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Craig Mabbitt: Escape The Fate Are Ready To Put It All On The Line

Written by Brenton Harris on January 20, 2015

Las Vegas post-hardcore quintet Escape The Fate have lived through a lot over the duration of their nine-year career. They’ve overcome numerous lineup changes, legal hassles and a particularly bitter rivalry with ex-singer and human headline generator, Ronnie Radke (now of Falling in Reverse), to firmly establish themselves as one of the genre’s biggest and hardest-working acts.

Having endured yet another tumultuous year following the release of their critically acclaimed fourth full-length Ungrateful, vocalist Craig Mabbitt is excited to be able to bring the latest, “most close-knit” incarnation of Escape The Fate down under for the 2015 edition of the Soundwave Festival.

“I love Australia, and I love the festival, but I’m even more excited than usual because the band is just getting along so well at the moment,” he says. “I can’t wait to get down under and show them what Australia is all about.”

Getting on any stage could be seen as a feat unto itself for the band. The album cycle for Ungrateful has been ravaged by controversies and legal dramas relating to the departures of, first, guitarists Michael and Monte Money, then of bassist Max Green. Green ditched the band for a second and final time via Twitter after no-showing a tour. He proceeded to join forces with Falling In Reverse, an experience Mabbitt describes as incredibly frustrating.

“We could tell our core fan base loved the record, and we were ready to go out with our arms swinging and heads held high, and then it just all turned to shit with the lineup changes and legal issues. All the while we were trying to tour in support of the Picture Perfect single and it was just frustrating for everyone.”

Overcoming hardship is something to which Mabbitt is accustomed. He’s spoken at length about being mercilessly bullied in his formative years. He has a particular interest in connecting with fans who might be having a similar experience, and says the brutal and confronting video for Ungrateful is an attempt to provide an honest depiction of the cruelty and violence many kids are subjected to.

“We tried to make the video a little more brutal and display what really happens. At the end of the video we show photos of kids who actually committed suicide because of the bullying, to try and show how real the impact is, and also just help people realise that it’s a vicious cycle, and often it starts with you. So if you see that behaviour or you experience that behaviour, then do something about it.”

Watch: Escape The Fate — Ungrateful

Labelled as a “growing up” record for the band, Ungrateful also gave Escape The Fate the chance to settle their now-infamous quarrel with Radke when the band embarked on a surprising joint tour with Falling In Reverse, dubbed the Bury The Hatchet tour. Mabbitt says the tour, which came about after Radke sent Mabbitt an email addressing the bad blood, not only helped the band and their audience achieve a sense of closure, but also helped him personally feel a sense of ownership of his role in Escape The Fate.

“For me personally that tour was a celebration of the closure of that I felt when Ronnie wrote me that email and it’s something that Ronnie and I have spoken about doing again in other parts of the world.”

The bands are rumoured to be performing together in Australia around their Soundwave dates.

With a settled lineup for the first time in several years, Escape The Fate are now masters of their own destiny. That renewed sense of ownership and optimism is something Mabbitt indicates will be more evident on their next album.

“[Escape The Fate’s next album] is going to be something absolutely exciting and fresh, and either fans are really going to love it or they are going to hate it, and that’s exactly the way that we want it to be. We want to live in those extremes, because the worst thing an artist can do is not elicit a reaction.”

Despite all the talk of growing up, closure and progress, the band appears not to have lost any of their love for a good time. Mabbitt promises to bring some of their notorious party antics to Australia, making particular reference to the popular drinking game “king’s cup”, a game specifically designed to get everyone playing wasted.

There’s a little more work to do before the party begins, though. Mabbitt reiterates his vision to make 2015 the year of Escape The Fate.

“We’re ready to finally put it all on the line and say what we want to say. There were a lot of people in the band previously who were like, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t say this’ or ‘Maybe we shouldn’t talk about that’, and now we’re at the point where we are ready to say ‘fuck it’ and put it all out on the line. Honestly, fuck anyone who has a problem with that.”

Escape The Fate play as part of Soundwave Festival 2015, which kicks off 21st February. Details below.

Watch: Escape The Fate – Picture Perfect

Soundwave 2015

Saturday, 21st February & Sunday, 22nd February 2015
Bonython Park, Adelaide, South Australia
Tickets: Soundwave

Saturday, 21st February & Sunday, 22nd February 2015
Melbourne Showgrounds, Melbourne, Victoria
Tickets: Soundwave

Saturday, 28th February & Sunday, 1st March 2015
Olympic Park, Sydney, New South Wales
Tickets: Soundwave

Saturday, 28th February & Sunday, 1st March 2015
RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane, Queensland
Tickets: Soundwave

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