After gracing our shores last year to celebrate a decade of ‘Don’t You Fake It’, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are making their way back down to celebrate the release of fifth album ‘The Awakening’ earlier this year! Ahead of the tour which kicks off in Brisbane on November 29, lead vocalist and founding member Ronnie Winters was kind enough to take time to speak about the band’s fifth visit to Australia. The first topic of conversation was about how excited the band are to be coming back so soon and Winters quickly proclaimed “we’re excited about coming back, as it’s one of those places that when we put a record out we make sure to head there! We waited four years before releasing another album, mainly because my wife Angela (who also co-produced the record) and I were having a baby so we took some time off. Then we did a couple of ten year anniversary tours, one of which was in Australia. Now we’ve put out the new record, which is kicking butt in the States and we’re started our international run; we’ve done Japan and Indonesia, now it’s onto Australia!”

Fans have been reacting extremely well to ‘The Awakening’, with recent single On Become Willing reaching ten weeks at number one on the US Billboard Christian Rock Charts. Talking about this recent milestone, Winters was very humble as he states “it’s been amazing man. It’s just hard to describe, as we feel a little bit more proud about this record. We’ve been independent for a while as we left our label eight years ago and whilst we’ve had seven number ones, this one has remained for ten weeks! Angela and I produced it, then my brother Randy and myself engineered the record, before sending it to our mixer Paul Levinski who has been with us since pre-Face Down and all throughout our career. A lot of people have been noticing the old school throwbacks and tips of the hat to the older songs!”

Taking time to deliver an insight into what fans should prepare themselves for at the upcoming Australian shows, Winters proudly states “basically, we don’t do what everyone else is doing; I know that’s not normal, but nothing about our band is normal! Right now people are using a lot of electronics that add to the shows, such as digital images or lights and lasers; I totally get it and if that’s what you’re paying to see, I think that’s really cool. That’s just not the rock n roll I grew up on; I grew up on AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, who are just a bunch of guys hitting the drums hard and turning the amps all the way up! It was all about the band’s synergy and how well the musicians can play together, not the thousands of backing tracks and extras. Whilst it might work for pop bands, it doesn’t translate well for rock bands. I mean, I’ve always been happy watching a band like Weezer or Foo Fighters, who play their songs well and really tight!”

Winters then delved further into the upcoming trip, this time explaining how Australia’s own The Comfort were chosen to be the main support act:  “I’ve gotten this question a couple of times and it always goes like this. Either we bring a band from the States that we’re usually friends with, or what we call nationals which is when we tour with a band from that nationality. In the case of nationals, we receive a list of bands who submit a back story, saying how they’ve got X number of albums and have been playing Y number of years. We don’t really book anyone who’s just started, as we had to work for that chance; therefore we support the bands who we see are out there working for it! Then I’ll start at the top and listen to them one by one, all the way to the bottom. If I like what I hear and I can see a band has the workings of doing everything on their own, they usually stand out and in this case it was The Comfort!”

Taking time to converse on a more personal level, Winters was questioned which song off ‘The Awakening’ was his favourite to perform live. Delivering yet another great insight, Winters exposed his heart and didn’t hold back:  “Right now, my current favourite is one that we haven’t actually played live yet, as it’s just me and an acoustic. Not only is it the last song on the album, it’s also the most recent song I wrote. We’re kind of a crazy band; we have no rules and can do whatever we want. I actually wrote it twelve minutes before the album came out. I wrote it, tracked it, sent it to the mixers, titled it and put it out literally a week and a half record later! That song is called Unfinished Business and it’s doing really well on its own. Maybe I’ll get enough courage to play it in Australia, as it’s a really emotional song for me; not many of our songs are, but this one is just difficult to sing without getting emotional. It’s just really fresh and when the time is right, the time is right; who knows, maybe I’ll never play it!”

Winters drew the interview to a close with a compassionate, heartfelt message of “if you’re dealing with feelings of depression, thoughts of suicide, or having problems with drugs and alcohol, I’m telling you to listen to this album! The person that’s in you has been through this and made it to the other side, so maybe you’ll hear something in there that will get you through.”