If there's one thing Welsh metal band Bullet for My Valentine is most looking forward to when it lands in America as one of the acts on Slipknot's summer tour, it's this: "Barbecue," confesses guitarist Michael Paget. “That's one thing you do amazing.”
Paget speaks through a thick accent, which he says always seems to intrigue people in America. "A lot of people don't know about Wales," the U.K. country the group calls home, which also birthed actor Anthony Hopkins, designer Laura Ashley, and singer Tom Jones. "If there's a hot chick, we lay it on thick."
The Slipknot tour, which also features Lamb of God and Motionless in White, is just the beginning of a months-long touring cycle for the group in support of its fifth album, Venom (August 14), which will also take it to South America, Asia, and Europe, wrapping up just in time for Christmas. "It's a little bit painful," says Paget, who hasn't been on the road in 14 months, "but it's all part of the game."
Though the band's new LP shares its name with a seminal U.K. metal band, Paget says it is a coincidence and not homage. "I know there is a band called Venom, but I'm unfamiliar with their music,” he says. “There's no connection at all, really."
A handful of songs from Venom will work their way into the band's 40-minute set, which Paget welcomes.
"Some of [our] songs we've been playing for ten years now, so the new stuff freshens everything up,” he says. “Fortunately, with social media, the fans are pretty up on the new stuff quite quick. They know the words and are looking forward to the new stuff just as much as the classics."
Paget is excited to hit the road not just for the opportunity to play new songs for fans but to hang out with his old friends in Slipknot and Lamb of God.
"By the time we even break a sweat," he says of the band's short set time, "we've only got two songs left."
But short sets mean more time for hanging out, one of the benefits of a multiband tour. "Hopefully they'll be a lot of hanging out and chatting away and swapping stories and stuff," he says. "That's the fun part, chatting about road stories and hearing other peoples' stories and telling some of ours."
Also on the road with the band all summer are the ashes of two fans who died in a tragic car accident last December. The parents of the fans had part of their remains made into metal trinkets, which Paget and other members of BFMV will wear as necklaces throughout the tour.
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The touring cycle will also introduce the band's new bass player to the world. Jamie Mathias, former guitarist and frontman of Revoker, recently quit his car sales gig to join the band full-time on the road.
"He helped the band step up our game," Paget says. "He's young, he's got great harmonies. He just rounded off our sound really well." As for whether Mathias would be hazed like, say, incoming bassists in fellow metal band Metallica?
"We're a little older now," Paget laughs, "so we stopped the bullying."
Slipknot, with Bullet for My Valentine, Motionless in White and Lamb of God. 6 p.m. Friday, July 24. Coral Sky Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $30 to $235 via livenation.com.