Falling in Reverse’s Ronnie Radke Details PTSD From Prison Experience, Announces New Book
Falling in Reverse frontman Ronnie Radke is ready to share his past experiences via an upcoming book, and the musician goes in depth with Talk Is Jericho host Chris Jericho about how his experience going to prison led to him dealing with social anxiety and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
Within the course of the conversation, Radke revealed the new book title, offering, “The book is called ‘I Can Explain.’ I named it that cause it’s really funny to me cause I’ve gotten in so much trouble and have a bad reputation. People love me, but I get a lot of crap online and stuff like that, so it was a perfect [title]. ‘I Can Explain’ is a perfect name for me.”
From there, the musician revealed that the book touches upon his experiences going to prison while addicted to drugs, getting sober and dealing with his post-traumatic stress following his release as well as other topics.
Reflecting on that period of his life, Radke told Jericho that he went to county jail addicted to opiates, recalling, "They’re not fun withdrawing in jail. You don’t get all the benefits of withdrawing in your bed. It was awful. Let’s put it like that.”
“[The withdrawal] was about two weeks, but they don’t care about you. You tell them you’re withdrawing and they give you, I don’t even know what it was, but it makes you sleep, but it did not help. I swear, right when I was feeling well enough to not lay down, I went to court in jail and they were like, ‘You’re going to prison.’ I felt good enough to go do this and now I’m going to prison,” recalls the singer.
Radke says watching plenty of movies over the years led him to shave his hair, thinking it might help as he entered prison, but he laughingly added, "I went into a prison with the worst haircut you’ve ever seen.”
As for his experience over that time, he explained, “It destroyed me. But it would destroy anybody. Your band is going up and up and then you get everything taken away and it’s all your fault. It’s my fault. A lot of people are like, ‘Aw, I would never do that. I’d kill myself.’ I used to say that all the time, that I would never go to prison. But now you go, and you’ll survive. The human brain is crazy what it endures."
The discussion then turned to how Radke coped, with the musician delving in to his PTSD from the experience. “Post traumatic stress. It’s like a soldier going to war and coming home. It’s the same part of the brain, cause you’re like in a war zone and the biggest, scariest guys in there are terrified. Everybody’s scared in there, cause looking around, you don’t know what’s going to happen. It makes you kind of paranoid, for reals.”
Radke shares with Jericho the experience of being in the middle of a prison riot in which the guards fired birdshots to disperse the action. “There were just a lot of moments that were war-like and scary," says Radke. "And then you go from that and they’re like, ‘Alright, good luck. [You're released].’ And then you go outside and everything is so big. You’re so used to being confined and small and wearing the same colors and then they let you out and everything is super colorful and everything is far away and you have to make decisions. In there, they make the decisions for you. You have a couple of decisions you can make, but everything else is they tell you when to eat, they tell you what you’re going to eat and then all of a sudden now you have to make all these decisions after being institutionalized for years. It’s very traumatic. I went to therapy for two times a week for two years.”
Upon his release, Radke recalls a simple situation of placing a food order causing a complete meltdown.“I remember walking into a Subway for the first time and they were like, ‘What do you want?’ and I just had a complete meltdown," said the singer. "There was just so many things and I started trembling and I just had to leave and stuff. My friends had to order for me. It was wild.”
Immediately after his release, Radke says he only felt comfortable with hotel rooms and that being with large groups of people and large spaces triggered his social anxiety. “I couldn’t be with more than one person at a time. If there was more than two people in a room, it made me feel very crazy. Social anxiety, it was insane man,” he explained.
When asked how he was able to then perform in front of an audience by Jericho, Radke offered, “It’s bizarre. It was because it was loud. I was protected by how loud it was. It was usually when it got really quiet [that I had an issue], because in prison if it got really quiet, something really bad was going to happen.”
Check out more of the discussion, which includes how he started working toward Falling in Reverse while in prison, his relationship with his former band Escape the Fate and a rundown of his favorite tours in the Talk Is Jericho episode below.