As we all know, sometimes it’s hard to step in someone else’s shoes. And for Jesse Leach, it happened to be trying to fill the shoes of former Killswitch Engage vocalist Howard Jones.
Leach originally left the band in 2002, and returned after a decade when Jones decided to leave Killswitch Engage. But before taking the step to return, Leach felt insecure and decided to audition for the empty seat instead of just accepting the band’s invitation. In a recent interview with Mike James Rock Show, Leach expressed that when the band called him to fill in for Howard Jones, he said no. “I wasn’t sure I could handle doing somebody else’s material. I’d never sang somebody else’s songs with conviction. It felt odd to me.”
But after giving it some thought, Leach decided he would prefer to audition as a singer rather than just accepting the band’s offer, and so he did. “I asked to be put on the list of people to try out, ’cause that’s where I feel like I deserve to be because of number one, again, leaving, and number two, turning it down the first time they asked me. So these guys were, like, ‘What is this guy doing?’ You know? So I had to prove myself.”
Even though he was chosen by the rest of the band, Leach was still a bit insecure at the beginning because of the stylistic differences between himself and Jones. He explained: “We’re a bit different, and especially back then I didn’t quite have the technique and the skill that I do now to know how to sing without flaw. I wouldn’t say without flaw, but I’ve gotten a lot better. Let’s just say that.”
Killswitch Engage‘s latest studio album, Atonement, was released in August 2019. The album offers a healthy growth in songwriting and musicianship all throughout. It features guest appearances by the band’s former front-man Howard Jones and Testament front-man Chuck Billy. Atonement marks the band’s third full-length release since the return of Leach, and a fourth is in the works.
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