Hatebreed’s lyrics are about release

Nicholas DiSabatino

Hatebreed doesn’t hate. The band members consider themselves role models for kids and teens today.

Credit: Ben Breier

Jamey Jasta, lead singer of Hatebreed, never expected to be a heavy metal rockstar.

Since the creation of Hatebreed in 1995, Jamey Jasta has traveled the world, met some of his closest friends and become a role model for teens through his band’s hardcore music.

If one has never listened to this type of music, it’s a wake up call and shock to the system. But on closer listening, the lyrics don’t promote violence, only venting.

“Negativity expressed in music is not aimless,” he said. “Our main concern is with messages thrown out by media and by society in general. We’re very lucky to live in a free country where a band like Hatebreed can exist and thrive. I try to just say what I want to say because I never had that outlet as a kid.”

Jasta, a native of New Haven, Conn., remains true to his roots by always returning to the clubs he played at when he was first starting out. The band distributes free copies of other artists’ albums at their concerts to help new independent acts just starting out.

For anyone trying to break into the music scene, whether musically or corporately, Jasta advises they put their hearts into it and try to help other bands.

“I always traded band CDs,” he said. “They’d sell my CDs in their town and it grew from there.”

Even though the band has gone mainstream, they still pay attention to independent bands.

“We’ve opened for Black Sabbath and Metallica,” Jasta said. We’re still the same people we always were.”

Aside from touring with Hatebreed, Jasta divides his time working on MTV2’s Headbanger’s Ball and spending time with his daughter.

On tour now in celebration of the band’s 10-year anniversary, Jasta said Hatebreed has many surprises in store for fans, including new covers and older songs.

“The first night of the tour was in Vermont and it was insane, but well-received,” he said.

Jasta keeps busy with his own recording company, Stillborn Records, and focuses on promoting up-and-coming hardcore and heavy metal artists.

Along with his music, Jasta launched his own brand of “Hate Wear” last year. Striking a deal with Hot Topic, Jasta targeted his fans with clothes he wanted to make comfortable. The clothing label will debut a new collection next summer.

“I was always a very unfashionable person, and it’s about making comfortable clothes, to not want to wear ‘band clothes all the time,'” he said.

Jasta talked about the progression between the band’s new LP, The Rise of Brutality, versus its previous two albums, Perseverance and Satisfaction is the Death of Desire.

“There’s a difference in music and lyrics with the level of ferocity,” he said. “We wanted to step it up musicianship wise and have the most cohesive vocal tone. I think it’s our best sounding record and so far our best selling one, so I can’t complain.”

Influenced by heavy metal bands such as Agnostic Front and Sepultura, Hatebreed’s name came from The Misfits’ song “The Hatebreeders.” After playing at Ozzfest three times, Jasta considers the band an alumnus.

“It’s amazing. It’s like heavy metal summer camp,” he said.

Jasta describes the audience at his shows as raging lunatics, or “your typical metal hardcore fan.”

Jasta said he feels a catharsis when he’s on stage performing. His fans experience that same catharsis when they listen to Hatebreed. In performing for over 10 years, Jasta’s seen some crazy antics on stage.

“One time a guy threw his prosthetic leg on stage and we all signed it,” he said. “I think it was in Ohio.”

But Jasta said he feels like a role model for kids and teens listening to his music. He said he feels like he’s giving back.

“With Perseverance, I never imagined the impact we’d have on so many people,” he said. “It was a glimmer of hope. I feel a lot of problems youth face are problems I faced. I always had music to turn to, and I just want to give back when I can.”

While Hatebreed plays hardcore to the extreme, band members are also concerned with the impact of their music and its influence on the youth culture today.

Contact ALL correspondent Nicholas DiSabatino at [email protected].