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Howard Jones: The Devil's Advocate

Howard Jones was set to be a schoolteacher until fate brought him into our world. With Devil You Know, he’s now educating people in the ways of purging emotions…

For most of 2012, the rock world was nothing but a memory to Howard Jones. Burnt out from nine years travelling the globe as frontman for Killswitch Engage, and suffering from severe depression and anxiety, along with health complications related to diabetes, the singer pulled the plug on his own career. Instead of living for that hour onstage every night, he whiled away his days peacefully on his boat, fishing, before heading home to channel-hop in front of the TV in the slobbery company of his beloved boxer dog, Bruno. As far as he was concerned, his days on the road were over.

“I didn’t think I was really going to do another band,” says Howard. “I was done. I accomplished a lot and I could look back and say, ‘Wow, that was awesome, I had a very fruitful career.’ But I was done. I definitely had a few people reach out that care, and no offence to them but I just wasn’t ready.”

Howard is a fun guy to talk to. Friendly and open, his conversation is rapidly punctuated with a deep, throaty, infectious chuckle that seems to rise up from his belly. But for a long time, there wasn’t much to laugh about. At points, things got very dark indeed for Howard, the singer even admitting recently to a 2009 suicide attempt that was thwarted by the police. Today, with poetic elegance, he describes the illness that millions of people struggle to conquer.

“When you’re completely in the throes of depression, everything is kind of grey,” he says. “You try to enjoy what you’re doing, but there are no bright colours or sounds or any sort of vividness to what you’re doing. Climbing out of it took some time; it’s always a struggle, but I’m doing better.”

So much better, in fact, that at this point he’s full of enthusiasm for They Bleed Red, the second album from Devil You Know, the band he joined at the end of 2012 as he started his road to recovery. At the end of the month, he’ll be playing Wembley with them in support of Five Finger Death Punch and Papa Roach, and wants the band to revisit these shores soon after.

“It’s not nearly enough time in the UK,” he notes. “So hopefully we can resolve that sometime soon.”

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