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Last night, I ventured out to the current Pop Evil and Escape The Fate headlining run in Boston! Through out years of interviewing bands, I've seen the latter been through some definite ups as well as big downs but lucky for me, the band in it's current incarnation is going strong! I sat down with lead vocalist Craig Mabbitt and guitarist TJ Bell for some album conversation as well as a Mortal Kombat bout. We talked their current album "Ungrateful" as well as their already in progress next album. The band gave some advice to bands trying to stick it out that are just getting started as well as breaking the news that they will be on a summer festival run this summer!
Allstars, Scream It? Up for you to figure that out! For now though, read on for my new one with the boys and catch them out on the road for the next two weeks with besides Pop Evil, their buddies in Glamour of the Kill and swedish Avatar!

You only have about two weeks left on this run co-headlining with Pop Evil. How has it been going over so far?
Craig: Well, we've only been out for about a week.
Short run?
Craig: Pretty short run, yeah. We haven't really gotten a chance to really hang out, bro down, with the other bands.
TJ: Besides Glamour.
Craig: Yeah, besides Glamour of the Kill because we have a long touring history with them. I think that's strictly because one, the tour is so short and two, we have such a past and a history with Glamour. We've just been going out with those guys all the time. So haven't really gotten to know the other guys yet but they put on good shows so it's been a good tour.
Perfect! Then I know your video just came out for "Picture Perfect". Maybe a little bit behind the video, story behind the song?
Craig: Yeah, that video came out yesterday. The story from the video is just inspired by real life events and our band member's personal life. He had a best friend that died in a motorcycle accident. So that's basically what we based the video off of.
TJ: And we wrote the song with Patrick Stump. It was basically to cope the loss.
Then obviously Patrick Stump is a little bit different from your guys' musical history. Maybe how did that come about working with someone very pop oriented?
Craig: Working with someone like that just brings another element to the band. It just worked.
TJ: Yeah, and what better song to do it on then a slow ballad?
Then, "Ungrateful", last time we talked the album had been out for really like only two days. It was on the tour with Glamour of the Kill last year around this time? It was awhile ago, it's been about a year. Now that you are going to be at the one year point next week, how do you think it's been going over? Maybe in comparison to past records?
Craig: Well, it's tricky to say. Our band has been trying to transition into a different world when it comes to where we came from beforehand. So as far as getting out there and then member changes have really restricted this album. As far as success, I'd say radio play. This album has given us our highest charting songs on radio and it sold the first year so we'll see if it picks up within this next year. We're already getting together in the summer and we're starting to write some songs right now. We're already talking about putting together this next record.
That was actually my next question because I know the album is at the year point. So you guys are you just writing the record, recording anything yet or is it purely writing right now?
TJ: Yeah, just writing at the minute. Kevin and I got together. We're both living in North Hollywood so we wrote a little bit of material and then we're going to go May and June and hopefully do some cowrites. I don't know if I'm allowed to say with who yet but it's going to be exciting. It's definitely going to be way heavier. We're still going to do the radio thing but we wanted to be a bit heavier then the last record.
Craig: We haven't done a record where it's a full band record before.
Oh really?
Craig: Yeah till we've been in this lineup where we all want to feed off each other and be a band. So TJ's been writing riffs non stop. Kevin's been writing. Putting together songs. Our bass player Max apparently has a crap ton of songs on his own so I'm excited for the whole band to get together and pull those all into a record.
Then you both have extensive musical histories through different bands. How do you think that experience is going to be considering you came from different pasts/writing styles?
Craig: I think it's going to end up being really good for us. Especially because now our history with our other band, The Dead Rabbits now together. Some of those songs we put together with just a vocal melody I had. I think it's both of ours' favorite songs from the project. It's the first time I've ever sent my guitar player just little melodies I thought of while I'm taking a pooper on the toilet. I would send him a melody and he's like 'This is awesome, man. I'm going to build a song around this'. So for me artistically, that's really exciting.
TJ: And the only reason why we didn't do this before is because we don't have a person in the band anymore who wasn't only worrying about their personal gain, not us.
Craig: Not a band thing.
TJ: So it's going to be great to have everybody involved.
Craig: Working on the same page. Doing a band (laughs)!
TJ: Working as a band for once!
Then like we talked about a little bit, obviously this band's been through a lot of ups as well as a lot of downs. Maybe advice to bands just getting started? It's obviously rough but advice to get through it.
TJ: If you're dedicated enough then you'll get through it.
Craig: My advice to bands that are just getting started is just make sure you like the guys in your band before you start having to live with them. If you have any doubts in your mind about the other person's dedication or their feelings towards you, maybe you shouldn't be starting a serious relationship like that. I mean you're not going to say, oh I guess I'll get married to this girl. You know like I don't really like her. You got to be sure about it. I mean, a band's got to be a band with common interests. I think we're one of the few lucky ones that through all of it, our fans are still sticking by us. I think that's the only thing that keeps us growing.
They stand by you despite everything that happens! Then for each of you guys, taking it back a little bit, the first CD or first cassette that you ever remember buying as a kid and the first concert you remember going to?
TJ: Well, my first concert was River City Rebels at the Cafe Metropolis in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Growing up, I was a punk rock kid. Yours was Linkin Park?
Craig: Yeah, my first concert was Linkin Park but the first one my parents let me go to was Linkin Park, Mudvayne, Hoobastank, Adema, Cypress Hill. It was like their first Project Revolution tour when they started doing those runs so that was pretty cool. First record/first tape I bought. I don't know, I just always got into my parents CD collections but the first memory I have of purchasing anything. It was actually a tape. I remember, I was moving cross country and I was traveling with my dad. I got some allowance money. I think I got conned by my dad actually. It was like this Kid Rock tape.
TJ: I'm not sure!
You don't remember? Then what is coming up for you guys after this tour. Like you said, it's a short run. You have two weeks left but what is coming up? Festival season coming up. Are you guys going to be focusing on getting the record done, playing in the summer a lot?
Craig: I think our main focus is getting the record at least pre pro'd. We are on a big summer festival but it hasn't been announced yet. Once they announce what bands are actually going to be on that, we'll all know. Because I know less then anybody else knows.
TJ: There's some rumored bands.
Craig: Yeah there's some rumors but I don't even know the dates. So we're still on the dark in that one.

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