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Finger Eleven's Rock 'n Wrestling connection
By JASON CLEVETT - SLAM! Wrestling


Finger Eleven answers questions backstage at the Juno Awards after winning Rock Album of the Year April 5th. James Black sports the Mohawk haircut, front left. Photo by Jason Clevett

If you’ve heard the song Paralyzer, and really, who hasn’t, you probably think the voice on vocals sound familiar. Wrestling fans have heard Finger Eleven for several years on WWE broadcasts, as well as on DVDs.

The Burlington, Ontario band was approached to revamp Kane’s theme song for the 2002 Forceable Entry compilation that also featured Kid Rock, Disturbed, Limp Bizkit, Our Lady Peace and others. It was an interesting challenge to revamp an existing song, says guitarist James Black.

“The Kane theme was an unique opportunity because the theme already existed and it was our challenge to incorporate it into a rock song," said Black. "It's fun to write with a visual in mind and I'd always wanted to do something like this. We knew it had to feel like a seven-foot giant was marching into battle so that's how it all started. A slow and stomping feeling.”

SLAM! Wrestling caught up with Black in the midst of an extensive U.S. tour. While Kane’s theme Slow Chemical has gained popularity, don’t expect to see it live.

“We have had songs in the past like Drag You Down and Slow Chemical that become popular but we don't play them. For us it really comes down to the greater good of the live show. If doing these two songs means more wear and tear on Scott's voice, that means less touring, less shows per week. Time off on the road, for me, is poison. So we decide to keep these songs out of the set.”

The band's hit One Thing off their 2003 self-titled album will also be familiar to fans. The song was featured on the Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit DVDs as well as during the RAW broadcast paying tribute to Benoit prior to the full details coming to light.

“The whole One Thing / Chris Benoit thing was one of those unfortunate events that happen too fast, which is the norm in the entertainment 'biz,'" said Black. "The true horrific facts of his story weren't revealed until after the segment had been cut together and aired. At the time, it was a case of the WWE calling and wanting to use an emotional song to pay tribute to one of their fallen heroes. Put to us that way, of course it seemed like the thing to do. But once the true facts of the incident came to light we requested the segment be pulled. There's not much more you can do. I don't think it needs to be said that ‘Finger Eleven does not condone murder suicides.’ With the internet now everything leaves a mark so it's out there but what can you do now.”

All the members of the band at one time were wrestling fans, although Black admits they do not follow it as much now.

“In our youth we were all into wrestling at one point. I remember the days of Roddy Piper and Brutus Beefcake, Paul Orndorff, Ted Dibiase and Virgil, Rick Steamboat, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, The Honky Tonk Man, Hillbilly Jim, Jesse the Body and of course the Hulkster,” Black recalled. “We actually met some wrestlers out on the road. They were staying in the same hotel as us and we ended up partying with a few of the up and comers. They were just like struggling musicians -- hoping for a break and getting drunk. It seems like showbiz is showbiz whether it's rock n roll, theatre or sports entertainment. We once stayed in a hotel where the Disney on Ice folks were the loud neighbors. Imagine vomiting in a giant mouse head.”


Finger 11 on stage at the Juno kickoff concert on April 3, 2008. Photo by Jason Clevett
There are many comparisons between the life of a rock star and that of a professional wrestler. Both businesses involve pouring everything into entertaining people, whether your audience is a few hundred or 60,000. When Black speaks of his need to play, the words echo those stated by many wrestlers over the years.

“For me this question always reminds me of the end of Kill Bill 2, when Bill's talking about Superman and Clark Kent. He's talking about how most super heroes are mild-mannered men who dress up in a costume to play their super hero alterego... but Superman is the reverse. He is Superman and his costume is the mild mannered reporter," mused Black. "When I'm on the road I feel like I'm in my proper skin. When I'm home I feel quite aimless and am, most times, at a loss of what to do with myself. I'm wired to be a rock n roll, touring musician. It is hard on our relationships but, in my case, I've been with my wife so long that it feels normal for us to be apart for a while then reunited. Our relationship was born in that dynamic so it knows how to survive. The road life is not for everyone but it's for me.”

Finger Eleven Upcoming Canadian Tour Dates

  • July 8th – Calgary Stampede – Calgary, AB
  • July 19th – Salmonfest – Grand Falls, NB
  • August 8th – X-fest – Brandon, MB
  • August 29th – Le Festival De Monfolfieres – Gatineau, PQ

    RELATED LINKS
  • Finger 11 archive in Jam Showbiz
  • Finger 11’s Website

    Despite rumours to the contrary Jason Clevett has 10 fingers, not 11.