Former Five Finger Death Punch drummer Jeremy Spencer grew up idolizing rock icons like KISS. Enchanted by their massive pyro, stage personas, costumes, makeup and sex appeal, Spencer always dreamed of creating his own theatrical persona just like Gene Simmons. Five Finger Death Punch gave him the heavy music and pyro, but hidden behind a drum kit, very little of Spencer’s personality showed through. Enter Psychosexual—Spencer’s one and true chance to build up his own theatrical shock-rock character, Devil Daddy.
Videos by American Songwriter
Last year Devil Daddy with Psychosexual (guitarist Crucifer, bassist Astaroth and drummer Volac) made its debut with the album Torch The Faith, which received mixed feedback and Spencer knew it wasn’t truly worthy of the vision he had for the band. In tandem Psychosexual professing their diversity for all things dark and dirty released a covers EP, Songs to Stalk You By in November, which features tributes to KISS, Type O Negative, STP, David Bowie and Queensryche. Still the music and execution didn’t feel right to Spencer, so as if overnight he erased Psychosexual from history, removing online content, streams, and distribution. Today he is starting over with a new song, titled “Devil From Hell” from the forthcoming record Unholy Hymns for the Children, to provide the kind of debut Psychosexual deserved all along.
“Well, this is us kind of starting over,” Spencer tells American Songwriter. “We made a record, and we just kind of threw it out there on Spotify real fast. I didn’t really promote it that much and we just kept recording. We haven’t stopped since everyone’s been in quarantine so we’re actually on album five already, that’s how much we’ve been writing. And we came up with a song called ‘Devil From Hell.’ And I wish that this could have been the first thing that we put out, because it just felt like that was the debut to me.”
“Devil From Hell” is a cumulation of all things heavy; sex, Satan, bottom-end growls, raunchy guitar riffs and chanted choruses that are a perfect visual sync-up for future concert crowd footage. But before Spencer gets to any of that, the debauchery in the new song is introduced by a sultry, blues, slide guitar, presenting yet another facet of Spencer’s dynamic list of influence.
“I’m a big fan of all types of music,” Spencer said. “Everyone’s kind of a product of their influences and then you put your spin on everything. I mean I’m not trying to be any certain type of band. It’s just that stuff kind of creeps in, and you put it all together in a blender and it comes out to be whatever your sound is.”
Prior to relaunch, Psychosexual was chastised by metal press for their mish-mash of music on Torch The Faith, often remarking on its cheesy antics. Spencer was never too concerned by reviews because he was never trying to be serious or make life-changing music with introspective lyrics and polyrhythmic, highbrow prog-rock. In his own way, he was living out the childhood dream he saw come to life while watching KISS on stage and indulging in his own kind of simplified pleasures paired with a theatrical live component where patrons could leave at the end of the show saying, ‘that was quite a night.’
“I just wanted to be something that made the statement of ‘here I am, and here we are,’’’ Spencer said. “This is us. We’re here to fucking kick ass and have fun and bring danger back to rock and roll. I mean, It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a band that’s dangerous or that pushes the envelope. There’s no rules, there’s no limits. I want people to leave our shows saying, ‘those were fun characters and a fun night.”’
Spencer also explains that the Devil Daddy persona portrayed by platform boots, prosthetics and red and black satanic face makeup also allows him to dig into certain taboo concepts more easily than he could bare-faced in jeans and a tee shirt behind a drum kit.
“Devil Daddy makes it fun, it’s not some hardcore Satan worship thing,” Spencer said. “It’s a character and I definitely get to play into that and do fun things and there’s really no limits. You can do things that you normally couldn’t get away with as a normal person just because we’re dressed up and you can paint the fantasy any way you want.”
Though it has its own physical intensity, assuming Devil Daddy was also far less labor intensive and detrimental to his body than being a metal drummer. Plus it gave Spencer a chance to assume a vocalist role, something he had been doing quietly behind his kit for years with Five Finger Death Punch.
“I love writing songs and singing,” Spencer said. “It was just the natural progression and what I wanted to do next. I’ve done so much of the drumming thing for years and I kind of got everything that I wanted to out of it, and it started beating my body pretty good. I can’t perform at the level I used to when I was young. Singing doesn’t quite destroy my back like drumming, even though I do wear heavy ass platform boots. I’m just always torturing myself in some way.”
Spencer plans to continue the ‘torture’ as long as he can with Psychosexual, regardless of forthcoming opinions of the new single and re-launch. Psychosexual is his rebirth and outlet. Not everyone is going to always like the music he creates. It happened with some of Five Finger Death Punch’s songs and might happen again with Psychosexual. But as long as it provides a miniscule amount of fulfillment, however satirical it may seem from the outside, Spencer will continue to live out his Devil Daddy days.
“We write music that we like and if other people like it too, that’s a bonus,” he says. “I’m going to do this with theatrics and I’m going to be the frontman and I’m going to have fun every day. And when it’s not fun I won’t do it anymore.”