In an industry dominated by negativity, it’s always refreshing to see someone behave with a bit of dignity in the face of an uneasy situation.
Take Burton C. Bell, for example. When asked in a recent interview on the Talk Toomy podcast about how he felt about his former band, Fear Factory, continuing on with a new singer who will be playing the parts he recorded, the legendary frontman responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
“It doesn’t affect me at all. To be honest, I haven’t been this happy in a long time. More power to them, but I’m just moving forward in my own life, my own career, and I’m just trying to make a name for myself.”
Although Bell appears to have made his peace with the matter, he has no desire to check out how his replacement, Italian-born singer Milo Silvestro, is measuring up. When asked if he’s seen any of Silverstro’s rehearsal footage, Bell said: “No, I don’t. I don’t care to.”
He went on to elaborate on why he doesn’t mind being asked about his former band:
“Fear Factory, it’s what I’m known for, and the 30 years I had with FEAR FACTORY were some of the proudest moments of my career. And everything I’ve ever done in Fear Factory I’m very proud of. Even some of the questionable things I’ve done in FEAR FACTORY I’m still proud of. It was a great legacy.”
During a recent appearance on an episode of The Ex Man podcast, Bell spoke about FEAR FACTORY’s latest album, 2021’s Aggression Continuum. Recorded primarily in 2017, the record features Bell and fellow Fear Factory founder Dino Cazares (guitar) and journeyman drummer Mike Heller.
“I was just happy that the record finally came out. We finished that record in 2017. By the time it came out, I’d forgotten all about it.
“There’s some good songs on that record. The song ‘Collapse’ is a good song. The title track ‘Monolith’ is a good song,” he added, a reference to the album’s original working title.
In the same episode, Bell spoke about some of the emotional difficulties he had in leaving Fear Factory:
“Stepping away from Fear Factory was not an easy decision by [any] means, but what I experienced for the 10 years before that, the lawsuits, the acrimony, that was the one that killed me. And I just had to step away to realize, you know, they can take all this stuff from me — they can take the money, they can take the royalties, they can take the trademark away from me — and I realized that didn’t define me. They can take that, but I’m still Burton C. Bell, motherfucker, and whatever I have they can’t take. So I’m just kind of moving forward and doing new things.”
Burton C. Bell acknowledges that struggle is a common part of life for most musicians and artists, who often find themselves victims of a predatory industry and their own personal demons.
“I knew a long time ago I wanted to be an artist — way before I was in Fear Factory. When I was in high school, I was like, ‘I wanna be an artist.’ To be an artist, you’ve gotta suffer. You’ve gotta understand that people wanna take from you the entire time — what you create they wanna make money off of and take it away from you and just give you a pittance. But being bitter is not my style — never has been.”
He goes on to speak about gratitude in the face of negativity:
“Whatever negativity has happened in the past with FEAR FACTORY doesn’t even hold up to the amount of positivity that has happened. If you think about the negative, it can weigh you down so much, but it’s not really that much in comparison to what the band achieved, what we created, what we provided to the music world, and for that I’m proud and very happy.”
“It’s been on my mind for a while. These lawsuits [over the rights to the FEAR FACTORY name] just drained me. The egos. The greed. Not just from band members, but from the attorneys involved. I just lost my love for it.
“With FEAR FACTORY, it’s just constantly been, like, ‘What?!’ You can only take so much. I felt like 30 years was a good run. Those albums I’ve done with FEAR FACTORY will always be out there. I’ll always be part of that. I just felt like it was time to move forward.”
In October 2020, Burton C. Bell’s new project, ASCENSION OF THE WATCHERS, released its second full-length album, “Apocrypha.”