Fans of traditional rock are bound to have heard of Ronnie Radke. Back in the early 2000s, metal and hard rock hadn’t been as obsolete as they are today. The blend of goth that once shone brightly in the 90s found a haven in rock music. Ronnie Radke is one of the many who carried the holy grail of hard rock and goth.
Radke rose to popularity as the lead singer for post-hardcore band Escape the Fate (formed in 2004 in Nevada) but was kicked out in 2008 after he was sentenced to prison. While in prison, Radke formed a new band called Falling in Reverse.
He formally announced the formation of this new band after his release in December 2010. Radke spent much of his sentence writing songs for his new band.
Although it isn’t surprising to see that a rockstar like him would have had more than his fair share of brushes with the law, you might wonder exactly why did Ronnie Radke go to prison? Here’s the answer to that question.
Who is Ronnie Radke?
Ronald Joseph Radke, born on 15th December 1983, in St. Rose Hospital, in Las Vegas, Nevada, is one of the three children of Russell Radke. He has two brothers, Matthew Radke and Anthony James Radke (1980-2013).
Radke's mother was an addict and remained absent from most of his childhood, which, he stated caused him to have a general lack of respect toward women as an adult. He later forgave her when he went on to post a picture of her on Instagram after a Falling in Reverse show in 2014. Radke is half-Blackfoot Indian and half-Portuguese.
Early Beginnings and Escape the Fate
Radke learned to play piano and guitar in his first bands, initially playing Blink-182 songs on guitar. He formed several bands during his time in high school before running away from home to play in his first band. He lived with his friend, Mitch, and his mother for a time.
After performing a few gigs with the band, Radke moved back in with his dad and re-entered school but dropped out again because he couldn’t pay attention. Radke’s second band was called Lefty.
He met Max Green (from the band Almost Heroes) at a talent show where Radke's microphone fell and Max picked it up for him while they were on stage. They ended up becoming friends, forming the band True Story, which recorded a demo track called "This Is Not the End". Radke started screaming in the band after being inspired by Thrice (a Californian rock band), then began singing, eventually forming Escape the Fate.
Why did Ronnie Radke go to Prison?
On 6th May 2006, at approximately 2:30 PM, then 22-year-old Radke went to fight Marcel Colquitt near Shadow Ridge High School at the north end of Decatur Boulevard. Both of them brought additional supporters with them in the fight.
During the fight, 22-year-old Chase Rader, a man Radke had brought with him, shot 18-year-old Michael Allen Cook, which resulted in his death. Rader also wounded another man, Colquitt's brother. Rader was subsequently arrested and charged with murder, but the district attorney declined to prosecute him, stating that Rader had acted in self-defense, deserve though he had confessed.
Radke, on the other hand, pleaded guilty to battery with substantial bodily harm and owning and bringing brass knuckles to the brawl, which is illegal in Nevada.
Radke was subsequently placed on probation for five years and ordered to pay $92,372 in restitution to Ceda Freeman, the mother of deceased Cook. However, Radke violated the terms of his probation. He was sentenced to serve two and a half years in prison.
Falling in Reverse
Because of his imprisonment, Escape the Fate fired Radke and replaced him with Craig Mabbitt, formerly of the band Blessthefall.
During Radke's imprisonment, a feud grew between Radke and Mabbitt when Escape the Fate insulted Radke during live performances. Radke responded with vulgar posts on social media.
When Mabbitt began dating Radke's ex-girlfriend, Mandy Murders, a scene-queen model best known for her role as the “Juliet” in ETF’s music video for the song “Not Good Enough For Truth In Cliché.” In an offensive message to the new singer, Radke asked Mabbitt, "How does my dick taste?" on Myspace. In response to a heckler during an ETF show at 2009's Warped Tour, Mabbitt yelled at the crowd.
Mabbitt was famous for being under siege and having frequent verbal spats with his audience, who were supporters of Ronnie, some even wearing t-shirts that read “Team Ronnie.”
In 2014, Escape the Fate and Falling in Reverse co-headlined the "Bury the Hatchet" tour, bringing an end to the hostilities.
Further Legal Issues
Arrest for Domestic Violence
On 1st May 2012, Radke was accused of beating his then-girlfriend, Sally Watts. He was arrested in Glendale, California, on 6th August 2012 after he failed to make an appearance at any of the scheduled court hearings.
He pleaded guilty and was officially charged with a misdemeanor count of corporal injury and misdemeanor false imprisonment by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD). Radke was released after a bail of $30,000.
Arrest for Six Flags Assault
On 29th September 2012, during a Falling in Reverse performance for FestEVIL, a metal festival for Six Flags Great Adventure's Fright Fest event, he threw three microphone stands into the audience at the close of a performance, which ended up injuring a 16-year-old girl, who had to be taken to the hospital, and another 24-year-old man, who was treated at the spot.
Radke was arrested and charged with simple assault and aggravated assault but was released after he paid a $25,000 bail. Radke publicly apologized for his actions, saying that they weren’t out of anger. Six Flags banned hard rock and heavy metal bands from performing at the theme park in the future.
Rape allegation and defamation lawsuit
On 10th June 2015, Radke was publicly accused of sexual assault by a 25-year-old woman. The accuser claimed that Radke had sexually assaulted her in the presence of his bus driver after Falling in Reverse's performance at Murray Theater on 3rd June 2015.
It was later determined that Radke had contact with the woman, but police found no evidence that Radke or his entourage had assaulted the woman as per her claim. An eyewitness reported that she was visibly intoxicated upon exiting Radke's vehicle. Radke subsequently filed a lawsuit for defamation against the woman and won the case.