KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Frontman Says New Song With Howard Jones Is "A Real Heavy Shit-Kicker"
Jesse Leach was Killswitch Engage's founding vocalist in 1999 and stuck around until 2002, at which point he was replaced by Howard Jones. Jones did 10 years in Killswitch Engage and was then replaced in 2012 by Leach, who has been the band's frontman ever since.
Leach tells the Wall Of Sound: Up Against The Wall podcast he's just about done recording vocals for the new album and the band will choose between 12 and 14 songs for the release. We know that one song that will make the album is a collaboration between Leach and Jones on vocals, and Leach explains in the interview how the band decided to collaborate with Jones on the song.
"The cool thing about is Howard sort of made the first move; he wanted to come out to a show we played in Canada. The guys had their own differences to sort out, but between him and I, we've never really been friends. We know each other, we've been part of the same scene, but it was such a different thing this time around. And the fact that I was able to sit with him, one on one, backstage and on the bus, without anyone else around, and just kind of figure out who he is and talk to him. And we totally hit it off within 10, 15 minutes and realized how much we had in common. And thankfully, since then, we text each other once every couple of weeks here and there, we're really good friends, and he sings on the new record and we had him come out and sing with us in London. So we were able to move on from that awkward thing that happens when bands lose a member; we just decided we weren't gonna be that band."
"It's a terrible thing that happens with bands, especially bands that split up and they're legendary and they need to come back together. I could name a few right now off the top of my head I'd love to see reunite. But it's ego. Just put your ego aside; who cares? And the press can definitely twist it up, the fans can twist it up, and you can believe the hype — you can feed into the nonsense. Which happens, and everybody's human; I get it. But I've never had any bad blood, 'cause I didn't really know Howard, so I couldn't really speak on that. So, for me, it was, number one, good to see the band bury the hatchet, move on, and just let time heal the wounds. Why would I hold on to anything if those guys weren't? And the nice surprise out of it is I gained a new friend — somebody that I really enjoy talking to and hanging out with and having in my life. So it's a win-win situation."
As for the song, he says it's a reference to Jones' new band Light The Torch and is heavy as shit.
"His new band being called Light The Torch, the analogy of the song is lighting a signal fire — like a distress call — and I wrote it about coming together and finding unity. It's kind of about our friendship now — it happened so strangely. That's kind of all I'm gonna say about it. It's a song about unity. And he does a verse, I do a verse, we sing the chorus together, and it's a real heavy shit-kicker."
Killswitch Engage was originally trying to release their new album in 2018, but emergency vocal cord surgery for Leach pushed the record back. This will also be Kilswitch Engage's debut record for Metal Blade Records.