Interview || The One with Kevin "Thrasher" Gruft from Escape The Fate

Escape The Fate celebrated the 10-year anniversary since the release of their sophomore album "This War Is Ours" with a massive tour. Right before setting Berlin on fire, we had the chance to sit with guitarist Kevin "Thrasher" Gruft to discuss the tour, dealing with controversy and weird fan encounters.

© Michelle Ritzmann

U: You're currently celebrating the 10 year anniversary of "This War Is Ours", the album that branded a new path, a new beginning for your band. How has the tour received so far?
Kevin Gruft: The tour has been amazing so far. We’re playing “This War Is Ours” front to back, like every single song not skipping any. It’s really cool but then in the second half of the setlist we’re doing kind of the bands greatest hits plus the new record “I Am Human”, we’re playing a few songs off of that and it’s been really interesting to watch the dynamic between the first half of the set and the second half. The fist half is all “The War Is Ours” fans which is typically an older fanbase and then the second half is a combination of the older fans and the newer fans, so it’s just kinda interesting to see peoples reactions to each song. But overall it’s been a really positive experience, a lot of people are showing up, which is good.

U: I actually have another question that kind of adds to what you just said. Because you added the songs “Remember Every Scar”, “Broken Heart”, “I am Human” and “One For The Money” in addition to the “This War Is Ours” setlist. Why did you chose these songs, even though you already explained that a little?
K.G.: Right, we chose them because we think they’re some of the more popular songs and we’re trying to play all the songs from all the different records. “Broken Heart” is a big single from the last record that I produced and recorded myself. I’m really proud of that song so we really wanted that one in there. “Do You Love Me” is the first one we come out with, which we have a music video coming out on Valentines day. [The Interview was conducted before the release].

U: You dealt, and are still dealing with a lot of controversy surrounding your every move and choice. How do you manage to keep yourselves sane and not letting this affect you?
K.G.: I think it’s just to not read everything online or let’s not take everything word for word and just kind of live your own path. But for me personally, I don’t really see much of it, because anyone who follows my page and comments on my stuff is usually a fans with positive messages. I think it was more in the past too with the old singer Ronnie, but now we talked to him and we’re all kind of friends.

© Michelle Ritzmann

U: Should we hope for an anniversary tour for the self-titled album as well?
K.G.: I don’t know! Your guess is as good as mine. It would be cool though! It would be fun to learn some of these songs we’ve never played live before. That was cool with “The Wold Is Ours” Tour! That we’re playing a lot of songs that the band has never played before, like ever. Pretty cool.

U: In retrospect, do you regret any of the decisions you made in the past decade? If you could go back in time, is there anything you'd change?
K.G.: I’m sure everyone would answer this differently but yeah if there would be an easy way to change things where you were like “..maybe this decision wasn’t that good” or there would be a clear path to make a better decision to built our band and stuff I’m sure we would’ve taken those routes sooner. But everything happens for a reason and I’m happy with my life and the band keeps on growing each time we put out a new record so I think all those lessons learned in the past only make us stronger.

U: What is your personal favourite song to play live out of any album?
K.G.: Lately I think it’s been the first two songs of “This War Is Ours” (“We Won’t Back Down” and “On To The Next One”), because they’re fun riffs and it’s almost like classic rock style music which is cool and different for us.

U: Do you have a ritual that you do before every show?
K.G.: Yes! My things is, I get dressed for the show which is a completely different wardrobe then I would normally wear, but then lately I’ve been watching Rolling Stone videos or any like big artist. Last tour it was Queen. I watched live videos of Queen performing and it kind of amps up my vibe and I’m almost trying to channel the huge legendary rockstars.

U: What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever done?
K.G.: We have one fan in the states that knits us penis pillows and she brings us cookies she makes and last time she made us a boob pillow. So in our storage unit we have a collection of these, because no one ever wants to take them home. (laughs) So I guess that is a little weird. And apparently the boobs are modeled after her own, she’s a big supporter. (laughs)

© Michelle Ritzmann

U: You receive $1000 for no reason. What do you spend it on?
K.G.: I guess I would spend it on fun things. Experiences. Well, if I got a $1000 today I would probably fly out my girl tomorrow.

U: Fuck, marry, kill in the band. 
K.G.: Oh God (laughs). I would fuck myself, I’m the hottest one. Marry? Probably non of them. Kill, all of them (laughs).

U: Next up you’re gonna hop on a US tour with All That Remains, Attila and Sleep Signals, which is already exciting, but what should we expect from you after or even during that tour? 
K.G.: In preparation for that tour we’re still talking about the setlist. We’re trying to do a bigger setlist, harder and heavier then normal just because All That Remains and Attila are pretty heavy bands, so we might play some songs that we don’t play that often and then I think the band might be possibly writing a new record. Make sure to follow us @escapethefate and me @ktrash for more updates. 

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