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Jesse Leach Says He Doesn’t Regret Leaving Killswitch Engage

In 2002, when Jesse Leach decided to leave Killswitch Engage, the band had just released its ferocious breakthrough LP, ‘Alive or Just Breathing.’ They were still touring in broken-down vans and trying to spread the word about their new album.

Basically, outside of the New England metal scene, they were nobodies … but nobodies on the cusp of something huge. Leach jumped ship, and suddenly a who’s who of metal auditioned for the vacant post, which was eventually filled by Howard Jones.

Looking back, seven years later, does Leach regret the decision? “Not in any way, shape or form,” he tells Noisecreep.

“This isn’t me being egotistical, but I get emails on a daily basis from people on MySpace and through Facebook, telling me that ‘Alive or Just Breathing’ was an important record for them,” Leach relates. “It’s gotten to the point where I’ve sort of just accepted it … that I did play a role and influence people. Any real artist is never satisfied. I don’t see myself as accomplished, because on a daily basis, in my mind, I hear music. I hear ideas. That’s why I am working on so many projects right now. I won’t be satisfied until I die.”

Leach is working on a solo record, and fronts the band the Empire Shall Fall. He just closed the book on post-KsE outfit Seemless, and has a project coming out next year with Killswitch guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz called Times of Grace. Leach said his only regret, maybe, was how he left the band … reportedly via email.

“If there were any sliver of regret, it was the way I handled the situation,” he says. “I wish I had done it differently, out of respect to those guys. But all the wounds are healed, everything’s fine, and we have mad love for each other. But I think, just for peace of mind, if I had any regrets, it would be how I left. I look at the band now, and I don’t even think twice. There’s no way in my brain I could fathom being on stage, doing what they’re doing. Maybe if it were on my own terms, but from what I’ve seen them do, they’ve kind of taken a goofier route with Adam D.”

Leach, of course, is referring to Dutkiewicz’s onstage banter and proclivity towards short-shorts as some sort of a fashion statement. “I love it, I get it, I respect it … it’s very punk rock and tongue-in-cheek, but that’s not who I am,” Leach explains. “I told Adam, with Times of Grace, when we play out … it’s going to be a completely different vibe. I’ve got it all mapped out in my head, how I want it to pan out, and none of it has anything to do with rock star banter on stage or goofy antics or pyrotechnics or anything like that.

“I wouldn’t want to be on stage with Adam, even though I get what he’s doing,” Leach continues. “It’s very middle-finger-to-the-world. People don’t get that about him. He’s definitely a jackass and he’s hilarious, but one-on-one, he’s a very intelligent, self-aware person. He knows what he’s doing … that’s his way of saying, ‘F— you, world.’ It’s very punk rock. I just told him, when I’m on stage with you, that ain’t happening. So, no … no regrets as far as that’s concerned.”

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