Ivan Moody hates being referred to as a rockstar. As frontman and lead singer of mega-successful American heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch, he has performed in front of hundreds of thousands of fans around the world, and he has shared the stage with acclaimed heavy metal bands such as Judas Priest, Metallica, Korn, Lamb of God, Slipknot, Slayer and so many others for the past 15 years. He’s even dabbled as an actor in a few horror films. But this lifestyle came with its price for Moody, as he openly struggled with alcoholism for years, as the world of heavy metal watched.
Several months ago, he happily celebrated one year of sobriety, which was quite an accomplishment for someone who stated in past public interviews that he never thought he would be able to quit drinking.
To aid in the process of his recovery, Moody recently launched his own brand of CBD products, mainly CBD throat sprays and CBD-infused water products. Known as Moody’s Medicinals, the brand launched in June in Moody’s hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, where both recreational and medicinal cannabis are legal under state law.
Moody recently took the time to chat with CULTURE from his home in Las Vegas about his new line of CBD products, the role CBD played in his detox and recovery, his struggles not only with alcoholism but post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety, his love of meeting fans and how CBD kept him healthy on the road touring with Five Finger Death Punch.
What is the origin of Moody’s Medicinals?
When I got out of recovery, I went straight out on the road. I was told from day one I would not make it, I would be surrounded by bad influences and people were counting on me to come back to rehab. I had to stop using throat sprays, because they had alcohol in them. This is where CBD came in, and I got the idea for the throat spray and infused water. When I first began using, I added CBD oils to water. This really helped keep me focused, tame my anxiety and also [helped] with my appetite. I had to figure out a way to eat on the road, with my busy schedule, I didn’t want to force myself. CBD helped me come up with a schedule I could eat regularly on. CBD was helpful for me from day one of me hitting the road, to this day. I think people could benefit from it. I’m not saying it’s the end-all-be-all, or the cure for everything. But it gave me positive results, and if it can work for some people, I see nothing but positive in that.
How has consuming CBD helped you?
I grew up in Denver, Colorado, and we were at the forefront of legalizing cannabis. I’ve been around this sort of natural love for cannabis for my entire life. I suffered from anxiety and PTSD, and being a public figure doesn’t help going on stage. CBD is something I really began to get into after I stopped drinking and got into recovery to calm my nerves; when you go through recovery the body goes through a lot of chemical changes. It was a dangerous time for me, because I went on the road. CBD was always a natural way for me to medicate certain ailments.
I wasn’t in the mood for prescription drugs. CBD can help on so many levels from physical to mental ailments. It helped me stay focused and with my appetite. It was something that made it possible for me to stay healthy out there instead of dwindling down to a toothpick. CBD helped me with maintaining a schedule to eat, as well as a healthy diet, which is not easy on the road.
“CBD was helpful for me from day one of me hitting the road, to this day. I think people could benefit from it. I’m not saying it’s the end-all-be-all, or the cure for everything. But it gave me positive results, and if it can work for some people, I see nothing but positive in that.”
What are your personal favorite CBD products?
I prefer the water. It has to do with absorption of CBD. It is a more natural way of intake, with not as much added sugars or artificial sweeteners, which so many CBD products and THC products for that matter contain. I also wanted a product with no alcohol, which is where my throat spray came from. A lot of the throat sprays available have alcohol in them, and being in recovery, I wanted to stay away from this, which is where I thought of CBD throat spray. It impacts you at a faster rate and doesn’t linger in your stomach, which disrupts your digestion.
Lots of people who suffer from anxiety also have ulcers and other stomach issues, it’s very common. For me though, the water is hands down the most effective way to ingest it, but I also love the throat spray. I use them both regularly.
How important is it to meet your fans on the road?
That’s one part of my day—believe it or not—that I don’t get anxiety over, for multiple reasons. I don’t get a chance to be a social butterfly too much when we are out on the road. But, when I get to meet my hardcore fans, and the Five Finger Death Punch fanbase, whether at the shows or at events for Moody’s Medicinals, it’s a huge deal, for me to be able to sit there and talk to them about the benefits of CBD, or share other personal stories about the music or whatever. But also to have that chance to use this platform in a positive meaningful way is so important to me. It’s a crucial part of my recovery as well, which is an added benefit.
“. . . I just want everyone to know that I stood my ground and am capable of fighting my inner demons. That will not be my legacy to take my own life. CBD has helped me throughout this, especially with all the initial chemical changes I was dealing with.”
Tell us about other sober musicians who have helped you. We have read in past interviews that you got support from Jonathan Davis of Korn, Rob Halford of Judas Priest and others.
Of course there’s a connection there. Those are my people. But sadly, still, there are so many people out there ashamed to admit they have a problem. This is a disease that has been shunned in our society, but it needs to be approached as the problem it is. I absolutely love meeting with and speaking to people in recovery. But, I also admire “normal” people who are able to have a beer, put it down and walk away content. I’m just not made that way, my body reacts to alcohol in a different way, but I’m never judgmental of anyone’s situation. The world is too small, and we are all far too connected [in] this day and age for that.
Can you talk about the connection between mental health and addiction?
There is absolutely a connection between mental health and any kind of drug or alcohol addiction. Depression is real, and of course with the high profile suicides of Chris Cornell, then Chester Bennington, I guess now people are starting to wake up and realize this is a huge hidden problem. It’s been out in the open and has been for decades among musicians, movie stars, celebrities and average people out there just trying to live their lives.
But I just want everyone to know that I stood my ground and am capable of fighting my inner demons. That will not be my legacy to take my own life. CBD has helped me throughout this, especially with all the initial chemical changes I was dealing with. What I like about it, is the dosage. You can choose the right amount for your individual use. CBD was a direct, more natural way for me to decide on my own terms what was going to help to alleviate my symptoms, be it PTSD, social anxiety or whatever. With the help of CBD, I accepted the problems I had without over-medicating myself.
“CBD has helped me with maintaining a schedule to eat, as well as a healthy diet, which is not easy on the road.”
Can you tell us about the new Five Finger Death Punch song “Blue On Black,” which features country music icons Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Brantley Gilbert, along with the legendary guitarist Brian May from Queen?
Even though I am in a heavy metal band, I have always been a fan of blues, rock ‘n’ roll and country music. Kenny Wayne Shepherd is simply an icon in country music. The song we did with him meant a lot to me, lyrically and musically for that matter.
It was never my intention to do a cover song. I wanted to do a collaboration. Kenny agreed and brought Brantley to the table, which was awesome. Then, we had management somehow get the great Brian May from Queen on there with us, and it just came out as an amazing track. We were all satisfied with the end result. But, to say that I wasn’t affected by it on a personal or career level would be a lie. I would have to say that it was one of the most amazing highlights of my career so far. It speaks volumes to our fans and fans of country music and rock music in
“There is absolutely a connection between mental health and any kind of drug or alcohol addiction.”
What does the future holds for Five Finger Death Punch?
Well first, I want to thank all the loyal fans of ours for supporting the music and myself all these years. I also want them to know we’re coming. It’s a whole new us, a whole new band, and we’re ready. I’m excited as I have ever been with this band. It’s a whole new me for sure, and as a band, we have a lot of energy and excitement. We’re so eager to get out there on the road and play some shows we have and others that are being lined up. But, we are coming to a town near you, so all I can say to our fans is that we will see you this summer. I can’t wait to face this ride head-on.