Red Jumpsuit Apparatus: Biography and Profile

Hawthorne Heights Perform At Revolution
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The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus play melodic hard rock that makes room for punk and power-pop influences. Frontman Ronnie Winter’s emotional vocals get the band classified as emo by some, but their brand of earnest, angsty rock is more closely aligned to that of groups like Hoobastank or Linkin Park. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus had success with their 2006 debut, Don’t You Fake It, and are hoping to build on that commercial momentum with 2009’s Lonely Road.

Origins of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus:

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus formed in 2003 near Jacksonville, Florida. The band went through several incarnations before finalizing its lineup: singer Ronnie Winter, guitarists Elias Reidy and Duke Kitchens, bassist Joey Westwood and drummer Jon Wilkes. Red Jumpsuit Apparatus toured around Florida, putting together a demo and selling out shows before eventually signing with Virgin.

A Successful Debut:

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus released their debut, Don’t You Fake It, in July 2006. The album got mostly mixed reviews, drawing comparisons to Hoobastank, Hawthorne Heights, and Yellowcard. Still, the album caught on with radio, especially the single “Face Down,” a tale of domestic abuse that featured pop-punk guitar hooks. Don’t You Fake It was certified gold by November of that year, bolstered by the band’s appearance on that summer’s Warped Tour.

A New Album Arrives ... an Old Band Member Leaves:

Lonely Road, the band’s sophomore album, was released on February 3, 2009. Produced by Howard Benson (Seether, Daughtry, Theory of a Deadman), Lonely Road was the first Red Jumpsuit Apparatus album to not feature guitarist Elias Reidy, who left the band in October 2008.

A Return to Their Original Sound:

For their third studio album, Am I the Enemy, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus returned to the aggressive post-hardcore sound of their debut album. The album was less polished than Lonely Road due to working due to the band working with punk/hardcore producer John Feldmann. Feldmann produced, mixed, arranged, and co-wrote all the album's songs with singer Ronnie Winter.

Returning Members and New Personnel:

The band's fourth album, 4, saw the studio return of lead guitarist Matt Carter and the full-length studio album debut of drummer John Hartman – replacing longtime drummer Jon Wilkes. Randy Winter (Ronnie Winter's brother) played rhythm guitar, keyboards, and sang backup vocals on 4. The band released 4 on their own independent label and made the album available for free download on their official website. Since recording Red Jumpsuit Apparatus has replaced lead guitarist Matt Carter with Josh Burke and replaced drummer John Wilkes with John Espy. 

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Lineup:

Ronnie Winter – vocals, guitar, keyboards
Joey Westwood – bass guitar
Josh Burke – lead guitar
Randy Winter - rhythm guitar, vocals
John Espy – drums

Key Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Songs:

“Face Down”
“Your Guardian Angel”
“You Better Pray” 

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Discography:

Don’t You Fake It (2006)
Lonely Road (2009)
Am I the Enemy (2011)
4 (2014)

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Quotes:

Ronnie Winter, on how the band first got together.
“We were on a couch in [my] trailer. We used to sit around and play video games.”

Ronnie Winter, on the band’s unusual name.
“In all honesty, it’s an arbitrary band name. It was at a time when we weren’t too concerned about band names or genres. It’s more of a joke, almost. We took the music more seriously than the band name. Basically, we were more concerned with getting people to listen to the music. It’ll at least make people listen once.”

Ronnie Winter, explaining the band’s ability early on to attract interest.
“If you can make a really good demo and you can back it up live, honestly, I feel that any band has a shot. That’s how we did it. The real way.”

From a blog posting on the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus MySpace page in regards to Elias Reidy leaving the band.
“Elias is no longer with RJA, and has not been since late October. As history goes, RJA was started by Ronnie and Duke about seven years ago, and there have been seven lineup changes since then, especially in the guitar department, where Elias was the 5th replacement guitarist (such is life in a rock n roll band).”

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus Trivia:

  • In junior high, Ronnie Winter played the tuba.
  • Ronnie married his wife Staci in August 2006 in Las Vegas while the band was playing there as part of the Warped Tour.
  • “In Fate’s Hands,” the first song on Don’t You Fake It, was also the name of a metal band that two of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’s members were in before joining this new group.