Massachusetts hard rockers Killswitch Engage are calling what’s expected to be the temporary departure of frontman Howard Jones “a personal matter” — but have elected to continue on the road with Phil Labonte of All That Remains.
Labonte, ironically, auditioned for KsE in 2002 but lost out to Jones, who replaced original singer Jesse Leach.
In a statement released this week, the band did not specify why Jones is coming off the road but said, “It became overwhelmingly obvious to all of us around Howard that he is in no condition to be on tour right now and that he needed to get off the road and get himself better. ...While we understand everyone’s curiosity and concern for Howard and the band, we appreciate everyone respecting Howard’s privacy at this time.”
The band further acknowledged that, “We seriously considered canceling the tour since we don’t want to give fans that paid good money anything less than KsE at full-strength. But after trying a few shows with Phil, and after feeling the love and support that we were getting from the crowd, it became increasingly apparent to us that the shows came across as fun and unique, and the fans seemed to be enjoying it. We quickly realized that we had to keep going and that we couldn’t possibly stop.”
Nevertheless, the group is offering refunds to those who don’t want to see the band without Jones.
It’s not the first time KsE has had to make such adjustments. In 2007, guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz was forced to take two breaks due to back problems. Patrick Lachman of the Mercy Clinic and Damageplan and KsE guitar tech Josh Mihlek sat in for him during the year.
Killswitch Engage, the Devil Wears Prada and Dark Tranquility perform Saturday (Feb. 20) at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $29.50 in advance, $32 day of show. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.