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Killswitch Engage Jesse Leach: Guitarist Adam D. Speaks About the Reunion — Exclusive Interview

Roadrunner Records

Earlier this week, word got out that Killswitch Engage rehired original vocalist Jesse Leach back into their lineup. Leach sang on the band’s first self-titled album, which came out in 2000, and on their landmark 2002 Roadrunner debut ‘Alive or Just Breathing.’ Ohio vocalist Howard Jones replaced Leach in 2002 and split with the group in late 2011.

In an exclusive interview with Noisecreep, founding guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz spoke about the reunion with Leach.

“Honestly, we didn’t want to jump into anything too quickly. We were in a position where we could take our time and try out as many singers as we wanted. There are a lot of talented singers out there, and we didn’t want to rush everything. We ended up mulling it over a bit, and we tried out a few different people,” Dutkiewicz reveals about Killswitch’s time between singers.

“When we got back in the rehearsal room with Jesse, it just felt right. He’s one of my good friends, and the awkwardness of meeting someone for the first time, and all of that stuff, was gone when he jammed with us again. We also knew what Jesse is capable of, so it just took all of us getting in a room together again to remember how cool it once was. He blew us away,” says Dutkiewicz.

Besides working on Killswitch Engage’s next album, Leach and Dutkiewicz will be back out on tour in the coming months with their other project, Times of Grace. “I love working with the guy, and we get along so well on the road. That’s also important. Anyone would rather pick to play in a band with a good friend over some stranger. I mean, you’re going to be hanging out with this person for half the year, or whatever [laughs].”

Noisecreep asked Dutkiewicz how he first met Leach: “He was actually the last person to join the band when we first formed. My brother had a label that had put out one of Jesse’s former bands [Nothing Stays Gold], so that’s the first time I had heard him sing. We knew he was the perfect singer for what we wanted to do with Killswitch.”

Watch Killswitch Engage’s ‘Fixation on the Darkness (Live in 2010)’ Video

Although he joined the band on stage a few times in the last decade, Leach left Killswitch Engage in 2002, soon after their breakthrough ‘Alive or Just Breathing’ album started to gain steam. “He was feeling a lot of frustration at that point. He didn’t know how to take care of his voice, and he would blow it out every couple of shows. We had to cancel a lot of shows because of that. He was also a newlywed, and they didn’t know how tough it would be to be in a relationship when the other person is a road dog. It was a lot of pressure on him. All of those things piled up, and it put him in that bad place.

“But these days he’s really learned how to take care of himself on the road. His marriage is also going great, and they’ve figured out how to make it work, even though one of them is a touring musician. Jesse’s in a much better place now, that’s for sure.”

The way Killswitch Engage let the world know that Leach was back in the band was brilliant. All they did was post a group photo – with Leach, front and center, on their official website – with no further explanation. “That photo was actually taken in my backyard. Yeah, I live in the woods. I’m a country boy [laughs]. But that photo does capture who we really are. We’re a drama-free band. We actually like hanging out with each other. We’re the kind of guys that yell at the television during sporting events.”

When Noisecreep brings up the fact that we’re a New York Giants fan, Dutkiewicz pauses for a moment and then offers, “Ugh, I’m not really ready to talk about that.”

We guess he’s a Patriots fan.

Killswitch Engage tour dates:

4/22 Worcester, MA @ Palladium (New England Metal and Hardcore Festival)
6/1-6/3 Rock Am Ring/Rock Im Park
6/8 Nickelsdorf, Austria @ Pannonia Fields II (Nova Rock)
6/15 Copenhagen, Denmark (Copenhell)
6/16 Gothenburg, Sweden (Metaltown)
6/22 Milan, Italy @ Arena Fiera Milano (Gods Of Metal)
6/24 Dessel, Belgium @ Festival Park ‘Stenehel’ (Grasspop)

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