Zoltan Bathory was born and raised in a military base because his parents were high-ranking officers. The upbringing affected him, and to date, the musician still holds much respect to veterans, going as far as offering them discounted tickets to the Five Finger Death Punch (FFDP) shows. Bathory wanted to become a guitarist but not in Hungary, so he arrived in America with nothing but a guitar, clothes, and a Hungarian-English dictionary. He used the dictionary to teach himself English primarily by translating “Shawshank Redemption” word for word. Today, he is the only remaining founding member of the FFDP rock band, and there is a lot that you probably do not know about him. Here is your chance to know him better.
1. He is a Black Belt in Jiu-Jitsu
Bathory started his jiu-jitsu training in 2009 and posted on Instagram that it has taken 13 years of hard work, black eyes, and swollen lips to get that award. However, he was proud of his achievement and wore the belt to show off to fans. He is not the only member of the rock band who loves martial arts, as evidenced by the fact that they have always loved to use martial arts imagery. Besides, the band’s name is inspired by a kung fu move that involves jabs to five different pressure points that kill the victim.
2. He Believes Ivan Moody’s Sobriety Helped the Band Make the Best Record Ever
According to Guitar World, Bathory has experienced changes in the entire band since two of the members quit alcohol. He said that he feels at peace for the first time in 15 years and attributes it to the changes that Ivan Moody, the lead singer, and Chris Kael, the bassist, decided to make. “F8,” released on February 28, 2020, sounded much better because it was the first Moody ever sang while sober.
3. He Has Always Been a Fan of Andy James
James, the lead guitarist, joined the rock band in October 2020, and it was because Bathory had been a fan. The founding member used to watch James’ videos and was already thinking about having James in one of the bands he managed. However, when Jason Hook left FFDP, it was logical that the first person Bathory thought of was James. Luckily, Charlie Engen had toured with James, so he vouched for him.
4. He Always Wanted to Design an Album Cover That Got Censored
Although it may seem like an unusual life goal, Bathory had always aspired to design an album cover that would get censored. He got his wish when the “And Justice for None” design caused chaos, especially in Europe. According to Blabbermouth, some countries thought about getting a sticker across the album cover because the cartoon character pushing a red button was politically incorrect.
5. He Believes “And Justice for None” Contains Four of the Band’s Biggest Tracks
Bathory opines that music affects everyone differently, and we all reminisce on the emotions we had when certain songs were played. Therefore, the musician said that any songwriter who can create lyrics that impact someone so profoundly is bound to be successful. As for FFPD, Bathory explained that the 2018 album had four such songs, and he knew they would have a massive effect on the audience. As a result, the album went on to win the Bandit Rock Award in 2019 for the best international album.
6. He Would Have Become a Mathematician
The musician grew up in Hungary and went to a school that categorized students based on what they excelled at for them to attend special lessons. Bathory was good at math and science and thought he would be a mathematician. He would have three math classes daily, and when he went to the special school, he spent almost every day learning science. It is, therefore, no wonder he wound up working at an observatory, and his social circle comprised professors from other universities.
7. He Was Torn Between a Career in Art or Science
According to Five Finger Death Punch UK, Bathory knew he was talented as an artist thus wanted to pursue graphic design and art. However, he also wanted to play guitar and wondered if he should become a professional guitarist. Fortunately, he pursued his passions because he studied art while at the university and still became a rhythm guitarist. As for his graphic designing skills, he utilized them in designing the band’s album cover.
8. He is Picky about the Bands He Manages
As much as Bathory wants to help other bands succeed, he knows that he cannot work miracles. He admits that the bands he is willing to manage are those that have what it takes. As he told Live Metal Blog, the musician is not ready to waste his time and energy on those without the right ingredients for success. Therefore, while others are surprised that certain artists become popular, Bathory is not because he already knows it is in someone’s DNA to produce good music.
9. He Made His First Guitar from a Coffee Table
Bathory said that when he was growing up, the monthly salary of most people in Hungary was around $100, which made affording a guitar impossible. He used his creativity to create his own guitar when he found a broken guitar. Since the guitar’s neck was still intact, the musician utilized his parents’ coffee table. By observing how the guitar was set up, Bathory made his first guitar incorporating the machine heads, the bridge, and all other parts. Unfortunately, despite the creativity taking so much time, the guitar could not be played.
10. His Greatest Influence was Pantera
Although Bathory loved Pantera and bought all their records, he didn’t understand their music. So, while Pantera toured with Megadeth across Europe, the guitarist used it as a chance to see them perform live, and the experience changed him. He was in another band, and upon watching how the Americans played their heavy metal music, Bathory was inspired. Therefore, he told the other band members they had to throw out all their material and start from scratch to be as good as Pantera.