Radke learned to play piano and guitar in his first bands. He began by playing Blink-182 songs on guitar. The first song he could play was "Dammit". He formed several bands while in high school. Radke ran away from home to play in his first band, with his friend Mitch, called 3. 0. which according to Radke "sounded exactly like Blink 182". He lived with Mitch and his mother for a time. They played a few shows at various venues such as Chain Reaction and the Huntridge in Las Vegas. After the band, Radke moved back in with his dad, re-entered school, and dropped out again. He stated in an Alternative Press interview, "I just couldn't for some reason pay attention; I just daydreamed about everything else but what I'm supposed to be doing. " Radke stated that the second band was called Lefty. Radke met Max Green (from the band Almost Heroes) at a talent show. Radke's microphone fell and Max picked it up for him while they were on stage and they became friends, forming the band True Story, which recorded a demo containing the track "This Is Not the End". Radke started screaming in the band after being inspired by Thrice, then started to sing, slowly forming Escape the Fate.