Falling in Reverse Singer Ronnie Radke on Turning His Life Around
While serving time in a Nevada prison, Falling in Reverse singer (and former Escape the Fate frontman) Ronnie Radke turned to music as an outlet to get his deepest frustrations out and turned his life around.
On the band’s just-released debut album, ‘The Drug in Me Is You,’ Radke and his bandmates find themselves with a sound that brings together spunky pop-punk and harmonious post-hardcore, buoyed by Radke’s reflective, deeply intimate lyrics and musings. Musically, the release comes together seamlessly, with Radke serving as frontman, leading a gifted cast that includes Jacky Vincent (lead guitar), Derek Jones (rhythm guitar), Mika Horiuchi (bass guitar) and Ryan Seaman (drums, percussion).
Crammed in a bus on the way to a secret show in Anaheim, Calif., Radke checked in with Loudwire for an exclusive interview. In the following Q&A, he talks about his time in prison — where he served a year and a half for failing to report to a parole officer after a serious of crimes and misdemeanors — as well as the band’s debut album and more.
What was it like coming out of the Las Vegas music scene?
It’s hard, because it’s a one-in-a-million chance. Back in the day, I don’t think record labels were looking at Las Vegas too much for new acts, until the Killers came out. I think the Killers are partially responsible for us getting signed, because people started looking towards Las Vegas for new music. First there was the Killers, then Panic at the Disco and now us. There’s not as much music out there. It’s not like the scene in Los Angeles or New York.
How did your experience in prison motivate you to pursue Falling in Reverse?
Well, when I was in prison, and I got in touch with a couple of friends in the band online, and I called them up and asked them if they’d be interested in starting something. They said, “Yeah, when you’re out, we’ll do this.” I figured that my life could either go the good way or the bad way from there. But, it couldn’t go any further down. I decided to stop doing drugs and all that crazy partying, and I stopped hanging out with the wrong people.
When I got out, everyone was looking at me. I wonder how many people have been watching to see if I would do drugs again or go crazy. I haven’t gone that route. I don’t even think about going that route. I’d rather stick to one main focus, and a positive focus, like touring and playing out and staying out of as much trouble as possible.
Going into this summer’s Warped Tour, who were you most excited to check out?
I love A Day to Remember. They really had that style down of doing heavy songs mixed with pop songs when nobody was doing that style of music. When they came out, bands were doing either really heavy or really poppy songs, never one pop song and one heavy song on same album. I think they created a genre, and I [was] honored to be on the same bill as them. They perform really well and in their own style, and that’s unique. I also like Black Veil Brides. I got a chance to meet up with them before the tour.
How did you take Falling in Reverse in a different musical direction than Escape the Fate?
With Escape the Fate, I was pushing for synths and keyboards and stuff, and everybody was in disagreement with that. They didn’t want to do that. So, I finally got the direction I wanted to go on this record, with synthesizers. With Escape the Fate, I backed down. So, I finally get to do it, and it’s my own vision now, and it looks like it’s doing well.
Tell me about the meaning behind the album’s title, ‘The Drug in Me Is You.’
We named it that because it was basically me, talking to myself. It’s me, looking in the mirror, saying, “I am my own worst energy. I do the worst damage to myself— more than anybody else can to do me.” It’s obviously from my past experiences.
How long did it take to record the album?
Two and a half months. I live in Hollywood now, which is better, because nobody knows where I live. I make sure of that. I only go out once in a while. But, this album took a while, because I was getting adapted to getting out of prison. I can’t explain it to you unless you’ve been in that situation. It’s like coming back from war, and you have to get used to civilization again. They’re like animals in there. I saw a lot of bad things. I had to get used to human interaction. I didn’t know how to have conversations for longer than one minute, so had to get used to that. I had to go to into the studio and interact with everybody. But we did it, and it felt good.
What’s the best thing about your experience, so far, with Falling in Reverse?
Just the fact I can think clearly and actually hold a conversation with people. Before, I wouldn’t be able to talk to anybody in a civilized manner. I was speaking a hundred miles a second about nothing, and nobody wanted to talk to me. I was crazy. And I was too much of a diva. I’m glad I’m not like that anymore.
What’s next for Falling in Reverse?
Taking over the world. [Laughs] We’re going to tour the U.K. soon, hopefully the beginning of next year, and hopefully go to Australia.