As the lead guitarist for Five Finger Death Punch, Jason Hook has played sold-out arenas and festival gigs all over the world. With countless rock radio hits and chart-topping albums, Five Finger Death Punch has become one of the most popular hard rock and metal bands of the new era.

Head to a Five Finger Death Punch show, and you'll see Hook proudly slinging his signature M-4 Sherman. Hook sat down with at the 2017 Louder than Life festival to talk about why he believes Gibson guitars offer the highest possible quality from an instrument, his new documentary "Hired Gun" and the status of new Five Finger Death Punch music.

Jason Hook

You recently served as executive producer of a new documentary called "Hired Gun." It's a really cool concept. Tell me about the film.

The project started a couple of years ago. I was jonesing to do something that was a passion project outside of the group, so I started the movie with a director friend of mine, Fran Strine. We started talking what would make a compelling documentary, because we both shared that mutual lust for documentaries. So, we chose the concept of "hired gun" or "hired guns," because we know so many musicians who are being paid to play for other people, so I thought instantly I would be able to access the content.

How did you set out to find the musicians featured in the film?

We made a master list of anyone we thought would have a good story. We didn't get everyone we wanted, but the first person to step forward was Alice Cooper. I had played for Alice Cooper, so he said, "Yes, I'll do an interview for the movie." Once he got involved, it gave it a certain credibility, and from there, we were able to get Rob Zombie, John 5-- everyone is sort of connected.

You are known for playing your signature M-4 Sherman. How is it holding up?

Excellent. Anybody that knows Gibson knows it's a premium, American-made instrument. So, I've always been a fan. I have several Gibsons. When I had the opportunity to make my own-- it's a very rare thing. They hand select people to whom they want to offer signature models. It's a big honor. I took the history of the basic Explorer and gave it a 45-degree arm contour. I made it a shredding machine.

The M-4 Sherman has an awesome design. Tell me about what went into the design process.

For the stripe design, a friend helped me put that together. We were trying to figure out something military based, because I'm such a military history enthusiast. We played around with the design, and Gibson loved it. It's unique. When you're doing a signature guitar, there are two different approaches. You can make it really commercially accessible so nobody says, "I don't want that. It's too weird and too out there," so you make a black guitar with black stuff. But I thought, I don't really want that. If I'm going to make my own Gibson, I want it to be for the history books. I want people 20, 30 years from now to say, "I remember that one. That's different."

What's the status of new Five Finger Death Punch music?

We finished a brand new record. It's completely finished. We're trying to pick a release date. I think we're looking at an early 2018 release.

What can you tell me about the sound or direction of the new music?

We work very hard on these records. I think it's your standard percentage of meat-and-potatoes Five Finger Death Punch that everyone expects and likes, but then we took a couple songs and said, "Let's try to push ourselves a bit and step outside the box, stylistically," and I think we did that, too. So, I'm curious to see how the public will react to those songs that are slightly different for us.

What makes you proud to be part of the Gibson family?

I'm a quality snob with everything in my life. I like really high-quality stuff, so to me, Gibson is like driving a Rolls-Royce. It's a premium brand, and they have a consistency and they insist on a certain quality standard. I am very fortunate. Thank you very much, Henry Juszkiewicz, for extending my very first Gibson signature Explorer. You're the best. I appreciate it very much.

Photo credit: Anne Erickson