Jamey Jasta has tapped into the ancient secret of success: Work your ass off - strategically.
With a combination of relentless touring and making as many friends as possible, he transformed Connecticut's Hatebreed from an underground hardcore band that toured the nation's basements in a broken-down van to an act with a major label deal and one of the most talked about sets at Ozzfest.
"We actually started touring even before we had a CD out," said Jasta, the band's singer/mastermind, "and I would pretty much network with as many bands and promoters and people as I possibly could.
"And it just started to really come together where I would book a show, say in Connecticut, and trade off with other bands on the East Coast and the Northeast. By doing that, it helped me get into clubs where normally the promoters wouldn't even take my calls if we weren't a band that had a record out or a booking agent."
When some of the friends Jasta made began making waves in the East Coast hardcore scene, Hatebreed found itself playing venues like NYC's Wetlands and The Nation in D.C.
On the success of those shows, the band landed with John Finberg at Bay Ridge Talent, which got it tours with Entombed, Earth Crisis, and Madball. A label deal followed with Victory Records, which released the band's Under the Knife and Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire, pushing Hatebreed to the forefront of the East Coast hardcore scene.
"From there, we tried to learn as much about the inner workings of the industry as possible," Jasta said. "It seemed very evident that a lot of these bigger tours, and a lot of the bigger managers and agents, were concerned with things like SoundScan and tour histories and how we did on our own.
"We just wanted to build ourselves into one of those bands where we'd actually be worth something to a headliner as an opener, whether it was added ticket sales or whatever.
"So we just kept touring Satisfaction. We actually did like four years of touring on that record and got our SoundScan above 120,000. Once we started going out there, we pretty much had the pick of whatever tours we wanted."
When Bay Ridge looked to be folding, Hatebreed signed on with Jeremy Holgersen at The Agency Group. A short time later, No Name Management signed the band, facilitating a slot on Tattoo The Earth as well as support slots for the likes of Sepultura, Sevendust, Coal Chamber, and Slipknot, who would later become friends and big fans of the 'Breed.
In fact, Jasta said, it was No Name and Slipknot's clamoring that got the band a slot on the 2001 Ozzfest tour, which by all accounts was its big break.
The result was a deal with Universal, 2002's lauded and aptly named Perseverance and, of course, more touring, including a higher profile spot on this year's Ozzfest second stage.
"Our record has been out for 20 weeks and we've already SoundScanned more than our first record did in almost five years," Jasta said. "We've sold over 130,000 already and we're just halfway through Ozzfest. We plan on touring throughout the rest of the year, so it's kind of cool to think that if we keep going the way we're going, we could scan close to 300,000 pieces on this album, which, without a lot of video play and without a lot of radio, is pretty phenomenal for a band like us."
Depending on who you talk to, the breakout sales can be attributed to one or more of the following: an explosive, mosh-frenzied live show, an appearance on the "XXX" soundtrack, or the fact that Hatebreed simply will not take a day off.
Even while on Ozzfest, Jasta and the boys use damn near every off day to play a club gig in an outlying market. Just reading their tour itinerary is exhausting.
Said the singer, "You can't get too used to playing in front of 15,000 people a day because how long is that really going to last? We built our following in small clubs with no barriers and no security up front, so it's great to get back into that setting where the people are right there and you can scream in their face and they can scream back and you've got everybody singing along and going ape shit.
"That's how we built such a strong following on our first record, and now that we're on Universal and we have tour support, that makes it a lot easier for us to stay on the road and do those small towns where people want us to come."
After Ozzfest, Jasta has organized a tour dubbed "The Rise of Brutality" with three other heavy bands (Shadows Fall, Death Threat, and Six Feet Under) that will focus on secondary and tertiary markets, which Holgersen echoed is the source of the band's strength.
"They really thrive in a lot of the secondary markets," the agent said. "It's a band that wants to play places like Sioux Falls and Fargo; they'll hit every nook and cranny around the country.
"They've earned the nickname as the Phish of hardcore because they do so many shows in one year."
Both agent and singer agreed that Hatebreed won't rest until at least sometime next March, if even then. After the Brutality tour, the 'Breed will launch another headlining Stateside tour, then it's off to Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan through November and December, and another big package tour in January and February.
In the meantime, Jasta continues to run his independent label, Stillborn Records, as well as an all-things-rock Web site, JameyJasta.com, where he interviews the up-and-coming bands.