At some point in the 90s, queercore band Pansy Division were interviewed by Kerrang! magazine. In that interview, they compared major pop punk bands like NOFX and Pennywise to 80s party metal scumbags Mötley Crüe – asserting that they appealed to roughly the same type of person (scumbag party bros), behaved in a similar way (were scumbags at parties), etc. They were lamenting punk's descent into apolitical bro-ishness via the Warped Tour and MTV, and while they were right that the focus had shifted a little from fighting the power to fighting back the puke, they could never have predicted Ronnie Radke. No one could, or would ever want to.
Ronnie Radke is the lead singer of Las Vegas metalcore pricks, Falling In Reverse. Last week, Ronnie fired his entire band in a shit-fit about ticket sales. But not before he dropped the kind of music video that reminds us why the terrorists hate us/that punk is dead/how to be a fucking rock star:
That's right: Someone out there thought it was a good idea to have a bunch of emo dickheads do choreographed dance routines to metalcore breakdowns, get the most annoying one to rap, then slather a bunch of sub-Skrillex trance synths over the top of it. The synths sound like gangrenous piss. I don't know if it makes it better or worse that Radke claims to have been sober and drug free for nearly five years. (Coincidentally enough, he’s spent the same five years on probation for his role in an altercation that resulted in a shooting death, with two of those spent in prison for skipping out on his parole officer – yep, he’s that kinda guy.)
Disappointingly, for those of us who enjoy watching prima donnas with face tattoos talk shit about people they believe have wronged them, Radke had a tantrum on Twitter, then deleted all his tweets and Instagram photos. In light of such cowardly backtracking, we’ll have to make do with piecing together the psyche of a full-blown fucking rock star by taking a closer look at the video for "Alone".
We open to the sound of synths and a helicopter dropping off a few emo bros who seem to have been plucked from some "make a band" PC game from the 90s. While considering the helicopter, note that these guys are signed to Epitaph Records, the pop punk Motown founded by Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz. That’s right: the same man who wrote "We're Only Gonna Die (From Our Own Arrogance)" signed off on a helicopter and white suit rental to turn the stinkiest turd lurking in the toilet of Ronnie Radke’s ego into a reality. I’m no punk purist, but it seems that Mr Gurewitz might want to take a long hard look at himself.
Ronnie arrives a moment after his bandmates, like the big swingin' dick he is. The star of the show emerges from a Ferrari to engage in some well-executed ghost riding of said whip. That’s right: rap stuff’s happening. If you do enough coke, it always does. Hell, the track even sounds kinda like a godforsaken Fall Out Boy/2 Chainz collab that's probably already stewing in some garish LA studio.
Then he points at his shoes and says:
"White boy on the beat / rockin' Gucci sneaks."
Which is a weird thing to say. Or maybe I just think it is because the only people I've ever seen wearing Gucci trainers are middle-aged tourist mums from Holland. Can you tell me please where is the Piccadilly Circle?
After dropping some hardcore fucking truth about Charlie Sheen (even Justin Lee Collins would balk at trying to score LOLs off the "winning" trope in 2013), Ronnie pulls this face. Those of you familiar with metalcore will recognise it as what happens when a man cuts through some clean, emo choirboy vocals with a Cookie Monster/Raging Speedhorn “Rrrrrwooooooargh!”
Pro tip: out of context, this face always looks like blowjobs.
After the screaming, the band and some hot, jumpsuited sluts follow their fearless leader into a Nevada aircraft hangar to attend to some business. But what kind of business?
Trying to screengrab Ronnie dropping his biggest "Rick Ross's Instagram" swag proved really tricky, unfortunately, but allow this knowledge (via the lyrics of "Alone") to be dropped on you:
"I've got a lot of people talking nothing but chatter / Why'd you switch your style up and that I don't matter / Man, I've been in rap since I was shitting in Pampers / Climb the ladder to the top and now I'm shitting on rappers."
Pow! Take that, motherfuckers! Pampers!
Without wishing to sound butthurt and old, the story supposedly goes that in 1997 Dennis Lyxzen of Refused fame got into Levis and jazz and made this record/video, and that is why we now have heavily tattooed alleged wife-beaters in nasty suits and girls’ jeans rapping over trance synths. A bit of hardcore history for you. That one's a freebie. This is the kind of transition that makes Larry Levan to Flux Pavilion look seamless and respectful by comparison.
Sunglasses indoors, obviously, the Coca-Cola of things that immediately mark people out as wankers. Weirdly, though, I feel like the sunglasses are actually kind of comforting in this context. There is so much fresh hell being wrought from this video that it's nice to have a reminder of the way shitty things used to be. Because compared to Falling In Reverse, the past was a golden age for shit.
Seriously? Why are people still doing this? Even my mum flips the bird occasionally if somebody cuts her up. The middle finger is no longer the fist in the air in the land of hypocrisy that it was in 1999. We have the internet now. This gesture will never be offensive to anyone ever again. Stop it.
I'm not sure if this a glimpse into a rare moment of self-doubt from Ronnie, but in this screengrab he is doing that loser forehead thing (© Wheatus, 2000) backwards. So he's doing it at himself. In the words of Richard Littlejohn, You Couldn’t Make It Up.
Signing off by blowing a kiss to all the ladies/haters/lady haters out there; keeping it resolutely classy. Over and out, Ronnie, you deluded little man.
Previously by Robert Foster: How to Be Young, Happy and Jobless
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