Ronnie Winter of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Hailing from Florida with a name that often leaves people scratching their heads, you might be disappointed to find out their name means absolutely nothing, it was chosen arbitrarily when the band first came together – they put their passion into their music and the name was more of an afterthought. It’s funny that something that started out so simple, could evolve into something so big.
Red Jumpsuit Apparatus (Ronnie Winter on vocals . Duke Kitchens on guitar, piano, and vocals, Elias Reidy on guitar and backing vocals, Joey Westwood on bass and vocals and Jon Wilkes on drums and vocals) introduced themselves to the world with their debut release Don’t You Fake It. The album yielded their gut wrenching, addictive single Face Down and started what could only be described as a Red Jumpsuit army. While the band is young in years (they are all in their early twenties) their lyrics are evocative, honest and daring to take on the world and their music stretches the boundaries. They’ve been called everything from emo to screamo to metal infused pop-punk, so you decide.
And you just never know who you might run into at Warped tour! TWRY Staffer Lexi was lucky enough to meet up with Ronnie who was cool enough to answer a few fun questions. Here’s what he had to say!
Interviewed by: Lexi Shapiro | August 2007
What is your opinion of MTV and the MTV generation?
You know what, they’ve been cool to us, so I really don’t have a problem. I think it’s cool that they still even play rock and roll. I think we should be grateful for that. And the more people that actually support organizations like MTV and Fuse, the better off all rock bands are, because bands make videos. Whether or not they’re on MTV or not doesn’t matter; bands still make videos. So, the more people out there playing videos should be supported, because they’re supporting you.
You can only listen to one album for the rest of your life. What is it?
Dark Side of the Moon.
Another age-old question. You’re stranded on a deserted island. You can only bring three things. No boats or methods of getting home. No communication with the outside world. What do you bring?
I guess…I would probably bring my dog, Ralph, for companionship. That would be cool. Plus, he’s kind of the hunter. He’s a Chihuahua, so he’s smart. And then, maybe, like, a knife or something. And then, something that would remind me of home… a book, a really good book…Treasure Island.
What’s the one song that everyone loves but that you absolutely cannot stand?
Well, there’s a few of those, but that would probably be… No offense to the band or anything, but I really didn’t like that Chumbawumba song. I don’t know if you remember that or not.
*laughs* We got that exact same answer earlier.
Really?! Same answer as somebody else? Amazing.
Yep. Chapstique from Family Force 5.
Well, I guess we think alike, because when that song came out, I was like “What is going on with the world today?” You know what I mean? But, hey, whatever. More power to them, I guess.
Describe Red Jumpsuit Apparatus in three words.
Let’s see…three words. I guess “rock and roll band.” There you go.
Rock and roll.
If that makes any sense. That’s “rock,” “roll,” “band” (counts on fingers). Yeah, three words.
We’re not counting the conjunction?
*singing* Conjunction Junction…
Both: *singing* What’s your function?
Yeah! That’s old school for ya!
What band or artist are you listening to right now?
Well, being on the Warped Tour, I’ve acquired quite a few new CDs from a lot of the bands that have had CDs come out. I’m currently listening to the new Starting Line CD, the new Circa Survive CD, and, actually, the All Time Low demo. I just got that. So, those are the three probably most heavily-rotated things right now for me.
We already spoke of the song that you hate, but everyone loves. So, what’s your guilty pleasure song that everyone hates, but you love?
That would be a song by a band called Further Seems Forever, and it’s called Make It a Part, which I think is really awesome on a lot of different levels just right out of the gate. And as a musician and as a lyricist, I respect it. And, it’s also really kind of complicated, difficult to play, and it’s just awesome. Make It a Part by Further Seems Forever. Check it out.
Okay, I definitely will. So what band or artist would it be a dream for you to work with?
I hate to be cliché. We still haven’t toured with Green Day. Green Day would be really awesome for me, just because I’m a big fan. Other than that, we’ve toured with a lot of my favorite bands, already. We’ve done shows with Thrice. We’ve done shows with 30 Seconds to Mars. We’re big fans of both of those guys. We’ve done shows with Taking Back Sunday, My Chemical Romance. So, a lot of them have already been covered. But, probably Green Day, at this point. I just want to be able to stand on stage, because I have a backstage pass, and be like, “I was there. I saw it.” You know what I mean?
RJA on the set of their video for False Pretense
Tell me about your first kiss.
Wow, I don’t know if I remember that or not. Let me think. Yeah, I really don’t remember a lot from my childhood. I can only remember back to, like, eleven, so…
So it was before eleven…
Yeah, definitely, sure.
I guess I was a late-bloomer.
I was a ladies’ man. I’m sure it was just a little *muah* peck or whatever, but it wasn’t a KISS kiss. I don’t remember my first REAL kiss. No one’s ever asked me that question before. WOW. That’s pretty unfortunate that I don’t remember, isn’t it?!
You’re supposed to remember that for your entire life!
I DO! Well…nope…lost it.
You lost it?
It’s gone. Sorry. Whoever it was: my bad. Know what I mean? *laughs*
So, tell me about a crazy experience that you’ve had while you’ve been on tour.
You know what? Fortunately, we haven’t been through anything “crazy.” We’ve been pretty lucky. Nothing TOO crazy, but I have seen a lot of… just, anyone who travels every single day. When we’re in the van, driving, I did a lot of the driving, so you’re looking right out the window all of the time. So, I saw a semi-truck, one time…there was a car. We were going into New York, actually. And this guy clearly didn’t know what he was doing and he was trying to merge in before the tunnels. If you’ve ever been to Manhattan, you know there’s a tunnel and you have to merge. It’s really kind of unorganized. And, he jumped in front of the semi, and the semi literally drove over the top of the car. And, we could hear the people screaming in the car, like, “AHHH! STOP! STOP!,” beeping on the horn. But, it was only driving over the front half of the car, the front left wheel, crushing it. It happened RIGHT in front of me. We were the van behind that car. So I was just like, “HO-LY crap.” I couldn’t believe that. That’s probably the craziest thing I’ve ever seen so far. It was cool. Well, not cool for them (the front of their car was flattened to a pancake, straight to the ground), but cool to see. It was amazing… it was AMAZING.
Lastly, how has all this success been for you? Has it been overwhelming?
I don’t think so. I mean, we really don’t pay attention. We don’t care. We focus on…every day we have a show. We haven’t stopped touring in two and a half years. Basically, when we wake up in the morning, we figure out what we have to do that day like anybody else; go do interviews, or press, or video stuff, or sometimes we go to radio stations and do acoustic performances, or this, that, and whatever. We’re pretty busy, so we just don’t really worry about it. The most time we even hear about it is when we go home, and all of our friends are like, “AH! You guys are blowing up!” And, we’re like, “Really? Cool.”
So do you even read your reviews?
No I don’t. Well, usually, my manager reads them all. I don’t like to read stuff if people are just trashing me, y’know? A lot of people are really hurtful. And it’s just something that, really, you don’t need to put yourself through on a daily basis. So, if my manager reads a positive review, he’ll let me know, then I always read them. He kind of sifts through them for me so I don’t have to want to go jump in front of a bus after watching eight people rip apart something that’s…
…something that you’ve worked so hard on…
Yeah. Something that’s just pure, from the ground up. So, it’s very disappointing when that happens. But, hey, that’s part of the game, right?