Modern Heroes: an interview with Ronnie Winter and Jon Wilkes of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.
Julia Werner
8/20/2007 5:32:56 PM

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus went from zero to gold in one album; their first LP Don’t You Fake It has sold over 500,000 copies. The band can leap tall buildings in a single bound by combining pop punk, screamo, and metal. Finally, they’re here for the greater good, participating in numerous charitable concerts such as the US Take Action! Tour and a fundraiser for tornado victims in Fort Rucker, Alabama. caught up with singer Ronnie Winter and drummer Jon Wilkes for a quick chat at the Vans Warped Tour in St. Louis.

NT: What’s been your favorite part of the tour so far?

RW: Well, favorite city, no offense to anyone else, but it would have to be hometown. We played Green Cove Springs today which is actually ten minutes from my house so I got to drive my car a little bit and hang out with my dog so for me it was definitely hometown.

JW: I would say…I really like Denver because it had a nice breeze, and the location was great.

RW: And like ten billion people showed up.

JW: And ten billion people showed up.

RW: Mighta been a trillion.

NT: Have you had any weird/interesting experiences on the tour?

JW: I had a fun experience where we were all at the AP party and I decided it would be a good idea to climb on the top of the tent which was fifteen feet above the ground and I hung down over the dance floor…like a monkey. I had everything but the banana.

NT: Any particular reason?

RW: Just ‘cause he’s a crazy animal.

NT: How would you describe the members of the band and yourself in one or two words?

JW: I can describe the whole band in two words: real…fun.

RW: But real as in, like, authenticity.

NT: What makes your lyrics different?

RW: We’re very honest with our lyrics. It’s just real stories, that’s why our album’s called Don’t You Fake It. It’s just kinda the way we do things. Other bands that don’t it that way, they might have extensive fake stories to get the point across which is just as important, but we don’t do that. So I guess that’s how they would be different. The songs are all extremely personal because they’re all real. And they’re not all about me. A lot of the songs are about other band members or somebody that we know, so no matter what every song we’ve ever made, everyone in the band knows who I’m talking about. So, that’s how we’re different, and my favorite lyrics…I can’t choose ‘cause they’re all mine, I don’t know if that’s a stupid answer. I mean, it’s hard to pick.

NT: What do you guys do in your down time, any other dreams or passions?

RW: Pretty much we just joke around all day every day and have a good time ‘cause we’re in a rock band which is the greatest job on the earth.

JW: We also love movies.

NT: Oh, have you seen any good movies lately?

JW: I watched Spun for the first time in my life.

RW: I just saw Pathfinder, which is a total dude movie, but good movie, trust me.

NT: If you could give advice to aspiring musicians, what would you tell them?

RW: Well, first things first, practice more than anyone else you know. Everyone in my band basically did that; it’s how we got here. We worked really hard, and if you do that, you’ll get better, no matter how good you are right now. And you know, just take it seriously, and if it’s what you really want, don’t give up. Eventually, it has to happen or you die.

JW: Music can either be a hobby or it can be a career and you have to make a decision. It’s a decision you have to commit to.

NT: Is there anything about you that fans might not know that you’re willing to share?

JW: I used to be able to do a back-handspring. I don’t think even he knows that. [motions to Ronnie]

RW: I didn’t know that…now you’re gonna do it on stage tonight.

JW: The only reason I don’t do it is that I’m afraid if I fall on my hands wrong I’ll break my wrists and I won’t be able to play.

Hopefully, wrists intact, this powerhouse band will continue to defy gravity with their intriguing sound, effective lyrics, and hearts to match their record sales.


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