Killswitch Engage's Jesse Leach Returns at New England Metal Fest
Band Photo: Killswitch Engage (?)
After losing his singer – again – Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz says he considered ending the band he’s been a part of since the turn of the century.
“That thought definitely did cross my mind,” Dutkiewicz told Metalundergound.com recently. “Picking up the pieces after losing two singers is kind of ridiculous. But things worked out and we feel like a stronger unit.”
Adam D and his longtime bandmates – Mike D’Antonio, Justin Foley and Joel Stroetzel – first dealt with losing original singer Jesse Leach back in 2003, just as the band was taking off with its sophomore release, Alive or Just Breathing. Leach was battling depression and was replaced by Blood Has Been Shed’s Howard Jones, who went on to front the Massachusetts-based band as they earned a Grammy nomination and two gold albums and headlined sold-out arenas and festivals.
When Jones left last year to deal with his own personal demons, Dutkiewicz and the crew didn’t have to think too hard before deciding to bring Leach back into the fold. Dutkiewicz and Leach had toured together with their side project Times of Grace and have remained friends, despite the messy breakup a decade ago.
“Jesse did have an edge because he used to be the actual singer of the band. And he’s a great friend of mine,” Dutkiewicz said.
Dutkiewicz says he keeps in touch with Jones, who is considering writing a book about his experiences in Killswitch.
“Howard and I still chat and honestly he’s just doing his thing,” Dutkiewicz says. “We all wish him his best. He’s doing alright. He’s just chilling.”
For Leach, singing songs written by Jones took some time getting used to, but he says the emotion behind the words is what’s allowed him to make the songs his own.
“Initially it was kind of a strange thing for me . . . I’ve never sang someone else’s songs, my whole career,” Leach says. “I just sat with the songs and just listened to them. For me, it was really just taking them in and digesting them, and seeing how I could connect with the lyrics. I just fell in love with the songs. I think they’re great songs. It’s just honest. It’s just him pouring out his heart.”
One of his favorites to sing is “Arms of Sorrow” from 2006’s As Daylight Dies.
“That song moves me,” Leach said. “It’s such an honest song from Howard. It speaks volumes about being on the road and trouble with relationships. There’s something to that song that gets me.”
“Plus, the song crafting is Adam. It’s flawlessly written hooks,” he continues. “It’s just getting into the mind state of feeling every word I’m saying. I can’t stand on stage and pretend.”
Leach will make his return official Sunday at the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival in Worcester, Mass.
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