For fans of alternative music born in the 90s post-Nirvana, post-Queen, post-just about everything, it’s difficult to find a particular album that would impact our lives in the same way releases from the aforementioned artists had on our older siblings or parents. That said, it was always a challenge to find someone who’s heavy music adventures didn’t begin with the opening drum fill of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’ glorious 2006 album Don’t You Fake It.

Following a series of other releases, and numerous line-up changes, the band announced that they’ll be honouring the 10-year milestone of the album in the only way worthy of such a formative release; by performing it in full for fans all over the world. Now, it’s Australia’s turn.

Ahead of their arrival, we spoke to founding member and vocalist Ronnie Winter about the genre-defying album, and the curiosities that go with performing it from start to finish all these years later.

The Neversphere: Once and for all you will be performing Don’t You Fake It in full for your Australian fans, after all these years that must be a bit of a buzz?
Ronnie: We never really got an opportunity the first time around to play the album in full. Our first performance was Soundwave and we didn’t even have enough time in our time slot to play the album. We also had a new record out by then so this is the first time the Australian people will be able to see the record the whole way through.
The Neversphere: When the tour was announced, it was crazy here. Did the album resonate particularly well in Australia? Or was the tour met with craziness the world over?
Ronnie: You know, we were really lucky with this album, definitely blessed. Pretty much wherever we released it, it did well. We started off this tour in The Philippines; my wife, half her family is Filipino. So we started the tour there last year and it was huge. We did a couple of arena shows and bar shows. We did a lot of US touring to follow that up then we took a break, we were going to do Australia last year but my wife was pregnant and she was delivering so we had to push back the Australian dates.

We’re still considering it part of the 10-year anniversary your because that was the original plan but, you know, baby does what baby wants to do. So now we just pick up where we left off. We didn’t want to leave you out so now we’re coming there.
The Neversphere: We’re still stoked on it. Usually we miss out on these nostalgia tours while North America and Europe enjoy them. So we’re fine with waiting a few extra months.
Ronnie: That’s interesting. We definitely planned on doing it, but like I said we are not willing to risk anything with the pregnancy. Originally I tried to get my wife to come with me then while she was still pregnant but she talked me out of it and I’m glad she did. Now we have a healthy son named Wolfgang who’s 6 months old.
The Neversphere: When Don’t You Fake It came out back in 2006, it became such an important subcultural gateway. Many of us started our journey with this album. Even back then I always wondered this…Do you at all feel as though you missed out on enjoying such an important moment in the scene because you were too busy being one of the people who made it happen?
Ronnie: I’ve never been asked that before. It’s very insightful. I’ve never even considered that but now that I’ve put it in my brain I’d say no. I don’t feel like I missed out because all I wanted to do was make music for a living and not work construction for my whole life.

When I got the opportunity to write songs, out there with a label and tour with a band I took it and I did whatever I had to do at the time to get my foot in the door, which is just what humans do. That say if you love what you do then do it forever, so I got lucky. I was able to provide my family and friends with food on the table and pay all the bills with music so I don’t really feel I missed out as far as that stuff’s concerned.

But as far as the scene, you know, we were then and still are very much alive in the scene. We got to tour with bands like 30 Seconds To Mars and My Chemical Romance, who were all breaking at that time with their biggest albums, so we were still right there. I got to watch all those bands for free. So even though I didn’t get to watch my band and experience our record, I got to watch The Black Parade, I got to experience The Used when they came out with In Love And Death. We got to see the bands that we listened to break, and that was good enough for me.

I also got a lot of inspiration from their records. The artists I listened to the most was The Used, Coheed and Cambria, Thrice and My Chemical Romance. They were pretty much constantly in my ears; I would definitely give them credit as my inspiration. I could listen to them, enjoy their records and put out my version, I guess, of what we call the post-hardcore genre.
The Neversphere: Revisiting the album as a whole must be strange. I understand some of the tracks have always been in the set list, but going through the whole anthology all these years later, are you stumbling upon motifs, themes, or anything really that you weren’t aware of back in 2006 because you were too close to the project?
Ronnie: Hmm…Not really. Because I pretty much know every inch and crevasse of the entire record on every instrument from the beginning to the end. Being to close to the project is definitely possible but for me, I don’t know, I think it’s impossible to miss anything when you know every piece of the puzzle. It’s always easier to put the puzzle back together again if you’ve already done it one time.

Once we made the record, it’s easier to do it live. Once we finished the album and it was mixed, mastered and out and we were no longer editing, experimenting with arrangements, we were no longer making any last minute changes; it actually got easier. We were able to wash our hands of it and go ‘Ok, this is finished, now we can worry about other stuff cos this will always be Don’t You Fake It‘.

The real task is trying to pull it off exactly how we recorded it, which is what we try.

The Neversphere: Revisiting these tracks that you hadn’t touched in some time, I imagine it’ll be one of two things: a head trip because it of how different everything seem and feels after all this time, or a head trip because even after all these this time, everything seems and feels exactly the same?
Ronnie: I think me, Joey [Westwood, bassist] and Randy [Winter, guitar], we were all on the original album. The very first show in The Philippines, the very first time we played it together live, that was a little…I wouldn’t say eerie but it was interesting. We kind of looked at each other…we’re all older now. life has moved on. The album’s not just 10 years old, we’re 10 years older and so are our fans.

So there was a minute there, maybe on the second song, I think it’s Waiting, because we definitely retired Waiting from the set list, a lot of the album we put on the back burner. By the time we got to the end of that second song it felt very natural. It’s actually easier playing your old stuff than your easier stuff. Always in the back of your mind you’re worried if people are going to like the new material, or just stare down and look bored the whole time. But when you’re playing Don’t You Fake It, you don’t have to worry about that. It’s easier than normal. You know what you’re getting when you buy a ticket, if you like the album you’re going to have a great time.
The Neversphere: What else do you have in store for us? Do you guys try to stay as true to the album versions as possible, or do you let the wild horses run so to speak and have some fun with them?
Ronnie: I’ve had a lot of member over the years, so essentially I try to focus on our strengths and not our weaknesses. In the very beginning, our original line-up never even played the first show. My drummer left to go to college; my bass player joined the military. The original line-up never even played one show. So, I knew off the bat it was just going to be me hiring and firing my friends, which is what I did over the x amount of years until either I made it, died or gave up. They were the only three options.

What I learnt was, when I replaced one member with another, just like a video game, certain attributes will go up, and certain attributes will go down. So like I said I just try to focus on our strengths when we play live…It all depends on what the bands line up is when you see it.
The Neversphere: Has revisiting your earlier work so extensively had an impact on where you might be headed with any impending new material?
Ronnie: Well, we’ve been really busy. My wife is scoring a soundtrack for a movie out here in California, and also after that, her and i are co-producing the next Jumpsuit album. The song writing process has started. I’ve been emailing back and forth with my brother, he does a lot of writing when it comes to the music, I wrote the songs but sometimes other guys help write the music which is what makes it a band.

One of the songs is almost done – pretty much is done, we just have to start an official track. Essentially when we land, about a month later, we’ll start producing the next album which is called The Awakening. We’re doing our best to not get too frustrated…

…It’s been hectic, but we’re hanging in there.

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus ‘Don’t You Fake It’ Australian Tour Dates
Supported by Young Lions

Tickets on sale now

Friday, May 5th
The Triffid, Brisbane (Licensed / All Ages)
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Saturday, May 6th
Manning Bar, Sydney (18+)
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Sunday, May 7th
The Small Ballroom, Newcastle (18+)
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Thursday, 11th May
The Basement, Canberra (18+)
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Friday, May 12th
Max Watts, Melbourne (18+)
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Saturday, May 13th
Fowlers Live, Adelaide (Licensed / All Ages)
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Sunday, May 14th
Amplifier Bar, Perth (18+)
Tickets: Destroy All Lines