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Interview with Killswitch Engage guitarist

Photo Courtesy of Roadrunner Records
By Nathan Tafoya
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, August 26, 2004
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Killswitch Engage has made a lot of noise in the heavy metal scene recently with their third album, "The End of Heartache," and new band members.

They performed on the second stage of Ozzfest last summer and showed up on MTV's fall 2003 Headbangers Ball tour. Joel Stroetzel, one of the band's original guitarists, took time out of their current tour to talk to the Wildcat.

Wildcat: You've said that frontman Howard Jones and drummer Justin Foley helped re-energize the band. I just want to know if you had to kill, switch, or engage anyone to get those guys into your band?

Stroetzel: Not really. It wasn't really our doing. (Howard) tried out and we knew he was the right guy. About a year after Howard joined the band, we did the Ozzfest tour. Our drummer ... left. So we got Justin, also recommended by Howard. We didn't really have to give anybody the ax or anything too bad.

Wildcat: What's the band's writing process like?

Stroetzel: Most of the stuff we write, we try to write together. Everybody brings little riffs and parts to the table and we try to fill them together at a practice. Sometimes people come to practice with a whole song written, but usually it's all of us throwing ideas together.

Wildcat: My little sister, Lenny, wanted me to ask you two questions. What are your favorite bands to tour with and do you like Britney Spears?

Stroetzel: Favorite bands to tour with: In Flames has always been one of them, and there's another band called As I Lay Dying. Good guys. Good friends. And I'd have to say, yes, I do like Britney Spears.

Wildcat: Do you have any funny stories?

If You Go:
What: Killswitch Engage headlining concert; From Autumn to Ashes and 18 Visions opening
Where: The Rock; 136 N. Park Ave.
When: Aug. 26, 2004. 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $15; (520) 629-9211 box office
Who: All ages
Visit the official website

Stroetzel: There was one incident, I won't say any names, but some of the people in some of the bands stole one of Ozzy's golf carts from the main stage and they used the keys from the trailer to start it up. They were knocking into candy stands and knocking everything over, and they ended up building a jump for the golf cart and ended up flipping the golf cart, trying to go off the jump. I'm surprised no one got killed. It was pretty funny to watch drunken dudes stealing golf carts.

Wildcat: How do you think people discover bands like you guys, when emo seems to be riding an undying wave?

Stroetzel: I think a lot of it has to do with touring. Just playing live. Playing in a metal band is like, "Do it yourself." You just get out there and play as much as you can.

Wildcat: So you're a heavy metal guitarist. I want you to close your eyes, all right?

Stroetzel: Yep. You got it.

Wildcat: Are they closed?

Stroetzel: Yep.

Wildcat: What's the sweetest, lightest thing you can think of right now involving the purple Teletubby, Tinky Winky?

Stroetzel: Every time I think of those, I don't know if this is sweet or not, but every time I think of Teletubbys I think of this hardcore band called Pitballs 2K. They used to write some pretty obnoxious stuff. It was a good time. And a friend of mine went to their show and actually made them shirts with the purple Teletubby on them and it said something like, "Emo Fagario." It was a term for emo kids, I guess. I don't know if it's sweet though.

Wildcat: Who do you think you could beat in a fight? Because in the press photo I have, the drummer, Foley, kind of looks like a pansy. If a band dispute ever came to blows, I'd suggest you go for him because then you'd have an obvious win on your side, but ...

Stroetzel: He's a pretty big dude. He's like, six-foot-two, six-foot three, or something like that.

Wildcat: Who do you think you could take?

Stroetzel: I don't know man, I never tried. I probably couldn't take Howard.

Wildcat: That dude looks big.

Stroetzel: That dude's a big mother fucker.

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