Escape the Fate’s Craig Mabbitt Talks ‘Bury the Hatchet’ Tour + Reconnecting With Ronnie Radke
Escape the Fate are currently winding down the year, but 2014 will start off with a bang as they embark on the ‘Bury the Hatchet’ tour with Falling in Reverse, who feature their former frontman Ronnie Radke.
The band’s current frontman Craig Mabbitt recently spoke with Loudwire about what it was like speaking with Radke after some of the past bad blood, how the tour came about and what he expects from the upcoming run. Mabbitt, who also authors a column for Loudwire called ‘Escape the Dead,’ in which he offers up a weekly ‘Walking Dead’ recap, shared a little bit about his love of horror and the series. Read our full interview with Escape the Fate’s Craig Mabbitt below:
So Escape the Fate and Falling in Reverse sharing stages together! Tell us how this came about?
I’ve definitely had the idea for a while now. That’s just the kind of guy that I am is I put myself in fans’ shoes a lot. I mean as soon as I ended up in Escape the Fate, the first thing I wanted to do was put together a tour with [my former band] Blessthefall. You know what I mean? Let’s do it, let’s do it. But that still hasn’t happened. But we’re all in good spots now and I thought it would be cool to reconnect.
But pretty much what made this happen was I got an email from Ronnie saying, ‘Would you be down to do this?’ and I said, ‘You don’t know how down I am. I’ve had this idea for a while.’ So it came together pretty well, and all he had to do was ask.
You mentioned it and Ronnie said the same thing about the fans being the biggest consideration for this tour. It’s gonna be huge for the fans, but what are you expecting from the audiences that will turn out for this show?
Me and Ronnie were talking about that. When I was in the middle of the Five Finger Death Punch tour I flew out to his house and we did an interview and talked to each other. We pretty much told each other that people aren’t going to be allowed to be sourpusses. It’s just stupid. You don’t belong here then. The only turmoil there that’s been with our fans that we have seen has been that they think it’s not okay to like both bands. And really, at the end of the day, it hurts both bands. It hurts both of us. So to have these kids be like it’s water under the bridge, now you have two great artists that you can support.
Plus, Ronnie’s always been in the rap thing and I can’t even see the guys in Escape the Fate wanting to do anything like that. Everyone’s in a position where they want to be and everyone’s in a position where they can grow and be who they are and now that we’re in a position to support each other I think it’s a great thing.
We were actually kind of laughing about it because right before I was out of Blessthefall and he wasn’t in Escape the Fate anymore and we hit the road together on a tour called the Black on Black tour. And the two big bands on that tour were Escape the Fate and Blessthefall and we did a photo shoot together and we were on the back of AP, this thing on up-and-coming bands and through laughing about it, it was like dude, ‘This feels like Black on Black all over again, just were in different bands now.’
It sounds like you and Ronnie have worked through any awkwardness there might be. Can you take me into that first talk of getting past things?
You know, I told him it was cool numerous times, but he was obviously worked up. But when I went to see him, he was like, ‘I totally understand where you were coming from. You were just doing your thing, but I was f—ed up and didn’t have a chance to say anything and was locked up in jail.’ And I was like, ‘That’s exactly what I knew. So I don’t blame you for anything you said.’ Everybody says things when they’re in a certain part of their life, so I think it was awesome that we were both mature enough to understand that.
It was a little weird cause I hadn’t seen him since he went to prison. The last time I saw him we were buddies and then the next time I saw him he hated me cause I was singing for his old band and then he went to jail. So when I landed, it was the first time I had seen him in maybe five or six years. And we couldn’t help but put the biggest smile on our faces and give each other the biggest hug. It was like we just understood each other and everything was said and done.
It was just like the ‘Black on Black’ tour again. And that tour was one of the tours that you remember as an artist where you have a great tour and everyone got along great and that tour for us was definitely one of those tours, so to be able to repeat it now in the future with our new projects and put aside all the bulls— that’s gone on the past few years, it’s gonna be awesome. We’re both really excited forward to it.
Do you think there’s still some competitive spirit there?
Well, I think even though you can classify us in the same genre and people will say, ‘Well Craig’s not like Ronnie,’ well, we’re not. We’re two completely different artists. And that’s okay. I think we’re both going to put on the best show that we can. It’s not a competitive thing. I guess from a fan’s perspective it’s more of an opinion thing. We’re both just going to be doing our thing. And I know we’ve got a lot of special stuff planned for the performance and I think the fans are just going to love it, which is the most important part.
It may be to early to say as I know the tour was just announced, but is there any thought yet of whether it will be a straight-up performance or if there will be any extra stage production?
It depends. Me and the guys were talking about what we want to do production-wise. We’re really on the fence right now and don’t know if we wanna have a big production of if we just want to do it raw. I think we might be leaning towards that, because it feels like that old tour where we were on the up-and-up. We just want to show people who we are and not cover it up with too much flash. We’re on the fence about it. We might do some minimal production, but we’ll see when the time comes.
In speaking with Ronnie Radke, he told us about this mix tape project he’s working on. He gave us a few names, but what I want to know is what you’re experience was like and what you worked on.
Well I flew out to L.A. and I was in the middle of a tour so I was jet lagged as f—, man. But we did an interview coming out of me hanging out at his house and hopefully I don’t look like too much s—. And finally it was done and I was going to go to the hotel and get some rest because I had to fly back out at 4 in the morning, but he was like, ‘Hey, you should come down to the studio and sing on my mix tape track.’
I was like, ‘F— it. Let’s do it.’ So I hopped in his car, listened to a couple of his rap songs and we got down there and I started listening with the producer guy and came up with a chorus and he asked me to go behind there and sing something, and he was like, ‘Craig, you know what? That actually sounds f—in’ good. I never thought I’d hear myself say that to you.’ And I’m like, ‘Thank you.’ And it was just something to laugh about at the end of the day after talking about the past and the s— we said about each other and the s— that we’ve gone through. To get with him in the studio and work with him as an artist, you know what I mean? We were in there working artist-to-artist and he was trying to get me to sing on one of his tracks and he was complimenting me and I was complimenting him and it was a very humbling experience.
I know you’ve been doing a ‘Walking Dead’ recap for us here at Loudwire. Thank you so much for that. It’s greatly appreciated.
Thank you man. I love talking about it. It’s my favorite, so it’s cool.
One of our editors had a question and wanted to know why it is that you hate Carl so much.
I don’t really hate Carl a lot, but for me he just seems so wishy-washy. Dude, just stand your ground and be who you want to be. And he kind of redeemed himself in episode two. I didn’t like him at all until he went out and started shooting those zombies.
Last season I had a bunch of roommates and we did the ‘Drinking Dead’ every Sunday. There were a certain number of rules where you had to take a drink if something happens. And it was like, ‘Man, if Carl finishes off a zombie, you’ve got to shotgun a beer.’ Cause it was like Carl’s just not going to do it. There’s one episode where Carl goes out and kills two or three and it was like, ‘Holy s—, Carl totally redeemed himself.’ You can really see that he’s trying to take his dad’s beat a little bit. He tells Rick about the knife class that’s being taught, so it’s nice that they’re starting to get a little bond together.
So I have to ask since you have a drinking game for it, what action got you guys the most blitzed?
There was something in Season 3. I think it was every time that Daryl got a headshot or something like that. We would just get hammered. I think there was someone like Herschel, if Herschel said a certain word you would have to take a drink, but it was just s— that would happen in every single episode. You’re not even done taking a sip and you have to take another and it was just hilarious.
There’s no doubt that ‘Walking Dead’ is a great show, but for you was it always about horror and zombies or was it just that ‘Walking Dead’ was so good that it pulled you in?
I think I always have, and maybe because I was younger I didn’t realize I liked this kind of genre, but I just think it’s been popular for that long. I mean I know I’m not the first one that played ‘Resident Evil’ when it first came out. I mean I was a little kid and I got the Sony PlayStation for Christmas and my dad was pissed off because I was always playing ‘Resident Evil’ and he couldn’t do anything.
I still give ‘Resident Evil’ credit because one of my favorite songs to this day is the ‘Moonlight Sonata’ from Beethoven. I heard the song before the game, but if you remember there’s like a secret corridor that you have to sit down at the piano and play the ‘Moonlight Sonata’ to open the door up. That made me love the song even more. So ‘Resident Evil,’ thanks for that one.
But I’ve always been drawn to that horror stuff. I played ‘Dino Crisis’ all the time and even on the original Nintendo I remember playing the ‘Jason’ game and ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘Zombies Ate My Neighbors’ so to me I guess it’s always been big. Now that I’m older and an adult you look back on it and horror themes have been popular for a while.
I know that ‘One for the Money’ is doing well, but any thoughts on a new single to coincide with the Falling in Reverse tour?
I think by the Falling in Reverse tour that our ballad will be out. We did the video for it about two months ago and I’m pretty sure that will be out. And we might play that during the tour, but it just depends. Like I said before, we just want to be raw and energetic, so I think we want to play our raw and energetic songs. But who knows, maybe we’ll slow it down for a bit.
And I know you’ve got your side project Dead Rabbits. Obviously Escape the Fate is in slot number one, but how much time do you get to focus on that?
Yeah, well obviously Escape the Fate is No. 1, but as far as time dedicated I just got a record deal that I’m looking over that I’m going to sign because I’m completely on my own. So it’s a little difficult to be on the road with Escape and then run home. So to have a team of people that can be like, ‘Okay, here’s your schedule. If Escape the Fate is off the road for a certain amount of time, here’s a block where you can do something and here’s a list of tours you can jump on.’ So I’m going to put as much time as I can, cause I love that project as well.
Our thanks to Escape the Fate’s Craig Mabbitt for the interview. His band is promoting their ‘Ungrateful’ album, which can be purchased here. As for the ‘Bury the Hatchet’ trek, dates can be found here. See Mabbit’s most ‘Walking Dead’ recaps here.