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No escaping their fate

A candid chat with ETF drummer Robert Ortiz

Julie Seabaugh

They’ve kept mum since singer Ronnie Radke was found guilty on one count of battery with substantial bodily harm [Las Vegas Weekly, January 17, 2008], even as reports surfaced that former Bless the Fall vocalist Craig Mabbitt had joined the group. In response to fan curiosity, Escape the Fate posted a MySpace blog on Monday that stated Mabbitt will be “filling in temporarily” for at least three shows. Additionally, “We have not made a decision on who will be our full-time frontman yet, but we will be making a decision soon and you all will be the first ones to know.” Before taking the stage for Extreme Thing—and Mabbitt’s first performance with the band—drummer Robert Ortiz spoke about the band’s present, and more importantly, its future.

There’s been quite a lot happening with the band. What’s the general feeling right now in camp Escape the Fate?

There’s rumors circulating around the Internet. Our frontman, as it’s pretty well-known, he’s a pretty crazy-ass dude and gets himself stuck in a lot of stupid situations. We’ve had to face that on a lot of occasions. We’ve been held back by that so much. There’s a lot of things that go wrong, but you’ve got to deal with it, man up and say, “Damn, we’ve been at this for a really, really long time. We can’t stop here. It’s another setback, but you’ve got to stick it out and stay strong.” We’re writing a lot of new music, the new album’s coming along really, really good, and we’re just trying to search for where our sound really is going to go. That’s our main concern right now; everything else is just rumors. We might not be able to do a few tours here and there, and we might have to put some stuff on hold, but other than that we’re just moving forward, getting ready for our next record.

Have you begun recording already?

We haven’t started recording yet. I’m not going to hide the fact that, yeah, there’s been a lot of problems with the band, and there’s been a lot of time going back and just fixing our band and getting everything together personally. The music had to get set aside for a little while and just let us patch things up. But we have somewhere like 20 to 30 songs right now, lots of ideas and a general direction. One of the biggest things about this is it’s our second record, and it’s such a huge thing that’s going to pinpoint where the band is going: “Are you guys going to be this, are you going to stay the same, are you going to become a new band completely?” We had a lot of trouble early on, because as musicians you naturally progress and you start to write new and different things and experiment, and at the end of the day you’ve got to go with your gut feeling and what feels right. For us, that is pretty straightforward. Our attitude presents it more than anything. It might not be the heaviest song in the world, but we present it with balls. Our guitar player, Monte [Money]? That guy’s just been shredding it up. You’ll see him on the cover of Guitar World next year, I guarantee it. We’re just trying to keep our attitude; keep our original fans. I’m not going to deny that we were in a certain place in the whole hardcore scene. I’m not going to deny those fans what they love about our band; I’m going to give it to them. At the same time, you’ve got all these girls who are screaming for “Situations.” They like to dance to it or whatever, and all that tongue-in-cheek attitude. We’re going to give that to them, too.

Something for everyone …

Exactly. That’s what I liked about our first record: It didn’t totally define us and pigeonhole us in some genre. It let the doors be open to where we want to go. After months, we realize where we want to go is just everywhere.

Extreme Thing 2008 with Pennywise, Chiodos, Escape the Fate, Nonpoint, Streetlight Manifesto, In This Moment, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Alesana and more. March 29, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. $17-$20. Desert Breeze Skate Park, 454-4000.

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