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Celebrity Drive: Five Finger Death Punch Drummer Jeremy Spencer

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 9/8/2014 K.S. Wang

Quick Stats: Jeremy Spencer, Five Finger Death Punch drummer
Daily Driver: 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 (Jeremy's rating: 9 on a scale of 1 to 10)
Favorite road trip: Near Franklin, Tennessee
Car he learned to drive in: 1990 Chevy Beretta
First car bought: 2002 Ford Explorer

From the time Five Finger Death Punch started doing well a few years after the band's debut album, "The Way of the Fist," drummer Jeremy Spencer bought his first Mercedes-Benz in 2011. A Mercedes has been his daily driver ever since.

His current ride is the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550, which he gives a 9 out of 10 rating. "It's really great. It's got that Distronic radar system where it can detect wrecks in front of you. If you have to stop, it will warn you and apply brakes for you," Spencer says. "It's kind of cool. I have not thankfully seen that in action but at least I know that I'm covered."

Five Finger Death Punch started in February 2005. "That was our first email back and forth, when Zoltan, the guitar player, posted an ad on MusicConnection.com looking for a drummer and I answered the ad. We consider that the first day," he says, with a laugh. "That's how it started. I answered an ad in Music Connection. I know it's totally bizarre, but it really did happen that way. I used to hear about Motley Crue did that or Kiss put out an ad."

Celebrity Drive Jeremy Spencer© Provided by MotorTrend Celebrity Drive Jeremy Spencer The band signed a record deal in 2007 and put out a record later that year. "We were basically broke for the first two years, and then we finally had a hit record and some money started coming in. I was like, 'All right, I can buy a car.' That was the first Mercedes. I didn't buy a nice car until I bought a Mercedes. It took awhile, because when we got signed, we actually put any money we made into renting a tour bus so we would not kill each other by traveling in a van," he says, laughing. "So we all sacrificed money for the first couple of years just to have tour buses."

That first Mercedes Spencer bought was a new 2011 Mercedes-Benz C300. He moved on to a C350 before graduating to the S-Class. "I've been driving Mercedes for a few years and every time the lease is up, I just keep trading it in and upgrading, and I love this car. I think it's great. There's nothing about it I don't like. It's got every luxury that I could ever want."

Before deciding on the S550, he did test-drive the E-Class sedans. "I didn't think it was that much of a substantial upgrade over the C, so I thought, 'Let's go big, let's do the S.' So I went with the S and I've loved it. It's awesome."

Celebrity Drive Jeremy Spencer© Provided by MotorTrend Celebrity Drive Jeremy Spencer

The car he learned to drive in

Spencer grew up in Indiana, where he learned to drive in his mom's 1990 Chevy Beretta.

"It was an automatic, so it was pretty easy. I do remember taking it out on some country roads and spinning out on rocks and wrecking it and she never even knew it. For some reason, it did not dent the side of it at all, even though I hit the side of a hill," he says, laughing. "I totally escaped and I got away with that. I used to drive every day around town and jam really loud rock music with my buddies in the car. And it had a factory stereo that rocked. I remember that I was really impressed. I'm like, 'How does this sound so good for being a factory stereo?'"

Spencer drove the Beretta while he was in high school, and after that he drove an old Ford LTD that his grandparents gave him. "I didn't think I'd be able to get dates in this car, but I was wrong. I did. I managed to pull dates anyway," he says, laughing, referring to the LTD. "The Beretta was no problem, but the LTD, that's pushing it because that's a grandpa car. It was like a yacht; it was huge. … It was tan, ugly, and brutal. And it had an eight-track player in."

Celebrity Drive Jeremy Spencer© Provided by MotorTrend Celebrity Drive Jeremy Spencer While the hand-me-down LTD wasn't exactly a cool ride, it was a large enough car to load his drums. "I could load an 11-piece drum kit and drive it to gigs and it worked really great for that. … It's was probably the next best thing to having a van," he says.

When he recently upgraded to the Mercedes S-Class, it wasn't hard to go back to having a large sedan. "Certainly not, because I guess my muscle memory kicked in of having to drive some bigger cars from back in the day so it didn't take any adjustment at all," he says.

First car bought

After having the LTD for two years, and then driving his dad's Chevy S10 pickup truck, Spencer had enough to buy a new 2002 Ford Explorer.

"I was working day jobs and saving money as much as I could, and in L.A. it wasn't exactly easy. And then I was given some money from a relative to help me get that car, so it was a real blessing there."

When Spencer bought the Ford Explorer, he was living in Los Angeles and playing in a band that didn't get signed to a record deal. "I was in many bands that never got signed. Got real close. It's just the story of so many other people. And then finally Five Finger Death Punch was the one that landed," he explains.

He painted houses and did construction work as well as some office work, which included helping out in an accounting office.

Celebrity Drive Jeremy Spencer© Provided by MotorTrend Celebrity Drive Jeremy Spencer

Favorite road trip

"My favorite place to drive was in the hills of Tennessee, just because the trees were so beautiful, and my folks lived in Tennessee for a while and I went back there and lived for a little while with them," Spencer says.

He would enjoy taking drives on the scenic roads outside of Nashville, near Franklin. "It was the scenery. It was really cool. I love nature and I miss the country. I grew up in Indiana and I really enjoyed driving there."

"Death Punch'd: Surviving Five Finger Death Punch's Metal Mayhem"

On Sept. 2, Spencer's memoir, "Death Punch'd," came out, with glowing reviews on the back of the book by Judas Priest's Rob Halford, Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx (both former Celebrity Drives) and Alice Cooper. "I got out of rehab in February of 2012, and the day I got out of rehab I started writing my whole life just to process everything, almost for therapeutic purposes, to get some stuff out," he says.

Part of that catharsis came from writing up to 2,000 words a day. "Several months later I was like, 'Man, I'm starting to have quite a large body of work here. Not too bad," he says, with a laugh. He asked his dad, who's written a few books and is also a songwriter, to read it and help him with revisions. "I definitely trust his opinion."

Spencer finished writing the book in December and gave it to his management to read. "They thought it was really good and sent it to William Morris, who really dug it, and they shopped it and landed me a book deal with HarperCollins," he says.

Spencer, 41, chronicles his struggles with addiction in the book. "It's about anyone who's a musician that had a dream that wanted to try to make it in the music business and the struggles along the way with that, and also people that have struggles with addictions," Spencer says. "I did both of those things. I struggled throughout my life with addiction and also had the dream of making it in music and all I went through doing it and all the years and struggles that it took to get there."

For more information about the book, visit deathpunchd.com. Five Finger Death Punch is on tour in the U.S. this month, with a stop in Sacramento, California, on Sept. 14 and Syracuse, New York, at the end of the month. For band info, go to fivefingerdeathpunch.com.

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