Escape the Fate singer Craig Mabbitt has one wish for his decade-old band and its fans.
“We want people to connect deeply with the music and disappear in it,” says Mabbitt, who grew up in Glendale. “We want them to get lost and then return from the album or show feeling inspired about themselves.”
That is exactly the point with “Chemical Warfare,” which launches the next chapter of Escape the Fate’s career upon its February release.
Mabbitt says he and his bandmates—guitarist Kevin Thrasher, bassist TJ Bell and drummer Robert Ortiz—had a lot to draw from for “Chemical Warfare.”
“The inspiration behind every one of our albums is what our lives have been like from the previous album—our own life, our life experiences, trauma and drama and all the nitty and gritty.”
Music helps Mabbitt get out of his own head. With Escape the Fate, he becomes a different character.
“The singer of the band is certainly not the human being I am,” he says. “I’m able to perform the songs as if I’m singing for somebody else. A lot of times, I’m singing about me, but I write the song like I’m talking about somebody else.
“Chemical Warfare” delivers a mélange of driving rock songs and melodic ballads. Thrasher has been working with the likes of Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker on other projects and running from studio to studio to create new music. His packed production schedule in recent times has greatly sharpened his skill set, making “Chemical Warfare” a show of his musical strength.
Ortiz is a fan of Gilbert-bred violinist Lindsey Stirling. She makes an appearance on the album, as does Travis Barker of Blink-182.
Mabbitt was raised in the Northwest Valley and attended Independence and Westview high schools, in Glendale and Avondale, respectively. He dropped out of Westview to begin touring.
“Arizona’s home,” he says. “Even when I was growing up in a military household and we had to move around a lot. When we’d move back to Arizona, I was so excited. I went through times where I lived in California, breakups or what have you. When my ex was pregnant with our son, it was a big change in my whole family’s life. My mom got a job offer in Seattle, and my sister moved.”
As for the military, Mabbitt’s grandfather was stationed at Luke Air Force Base and the singer’s first job was as a bagger at the commissary at 13 years old.
Mabbitt was always a music fan, but his parents wouldn’t allow him to see a concert until he was in high school. He instantly fell in love.
“My first concert was Linkin Park on its ‘Project Revolution Tour,’” he recalls. “I thought if you were in a band those are the types of shows you play. You’re going to play arenas right off the bat.
“I had no idea shows happened on a smaller scale until I went to church with my grandma. This local Arizona (metalcore) band—Greeley Estates—was playing. They said they had a show coming up. My parents were cool with me going because it was a band from church.”
Mabbitt now lives with his fiancée where Tempe, Chandler and Ahwatukee all come together. He admits he didn’t take the pandemic so well.
“I freaked out a little bit at first,” he says. “It was very uncertain—‘What am I going to do?’ I fell into some old addiction ways. So, I started streaming on Twitch and went to meetings. I’m doing well with that.
“I’m now in the best shape I’ve been in since I was 20. I fit into those old shirts in my closet I never thought I’d fit in again. They’re very loose. I just started keeping myself busy.”
Despite the ups and downs, Mabbitt is just happy he’s stuck with music.
“I started doing this because music was my ‘escape,’” he says.
“I was running from unresolved feelings or chasing things away with a bottle. But music was always there for me. It was a beautiful realization to contemplate the power of music while reflecting on other records. It’s been such an escape for so many people that it puts me in my place. I become so humbled. I’m so grateful, not only that I’m still alive, but that I can get this music out of my head and that it will hopefully help some other people, too.”
Escape the Fate, escapethefate.com, @EscapeTheFate on Twitter.