It's been a rough road for Escape The Fate's Max Green these past couple of years. Testing the mettle of the normally indefatigable bassist was the sobering realisation last year that his closest friend Ronnie Radke would not be returning to the band they co-founded in 2005.
Placed on a five-year probation for battery following his involvement in a fight that led to a fatal shooting in 2006, singer Radke soon left the Las Vegas-based Escape The Fate and remains estranged from the group. For Green, it was a bitter pill to swallow.
"Me and him have been through so much shit together," he says on the phone. "We've lived together, we've toured together, we've been homeless together, we've been drug addicts together - everything you could possibly think of. And it's shitty how things turned out but I think we're a better and stronger band for what we've been through."
No longer on speaking terms with his former front man, 23-year-old Green cleaned up his personal life, kicking his drug and alcohol dependency with "a lot of detoxing and a lot of AA meetings".
"As far the partying and drugs go, that was me and Ronnie," says Green. "We wanted to be big rock stars and it's really easy to get caught up in the world of rock n' roll."
Having last year blown out several tours to promote 2006's stellar debut Dying Is Your Latest Fashion, Green this year recruited a new singer Craig Mabbitt (ex-Blessthefall), a perfect fit according to the bassist.
"He's not trying to be anybody but himself," says Green. "I think a lot of people will be surprised when they hear Craig's voice on the new record because he's really stepped it up."
Produced by John Feldmann (Story Of The Year, The Used) the October-bound album was an important purging process for Green, who reflected cathartically on several years of self-destruction.
"A lot of shit has gone down these last two years, literally a rollercoaster of emotions." he says. "I just took all that we've been through and channelled it into a pen and paper and laid it down - it definitely shows in the new album. There's a track on there I had written specifically about the events my old singer and I went through and by the end of it in the studio I started to cry. I just poured my heart and soul into it.
"I'm not going to lie, at times I do miss Ronnie but I don't miss the Ronnie that he is now, I miss the Ronnie that he was. I won't sit here and talk shit about the guy because he wasn't the only guy to make a mistake in this band, I was right along side the whole time and made a lot of mistakes myself. It just sucks because he and I were like brothers and so from time to time I get sad. But I have no regrets in this life."