Jesse Leach Talks Killswitch Engage Return, Trespass America Festival + More
Killswitch Engage vocalist Jesse Leach was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. Leach spoke about the coming back into the fold with the band, working on the next Killswitch album and the Trespass America tour this summer. If you missed Full Metal Jackie’s show, check out her interview with Jesse Leach below:
Let’s go back for a second, Jesse. How important was doing the Times of Grace album with Adam [Dutkiewicz] to you eventually rejoining Killswitch?
Yeah, it’s funny because back then that wasn’t even a thought in my mind, it was really focused on Times of Grace that was really our baby. For me just getting out on the road and performing in front of people and going to the festivals in Europe which was my first time ever that really just reignited my love for touring and traveling. I hadn’t done it in years since I left Seemless which was going on six years now.
I think for me, just getting out there and touring – I happened to be with Adam and Joel [Stroetzel] and we’ve always been really good friends but it definitely reignited something within all of us so when the opportunity did arise, when Howard [Jones] was asked to leave the band, the timing was perfect. In the back of my mind having toured with those guys just made it so much easier to transition to being in another band on the road again.
Despite being Killswitch’s original singer, the story goes that you still had to audition. Vocally what’s the single most important thing you did to get the gig again?
I think for me the biggest thing – not even just to prove to them but to prove to myself – was to sing Howard’s songs. He’s such a different singer than I am, a different style and I know that was a question in a lot of people’s minds so for me it was actually my idea to go there and audition. I wanted to be part of the list of people to go in and try out, I thought it was important to work for it and really sit with those songs and decide how I was going to perform them, if I could perform them well and how to make them my own and live in them and feel them not just go through the motions like a cover singer. So that was the most important thing for me, getting a handle on Howard’s songs and I’m still workin’ on it. [Laughs]
What has it been like for you to be back with the band? You guys have played some shows in Europe and I know you’ve been out there for a bit.
It’s been amazing. Honestly it just feels like being back with old friends again and the thought of performing and singing somebody else’s songs really doesn’t come into play now. I feel like after this last tour it came second nature to me. I’m really having the time of my life.
Jesse, music evolves over time especially over years of being played live. What’s been the best surprise about the way your old songs changed over the years as Howard sang them?
I mean I haven’t listened to the material for years, it’s not like I go around listening to my own songs, they’ve developed it’s such second nature to these guys, they play is so effortlessly. It definitely has a more easy feel to it coming back and singing the songs for all these years - I just find it a lot easier which is strange to say but it’s got a new life in it. These guys have really just traveled the world playing these things so for them they don’t have to put too much thought behind it. I can really just jump into it and feel the flow of it, it’s amazing.
What band are you most looking forward to touring being part of this Trespass America tour?
I’m actually really good friends with the guys of Trivium and God Forbid. God Forbid is actually one of my favorite metal bands musically and just as people, they’re hilarious and just fun to hang out with. Doc [Coyle] and I get along really well. Right off the bat those two bands just as people, never mind just the music, just as people it’s going to be fun hanging out with those guys.
Jesse, how much of the new album was written before you rejoined and how did it change during the recording to reflect your input?
Basically all of the music was done. Howard hadn’t written any lyrics and done any vocals for the record so there was no influence as far as that goes but the music was pretty much done. It was written start to finish and those guys pretty much recorded all of it without my input. I walked into a situation where I have an album ready for me and I’ve just been plugging away at it as best I can.
This coming weekend, Full Metal Jackie will welcome Trivium frontman Matt Heafy on her show. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.