Escape the Fate: Rockers Reveal Addictions, Recording Hang-Ups and the Future of the Band
Escape the Fate have been through more than a lot. The Las Vegas rockers haven’t had a consistent lineup since their inception, and with a whole new mess on their hands, the band’s remaining members were left to pick up the pieces.
Currently out on The World Is Ours Tour with Attack Attack!, The Word Alive, Mest and Secrets, Escape the Fate stopped by AOL Music’s offices in Manhattan to chat with Noisecreep. These tough road warriors shedded their hardrock skin and gave us an intimate look inside their chaotic world. And we found that Escape the Fate has a lot more heart than any other band playing today.
Speaking exclusively with Noisecreep, songwriter Monte Money, singer Craig Mabbitt and drummer Robert Ortiz reveal why longtime bassist Max Green left the group, why working with John Feldman isn’t easy for percussionists and how Patrick Stump may have helped them find the biggest hit of their career.
You guys worked with John Feldman again for this record. Was it easier this time?
Monte Money: John Pushes us.
Craig Mabbitt: John being the great producer that he is, plus knowing what we’re going to do, it was great.
Robert Ortiz: When we first went into the studio with John, years ago, I was in tears and I left because I couldn’t handle it.
Mabbitt: Because you suck at drumming.
Ortiz: Yeah and he broke me down.
Mabbitt: If you can’t drum, John Feldman is not letting you record on the record. So he takes him to the side and he says, “You’re not a good drummer, you’re not recording on this album.” We were like, what do you mean?
Ortiz: It was horrible.
Monte: He’d done that several times.
Ortiz: I recorded on that record, but we had to have a guy come in and help. At that time, I didn’t have a place to live, let alone practice drums. I was just trying to make it somewhere so I could be good at drums. But, he told me that day, “This is either going to make you an amazing drummer, or you weren’t meant to do this.” Years later I come back and I’m not an amazing drummer yet, but I got a lot better [Laughs]. And we had a lot more fun. And he pushed me, and we sat together and made sure every part was right, made sure everything was awesome. Going with him, this new record is what happens when you have a band that knows exactly what they want, and a producer who knows how to get it for them. With our last record, it was a band that knew what they wanted, but doing it on their own. We need that team leader, head coach to guide us. That’s what John Feldman is. He’s not holding the reigns anymore, we’re pulling our own weight, but he’s guiding it. He’s making sure we capture exactly what we want.
We heard that Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump worked with you guys on the new material.
Mabbitt: He came in and we wrote a song together. It was great.
Ortiz: It may be the biggest hit of our career.
Mabbitt: It’s the ballad on the record. I had some lyrics. The working title is called, “Painting.” Monte named it. The lyrics were more about his personal relationship with his best friend that passed away. It was really great working with him, because he wasn’t this guy who came in going, “This is what I got, I’m the fucking man and I write nothing but hits and here you go, here it is.” He’s very humble.
Monte: We’ve always been open to doing co-writes. We did stuff with Josh Todd on this record. We always like trying different things and learning from different people. Sometimes it vibes and sometimes you go in and it’s like we’re on two different plains here.
Ortiz: We wrote with Mick Mars. We love Mick Mars, but we didn’t vibe with him so we didn’t do the song.
Mabbitt: We still haven’t used that song.
Ortiz: It just wasn’t the right blend even though he’s our idol. We grew up looking up at that guy, we had a chance to record with him and it just didn’t click. Working with Patrick Stump though … he is incredibly intelligent. I never realized he was that super intelligent. He’s lyrically awesome; the way he comes up with a melody is completely out of the box. I’ve never seen anyone that does it the way he does.
Your bassist Max Green left the band recently. What’s that been like?
Mabbit: For the past year, our core fans that obviously wake up every morning and check online to see what’s going on with our lives, know we’ve been battling with that for the past year. We canceled a huge Europe tour opportunity with Bullet for My Valentine, like 7000 people every night, and we’ve never been over to Europe in that market. It was a really good opportunity for us, but we had to cancel it so that he could go to rehab. He went to rehab, we flew over to London for some rescheduled dates we were supposed to do and did this whole interview for Kerrang!, it was like this full page spread ‘Rehab Saved My Life’ So we go back we start the headliner. Within the first week of the headliner, the dude’s already showing signs of … he’s obviously not clean.
He passes out, last song of the set, just plops over. 30 seconds later, he comes out of it and goes, “Get me back on the stage.” Everyone goes, “No dude what the fuck is your problem?” We had a sponsor for him that we hired for the whole tour, this guy that just followed him around, who was recovered from drugs. Didn’t help. End of the day we’re like, “The road’s obviously not the place for you, you need to go home and get better.” It wasn’t like we kicked him out or anything.
Ortiz: Nothing we say about him is really meant to slander him. The shittiest part about him is he has a drug problem, but he’s the nicest dude at the same time, so what the hell do you do when that happens. You don’t hate the guy; you just hate what he’s doing. You’re just like, “Please stop, please.”
Mabbit: He’s very self-destructive. We sent him home on that tour and time went on and he never re-admitted himself, never got help. Just ended up saying, “I either need to come back to the band now, or I’m going to quit, walk away. Fuck you guys.” Fuck us? We were trying to help him out. So we bring him out for this Uproar Festival we did last fall. Monte doesn’t want to be around him at all anymore. He’s like, “I can’t be around that shit. That’s not my thing. I can’t handle it. You need to get better or you just need to go away. I just can’t do it. I love the band, I’m not quitting the band, I just can’t be on the road with Max.”
So we hire another guitarist on to give Monte some time off and to give Max a chance, because he was still trying. He comes back out on the tour, lasts another two weeks, flies to L.A. to take care of a DUI which he never took care of the six months he was living in L.A., ends up sending our tour manager O’Dowd a text saying, “I don’t know if I’m going to come back to the road.,” then went completely MIA. Nobody knew where he was. Luckily there was a band on Uproar with a bass player that had filled in for us before when Max couldn’t perform and we were like, “Dude can you come play bass for us?” It was a really low point in the band’s career because the festival show we ended on was this thing called 48 Hour Fest, this huge festival in Vegas, the band’s hometown. I’m on the stage like, “What’s going on we’re Escape the Fate from Las Vegas!” And there’s this hire-on guy and a fill in bass player nobody knew.
The review was really positive and said we killed it, but the fans didn’t know who the fuck this band was anymore. Nobody knows who’s in this band. Past few months have been trying to figure it out, figuring out how we’re going to move forward, regrouping. Monte is always working on music, has like hundreds of demos on his computer at all times so we’re ready to get in the studio and record. Now we just finished a new album, we’re ready to go.
Ortiz: The harder you try to help somebody, the more it hurts, the more you start resenting the person. We don’t want to because we love the guy. My own little brother was dealing with a heroin addiction, and I couldn’t help him. This guy in my band is doing the same thing. It’s shitty. To this day I still send him emails saying ‘Look man just because we’re not in the same band anymore doesn’t mean you lost a friend or lost somebody who cares about you. We all still care about you. Let me know how you’re doing.’
Mabbitt: We’ve all got problems. At some point, we’ve all ended up in the hospital with mental problems, breakdowns. We’ve all gone through it. We’ve all had moments where we want to quit, where we don’t want to do it anymore and the lifestyle is too difficult. We’ve experimented with whatever substances, too much alcohol, all that bullshit. We’ve all been at each others throats and done things to hate each other. But at the end of the day that dude is killing himself, and we can’t sit back and watch it happen anymore. At this point it’s not on me. I’ve done what I can do to help him. This was my last shot as a friend to say, “Save your own life dude, because I can’t keep putting a bandage over a gaping wound. You’ve got deeper issues to handle, and unfortunately, there’s still a band that needs to exist, happen and breathe.”
Watch ‘Gorgeous Nightmare’
Escape the Fate and Attack Attack! w/ The Word Alive, Mest, and Secrets tour dates:
Wed/Apr-11-2012 Sauget, IL Pops
Thu/Apr-12-2012 Kansas City, KS Beaumont
Fri/Apr-13-2012 Denver, CO Summit
Sat/Apr-14-2012 Salt Lake City, UT In The Venue
Mon/Apr-16-2012 Seattle, WA Showbox @ Market
Tue/Apr-17-2012 Portland, OR Roseland
Wed/Apr-18-2012 Chico, CA The Senator
Thu/Apr-19-2012 San Francisco, CA Regency
Fri/Apr-20-2012 San Diego, CA Soma
Sat/Ap-21-2012 Los Angeles, CA House Of Blues
Sun/Apr-22-2012 Phoenix, AZ Marquee
Tue/Apr-24-2012 Oklahoma City Diamond Ballroom
Wed/Apr-25-2012 Dallas, TX House Of Blues
Thu/Apr-26-2012 San Antonio, TX White Rabbit
Fri/Apr-27-2012 Houston, TX House Of Blues
Sat/Apr-28-2012 Memphis, TN New Daisy
Mon/Apr-30-2012 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution
Tue/May-01-2012 Orlando, FL House Of Blues
Thu/May-03-2012 Norfolk, VA The Norva
Fri/May-04-2012 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom
Sat/May-05-2012 Philadephia, PA TLA
Sun/May-06-2012 New York, NY Irving Plaza
Mon/May-07-2012 Toronto, ON Sound Acadamy
Tue/May-08-2012 Montreal, QC Club Soda
Fri/May-11-2012 Winnipeg, MB Garrick Events
Sun/May-13-2012 Edmonton, AB Edmonton Events Center
Mon/May 14-2012 Calgary, AB MacEwan Ballroom
Wed/May-16-2012 Vancouver, BC The Vogue
**More Dates To Be Added**