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Baptized in Blood Singer Johl Fendley Is a Fan of Justin Timberlake’s Dirty Jeans

Angela Smith

Baptized in Blood have been playing gigs for about six years now under their current name, a tribute to the band Death, and their song of the same name. Based in the smaller city of London, Ontario, they lucked out when they caught the attention of Roadrunner Records.

“Growing up in a small town, you get a real appreciation for underground bands playing real underground shows,” says Baptized In Blood frontman, Johl Fendley, who actually grew up in the even smaller, Stratford ON, home of the Justin Bieber. “I didn’t get a lot of exposure to heavy music early on. We never had ‘crazy’ shows, but local promoters were able to bring in a lot of smaller bands like Trunk, Five Knuckle Chuckle, Swarm, and Left For Dead.”

To reference the cult Mike Judge comedy, ‘Office Space,’ Joel is a ‘ straight shooter with upper management written all over him’ “I started the band during the hockey strike of 2004, but all the other guys were already in bands already. I had to drag them away to start this side project that became Baptized in Blood. By the end of our first year, they had all quit to focus on this thing specifically. I’m glad they made that choice.”

For a guy whose only band experience was playing in a high school cover band, it’s quite an achievement, and after six years, he’s still a driving force in keeping the band together. He attributes part of his success to a strict ‘failure is not an option’ ethos. “Without that positivity or drive, bands fall off the face of the earth or break up. Whether it be due egos about ridiculous shit, think they’re huge when they’re not, or just doubting their abilities. But you can’t do that in this industry. If you want to succeed, you have to believe in everything you do and every word that comes out of your mouth.”

Much of his song writing on his last self-titled album sticks to a similar mentality, “I deal mostly with things that happen in my life and focus on things that are relatable. I could write ten albums about killing zombies but I don’t want to because I don’t know s— about it. I I want to write about my family, life, death, and personal experiences. My songs are like my battle cry, to shout out to the world ‘is there anybody else going through this shit too?’ I want to reassure people that as shitty as it gets, there’s always turn around.”

Watch ‘Dirty’s Back’ from Baptized in Blood

Little known fact, Joel worked at Mr. Sub for ten years before he started the band, but it gave him a lot of time to write all the songs for their first album. “That job allowed me to write all the songs for the first album. ‘Up Shirts Down Skirts’ was written about this smoking 40-year old who would come buy subs from me. I’d stare at her ass as she was leaving the whole time. It’s crazy where you get inspiration from. It just so happens mine are from Mr. Sub. You have to have a good laugh at that. We all have to do our own little things to let you keep on going.”

Metal bands are generally known for serious attitudes and giving the finger to mainstream pop stars but their bellowing thrash hit, ‘Dirty’s Back’ is indeed a Justin Timberlake reference. A tribute, as much as their own namesake is to the band Death.

“This may sound really f—— lame but I really respect what he’s done for himself. I’m incredibly jealous of him, aside from the boy band stuff. When I wrote that song, I was thinking ‘if he can bring sexy back, I can bring dirty back.’ Also, I don’t wash my jeans either. If you just leave them, they age perfectly by themselves — that’s something I learned from him. “

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