One of the most controversial and gossiped about men in alternative music is Falling In Reverse’s Ronnie Radke. The frontman used the band’s 2011 debut album The Drug In Me Is You as an expressive outlet of his anger and frustration towards the people who have gotten in the way of his success with his current act as well as Escape The Fate, the band he formed which still currently operates.
The 29-year-old has certainly had a busy year with his band’s sophomore record Fashionably Late due for release, as well announcing the birth of his child with fiancé Crissy Henderson. “[Having a baby] is the greatest experience I’ve ever had, it really gives you some perspective and a different view on life.”
With the excitement of his latest musical adventures, Radke did not quite anticipate the emotional intensity of having his first-born Willow Grace. “I felt her come out. That is something that – if you haven’t done, you just cannot relate” the Las Vegas-native states. He realised that “the purpose in life is greater than it ever was before.”
Falling In Reverse gave the world a taste of Radke’s rap verses on Fashionably Late with the controversial single ‘Alone’ which blew up in the media. “I expected the reaction that we received, how could I not when you’re talking crap to people” the frontman sniggers. It is the ongoing attention that the coupled track and music video have received that surprised the singer.
His new musical endeavour has been known tofuse genres that vary from the realm of hardcore. Radke has labelled the inclusion of rap elements into Falling In Reverse as “trap-core”. Admitting, “I listen to a lot of trap music which is slow hip-hop like A$AP Rocky, and Gucci Mane.” Referring to a southern hip-hop genre which originated in the early 2000s, he adds “I really dig Kendrick Lamar and the whole vibe to it.”
The vocalist goes on to justify this amalgamation of genres by ensuring that ”a lot of bands combine rap and rock together, but I don’t think they’ve really ever done it like this before, it is a different breed or species.”
Colleagues and cohorts in the alternative music world have responded negatively to the musical experimentation, but it does not bother Radke despite the perceptions of others “I expected people to be mad, but we’re doing something right if it is causing such a rift, and something that is so dramatic” – something the vocalist has been accused of being in the past. “People are so shocked, and honestly I have interpreted that as the band doing something right.”
Refusing to conform to the expectations of others in terms of the music he makes, Radke does not filter his thoughts on the situation. “Fuck you to anybody who says that I can’t do what I want to do” he announces in a calm and certain fashion – “and I’m not going to do what I don’t want to do either.” Just to hammer the final nail in the coffin – “I can do and play anything I want, being told not to do something just makes me want to do it more.”
“Coming to Australia is all I think about.”
He justifies his adamant thoughts by proving that there’s more diversity incorporated into Fashionably Late. “The song ‘Drifter’ has a country style to it and then you’ve got a track like ‘Champion’ which is straight metalcore with Eminem in the middle of it” Radke laughs with an alert awareness of the world’s response to it. “There are heavy songs [on the record] like on The Drug In Me Is You as well as pop songs and tracks like ‘Bad Girls’ Club’, which has Japanese-pop influences.”
The five-piece even channel Brit-band DragonForce in ‘Born To Lead’ – another track. off the new LP “A lot of people wouldn’t know that I actually wrote that song on guitars and drums myself” he announces. “So I told Jacky [Vincent, lead guitarist] to write a crazy solo for that song.”
This authoritative attitude came out in the studio with Radke admitting enjoyed the writing experience but was leaping ahead of the band. “When I was writing the breakdown, Derek (Jones, rhythm guitarist) asked ‘are you kidding me?’ and he had to sit there and learn it which took him a while because he didn’t actually write it” the heavily tattooed frontman giggles.
Obviously with the release of a studio album comes a copious touring cycle and while tha band have had to drop out of the U.S. Vans Warped due to the birth of Radke’s child, they are scheduling some shows for the near future. “A couple of bands are locked in to play with us but I’m not allowed to announce it yet” Radke admits, but he suggests big plans – “it is going to be pretty rad and an awesome tour.”
Soundwave festival promoters have attempted to bring the alternative outfit down under for a while but Radke’s visa issues have prevented it. “Coming to Australia is all I think about but I’m just waiting until we can go.”
Fashionably Late in out today now through Epitaph Records/Warner.