Interview with Craig Mabbitt and TJ Bell of Escape the Fate
Corpus Christi, TX
Soundcheck411: So now that the 2014 edition of Uproar Festival is already halfway over, how’s it been so far & how does it compare to your guys’ run on the 2011 edition of the tour?
Craig Mabbitt: Uh it’s been really fun. How it compares to 2011, is it has given us a chance to check out newer bands like Godsmack & Skillet. Seether was on the 2011 one… So that’s been the fun part about it, being able to hear some new bands, uh, you know when it comes to 2011, that line up we’re actually huge fans of all those bands. We get the opportunity to check out some bands we haven’t been able to check out before… Now, I’m a new fan of Skillet, man they kill it every day….
SC411: Favorite city so far?
CM: Oh man, Nati, I’d have to say Cincinnati, was pretty good… They really loved us there. Tampa was pretty good too, we got that big ol’ circle pit going there…
TJ Bell: I can’t wait til’ we get to the west coast, again… Try and see how California are gonna treat us.
CM & TJ: YEAH! (Laughter) I was just thinking that! It’s kind of crazy to feel like you’re the heaviest band on the bill…
SC411: You are the heaviest band on this tour (laughter)
CM & TJ: It’s crazy, YEAH, IT IS CRAZY! (More laughter ensues) but compared to all the other bands out there we’re not that heavy… On this tour, it’s like… Like if we were part of this year’s Mayhem Fest, we’d be like the lightest, the softest band on that tour, But on Uproar we’re the heaviest. It’s weird, weird (Laughter)
CM & TJ: But that’s how our band has always been. We bridged the gap, we’ve always wanted to be that band that could be on the heavy bill & we just change our set-list accordingly & play all our heavy tracks… And then we, I mean here; we’re just playing the songs we want to play but, then you know we get on bills with softer bands And that’s when we throw in our ballads and the more our singing songs… Very Versatile!.. I like being that way.
SC411: That’s awesome, man…
SC411: You guys were on Five Finger Death Punch’s tour last fall, but to many fans’ disappointment, Escape the Fate didn’t play the Corpus Christi date?
CM: Yeah what happened with that?
TJ: We didn’t play that date?
SC411: No, everyone else played except Escape the Fate. I was really bummed to find out you guys weren’t playing…
CM: Yeah, that really sucked…
TJ: Was it… Could it have been when we… It could have been, we finished our leg of the last like, 3 days of the tour?
CM: That’s right!? We finished the tour early!
SC411: Will your performance at the Uproar Festival’s Corpus Christi date be extra epic to make up for those fans who were so eager to see you guys last year?”
CM & TJ: YEAH! We’re definitely going to be playing an excellent set today. I’ve been really enjoying it, the flow has been really; really good on this bill…
SC411: Any tour pranks, funny stories? •
CM & TJ: Not yet, (Laughter) not yet man
SC411: Ice Bucket Challenge?
CM & TJ BELL: Yeah, we did the Ice Bucket Challenge, I know some of the other bands have done that too but uh… I don’t think pranks really apply to like big festivals, it’s more like an intimate tour thing… You know you’re going to be headliner with your buddy’s band or something…
SC411: Any odd jobs that you had before you toured full time?
CM & TJ: Uh. Odd Jobs?
SC411: Yeah, any jobs you hated?..
TJ: I fucking hated them all man! (Hardy laughter ensues)
CM: I always worked in the food industry…
TJ: ME TOO!
SC411: Like where?
CM: Uh… I worked at Sonic, I worked at Starbucks, Taco Bell…
SC411: Did you enjoy that?
CM: The only thing I liked about Taco Bell (Laughter) is…
SC411: The food?
CM: (Hardy laughter) was sneaking the food to the back and eating it! (More laughter ensues between everyone) Uh, I actually worked at K-Mart once,
TJ: That was kind of retail…That was only job I had outside of the food industry…
TJ Yeah, I worked in the back…
CM: Dude I swear we’re Brothers! (Laugher ensues between TJ & Craig)
TJ: I worked in the back of the trucks…
CM: I did stuff inside, but most of the time it was just me and my buddy getting the carts from the parking lot. He lived in the neighborhood across the street, so we would always just gather up the carts, and then we’d go to his house and like get high… (Heavy laughter from everyone)…
SC411: While you were on the job, getting hours?
CM: (Laughter) Yeah; yeah! We’d let two hours pass by, come back & the parking lot is full of carts again & we’d be like, “Let’s get to work!”
TJ: Other than K-Mart though, I just worked with Pizza, every job was pizza dude.
CM: I actually quit Sonic, funny story… The day I quit Sonic though, was because the Bless the Fall guys came by work and said: “We’re going into the studio to record, you want to be in this band or not?” So I took off my headset & climbed out the drive through window… (Heavy laughter) Got in the car and was like See ya!
TJ: Are you Serious!?
SC411: That’s Awesome
TJ: That’s movie shit man!
SC411: Alright, dream tour lineup?
CM: Ooooo dream tour lineup?
SC411: Escape the Fate included…
CM: I mean if it could be anyone in history, & we’re not worried about if they fits or not, or if they fit the bill?
SC411: Dead or Alive.
CM: I mean fitting the bill of the bands today; I’d love to do a tour with BlesstheFall; Motionless in White; A Day to Remember & Of Mice & Men… And Bring Me the Horizon that would be a fucking killer tour.
SC411: That would be a Main-Stage show.
CM: But as far as anyone ever, fuckin Aerosmith, Mötley Crüe, Queen, Journey & Michael Jackson! (Lots of laughter)
SC411: Man I am enjoying the new Motionless in White’s new song Puppets 3… I can’t wait til’ the new album comes out.
CM: Yeah, from what I’ve heard it’s pretty cool!
CM: Speaking of that tour, it’s fucking pretty much happening right now! Except BlesstheFall
TJ: Yeah except us & BlesstheFall
CM: It’s Motionless in White, Bring Me the Horizon, & A Day to Remember!
SC411: A Day to Remember were here last year in October and uh, they like threw toilet paper everywhere.
TJ: Wait, who did?
SC411: A Day to Remember.
CM: And they threw Toilet paper?!
SC411: yeah they was just throwing old toilet paper, I had it all in my hair, it was one of the craziest shows I’ve been to, I mean it…
TJ: That’s awesome
CM: yeah they’re awesome…
TJ: I’m jealous…
CM: I wish we could’ve been on that fuckin tour.
TJ: I know it, God.
CM: Buy my own Tour Bus… (Heavy Laughter)
SC411: How much do these things cost?
CM: A Million bucks… (More Laughter) When you get down to it, I mean you can find a used one that’s shitty & you’re going to have to go out of pocket to fix it all the damn time, that’s $200.000 and for a shitty one. That’s how much these things are. If you’re getting a brand new Prevost, you’re thinking upwards of a million bucks probably.
TJ: I’d buy myself a tight ass fuckin house.
CM: In all actuality, I’d probably buy a bad ass house & put a studio in it, that way we could do our own albums, or we could like bring producers into our studio you know what I mean?
SC411: Alex Torres of The Dead Rabbits is currently filling in on bass guitar. Is there any chance that he could become a permanent member, or is it still a little too soon to consider adding an official new member?
CM: Yeah it’s still a little too soon. Uh, we definitely… I mean with; with what happened to us, again with bringing Max back, um… It’s something we certainly want to take our time with.We want to make the right decision & we don’t want to rush into anything. And I think our Fans will appreciate that instead of, instead of you know?
CM: I mean it’s pretty balanced out, he’s a good guy… But it’s pretty much Dead Rabbits now, but with a lead guitarist a current & a different drummer. (Laughter) You know what I mean? It would be stupid to have both bands at that point. Um; and as far as rushing into it and finding a different bass player, you know we find a permanent, new bass player immediately & start blasting this bass player guy out, what happens when we finally go on tour with him & it doesn’t work out you know what I mean? This band has just been through so much, that we definitely want to do it right this time.
SC411: I know that you guys are working on new music, so what can we expect new lead guitarist Kevin Thrasher to bring to the table?
CM: Oh we he definitely, I mean, his; his speed, is definitely better (laughter) than the previous guitarists. He is fuckin, that’s why we call him thrasher; he fucking thrashes that shit! And he has been around me, & us for years… He has always been the fill-in guy every time old members refuse to do tours, Kevin was the one filling for us. Um, and he just always had; that sound to him… I mean, the Escape & Fate & Bless the Fall tour with LoveHateHero, which Kevin was the lead guitarist in that.
CM: Yeah, he was going up and doing the solos; so he just fit perfectly & he knows exactly what the band should sound like, and the most exciting thing to hear coming from out of him; was that it was all fresh, it was all new. It’s not something we heard before, but it’s still; you can tell it should be an escape song you know what I mean
CM: But it’s completely new, it hasn’t been recycled you know what I mean? Um, were going to go do a new record after the New Year, then we’re going to hit up Australia & then we’re trying to do a big U.S. tour after that when we get back… We’re trying to lock some things down right now.
SC411: Rock On!
CM: Yeah I’m excited man, I woke up & walked in the back the other day, and Robert (Drummer) had a guitar in his hands & had it hooked up to the laptop & I was like “What are you doing?” and he was like “Just coming up with some riffs man” (Heavy laughter ensues) Our fuckin drummer is writing riffs now!
TJ: It’s a lot better than just one person coming up with the riffs that you HAVE to write songs to.
CM: Yeah, and that can put you in a box in the corner you know “Ok this is the song I have to try and write lyrics to.”
TJ: And if you don’t love the song it’s like “I HAVE to write lyrics to this?” (Everyone laughs) it’s the hardest fucking part you know, so now everyone’s going to be happy-as-fuck with everything we have.
SC411: That’s awesome, man.
SC411: Alright Craig, this one’s for you… Everyone knows how much you love The Walking Dead. Will you once again be doing episode recaps on loudwire.com?
CM: Oh sure, I mean Loudwire seems to like me doing it And…
SC411: Hell, everyone loves you doing it!
CM: (Laughs) Fans of the band & fans of the show seem to enjoy reading what I have to say about it so…
SC411: What do you think will happen inside Terminus?
CM: Man one of the main characters from the get-go, is done I think is what’s going to happen… And for some reason, I’d have to say… All signs point to Carol.
SC411: Honestly, I haven’t expected her to last this long
CM: I don’t think anybody did.
SC411: Who’d of thought?
CM: But she is definitely kind of like uh, weird love interest of Darrel’s…
CM: So like, to make the show more interesting & to make it a big impact… They would be stupid to kill Darrel off. People would have an UPROAR about that (everyone laughs)
SC411: There would be a riot!
TJ: YEAH! Have you seen the trailer that is…
CM: They can’t kill Rick off yet. You know, he’s not even dead in the Comic… So, I; I think Carol is going to be the next to go. I think it’s going to be really fucking sad, people are going to be upset about it but it isn’t going to hurt their ratings at all… I mean it’s either going to be Carol, or it’s going to be uh…
CM: Glen, or… Fuck, what’s her name… Blonde girl.
TJ: The little one?
CM: The blonde girl that sings all the time, she’s been there from the get-go.
CM: Beth; Beth. Cause Darrel also had like cared for Beth a lot. So I think they are either going to kill off either Beth or Carol. 1) Because they’re main characters that can be killed off at this point… 2) I think Beth, may already be dead, who knows? And 3) it makes Darrel’s character more interesting, cause’ he is going to be going insane like Rick, has been going insane. They showed that she is in a completely different area now in the previews. It’s like some crazy fucking Hospital… It looks insane!
SC411: Well that’s pretty much it guys, Out of questions… Thank you for having us!
CM: No problem Guys
TJ: it was our pleasure.
Interview by Alex Vela