Contrary to the glamorous scenes from Hollywood depicting the wonders of touring, it’s not all that easy. Depending on the set-up, it’s not too often to hear that some bands can go days without a hot shower. Then again, with the aid of a stellar tour bus, it’s gotten a little easier to handle the road. But when bumping around in the wee hours of the morning before a big gig, it could get a little tiresome.
However, that doesn’t stop the members of Fear Factory. Coming up on their 25th anniversary, these guys are ready for another shot at a lengthy tour. Although they’d just released their most recent album, Genexus, last August and have plenty to celebrate, they’ve decided to focus on another milestone: the 20th anniversary of their album, Demanufacture.
So, they’re dedicating most of their setlist to the record—but that doesn’t mean they don’t have something special up their sleeves. Just before setting out on the tour, Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares filled me in on what touring life is like for these guys and what fans can expect this time around.
How’ve you been prepping for this tour?
Well, we’ve been doing a lot of rehearsals for it. Especially when you’re doing something as special as this, you wanna make sure that you’re fully prepared and do a lot of pre-production before you get out there on the road. So, we’ve been doing rehearsals for the past week or so and everything’s looking really good. The setlist is looking really good. I mean, obviously we’re doing the 20-year anniversary [Demanufacture] and we wanna do extra songs. A lot of pre-production, a lot of rehearsals.
Wow. How long will this setlist be?
Probably an hour and a half. We haven’t really timed it yet, but the album [Demanufacture] is about an hour. So, you’re at an hour. And then the rest is about half an hour’s worth. We hope we won’t bore people. Like, “Too many songs!” (Laughs)
Do you have any venues you’re really psyched about?
You know, we’re really psyched about being out there and playing in front of everybody and everywhere. The Palladium—we haven’t played there in a while—just outside of Boston. The Gramercy in New York is cool. I love that place. The Concord in Chicago is a really, really nice venue. Sunshine Theatre in New Mexico is fun. There are quite a few venues that we’re excited to hit and certain cities. From East to West! There’s so many to mention; I mean, we’re doing a seven-week tour. There are so many venues we’re playing because there are so many shows.
Last time I’d interviewed you guys, it was just before you released Genexus in the summer. How’d that release and the tour go?
The summer went great. We did a small U.S. tour—I take it back. It was a big U.S. tour. It was killer. And then we went over to Europe and did a big tour there. It was great. And now, we’re doing this tour, then we’re going to Australia. After Australia, we’re going… Where are we going? We’re going to so many different places. We’re going back to Europe and then we’re doing a festival run this summer. We’re just all over the globe on this record—in support of this record. But when the record came out, the reviews had been really positive. The record is doing well. We were proud to have put out a killer record. It’s been keeping us busy.
You should be. What was the production process like for this record?
I have my little studio and I did my stuff at home, like the drums and the guitar and the bass. And Burton [Bell] was doing his vocals. So, when I would finish a song, I’d send it over to Burt, he’d let me know if the part was too long, too short or something. Once I got enough songs down, Burt would come out to L.A. and he would start doing the pre-production for his vocals.
Then once we had all of the music down, we went to the studio and we had our drummer, Mike Heller, track all of the live drums. I did all of the guitars and bass and then we had various musicians do the keyboards. We had a guy from Italy named Giuseppe on the keyboards, Damien Rainaud, who is my engineer, he did a lot of the keyboards, too. He’s actually from a band called Once Human. He did a lot of my pre-production and keyboards, and then once we were done with all of the music, we were extremely pleased with the outcome.
Can we expect any new material on this tour?
Oh yeah. Definitely new material from Genexus. Definitely new material. Aside from celebrating the 20th anniversary of Demanufacture, we’re still promoting Genexus.
Good—have you been working on any new material since the release of Genexus?
It’s a little too early. Our record just came out last August, so we’ve been constantly touring for this record. Once we finish touring in September, we’ll start writing the next album. It’s hard to plan for the future because it’s always changing, but we’ll see how it goes.
Yeah. Touring can be really hectic.
Very hectic, but very boring. But we love being out on the road, so I’m excited to get out there.
Oh? What’s a typical day like on tour?
First, you’re in a tour bus. You roll up to the venue… Well, you wake up—usually we wake up between 10 and 12 and then once we get up, some people like to drink coffee, some people like to have a bowl of cereal, whatever the case may be. Then you go into the venue, check it out, walk around, maybe use the bathroom, brush your teeth, comb your hair, and then what I do after that, I look for places to eat. I’ll Google something on my phone and then find somewhere to go have lunch. I’ll get a couple of the guys together and we’ll have lunch while the crew is bringing the equipment in.
Then we’ll maybe do a little exploring and shopping around. Then around four, we’ll do soundcheck, then interviews or VIP meet-and-greets and then between around six and showtime, we’ll sit around and watch a movie, talk on the phone, maybe be on the internet… And then we get ready for the show.
I mean, we all have wives or girlfriends, so we may have a few drinks after the show. Sometimes we’ll go out to a local bar, but that’s it. I mean, I’m not 21 anymore so I can’t just go out and drink every night—not that I did that when I was 21. But that’s not really a part of us. It’s not what we do. We’ve gone through our stages when we were younger with groupies and whatnot. So that part of touring is long behind us.
But then we’ll have friends who come over and we go out for dinner… It can be something as simple as going out to the mall. It’s kind of basic, but you’re doing it in different states, which is pretty cool. The majority of the time, we probably talk to fans. So, we’ll hang outside and talk to fans.
Well, you have to conserve energy because traveling and touring must take a lot out of you.
Yeah! People don’t realize that just traveling in a bus day in and day out can be fatiguing. It really can. Because you don’t know how you’re gonna sleep while the bus is moving. Sometimes, you just don’t get enough sleep, or you feel like you don’t get enough sleep. And it does get monotonous—then you get people saying, “Oh yeah, he’s complaining. He’s on tour.” And I’m like, “Yeah! It gets monotonous.” People don’t know what it’s like until they get there. A lot of bands don’t really know what it’s like to be on tour and to travel day in and day out and do, like, 20 flights. They don’t know that it gets fatiguing and tiresome. It does get monotonous.
It’s like people complaining about going to their job every day. “Oh, I gotta go to work. Oh God.” It’s kind of the same thing. But it’s a job that we love. So, that’s why we’re happy to be out there regardless. I mean, some days you can wake up and be like, “Oh, I’m tired and groggy and I wanna go home.” But then the minute you walk out of that bus and you talk to that one fan who’s excited to see you, then you just change. Your mood just changes and the kid puts you in a good mood and you’re happy to be there.
It must be so inspirational to talk to a fan.
Yeah. And sometimes you’re like, “Oh, I don’t wanna be here,” and then you play a chord and it’s like BOOM. The crowd goes nuts and everybody’s singing along and that’s when you go, “This is the f***ing reason I love being here.” And you’re reminded of that every day. It gives you the extra drive.
Catch Fear Factory as they pull into the Gramercy Theatre on both April 6 and April 11. For more information on these guys, visit fearfactory.com.