Escape The Fate have been making waves in rock and metal the past few years and currently are on this year’s Rockstar Energy Uproar Tour, headlining the Festival Stage in support of their latest album Ungrateful. I was honored to get the opportunity to spend a couple of minutes getting to know them. Drummer Robert Ortiz and guitarist “Thrasher” Bell were kind enough to invite me into their tour bus and gave me some insightful information on their music, the tour, and how rock and metal music is finally getting some recognition it deserves. Listen to the interview here or read it transcribed below.
Jay Saint G: So far, how’s the tour been going?
Robert Ortiz: It’s been going great man every show has been crazy it has been a good time I really enjoyed it and we have played some headliners and intimate shows; just added them to fill in the dates when we haven’t been doing Uproar and those have been going great too cuz it gave us the chance to get up close to our fans, and that we haven’t done in while and it’s been good.
Jay Saint G: I understand you’re from Upstate as well?
Thrasher Bell: Yeah, born and raised in Albany, NY. I used to play Saratoga Winters and Valentines growing up. It’s awesome to bring this package to Syracuse this year.
Jay Saint G: Very nice. Also, I know Maria Brink from, In This Moment, is from the same area if I’m not mistaken, so have you guys played any shows together?
Thrasher Bell: No, we didn’t.
Jay Saint G: Figured I’d ask. I understand the band has gone through quite some changes since Dying Is The Latest Fashion and some transitions in the band if you want to give some background on that.
Robert Ortiz: The band has been ever-evolving this is our 10th year.A band is hard thing to keep together especially rock ‘n’ roll. We just roll with the punches, the important thing is where do we go from here, we have a lot of love for what we’ve done with each album and each member and there’s a great history and we want to continue and make more history.
Jay Saint G: I see you guys are under Eleven Seven Records, who have been one of the more prominent rock labels in the last decade. How long have you guys been with Eleven Seven Records?
Both: I believe about a year and a half.
Thrasher Bell: They’re a good rock label.
Jay Saint G: If I may ask..you guys have been hitting radio hard with “Picture Perfect”, the latest single?
Robert Ortiz: Yea we hit it hard too with “One For The Money” and we figured it was the right time now to release “Picture Perfect” which is more of a ballad-type song. Its a somber song, not a depression song but deals with loss and having to overcome and learn from the things you may have missed out with the loved one during the time they spent with you. This year I lost my grandfather at the middle of our tour.
Jay Saint G: Condolences.
Robert Ortiz: Thank you. It was a really difficult thing to deal with and playing that song really helps me deal with it. It’s what it’s all about so we are hoping that this song can get on radio stations and reach people’s ears and maybe help them through a tough time.
Jay Saint G: Yeah I saw the video, very moving, so if you haven’t seen it, check it on Escape the Fate Vevo on YouTube.
Thrasher Bell: Yeah check it out at escapethefate.com is a good source for all our videos and tour dates.
Jay Saint G: I have to ask, have you guys played central New York?
Thrasher Bell: Yeah, I played all over New York.
Jay Saint G: What about the great New York State Fair at all?
Robert Ortiz: No, this is the first time. We played Albany and Buffalo, but never Syracuse. This is my first time at the State Fair. I’m looking forward to our show, I’ve seen all the bands before so I might go around and enjoy all the sights and sounds of what’s going on today.
Jay Saint G: I believe this is the second or third time Uproar has been to the fair, and as a native of Syracuse myself, when you’re here at the fair, you got to indulge in some of those deep-fried Oreos and wine slushies and fried Twinkies.
Thrasher Bell: So this is where it’s at. My inner fat kid is stoked!
Jay Saint G: Gianelli Sausage, Dinosaur BBQ, Tully’s and their tenders.
Robert Ortiz: Ok so what’s the spot I have to hit?
Thrasher Bell: I heard they have fried chicken and Krispy Kreme.
Jay Saint G: Yes there’s a place called sticks and things, they have shark on stick, alligator on a stick, it’s a pretty big hit here along with Dinosaur BBQ. They’re famous here in Syracuse, Rochester, New York City, but there’s all those tiny places you gotta hit like Jim’s Fried Specialties, they’ll fry anything! I get fat just thinking about it. I think I clogged an artery just talking about it.
Robert Ortiz: So what you’re saying is this day is going to take four or five years off my life.
Jay Saint G: I certainly hope not.
Robert Ortiz: I hope so cuz it will be worth it cuz it sounds amazing.
Jay Saint G: I think the fair is the only thing that keeps central New York going, so I gotta ask, going back to music, and less food, what was some of your musical influences?
Thrasher Bell: I was influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, Slash, Eddie Van Halen, then took off to progressive metal.
Robert Ortiz: I was raised as a metal head. My parents were rockers. They raised me with the classics like Ozzy and Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin to Aerosmith, Guns n’ Roses and Metallica and all that awesome ’80s metal and then I fell in love with the big four of thrash metal that was all my shit. And that’s what influenced me to play metal, and then led to some of the newer bands like Thrice and Avenged Sevenfold. All that stuff that was new when I was in high school. And, now it’s almost everything. If it touches me in some way and I like it and it finds its way into everything I do. I always go back to those classic fuckin’ rock and metal bands that will always be in my heart.
Thrasher Bell: Yeah, anything they play on 103.5/103.9 The Edge.
Jay Saint G: Yes, great stations. I always check it out whenever I travel to Albany I put it on The Edge. Another question, is there any music you guys are listening to right now that may be out of the ordinary?
Thrasher Bell: Interesting one, we are listening to Jay Z right now which is classic to me.
Robert Ortiz: To me if I haven’t heard it its new to me. I tend to dive into weird stuff that will make me think like why was this artist huge? And I just never heard them? Maybe it’s before my time or a scene I was never into, so ill go back , or if its Mexican music or fucking some pop artist or anything like that, I always dive into it, last few months its been fucking Vicente Fernández, the mariachi music. He’s the man. I’ve been jamming that, but it’s weird and I love it so I don’t care. Lately been getting into this new band that just signed with our label what are they called? They’re getting huge on the radio…what are they called?
Thrasher Bell: Nothing More.
Robert Ortiz: Yeah, Nothing More. That’s one I’ve been listening to.
Jay Saint G: Yes, they just played a local festival here in Syracuse called 95x Fest. They absolutely killed it. Them and Otherwise blew all the other bands out of the water and that was my first exposure to Nothing More and they have been rapidly growing. It’s good to see that kind of music making that dominance to mainstream radio. It’s kind of refreshing to hear that.
Robert Ortiz: Yeah and that’s where I was coming from. We are definitely in the same vibe as them. They seem to somehow finally be breaking the mold of rock n roll radio has been the last 10 years. And I don’t think rock radio has taken a lot of chances, and they’re taking a big chance with them and it opens the doors for different bands that you know…that kids have been following for a long time. That style. That genre. Kids have been following, and that’s the direction rock has been going the last 10 years and now there’s finally one going balls to the wall with that sound and making that and growing that sound. And people may not have given that style of music that chance. In rock music they never would have given that chance back then and they are now.
Jay Saint G: Any chance we will see Escape the Fate and Nothing More tour together in the near future?
Thrasher Bell: I did tweet them that I was listening to their new record at the gym and they offered to do a little tour with us. So it’s a possibility.
Jay Saint G: We will keep our fingers crossed, and will be first to release that news.
Robert Ortiz: Honestly that tour would be awesome. We should call that the new face of rock radio
Jay Saint G: The Revolution.
Robert Ortiz: Yeah, the rock revolution tour
Jay Saint G: That would be killer. I don’t want to keep you guys too much longer. Couple more questions; Any crazy stories from the tour so far?
Thrasher Bell: Godsmack threw an after party. It was cool to hang with those guys so they had a lot of cool stories to share.
Jay Saint G: Yeah, them and Buckcherry are the veterans of the tour so they must have crazy stories to share.
Robert Ortiz: Honestly nothing crazy yet. But that drum solo that Godsmack does, everyone needs to see that because it’s such a spectacle.
Jay Saint G: You guys have been together 10 years and growing strong. Do you guys have any advice for up and coming bands that just started and how they can make it in rock n roll?
Thrasher Bell: I would say try to find a unique voice. And stick to your guns and practice, practice, practice. You want to rehearse before your shows and play as many shows as possible. And that’s how you grow as a band.
Robert Ortiz: I would say follow what’s in your heart. If you like it, someone else will like it.