In an interview with Joshua Toomey of Knotfest‘s “Nu Pod” conducted at last September’s Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky, ex-FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH guitarist Jason Hook was asked if any of the songs for his new band FLAT BLACK were leftover ideas originally intended for his former group. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Maybe a couple of them were in a folder, but… The one thing I treated myself to is a nice studio at my house. I never got cars and toys and all that stuff. I put all my savings into tools. So with that, I can always go and make recordings, and I always do. I always go up there and work, work, work, work. It’s my passion. I’m a musician and we create; that’s what we do. In the prior band, we worked hard. The records were back to back, and we would come off an 18-month tour, take two weeks and then start another record. So I’m kind of used to that. And I’m not afraid of working hard. And I knew the only way to attract people like [FLAT BLACK singer] Wes [Horton] into the project is go, ‘Listen to this.’ Talk is cheap. An idea is thin, but good, potent music is thick.”
Regarding the fact that some people have compared FLAT BLACK‘s musical output to the songs he recorded with his previous band, Hook said: “I had a very heavy hand in the FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH records. I worked very hard on those records. And so if it sounds like there’s some similarities, that’s why.”
He continued: “It’s so funny. I’m bracing for people going, ‘It’s not as good as DEATH PUNCH.’ I’m, like, ‘Well, that was me too.’
“I honestly don’t care. I just don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks,” Jason added. “I’m older than these [other] guys [in FLAT BLACK]. I have to make myself happy, because I may not be here one day. And what was the fucking point of the whole thing? I’ve gotta do what makes me happy. I like aggressive, potent, guitar-driven ‘fuck you’ music.”
In addition to Hook and Horton, FLAT BLACK included bassist Nick Diltz and drummer Rob Pierce.
In August 2023, FLAT BLACK released the official music video “Halo”. “Halo” and the other previously released track “It’s Your Lack of Respect” will appear on FLAT BLACK‘s debut album, which will arrive in early 2024 via Fearless Records. The LP, produced by Hook, was recorded at both Hook‘s home studio and The Hideout Recording Studio in Las Vegas.
Having left his prior band in February 2020, which was right before COVID-19 put the entire world on pause, Hook wanted to assume creative control and let his musical free spirit soar in a project that was truly his. He opted to gamble on himself. With great risk comes great reward and the decision to form FLAT BLACK clearly worked out in his favor.
In an interview with Jake Daniels of the Rock 100.5 The KATT radio station conducted at last year’s Rocklahoma festival in Pryor, Oklahoma, Hook stated about how FLAT BLACK came together: “Well, I was pretty hell-bent on starting a new band. Music’s in my blood. It’s a part of my DNA, and I just knew that… I didn’t really care how long it took. It just had to be potent. And so, one [musician] at a time… I found Rob first, and he’s awesome. And then, of course, Nick; he’s from Los Angeles. All my guys are just stellar players. And I wanted to have a good pack of songs. And so here we are.”
Regarding the importance of getting along with his bandmates on a personal level, Hook said: “Well, it was a bit of a prerequisite to find guys that were mentally stable and free of drama and that we could hang. It’s all about the hang. When you’re on tour, you’re stuck in this submarine, this rolling submarine, for 18 months. It’s important that everyone is compatible. The personalities, I wanted to be very specific about that this time around… We’re getting along great.”
FLAT BLACK made its live debut on August 24, 2023 at the FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, California as the support act for GODSMACK.
FLAT BLACK is:
Jason Hook – Guitar
Wes Horton – Vocals
Rob Pierce – Drums
Nicholas Diltz – Bass
In October 2020, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH confirmed that it had officially parted ways with Hook eight months earlier during the band’s sold-out European arena tour. He has since been replaced by renowned British virtuoso Andy James, who made his recording debut with FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH on “Broken World”, a song that was included on the second installment of the group’s greatest-hits collection, “A Decade Of Destruction – Volume 2”.
After his recovery from emergency gallbladder surgery at the end of 2019, Hook had to leave midway from FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH‘s tour of Europe to address further complications.
Jason, who joined FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH in 2009, said about his exit from the band: “As for the reason I’m leaving… well, there really isn’t just one. I’ve been in bands my entire life and I feel like I’ve done all the good that I can here. It’s time to pass the baton and move on to new challenges.”
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