Roadrunner & Artist News
An Interview with Jesse, Killswitch Engage
Posted on February 12, 2008Onward and Upward. These are exciting times for Killswitch Engage - in less than one month's time their Roadrunner debut Alive Or Just Breathing will be released, in even less time than that, the band heads out on their first ever national U.S. tour, and in even less time than that, KsE will shoot their first ever video. KsE vocalist, Jesse David Leach, happened to be in the Roadrunner NY office on Apr 23rd taking care some things. Gracious as always, he sat down to answer a few questions for us - ranging whatever the hell you can think of right now, to whatever the hell you can think of right now...and it goes a bit like this:
Roadrunner: First off, congratulations. I understand you recently got married...or is that not for public knowledge?
Jesse David Leach: Best day of my life. I'll proclaim it from the rooftop, let the groupies know before they start forming! Thank you. Yes, married this past Saturday (20th) in Rhode Island. Pictures coming to the Killswitch Engage website soon.
RR: Congratulations on the marriage once again. So, earlier this month, you guys were forced to withdraw from playing a couple shows with Candiria due to your throat. How is it?
Jesse: Up in the air right now. I've seen a couple specialists about it, one earlier this afternoon.
(for the record, let it be known that Jesse hit up a doc on the West Side of Manhattan...apparently the same dude that Lenny Kravitz and James Taylor have visited - platinum plaques for their albums hang on Dr. K's office walls)
RR: How did this throat situation happen? You sound just fine, how did you know you had a problem?
Jesse: Well, when I get off the stage I tend to talk a lot...actually, I'm just not a touring guy yet. I'm used to playing weekends and working on the weekdays.
RR: Dude, makes perfect sense. Most recently, Daniel (singer of Five Pointe O) had a similar problem when hitting the road extensively for the first time. You'll adjust. How did you realize you had a problem?
Jesse: Realized it when the low end of my screaming wasn't there. I know my body well enough to know when something wasn't right.
RR: You ready to start touring now, ya think? Jesse: God willing...we shall see. April 12th was my last time singing. I actually had to do a full week of no talking, no nothing - walking around like an idiot with a pen and pad. The week before my wedding, too...having to buy liquor, make arrangements. I suffer for my art (laughingly).
RR: Alice In Chains, you a fan?
Jesse: Absolutely. I grew up listening to them.
RR: Your first national tour is but a couple weeks away.
Jesse: Absolutely. We've done week long tours here and there, but for the most part I'm a weekend warrior, working 9 to 5 on the weekdays.
RR: What will you pack?
Jesse: Mostly stuff to take care of my voice - teas, herbal remedies, anything to help the voice out. Cliff bars, Luna bars, and vitamin supplements...it's hard to find vegan food out there.
(for the record, yes, Jesse is pure vegan...as is vegan Sean in the RR art dept. - we affectionately refer to Sean as 'Porkchop')
Tom (drums) & Mike (bass) are vegetarian. Joel (guitar) and Adam (guitar) are 'other', they'll pretty much eat anything around. BUT, nobody is preaching. Nobody likes that.
RR: And as for clothes?
Jesse: I wear the same pair of pants everyday, so it doesn't really matter. Not a big clothing guy.
RR: And the music you'll pack?
Jesse: Top of the list would be Bruce Cockburn (it's French), Paul Simon...
RR: Paul Simon, really?
Jesse: Oh yeah. Also Radiohead, The Verve, any kind of reggae I can fit into my bag - my main thing, love reggae - and of course Dead Can Dance Spirit Chaser, one of my favorite albums. Listen to that every day, can't get sick of it...just amazing. And Colony from In Flames, love it.
RR: Yeah, then why don't you marry it? Ha! Actually, that's a pretty wide variety.
Jesse: I love reggae, classic rock, and folk. I was raised on classic rock. Got into hardcore at fifteen when I heard Minor Threat. Just wanted to hear heavier and heavier after that...I was hooked. I love performing it (hardcore).
RR: Last cd you purchased?
Jesse: Opeth Black Water Park. Hands down one of my favorite metal albums of all time.
RR: Last cd you burned?
Jesse: Never burned a cd in my life - always give respect to the artists. Never owned a computer, either (laughs). Eventually I'll get there...a little behind.
RR: First ever Killswitch Engage video will be shot this week, for the song "My Last Serenade". How do you feel about that?
Jesse: Yeah, the 25th, this Thursday. Don't know how I feel about it. Not looking forward to lip synching. We fly out to LA on Thursday morning and fly back early Friday morning. A full day. It's gonna be one big, long day. Should be interesting to see how the video turns out.
RR: Surely it will be great. By the way, you have some previous acting experience, in the 1999 film "Outside Providence". A pretty sizeable role, no less. How did that come to be?
Jesse: My uncle directed it. But it was by no means a 'family sliding' thing, he was hard on me. No free rides - he won't allow it, and I won't have it.
RR: And your character? Name? Personality?
Jesse: Decenz. He was one of the neighborhood guys, a good ole boy from Pawtucket, RI - a blue collar town. A big stoner, drinker - partying and rock & roll...
RR: And May 21st, Alive Or Just Breathing hits the streets, any closing words on the work? Favorite song?
Jesse: The whole thing was an emotional roller coaster. Toughest thing musically, best work to date. It's a work in honesty - all of us, it's us. As for favorite song, it's all one big song to me. All important for what they are.
AND THIS concludes our interview with KsE vocalist Jesse David Leach. Thank you, Jesse. ...for a sneak peek of what is to come, check out www.AliveOrJustBreathing.com... Exciting times for Killswitch Engage, indeed...