In this feature from the October 2015 issue of Guitar World, the guitarists of Five Finger Death Punch, Bullet For My Valentine, We Came As Romans and other metal acts tell how they'll beat the heat and tame the crowds on the season's biggest tours.
TODAY: Death Angel guitarist Rob Cavestany
Tips for playing in extreme heat
Stay hydrated! Keep yourself in good shape physically and mentally, which means conditioning before you get to the extreme heat. Training is important. Rehearse in a hot room and get used to it. Try to relax and don’t focus on how hot it is. Focus on enjoying the music.
Must-have on-the-road item
My iPod and headphones, well that’s two items but they go together. Gotta have my music!
Best live show I’ve ever seen
Can’t name just one! My first rock concert ever was the original lineup of KISS in 1979 during the Dynasty tour stop at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. That show is the reason Death Angel exists! There’s also Van Halen’s 1980 [World] Invasion Tour at Oakland Coliseum, Ozzy Osbourne at the Day on the Green [festival] in the early Eighties after Blizzard of Ozz came out, Ozzy’s Diary of a Madman tour with Randy [Rhoads], and Rush’s Moving Pictures tour at Madison Square Garden in New York. I’ve been fortunate to experience so many killer shows!
Tips for winning over a tough crowd
Play your ass off and your heart out! Have fun interacting with your band onstage and don’t worry about the crowd. Hopefully your band has a good frontman that knows how to speak to the masses and can naturally make people feel comfortable. Give the crowd everything you’ve got. Be authentic. Leave it all on the stage!
Most fun song to play live
All of them! But off the top of my head I can say “Claws in So Deep,” “The Dream Calls for Blood,” “Caster of Shame,” “Thrown to the Wolves” and “The Ultra - Violence.”
Most difficult song to play live
“Word to the Wise” and “Volcanic” because I sing lead vocals on those songs. And what I’m playing on guitar at the same time is quite challenging for me.
Best song I’ve heard this year
“Elektra” by Refused, “Matador” by Faith No More and “Dead Inside” by Muse.
Gear I couldn’t live without
Any of my custom signature series Jacksons. I love em all. Another piece would be my Ultimate Ears UE 900S earphones. I use them to warm up backstage before each show, with my Boss Micro BR [digital recorder], and to lose myself in music daily.
Craziest performance injury
I used to crack the nail of my index finger of my right picking hand all the time on tour from bashing it against my strings. But Gary Holt taught me an invaluable trick to solve that problem when we toured Europe with Exodus in 2011. I have fallen off the stage while handing picks to fans, had guitar headstocks slam me in the face, fell flat on my back tripping over monitors or slipping on beer and sweat. I’ve been hit on the head by flying beer bottles, and I constantly have bruises on my legs from slamming my guitar against my body in the heat of the moment, fingers bleeding all over my strings and fretboard... The list goes on! We put on quite a physical and emotional performance and I love to lose myself in the music, which is intense and aggressive. So it comes with the territory!
Here's the video for "Left For Dead":