Originally in Issue #23
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Article by Finn McKenty
With a new album, a member fresh out of rehab and a tour in the works, life is busy for Escape The Fate. But even with so man balls in the air, ETF take the time to think about the bigger picture: who they are as people, why they play music, and the beliefs that motivated them to get to where they’re at. We caught up with ETF singer Craig Mabbitt and had a surprisingly meaningful conversation considering their party animal reputation; Craig proved that they’re anything but another group of air-headed rockers.
Substream Music Press: Do you guys ever regret having one of those generic “VERB the NOUN” names?
Craig Mabbitt: Yeah, I mean, look at our name, Escape The Fate, and my old band was Blessthefall!
SMP: Was Blessthefall actually a Christian band or just kind of in that scene?
CM: Our manager at the time didn’t really want us to be labeled as a Christian band because he thought we would be held back from certain opportunities and that people would look closer at us and judge us more harshly. I’m a Christian, and the influences I had at the time – and back then I was getting kicked out of my church for dating the pastor’s daughter [laughs]- all this stuff was happening, and I started thinking religion was a lie, and my outlet was this band that I joined. I was definitely writing a lot about religion , my relationship with God and how I didn’t feel like I belonged anymore. Today I have my own relationship and I haven’t been back to church since, but I know God is watching over me or whatever, and I think as long as you’re a good Christian, no matter what you beliefs, you’ll go to a good place.
SMP: I’ve interviewed a lot of bigger Christian bands who are kind of undercover party animals, but they’ll never to to me about it. What would you say to someone who’s in that situation?
CM: That’s exactly where I came from. People used to be like, “Looks like the little Christian boy ain’t that Christian anymore.” When we toured with Underoath, Time said “You guys might be cool people, I like you as people, but I just don’t like what you guys do, I think you play music for the wrong reasons.” That just kind of blew my mind, because isn’t playing music the reason? There’s definitely people are still like gung-ho and have those super strong beliefs, and they don’t like to party, and that’s awesome. But everyone has their own path in life, so if you find yourself partying or whatever, don’t think you’re a bad person….as long as you’re doing what you want to do, you can’t let anybody else define you.
SMP: It seems like Escape The Fate party pretty hard. Was that a big change for you?
CM: Actually, here’s what everybody doesn’t know: everybody thinks we’re like a huge party band, and when I joined that’s what I was expecting, so I was kind of excited, but actually nobody really parties. Robert has never really partied, just kind of keeps to himself. Monty is a super big health freak, he’s always trying to find a Whole Foods – although he kind of started to party with me on the last tour, which I was really happy about. Max parties, but his definition of “partying” is a little different….Me and Max are really the only ones, and now maybe Monty; I haven’t seen too many people party as hard as he did on the last tour, that was pretty impressive.
SMP: I feel like it would be really valuable for kids to hear from someone who’s honest about it.
CM: Exactly. And trust me – there’s plenty of Christian bands who are supposedly goody two-shoes that have also partied on the Escape The Fate bus! I just feel like them hanging out and doing stuff with us, and then lying to themselves, lying to the people around them, is worse than anything I’m doing. I feel like being out in the open is way more righteous than lying about your righteousness.