Interview with The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus guitarist Elias Reidy and drummer Jon Wilkes
Warped Tour 2007
S&S: With “Face Down,” you guys really put yourselves out there and talked about a sensitive issue. I’m sure that as a result, fans tell you what they have been through and how your song has helped them. Does it ever get overwhelming for you to hear those stories? Do you have any regrets in revealing something so personal?
Elias: Nope. The way our record as it stands, for all the songs we have right now, we never wrote any of them with the intention to break on radio or anything like that. “Face Down” was written four years ago. We just really trust our singer’s point of view and his style of writing. We enjoy his lyrics. We never meant for it to be a hit single and be on NOW 24. It happened, and we just took the bull by the horns and had a good time with it. We just like playing shows no matter where our music is.
S&S: What is the craziest rumor you’ve heard about the band, and how do you deal with rumors?
Elias: We really could give a crap less. We are really good friends and a really tight unit. Nobody can really mess with us. I know that sounds funny, but there really aren’t too many “real bands” these days. We’ve toured with a lot of people, and there aren’t that many people who have a real, true friendship like us. We’ve been doing this for two and a half years straight now in the same bus. We have it pretty figured out, and we don’t really listen to anything other than what we know. We could really care less.
S&S: A lot of fans sent in questions for this interview and a couple came from Israeli fans. One question is how long have you gone without showering on tour?
Elias: Dude, I definitely have taken the cake. Last year on Warped Tour, I took probably three showers during the whole tour. I go longer than a homeless person would, but not usually anymore.
Jon: The reason you can go so long is because you can take the bobo shower. Go outside when it’s raining, or use baby wipes. You stay clean. Use lots of deodorant and lots of cologne. You can go without showering for a while if you stick with the baby wipes.
S&S: Another question from Israel: If you had three wishes, what would you ask?
Jon: I love these questions!
Elias: Wow. I don’t know, dude. Hang on, get back to me.
Jon: I would wish that I could fly for a day. I would wish that I could breathe under water for a day. I would wish that I could have a house without having to pay for it.
S&S: I love how the first two were for a day and not forever. You just want to experience them for a day?
Jon: Well, that’s more reasonable.
Elias: I’d like to hang out with Michael Jackson for a day. That would be pretty crazy. Also, [I’d like to] play on the moon.
S&S: Play on the moon to a cosmic crowd?
Jon: I’d like to get drunk with Britney Spears.
S&S: Wouldn’t we all?
Elias: I did that last week, dude.
S&S: You have one more.
Elias: I wish I was on the main stage at the Warped Tour.
S&S: I think that could very well happen.
Jon: I am a genie. Thank you for rubbing me out of my bottle.
S&S: I know that Joey has a baby on the way, and Ronnie is married and his wife actually comes out on the road with the band. How do you balance your personal lives with your music careers?
Elias: There is no way to balance it. You just have to roll with it. Our personal lives are our business. There’s no alter ego. Who we are on stage is who we are all the time. We’re always around each other, so it’s kind of hard to keep it to yourself. There’s just a hidden code of ethics behind everything.
S&S: With “Face Down” and your involvement with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) and the Take Action Tour, Red Jumpsuit can definitely be considered a socially active band. Do you have any activism plans for the future?
Jon: We’re not going to storm the gates like The Clash or anything like that.
Elias: We’re always doing something. If an opportunity arises, which they do all the time for pretty much everyone, you can either roll with it or not. We figure, why not? It doesn’t seem like too many other people are jumping on good opportunities. We played for this high school in Alabama called Enterprise that got struck by a tornado, and eight of the students were killed. The whole high school was completely demolished. President Bush actually went out there and claimed it a national disaster. It turned out that their class president who picked the song for their prom picked our song. Ronnie, our singer, heard about this. The students contacted him personally, and we went down there and played a free show for the whole town. It was like 6.000 people out there. We sold all these shirts for charity and raised over $100,000 for them. It was really cool.
S&S: That’s amazing that you guys did that.
Jon: It was an awesome show. It was outdoors. Everyone came out. Grandmas came out of the kids who died. Moms came out, so we got to hang out with them, talk to them, and give them a little bit of hope.
S&S: In listening to Don’t You Fake It, I noticed that you guys use musical elements from a bunch of different genres. Will you be experimenting even further on your next album?
Elias: We started this band with the intention initially to just play whatever we want and just have a good time. We don’t want to restrict ourselves and limit our musical sound to some type of genre that could just fade out like a trend. Hardcore came and went. So, we want to play whatever we want to play. We don’t want to come and go.
S&S: If you had to trust one person to save your life, who would it be?
Jon: Like in our crew or just in general?
S&S: In general, I suppose.
Jon: I would not doubt Superman.
S&S: From the way you guys talk about each other, I figured you would say, “I’d trust my entire band.”
Elias: I trust Jon. You’re my hero.
Jon: Honestly, my ADD would probably kick in, and I’d miss it.
S&S: What’s next for RJA after Warped Tour?
Jon: We’re going to take some time off, collect our thoughts, screw our heads back on. Then, I think we’re going to do a Canadian tour and possibly do some overseas [shows].
Elias: We’re also shooting a new video. We have a new single coming out.
S&S: What single?
Elias: “Your Guardian Angel.”
Jon: Hopefully jamming and writing some new stuff.
Elias: Video, off time, international stuff and then a new record, eventually.
S&S: Plenty of stuff to keep you busy! Will we ever actually find out Who Killed Ronnie?
Elias: If you watch the video, you can really find out.
Jon: There’s a hint. Michael Jackson always wears what on his hand?
S&S: The white glove.
Jon: That’s the clue.