallica and write some crazy shit, old-school stuff man.
Joey: Gene Hoglan (Dethklok) on drums, Brendan Small (Dethklok) on guitar and vox, Dave Davidson (Revocation) on guitar and vox, and Evan Brewer (Entheos) on bass. And if we really wanna have some fun, throw in Clown from Slipknot to bang on some kegs for us!
What kind of gear is bringing us the Fist Fight sound?
Dustin: You gotta ask people that play instruments that. Nick gives me equipment, but doesn’t tell me what it is. I like the way it sounds though. I trust him. Thank you Nick.
Joey: I’m currently still using my Joey Jordison Signature Pearl kit, with Evans heads and a hodgepodge of cymbals including Sabian and Zildjian.
Adrian: Fender Jazz bass & Schecter five-strong, Gallien-Krueger bass head, 4×10 bass cab Eminence speakers, 15″ Ampeg cab, MXR DI/Distortion pedal.
- ESP Guitars: ESP Eclipse 1000 custom, ESP Eclipse 1000 Evertune, ESP Eclipse 600 custom
- Jackson “Thor” Custom V
- EMG Pickups (Sponsored Artist)
- Peavey 3120 Head
- Mesa Boogie 4 x 12 Cab
- Mesa Boogie 2 x 12 Cab
- Xvive Wireless System (Sponsored Artist)
- Xvive Metal GA-4 Mini Portable Amp (Sponsored Artist)
- Morley Steve Vai Bad Horsie 2 Contour Wah Pedal
- Boss Tuner
- MXR Noise Gate Pedal
- MXR Delay Pedal
- Radial JDX Direct Input Box
- Voodoo Lab Pedal Power ISO 5
- Gator Metal pedal board
- Sure Microphones
- Monster Cables
- Ernie Ball Strings
Nick: I can’t say enough about ESP/LTD guitars, just really wel-built instruments. I got too many guitars though; I probably should thin the heard a little (laughs). My current main guitar is a V-500 with Seymour Duncan ‘Nazgul/Sentient’ pickups and way too many other upgrades to list. I use Ernie Ball strings and Dunlop picks. The main amp I’ve been using forever is a Mesa Dual Rec with EL34 tubes, and then I use a Maxon 808 to push the front end. Then all the pedals for added fun, mostly MXR & Boss. I try to have a rig that can cover a lot of sounds, but is also not bloated & overdone.
Name the one album that epitomizes metal over all others?
Joey: Lamb of God’s Ashes of the Wake
Dustin: Corrosion of Conformity, Deliverance.
Jon: Again I really don’t have a top album that conquers all. But if I have to choose I would say either Sepultura, Chaos A.D. or Killswitch Engage, Alive or Just Breathing.
Nick: Damn, that’s not easy … just one? I’m gonna go with Iron Maiden, Number Of The Beast. Start to finish it’s just a great record, fight me! (laughs)
Adrian: Metallica’s Ride the Lightning!
Top 5 albums or songs released in the last 12 months and/or all time?
Jon: My pick for the top five albums in the last year would be Havok, August Burns Red, Draghoria, Fist Fight and Iron Maiden.
Adrian: Ride the Lightning – Metallica; Four of a King -D.R.I.; Magma – Gojira; South of Heaven -Slayer; Among the Living – Anthrax.
Joey: 1.) Ashes of the Wake, Lamb of God; 2.) Dethalbum 1, Dethklok; 3.) Nocturnal, The Black Dahlia Murder; 4.) Chaos of Forms, Revocation; 5.) Malice, Through the Eyes of the Dead
Nick: We are gonna need another case of beer if we talk about all time (laughs). So, let’s go with some new-ish stuff then. Gojira, Magma was a great album and a huge step forward for those guys. Killswitch Engage, Incarnate was also a killer album, it’s becoming one of my favs. Terror, Keepers Of The Faith – everything about this album is amazing, the production on this album is flawless. Megadeth, Dystopia – a return to form of one of my favorite bands, every song is awesome. Between The Buried And Me, Voice Of Trespass – the first time I heard this song, it got stuck in my head and would not leave, the musicianship of these guys is just over the top insane.
Dustin: Screaming for Vengeance, Ride the Lightning, King 810 has some great shit, anything from Terror, and I’ll listen to Corrosion of Conformity everyday for good measure.
You’re on a desert island and only have three albums to listen to for the rest of your life, what are they and why?
Nick: Dude, you really wanna get me drunk with these questions; also isn’t this supposed to be 10 albums (laughs). Ok, got go with Black Sabbath, We Sold Our Sole For Rock ‘N’ Roll ’cause you can never go wrong with Sabbath and it has almost all their best songs from that era. Then, I’d say Megadeth’s Rust In Peace – the guitar work on this album is just so damn good. Every song, every riff just makes you wanna bang your head. Just three, it’s not enough. Last, I’d go with Pantera, Cowboys From Hell. I think I played this album more than any other in high school. You listen to this album and you wanna take on the world. Which isn’t a bad thing if you are stuck in the desert.
Joey: Again, Ashes of the Wake, Dethalbum 1 and Nocturnal. These albums epitomize what I believe metal to be and they make a trivial and mundane existence turn into something glorious!
Dustin: Corrosion of Conformity’s Deliverance, because I love that fucking album man. Ride the Lightning by Metallica because that was heavy, back in the day … great shit. I would probably take a Clutch album with me because Clutch is just cool man.
Adrian: Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd, Ride the Lightning – Metallica, and Magma – Gojira. These albums have it all – groove, space, frills and amazing lyrical content.
Jon: Sepultura, Chaos A.D.; Wovenwar, Honor is Dead; and Killswitch Engage, Incarnate.
What does metal mean to you?
Dustin: Metal makes me happy because it makes me dance, and I’m not known for dancing.
Nick: It means living your life the way it works for you and& not just accepting the “life” they try to cram down our throats. That there is more to life than their watered down, commercial version of it and that you are not alone in thinking that.
Jon: Metal music means the world to me. There’s nothing like hearing a song that you just understand just from hearing it. I love when I can understand the vocalist and they have great breakdowns and harmonies. I love all types of metal music and will continue to write and perform the same music. Metal is not dead.
Adrian: Freedom, aggression, honesty.
Anything else you would like to add?
We would like to thank SkullsNBones.com for taking the time to talk to us. We are a DIY band and depend on the graciousness of people like you to help us spread the word. Keep a look out for Fist Fight. We are flying high and ready to take on the world! We are hitting it hard and we are going to be destroying the stage in a town near you, hopefully soon. To check us out online go to our website www.fistfight.biz and let us know what you think about the new album. Keep them horns high and we will see you soon.
The Pit Starts Here \,,/
Fist Fight are:
Dustin Hollmer – Vocals
Joey Cushman – Drums
Adrian Montoya – Bass
Jon Maggard – Guitar
Nick Rich – Guitar
Notebook Full of Hate Streaming Links:
- Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/7EAvFmPARcFNrVf1WBSjO1
- iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/notebook-full-of-hate/1438696705
- Deezer: https://www.deezer.com/us/album/75343182
Fist Fight Band Links: