Kickin’ it old school
Two bands think Rock and Roll needs a revival
Article: Robyn Tocker – A&C Editor
The world of rock and roll has changed considerably over the years. No longer are gigantic stadiums sold out thanks to rock group. The world of “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” is behind us, according to lead singer of Escape The Fate, Craig Mabbitt. Yet the young man, whose career in music started after his time in the penitentiary, has hope for the future.
“If I could do it all over again, I would. Seventeen-year-old me didn’t think I would be here today.”
Lead singer from the band Persist, K.C. Lee, has seen many things change during his time in the music industry. Having been raised by a JUNO-winning jazz singer for a father and a country music star mother, Lee has watched the music world grow, but also shrink.
“The music scene in Ontario is deteriorating. Not as many people are going to live shows. If everyone went to one show a year it would put a big ripple through industry.”
Lee also has hopes for the future of music, mainly to do with musicians getting paid for their music instead of all the free downloads that are happening right now. He also said how no matter what, the music industry will keep going strong. Popular bands will keep gaining fans and, eventually, after putting in enough hard work and time into music, it will be your turn for the spotlight.
Mabbitt’s past was shaped by a strained relationship with his father who was a police officer, but music was something that kept a light in the dark times.
“Everything is better with music. You can’t watch a movie without a soundtrack. Everyone puts on music when getting ready for their day.”
Mabbitt rejoices over the fact that he gets to experience the joy he sees on the fans’ faces every day when performing or practicing. Lee also said music is his passion.
“It might be a pain in the butt for some people, but for me it’s how I like to spend my time.”
When offering advice, both agreed practice separates the boys from the men in the music industry. Lee described how after a couple of years when nothing is happening, a band will just break up. To Lee, there is no such thing as an overnight success.
“We’ve been slugging it out for a long time and working on stuff to make it. You have to keep going.”
Together, the group has practiced twice a week for five years in addition to their shows.
“Every time we play, the songs get better. Now that we’re in the studio, some of the songs are getting rewritten and we’re learning them over again.”
Mabbitt added how you have to be fully committed to the music.
“Try to make sure it’s definitely something you want to do. Music takes up your entire life. It’s hard to keep serious relationships when you’re out on the road almost 365 days a year.”
Picking the right band members to go on this journey with is also key.
Mabbitt has been with Escape since 2008. Before that, he worked with a band from Phoenix that, unfortunately, deteriorated. Since he’s been with Escape, Mabbitt has had many memorable moments in his music career. One in particular was a show the group did in Amsterdam as the headline.
“The crowd was deafening with their cheers. It was a good feeling. Almost every person was singing along in the crowd.”
Lee found Persist by, surprisingly, posting a Kijiji add that said “singer looking for a band.” He describes it as a real success story. The band has been together for seven years in total with Lee joining five years ago.
Persist consists of drummer Jerry Stro, Guitar Frank Deranged, Christian on lead guitar, and KJ on bass. Their new CD You Don’t Shine is in the works and hopes to be put out in either November or December.
Escape The Fate hosts TJ Bell as guitar, Max Green as bass, drummer Robert Ortiez, and lead guitar Thrasher. Their fourth CD, Ungrateful, is still available for purchase.