Howard Jones—not to be confused with the 80s New Wave artist-- the lead singer of Killswitch Engage, is one angry, energetic mug onstage. And his temper must be working for him: The band’s tour bus is posh, with Family Guy DVDs scattered around, a Playstation, catered food…it appears that Killswitch Engage is Living Large. We attempted to hang with Howard on the bus afterward to find out what he’s really like. We found out…well…decide for yourself:
NT: You guys know how to get the crowd excited, huh?
Howard [eating from a deli tray]: “My turkey fell on my shirt.”
NT: Sorry to hear that. So, tell me what this Ozzfest has been like for you?
Howard [totally sarcastic]: “it’s been a rockin good rockin time.”
NT: Gimme a highlight…or maybe a negative?
Howard: “Um…[swallows loudly] A highlight would probably be meeting Stone Cold Steve Austin. He likes the band. As far as a negative, this bus. The generator is not working right now…”
NT: So, is Ozzfest pretty much the pinnacle of your career?
Howard: “We could do better. We can do Heaven Fest, or Jesus Fest…look at that!…[he lifts a handful of meat and cheese up to my face, decorated with mustard, and then proceeds to eat].
“Ozzfest is definitely one of the big tours. I don’t really dream, I just kind of take it as it comes, hoping for the best. I don’t have big aspirations because music is so flighty. It’s like we could be hated tomorrow. As a matter of tact, I think we are. Yeah, that’s in the schedule. [He turns to guitarist Joel Stroetzel] Write that down.”
Joel: “Last night I had a dream that my guitar turned into a giant Twinkie.”
NT: What kinda drugs were you taking?
Joel: “None at all. Man, that cream filling!”
Howard [after a loud belch]: “I’m gonna eat more meat and cheese while were talking…”
At this point, Joel tries to get up and leave for lunch, but Howard insists he field my question about the history of the band.
Joel: “We all met in a petting zoo. Howard said, ‘aren’t you in a band?’ and I said, ‘yeah, and I love goats!’”
Howard: “Maybe you should go eat.”
NT: It appears you’re on some sort of low carbohydrate diet or something…
Howard: Oh no, not at all. It’s just that the bread’s way over there, and I’m way over here…”
NT: So tell me something we don’t already know about Killswitch Engage…
Howard: “that we don’t have any fans and there are probably many better bands you can be writing an article about right now.”
NT: I know you have fans. I saw several hundred of them flailing madly in the moshpit.
Howard: “They were pretending.”
Joel: “They thought we were Shadows Fall”
Howard: “They’re like, ‘hey, isn’t this Endo?’”
Bandmembers walk through, say hello, and I learn that the band mocks their current poster, which they all hate.
Howard: “It’s much more fun to draw stuff on it. Make it a dart target. I don’t pay attention to the fact that my face is on a poster. I might actually be on some kid’s wall—that’s weird. I don’t think about that too much. It’s too disturbing. I have trouble looking in the mirror.”
Joel [teasing Howard]: “Oh yeah, you’re like, ‘who loves ya, pretty baby?’
NT: So who’s the real Howard?
Howard: “I’m eating turkey and swiss out of my hand. That pretty much sums it up! I uh, spend a lot of time on the bus.”
Joel: “He lifts weights and puts on Chapstick all day.”
Howard [feigning tears]: “It’s bad cuz it’s true!”
Joel: “Howard’s ass is always hanging out. And he farts and it smells like melted crayons and cabbage. Burning!”
NT: I see this is going to be one of my intellectual pieces. So, do you give your fans as much shit as you give me?
Howard: “Yeah, we’re pretty silly. We try to say hi to our fans, but you know, there’s a Playstation here [on the bus] and it just sucks me in…”
NT: What’s your game on Playstation?
Howard [spoken with confidence]: “Hot Shots Golf 3. Birds-a-chirpin’!”