In our exclusive interview with former FEAR FACTORY guitarist Dino Cazares, which was posted here last Monday, the axeman went to great lengths to paint the picture of a man who was as frustrated by his former bandmates' quest for mass commercial success as he was by their unwillingness to assume a greater share of the band's business responsibilities, ultimately creating an irreparable rift between him and frontman Burton C. Bell that eventually led to the group's untimely split.
Unsurprisingly, it took less than a day for former FEAR FACTORY drummer Raymond Herrera to contact BLABBERMOUTH.NET with the offer of a statement telling his side of the story—or "the truth", as he put it—which he promised would shed light on the reasons behind the group's break-up and the events leading up to the quartet's decision to go their separate ways.
As per Herrera's request, we began the interview with Raymond by giving him an opportunity to directly address some of the issues brought up in Cazares' interview—which Herrera chose to do without any interruptions from our side—after which we were allowed to ask the drummer direct questions about the band's split and the deep-rooted personal differences which ultimately caused led to the break-up of what was undoubtedly one of the most high-profile and most innovative extreme metal acts of the '90s.
Part I — Raymond Addresses Specific Points In Dino's Interview
On Burt's official statement following the group's split:
Burt put out a press release and said that he was leaving the band because he wanted to do something different, which was only partly true. In December 2001, he let Christian and I know that he could not work with Dino anymore. Burt devised a way to leave the band so that there was no blame put on anyone in particular. In the press release, he said nothing about the fact that he doesn't want to work with Dino or anything derogatory. Burt was trying to be diplomatic about the whole thing.
On Dino's claim that Burt told the band at the final meeting, "I don't want to play with you guys anymore":
Burt and Dino had been having a lot of problems for a very long time. The fact that me, Christian and Burt are still working together basically proves that the problem wasn't with the three of us. Burt never said that he didn't want work with us [Christian and myself]. He said that he didn't want to work with Dino.
On the implication that Dino was the first one to "pick up the pieces" following FEAR FACTORY's split:
About half year ago, it was obvious to us that the band would not continue. Coincidentally, we all had projects aside from FEAR FACTORY we were pursuing. Christian and I have been doing the KUSH project [with DEFTONES guitarist Stephen Carpenter and CYPRESS HILL frontman B-Real] for the last two and a half years. Christian has evolved into producer, forming a production group with B-Real and Eric "Bobo" Correa, while continuing to write and tour with CYPRESS HILL. As well, Burt, Christian, John [Bechdel, FF's old keyboardist] and myself have been putting Burt's [solo] record together now for about four months. Christian and I also have been putting a record together for Nuclear Blast [Records], which will have Oscar Garcia from TERRORIZER doing vocals. Not to mention, Christian and I have been collaborating on music for video games under my production company, Herrera Productions, which I started last September. So, to tell you the truth, Dino was actually the last one to pick up the pieces and start moving on here — everybody else in the band has already, for a while, kind of moved on.
Another thing that pissed me off in Dino's interview was that he said there was "too much freedom" in the band—as if it was a problem that other people in the band were pursuing side projects. Let me tell you something… BRUJERIA was around before FEAR FACTORY even was thought of. Side projects were already involved before FEAR FACTORY even started, so for Dino to say that is so hypocritical. What he means with that is, "Well, side projects are fine as long as I'm involved.” For example, when Burt did the G/Z/R thing a few years ago, Dino didn't like that. When Christian started working with CYPRESS HILL, Dino didn't like that either until Christian involved Dino. At one point Dino even insisted that our management inform Christian that he could no longer be involved in CYPRESS HILL and KUSH.
On the October 2001 physical altercation between Dino and Burt on the band's tour bus:
I was in the back of the bus playing video games, of course, because that's all I ever do [on the road], and this fight broke out in the front. Dino's guitar tech runs to the back and says, "Burt and Dino are having a fistfight." And I'm thinking, "Well, let 'em fight." But the bus is moving and I'm thinking someone is going to hit the bus driver and we'll probably all crash and die. So I go up there and I kind of help stop it. I knew this was a bad situation—essentially, the beginning of the end. I ask Dino what happened and he gave me his story, which is the story that he [gave you] in the interview. The next day, I spoke with everyone else individually. Let's just say, I heard seven stories one way, and Dino's story another.
On the bandmembers' different personalities:
Dino said that one of the reasons for [the band's success] was the fact that everybody was different and everybody listened to different types of music, yet in his interview, he goes to point out that Burt listens to NICK CAVE, trying to make it seem like a bad thing, and points out that Christian listens to hip hop, as if, for some reason, that's a bad thing. But at the same time, he goes to say that our diversity is one of the reasons the band did so well. So, go figure…
On Dino's controlling ways and the band's decision-making process:
Everyone in this band was an equal partner of the company itself. Everybody in this band made decisions, some good, some bad. Dino did try to control the band through manipulation of management, the record company, and people in the band. And he would straight-out lie to our faces to cover up about the things that he did behind our back. All those things eventually got back to the rest of us. Trust me, we were on to him from the beginning.
On Dino's speculation that Christian held it against him that Cazares played bass on Demanufacture:
Demanufacture was originally supposed to be recorded in Chicago. There were a lot of problems with the studio—so we had to basically leave the studio halfway through the drum tracks. We were stuck in a hotel for about a week and a half trying to find a new studio. Soon after that, we found Bearsville, this place in New York, which is where we did the record, but we were already way behind schedule. After I did my drum tracks, it was Dino's turn. Dino took a week to get a guitar tone and another week to do the guitar tracks. Then, Christian had to come in and do his tracks. It did come to the point where Dino had to do half of the [bass] tracks, but it wasn't because Christian didn't know the songs, it was because Dino changed a lot of the parts of the songs while he was tracking guitars. Christian, at that point, had no bad feelings towards Dino. And as for the comment that Christian wanted to be included in his side projects, Christian never wanted to be a part of BRUJERIA or a part of any other [of Dino's] side projects. Christian would let us borrow his bass gear to do BRUJERIA records. He offered it to us—we never even had to ask him for it.
On Dino's assertion that Raymond and Christian were primarily motivated by money:
I find that very funny, because literally the day after Burt quit the band, Dino called me and asked me to persuade Burt to do this last record. There was a lot of money on the line and Dino wanted to get paid.
On Dino's statement that FEAR FACTORY could continue without Christian:
If Christian were to have left the band, I wouldn't have continued. Christian is one of the best bass players there are—he really contributed A LOT to this band. The sound of FEAR FACTORY after Demanufacture—on Obsolete and Digimortal—had a lot to do with Christian. Some fans may have liked that, some fans may not have liked that, but for the better or worse, Christian made a big impact on this band, whether Dino wants to admit it or not.
On the five songs written and demoed in instrumental form for what would have been FEAR FACTORY's fifth proper full-length CD:
In January, Dino and I were putting songs together for the new record. Dino said in the interview that he was writing the songs. We both wrote the five songs [together]. That's typical Dino—trying to take the credit for everything.
On Dino's assertion that the aftermath of September 11th was largely to blame for Digimortal's disappointing sales:
One, amongst many, things that pissed me off [in Dino's interview] was that Dino had to throw in the whole September 11th thing. Maybe it didn't help that all that happened, but the record was already out for about six months prior to September 11, so that was irrelevant. Despite record sales, we felt that we had written a great record.
On the band's collaboration with CYPRESS HILL's B-Real in the track "Back The Fuck Up":
I think that's one of the greatest songs we ever wrote. I'm going back again to this whole thing that one of the reasons why FEAR FACTORY was so different was because everybody in the band was different. If some people didn't like "Back The Fuck Up", that's fine. We're never going to write something that everybody enjoys. But to go as far as to blame Christian because it's on the record?! That's unfair. We all said, "Let's put it on the record."
On reasons for doing this interview:
I did this interview because I thought if the fans were going to hear about the story of our break-up, they should hear it from someone who will tell them the truth. Dino's interview is obviously a pathetic attempt to make himself look like the victim when he very well was the cause of the band's break-up! I'm also very disappointed in the fact that Dino felt compelled to slander the rest of us. I thought a response was necessary. Though FEAR FACTORY wasn't the biggest band in the world, by any means, we did have a certain amount of respect from each other, our fans, other bands and other musicians. We owe a response to them as well.
Part II — Raymond Answers A Few Questions
You mentioned earlier that you and Christian are currently helping Burt put together his solo record. How did this collaboration come about?
Christian and I have been writing music since around September/October of last year on the tour bus. Burt had already kind of hinted to us that he wanted to continue working with us. So we were like, "Hey, you know what, after we break you can take whatever songs you want—they are for you.” We were willing to help Burt in whatever way we could. We got together a few times after the end of the FEAR FACTORY tour and he told us what he wanted to do and what direction he wanted to go in.
Will Burt's record come out under his name, or will it actually be a band?
We have a lot of fans, so I told him he should probably just call it BURTON C. BELL or the BURTON C. BELL PROJECT, or something. I think he should use his name.
The stuff that you've recorded for Burt so far—are those album-quality recordings, or are you just doing demos at this point?
Just demos, at this point.
You indicated earlier that you knew Burt was going to be coming in that day in early March to announce the he was quitting the band.
Burt called me on the day before the "meeting" where he would announce his departure, and said, "I'm ready to do this." At this point, Christian and Burt were not talking to Dino at all any more. I was basically the link between Burt and Dino and Christian and Dino—I was the guy in the middle.
The only real thing that Dino and I have in common is music. Other than that, we have nothing in common. When we are on tour, the guy is a womanizer—all he does is try to pick up on women, trying to be a rock star. On the other hand, I'm not like that. I was married the entire time we were doing FEAR FACTORY and I was on the back of the bus playing video games. When we weren't touring, I didn't see Dino at all unless we were at practice. I basically went from being kind of distant to him to being his only friend.
Dino made it sound in the interview like there was at least some talk about the two of you guys carrying on in a new band.
There were never any plans for me to work with him. To tell you the truth, I don't even want to do the next BRUJERIA record with him. We did this ASESINO band because everybody in BRUJERIA was doing their own record. We finished [Dino's ASESINO] record in December, with Tony [Campos, of STATIC-X, on vocals]. There were talks about doing a new BRUJERIA record, but I can assure you, I won't be writing with [Dino again].
The way you are talking right now almost makes it appear as if you feel as strongly about not wanting to play with Dino ever again as perhaps Burt did when he quit FEAR FACTORY.
Dino and I had a falling out and I really don't want to get into the specifics about it because it gets ugly.
So you're saying that if Burt and Dino had gotten along famously, Burt never would have left?
He never would have left. If he would have had an itch to do something different, he would have done a side project. He wouldn't have to leave the band to do that.
You touched upon this earlier as well… Why do you think that Digimortal didn't do as well as everybody expected it to do, especially in light of Obsolete's huge success?
I'm really not sure. I heard a lot of good things from fans but I also heard some negativity. It was a combination of many things, I'm sure.
When you first contacted BLABBERMOUTH.NET about doing an interview, you mentioned that you would be speaking for Christian and Burt as well. Does that mean that they are aware that you are doing this?
Christian is aware that I am doing this. Burt is not. The only reason I am speaking for both of them is because Christian is not going to do an interview, and I really don't see Burt doing one.
I do want to add one final thing:
I do not want to continue a war of words with Dino or his disciples—it's too late for that, I've moved on. No one is angry about the break-up—except Dino, obviously. With the less-than-successful record sales of Digimortal, and the ongoing rift between Burt and Dino, it was just no use resisting the inevitable. Hey, most bands DO break up eventually. We had to come to terms with that. We worked long and hard for FEAR FACTORY, touring for years with less-than-lucrative rewards.
We are very proud of the success FEAR FACTORY has had over the years—it has made us all who we are today. I wouldn't change a thing. But if someday, we all wanted to have a real life, own a home, etc., and carry on our lives as adults—I am not 17 years old anymore, I am 29 years old now—we all needed to work smarter. Being on the road for nine months out of the year had us pinned down to doing ONLY FEAR FACTORY. We put all our "side projects" and other aspirations aside from FEAR FACTORY on hold — all the while not having the success we all hoped for. It was very frustrating and stifling to say the least! We looked at this [the break-up] as an opportunity for change and success.
I did telephone Dino after I had read his "exclusive" interview. Of course, he didn't answer, nor did he return my phone call. I'm actually glad he didn't, because he wouldn't have liked what I had to say. After cooling down a bit, I realized one thing: he is just a bitter, bitter, fat man. Despite all the things he said to paint a distorted picture of how it all went down, I can only feel sorry for the guy.
I do wish Dino continued success in his career. He is an excellent guitarist and songwriter, with the potential to be a huge success, I just hope that he can someday thank us that it came to an end and that the break-up of this band actually made his own career a better one.