An email might have saved Max Green’s life.
A few years back, the bassist for hard-edged Vegas rockers Escape The Fate, who was out of the band at the time, was battling drug addiction, experiencing all the lows that come from chasing too many highs, draining his bank account, imperiling his career.
And then he heard from Ronnie Radke, Green’s former bandmate, who had once done the same, losing just about everything before finding himself behind bars.
Radke and Green had been buddies since high school and started Escape The Fate together nearly a decade ago. They landed a deal with punk powerhouse Epitaph Records and were primed for big things — and even bigger hair.
But then Radke succumbed to his own substance abuse issues, earning himself a two-year prison sentence and getting kicked out of the band.
Eventually, though, Radke would get sober and start a new band, Falling In Reverse, which began to really take off right when Green was falling apart.
And so Radke reached out to his old friend.
“I got an email from Ronnie saying, ‘Hey man, I just want you to know that I still love and care about you. I don’t want to go to your funeral. Please get your (crap) together,’ ” Green recalls of Radke’s message. “ ‘If I can do it and go to prison for two years, you can do it. You can begin to live your life any day you want.’ ”
Radke remembers the email in question.
“My intuition told me that he’s probably not doing too good, and if anybody would understand, it would be me,” he says. “At that time, I don’t think he really had anyone in his corner, so I thought that I’d be the guy to try to help him out, get him sober.”
Green would take Radke’s words to heart, eventually — he had to hit bottom first, he says, and that took a few more weeks. But he managed to get clean, moving back to rural Southern Ohio where his family lives to get as far away from the music industry as possible and get himself right.
Then Green got a call from his former bandmates, asking him to rejoin the group now that he was drug-free.
“I wasn’t even thinking about coming back to Escape The Fate,” Green says. “The last thought in my mind was ever playing with those guys again, just because I never thought they’d ever have me back.”
With Green having returned to Escape The Fate, it was Radke who proposed the idea for a joint tour between the band and Falling In Reverse.
Still, there were grievances to be addressed first, as Radke’s split from Escape The Fate was an acrimonious one, with sore feelings on both sides.
Both bands took shots at one another in song, feuding publicly and behind the scenes. The other members of Escape The Fate were frustrated with Radke’s erratic behavior from his drug use, which led to canceled tours and threatened the band’s livelihood.
For his part, Radke chafed at being singled out and denounced for indulging in what other members of the band were doing as well.
“I never really truly hated them to begin with, I was just very angry at them for the way that they perceived me in the media in the beginning when they were actually doing the exact same thing I was doing — and that was drugs and all that kind of stuff,” Radke says. “They see that point, and I see their point as well. They had to move on. I went to prison.”
Green sees the sniping as ultimately being therapeutic, in a cathartic way.
“The things that he had said on his albums, the things that we said on our albums, were all completely understandable and had to be said, had to be done, I think, for us to get to the point that we’re at now,” he says.
This point would be the aptly named “Bury The Hatchet Tour,” where Falling In Reverse and Escape The Fate will team up for the first time, with each show culminating in something that fans of either band probably thought they’d never see: Radke performing with his old group again.
“At the end of the show, we’re going to come back out and we’re going to play the songs that we did together,” Radke says, noting that advance business has been good for “Bury the Hatchet.”
“When I looked at the ticket sales for this tour, I was so shocked, because I’m used to a certain amount of ticket sales, and then the day of (the show), people come,” Radke says. “These are way past that. I feel like if we can do the whole tour together and get along, which I know we can, it will be better for both bands in the long run.”
For Green, getting used to life on the road once again has been an adjustment, considering all the temptations of being in a rock band on tour.
“I was nervous about it,” he says of hitting the road in Escape The Fate again. “I was like, ‘How are these guys going to react around me now with my new lifestyle?’ I don’t want anyone to walk on eggshells, to be afraid that I’m going to be around. I attend Narcotics Anonymous meetings on the regular and stuff like that. This is a total lifestyle. You’ve got to live it and love it and own it every single day. So far, I’ve been doing that. And I’m much happier on this side.”
He sounds like it on this day.
As he acknowledges with a chuckle, Escape The Fate is on something like their fourth new beginning these days, having undergone numerous lineup and label changes.
As so now, as they bury said hatchet, they’re looking to do the same with the past.
“I don’t have a doubt in my mind of this working out, working the way that we always wanted it to back when we were 16 years old,” Green says of the band moving forward. “If we got all this done as train wrecks, imagine what we can do now.”
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at email@example.com or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.