Escape the Fate are born survivors of today’s ever-evolving scene. No matter how many conflicts, lineup changes and uncertainties have tested them, they’ve endured and continued to express themselves in the most heart-wrenching way on record and emphatically on stage.
Talking Ozzy Osbourne, Disney and the catharsis of emotionally-charged new album ‘Hate Me’, Already Heard has a chat with the entire ETF lineup before they hit the Download Festival stage.
AH: Third year at Download, how’s it feeling?
Robert Ortiz (drums): It’s feeling fucking cold!
Kevin ‘Thrasher’ Gruft (lead guitar): We’re really stoked to be here and we’re so ready to see Black Sabbath tonight, we heard it’s Ozzy’s seventh to last show. I think it might be official this time, I mean he’s getting older, especially with all this news lately and Tony Iommi’s health problems.
Rob: That’s why he’s fucking Ozzy Osbourne.
Thrasher: That’s why we’re gonna watch him and that’s why we’re stoked to be sharing the bill with them. He’s the
Prince of Darkness after all!
AH: Congratulations on ‘Hate Me’, we almost want to say it’s your best yet!
Thrasher: That’s what everyone’s been saying!
Rob: Yeah, you wouldn’t be the only one.
AH: It’s coming from such a raw place, right?
Thrasher: It’s coming from the sincerity of the lyrics, the honesty and all the passion we put towards it. After all these years of touring and the experiences in our lives, we’ve been able to create an honest piece of art.
AH: Speaking of eras, would you go back and relive any Escape the Fate era?
Rob: Fuck no, I wouldn’t even relive this era right now! I’m going to go to the era where we’re all living happily ever after.
Thrasher: Yeah, when we’re all flying our separate jets and touring so much that we only see each other when we’re on stage.
Rob: Could I go back and change an era? I’d go right back to the very beginning and record it all with this lineup right now.
Thrasher: That’s the thing though, you can’t go back and you can’t change those experiences. That’s what our song ‘Remember Every Scar’ is about, you learn from it.
Rob: This great baboon once told me that the past can’t hurt you… you either run from it or learn from it. All those experiences have brought me to meet these guys (– Thrasher: and Robert needed to meet his Pumba). Now it feels like we’ve run back to Pride Rock. What if Mufasa hadn’t died? If Scar hadn’t chased us, we wouldn’t have had our peak. Now we’re Simba and we’re taking back Pride Rock.
Thrasher: Delivering the most passionate, energetic and spot-on performances that you’ve ever seen Escape the Fate perform.
Rob: You know that roar Simba does at the end? That’s his official coronation like ‘I’m back bitches’ and that’s our roar.
AH: Any songs that you’re desperate to play live but can’t fit into the setlists?
Thrasher: ’Let Me Be’, we currently don’t have enough room to play all the songs off ‘Hate Me’. We should tour it in full, that would’ve been an idea.
Rob: There’s a lot that doesn’t make it and days like today, we get a short time at festivals and we have to pick and choose. Right now, ‘Remember Every Scar’ is the one so that’s what we’re pushing. Our fans came a long way and paid good money to see us, so we want to play them songs that they love and admire, but at the same time the new shit is what they want so we want to give them that too.
Thrasher: Just like you said, Hate Me is the best ever.
Rob: Fate is the future, so you don’t wanna mess with that, you’ve gotta roll with the punches.
AH: Ever gonna get tired of the festival circuits?
Craig Mabbitt (vocals): We have a saying in the ETF camp – you don’t get tired, you get hungry. We wanna do more festivals.
Rob: Maybe we’ll do our own festival.
Craig: Fatefest sounds good.
Rob: If Ozzy fucking Osbourne is still doing a festival then that’s what I’m gonna do.
AH: After all, Gene Simmons said rock is dead, right?
Craig: Clearly fucking not, 70,000 people here don’t think so.
TJ Bell (rhythm guitar): Why is Gene Simmons making the worst fucking comments about everything lately?
Thrasher: He wants to keep his name out there, is that it?
Rob: As far as I’m concerned, he’s Gene Simmons, he does what he does.
AH: So technically you guys have been around for 11 years, do you see yourselves sticking around for another 11 years?
TJ: Well I’ve only been around for 7 months so from my perspective, it’s all totally new!
Craig: There’s different chapters and different moments but I honestly believe the four guys stood in front of you right now will stick it out as long as physically possible… until we show up to a venue and there’s no-one there. Then it’s time to hang up the towel!
AH: You don’t fight at all behind the scenes?
Rob: What do you mean, fight? Are you crazy?!
Craig: We hate each other sometimes, me and Rob have got into piss fights, me and Kevin… well Kevin doesn’t do anything, as soon as things get weird, he’s out. He just walks away.
Rob: We fight every day but that’s why we call it a family because it’s unbreakable, it’s like we’re gonna be together no matter what.
Thrasher: Talking of Escape the Fate history, we’re mature enough now to know that these things will pass and the problems only give way to a solution and growth, so that’s what we do now.
Rob: We love each other, we may do things that annoy each other but that’s just gonna be how it is.
Craig: I used to have fights with my sister every morning at breakfast because of how she chewed her cereal. I get nitpicky though, I annoyed my sister to death but she’s my sister, she’s family and I’d take a bullet for her.
’Hate Me’ by Escape the Fate is out now via Eleven Seven Music.
View more of Already Heard’s coverage of Download Festival 2016 here.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)