It’s no secret that the members of Falling In Reverse and Escape the Fate have had beef in the past. What with FIR vocalist Ronnie Radke’s notorious history of prison time, or ETF vocalist Craig Mabbit’s knack for making obscene comments about the former on stage. Twitter wars between band members have ensued, fans have fought back and forth over message boards, members have been kicked out from both bands for numerous reasons including drug use and talking shit.
So (in San Francisco) what was the reaction when both Radke and Mabbit jumped onstage at the end of the show, together, to perform “It’s Not Good Enough For The Truth In Cliché” and “Situations”, two of the songs from Escape The Fate’s 2006 debut album, Dying Is Your Latest Fashion? Pandemonium. Absolute chaos. I’ve never heard fans of a band scream or sing so loud.
I recently sat down with Mabbit at their show in San Francisco to speak about this groundbreaking tour, the material on their most recent album ("Ungrateful") and the hopeful, very optimistic future of Escape The Fate.
This has definitely been a bit of a groundbreaking tour for you guys. Now that the beef has been squashed, and I apologize if this has been asked so much, what’s it been like touring with both bands now that you’ve had that weight lifted off of everybody’s shoulders, and being able to be around each other?
It feels exactly like the question states. It’s a weight lifted off of everybody’s shoulders. Everyone’s so easy going, the bands are getting along. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been on a tour where all the bands get along so well. It’s like, “What’s up man?! You guys going out tonight? Cool! Let’s do it!” It’s been really fun. I wake up everyday, and I go slay everybody at Halo over on the Falling In Reverse bus, so that puts me in a good mood. It’s a good way to start my days!
How would you say that this friendship, that camaraderie, has played into the performance of the music and the live performances every night?
It’s just cool to see the crowd singing along to every band, and the fans finally realizing that “You know what? Life is too short to hate on people all the time.” I think that’s the deep message that this entire tour brings. I hope that everybody can leave the show and be like, “You know what? It is way better when people get along. How sick was that show tonight? How cool was it that we saw Ronnie and Craig up there, singing together, after years and years of this popular beef?”
Since you guys have been out on the road, have you been writing any new material? If so, what can fans expect?
We have been working on some demos! I think fans can expect something more along the line of, I’d say, certain songs, because there has only a few Escape The Fate songs since I joined the band that have actually been written as a full band, where everybody puts their two cents in. Before it was just everybody being big-headed and not wanting to show anyone the music until they thought it was done.
(laughs) “No, it’s mine!”
Right! And then I was just do the vocals to it. It’s definitely a band effort again, so they can expect more songs like “This War Is Ours”, and “The Flood”, and songs like that. Those are some of the specific songs where we sat down and worked on as a group, as a whole entire band. I think that’s when the songs give the element of what Escape The Fate has always been: a group of guys that come together, and they have different likes and different wants in music. And when you put all those different likes and wants into a track, or an entire album, that’s when you get the diversity that we’re so well known for. I’m excited to have the camaraderie again, onstage and offstage in the studio.
From the newest album “Ungrateful”, what would you say, in your opinion, is your favorite material to play from that album?
My two favorite songs to play live are “Until We Die” and “Fire It Up”, from the new album. On this tour, we’ve been playing “Live Fast, Die Beautiful”, and that’s been going over really well. That’s fun to play! I love playing everything. They all have a different feel to them. When we have time to, we play the ballad “Picture Perfect”. So that’s a cool change of pace on the stage, and I enjoy playing that too!
The last time I interviewed the band, I had spoken with Rob (Ortiz, drummer). I generally try to throw in some lyrical questions when possible. What do you take lyrical inspiration from when working on any kind of a song?
Just my life, in the years that have passed since I wrote the last album. Stuff will happen, or a certain song will have a certain feel to it. Especially this album. I was given the music for the ballad. It was like, “Here’s music,” and I wanted to write a pretty ballad for one of my friends that passed away. I got the music, and that’s what my mindset was for that song. I put my own personal losses in there with the lyrics and the melody. His loss is in the music, and my loss is in the lyrics and the melodies that I’m singing. I had some lyrics written for the chorus, and then the melody of the chorus came from Patrick Stump [lead vocalist of Fall Out Boy], because he came into the studio when we were there with John Feldmann. He did the little (sings vocal riff) in the beginning, and then I kind of just wrote the lyrics in the verse. It became what it is today.
What would you say that John Feldmann brought to the table in terms of producing that record. I mean, he produces so much, and he really has the ability to bring out the best in any band.
He really gets us! He’s really the type of producer that gets you to start feeling the groove of the song. He’s very vocal. He’s more of a vocals and drums kind of guy. He gets you in the groove of the song, and then he hits you with just…BOOM. He really knows how to open it up and then BAM. It’s the chorus. I love working with him; I definitely want to work with him more in the future. We’ll probably go and demo out some stuff with him while we’re writing this new stuff.
What kind of message would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
Just fun. I want them to walk away and have fun, and fucking enjoy life. Have a good time. I want us to be the soundtrack to their good times. I want them to be out there, no matter what they’re doing. Me personally, I’d be at the bar, put money in the jukebox, and I’d want Escape The Fate to be the soundtrack of the night, you know? It’s cool! I hear people, particularly at this tour, all the time saying “Oh my god, I can’t believe you played that song tonight! Brings me back to my freshman or sophomore year of high school!” It’s cool that we’re that band; I love that.
Music has a huge ability to do that. I mean, personally, you guys were definitely part of my experience in high school with like “Oh! Who’s this band?” and listening to all these different artists.
Oh that’s cool!
I remember when I would first go to local shows, I had “This War Is Ours” playing in the car.
That’s rad! Yeah man, I love it. I hear fans saying, “Oh my god! I heard “Issues” on this blah blah football game!” and they remember that. Or I’ve had guys come up to me and say, “Dude, I have sex with my girlfriend all the time to “Gorgeous Nightmare”!” (laughs) I’m like… “that’s dope!” (laughs). Or songs like “Picture Perfect”, I’ll heard “Man, this is really helping me cope with my loss”. I think that if we can pull people away from reality and help them cope with whatever they’re going through, then we’re doing our jobs right.
What does music mean to you?
Well it means everything at this point, because it’s what I do! (smiles) Everyday of my life! It means a lot to me; it helps me cope with the things that I go through. When you can put down what you’re feeling on paper, and connect with people, you don’t feel that alone. When people connect with you, neither do they.
Once this tour finishes up, what are the future plans for Escape The Fate?
We’re talking right now about doing a co-headline thing with a band in late April. For right now, we have March and April off, and I think we’re going to use that as an opportunity to start writing some new material. SP
Escape The Fate
This has been another shameless promotion.