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Art of Dying Singer Bottles His Own BBQ Sauce, Stages Poker Tournaments

Travis Shinn

Art of Dying play the kind of anthemic hard rock that makes radio programmers foam at the mouth. The Canadian band released their self-titled debut album in 2007 and have lived their lives out of suitcases ever since. Now signed to Intoxication, an label run by Disturbed members David Draiman and Dan Donegan and distributed by Warner Bros. Records, Art of Dying are set to release ‘Vices and Virtues,’ their sophomore record.

When someone at Intoxication told Noisecreep that vocalist Jonny Hetherington bottled his very own BBQ sauce, we were intrigued. After we were told us that he and his Art of Dying bandmates also organize backstage poker tournaments, we knew we had to investigate further.

Noisecreep: We hear you bottle your own BBQ sauce.

Jonny Hetherington: Oh yes. I’m a huge fan of [sauce] in general, so I’ve started messing with my own BBQ and hot sauce. I absolutely love the flavor of the Habanero pepper (or Scotch Bonnet). It’s one of my favorite flavors on the planet. And of course there’s the heat that comes along with it that is pretty incredible as well. Last year, I was on a mission to try and find an all-natural Habanero sauce without any crap in it, and well, I couldn’t find any. So, I decided to start making my own.

I’m proud to say my first batch was pretty killer and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve been mixing the heat and flavor of the pepper with locally grown fruits and spices, and I’ve been able to find a really nice balance between the two. I think the fig version is my favorite so far. I’m fortunate to have access to fresh fruit from British Columbia, Canada, where I live, so that is a big part of it. So far, each bottle contains 20 Habaneros, so I’m guessing it’s sitting at around 200,000 Scoville units. In other words — it’s damn spicy!

What kind of style is it? We know BBQ aficionados take this stuff very seriously.

The BBQ sauce I’ve been messing with is hot and smoky, with quite a bit of Jack Daniels spilled into it. C’mon, how good does that sound?

When we think of BBQ, Canada isn’t the first place that comes to mind. How popular is that kind of food up there?

If you’re talking traditional BBQ then yes, it’s pretty hard to find the real deal. Although in Vancouver, we have a few good ones. Memphis Blues and Slim’z are a couple you should check out. But as far as backyard BBQ goes, Canada has to be at the top of the list! I mean, we’re out there in the rain, snow, whatever — we love to grill.

You’re also getting a reputation for your infamous backstage poker tournaments on tour. Walk us through a typical night.

We play a hell of a lot of Texas hold ‘em. Cale [Gontier, bassist] is our poker star! He’s pretty damn good and plays a lot online as well as with us. We made the whole record in between poker hands. That’s the way we roll on the road as well. Usually we have a dry erase pen around and make a massive chart at the beginning of a tour or recording session and do the math at the end to see who owes whom what.

Our RV is pretty much a Final Table on wheels. It’s a great way to chill and listen to music together too. On our last writing session, Tavis [Stanley, guitar] and I put the entire Aerosmith catalog on ‘random’ and played poker for about 36 hours straight. It was pretty memorable heads up battle, with an unforgettable soundtrack. What’s better than that?

The band is signed to Disturbed’s new label, Intoxication. Please tell us you haven’t taken all their money at the poker table!

We have yet to have a band-to -and tourney. But it will happen soon, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Art of Dying will come out on top [laughter]. We stole John Moyer from Disturbed for a night on our RV last tour, and I’m pretty sure he rejoined the Disturbed camp with a lighter wallet [laughter].

Download Art of Dying songs | Buy Art of Dying albums

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