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Ghost Canyon

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

'Go Ahead Jump, Might As Well Jump!'

What’s in a name? Well, it depends who came up with it. In the case of Middleburg, Florida quintet The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, it might mean anything. Jumpsuits can be sleek and fashionable, tight and revealing. Or they can be loose and homogeneous, suggesting redundancy and confinement befitting a jailbird. Red is often flashy and easily noticeable, but it’s also the color of blood. And an apparatus allows a jumpsuit to be used for a specific purpose, such as leaping from an airplane – or it could be something sexual.

After all, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus {Ronnie Winter – lead vocals; Elias Reidy – guitar, backing vocals; Duke Kitchens – guitar, vocals; Joey Westwood – bass, vocals; and Jon Wilkes – drums, vocals) are ballsy and emotional, pulsing with vibrancy and tenacity. They’re strong, yet vulnerable, and they shift between musical styles with the confidence of superstars.

Strange then that The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus means…absolutely nothing. “It’s 100 percent completely arbitrary,” laughs singer Ronnie Winter. “When we started the band, we only cared about having a good time and writing good songs far more than coming up with some symbolic, incredibly intelligent name.”

A brief listen to The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’ debut and it’s obvious that these boys have spent a lot of time concentrating on their music. Their songs are flush with the determination, hunger and energy of youth (the average age in the band is 21). And while they tap into elements of pop-punk, pop, screamo, and metal, they combine them in a way that’s both surprising and invigorating. “In a time when everything’s labeled and categorized, you kind of have to try your best to step outside the box and be as unpredictable as possible to separate yourself,” explains Reidy.

On just their first record, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus already have mastered the difficult art of ensnaring the listener, whatever particular style they’re delving into. “Face Down” blends propulsive, chugging guitars, a steady beat and yearning pop vocals and climaxes in a detonation of dissonance and a volley of screams. “In Fate’s Hands” (the name of Reidy and bassist Joey Westwood’s former metal band) starts with plangent acoustic strumming then abruptly shifts into overdrive with start-stop guitars, tumbling drums and a chorus as angry as it is infectious. And “Cat and Mouse” is a melancholy ballad anchored by a repeating delicate piano line that surfaced as if by magic.

Chatting recently with guitarist Elias Reidy, and noting that it had been stated in their press that musically the band had 'stepped outside the box' for this debut, I first asked him to explain this more. "We just wanted to create something organic and that was real to us. We made these songs for us, with no intention to make millions. All the songs on the record sound different from each other. We took advantage of the option for versatility."

For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying your debut 'Don't You Fake It' CD, how would you yourself describe your sound and what they are to expect? "Honestly, the record is just a collection of different sounding rock songs. There's heavy songs and there's slow songs and everything in between. Just expect alot of dynamics."

Your album title 'Don't You Fake It' is an interesting choice, but perhaps it originates from a more personal standpoint for you? "Sort of, we honestly kind of settled on it for a band name, but it totally stepped up to the plate and made sense. We're all about being normal dudes and keepin' it real. So what better what to say it?"

And for the record, just where does the bands name originate and what else could it so easily have been called? "The band name originated from the fact that what the band was called never mattered in the beginning. We called ourselves "The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus" because it sounded fun and it was good enough. Plus it's very open ended. With a name like that, you could make any style of music. So basically we just want people to listen to our music instead of judging us by our name."

If there was one track on 'Don't You Fake It' that truly encapsulated The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus at their musical and lyrical finest, which one wouLd it be? "I would probably have to say 'Atrophy.' That was one of the songs we wrote on the fly in the studio and we were all stoked on how it came out. It's raw and real. It's us."

Noting that most all your lyrics are born from personal experiences, which one has the best story attached to it? "That's more of a question for our singer Ronnie. Get to him on that one!"

With just Ronnie and Duke being the only original members left since conception in '03, why have others come and gone so much in the past three years or so? "People lose faith and shit happens. There are numerous reason why virtually all bands in history have member changes. All that really mattered to us was that when we got Joey and Jon in the band on bass and drums, we knew it felt right and that we could really do it."

Just for fun, and taking the titles of a few of your album tracks, please let us know:
'Face Down' - When was the last time you were face down anywhere by accident ... and was it a trip or alcohol that put you there?! "Hmmm, the last time I was face down was probably all morning while I was passed out! Sleep is hard to come by in this business."

'Cat and Mouse' - Have you ever played cat and mouse trying to ensnare a girl ... and did it work?! "Yes, I'd like to consider myself somewhat charming and it's all about the chase right?"

'Your Guardian Angel' - Have you got a Guardian Angel that you know of, one that steers you aware from danger, perhaps? "Yes, I'd have to say my mother, which actually the reason we named that song, 'Your Guardian Angel'."

What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "I'm not too sure to be honest. Definitely something from Journey or Boston though."

Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "Yeah, I think they're kinda cute."

Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk

If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus' new CD, just answer this easy question: The band recently contributed a track to which new video game soundtrack for 2007?!

Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before November 1st with your answer and the subject title 'CONTEST: TRJA SIGNED CDs' to:

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