"I kinda punched some of my best friends in my face, and it sucks."
In 2012, after nine years as their vocalist, singer Howard Jones was summarily dismissed from the ranks of metalcore legends Killswitch Engage. It seemed that he wasted little time getting over it, soon joining Aussie drummer John Sankey (Devolved, Fear Factory) and ex-All Shall Perish guitarist Francesco Artusato to form new LA outfit Devil You Know. They quickly dropped their debut The Beauty Of Destruction in 2014 to great acclaim, and have quickly followed that up with the even more accomplished They Bleed Red.
"The first album we didn't know each other, we just said, 'Ok, let's write an album and see if it works,'" recalls Jones. "And it worked out fine — we were very happy with it — but then getting to tour together we thought [for the follow-up], 'Let's make it more heavy, let's make the melodies more pronounced and let's just do what we want, and hopefully people still dig it.'
"Those guys are friends and it sucks really badly that I went through everything I did and that I hurt them."
"I always try to write personal lyrics, but at the same time I try to stretch out and that's where the title came from: a friend of mine, Eddie, who's a fighter and trains fighters, I said to him, 'Man, I'm writing about myself but at the same time I'm writing about people I know who've been through the things I've been through,' and he said, 'You know what, people hurt just like you do,' and I was, like, 'Wow, I've been hurting for a long time and it's easy to write about myself, but now I'm gonna write things about myself and others because they hurt like I do and bleed like I do — they bleed red.'"
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In the intervening years Jones was also diagnosed as being manic depressive with bipolar issues, and this revelation put his wayward behaviour in his final months with Killswitch Engage into clear context.
"Man, with Killswitch, those guys are friends and it sucks really badly that I went through everything I did and that I hurt them," Jones offers forlornly. "How can I describe this? I was in the worst way, and they didn't know what was happening with me and I wasn't in a place that I was ready to say, 'Hey, you know what? I'm depressed, I'm screwed up, I don't even know what's wrong with me.' The thing is that they were there for me, but I wasn't ready to say, 'This is what's wrong with me' — I never knew. I kinda punched some of my best friends in my face, and it sucks.
"I'm very happy that things are going well [for me], and at the same time I'm very happy that they are doing even better. I hurt my friends. I wasn't able to say, 'This isn't from my heart, this is just this screwiness that I'm going through and I'm so sorry.' I wish I could have said that, but I had no clue! I had no idea, I was a screwed up guy. So now I'm very happy with the guys I'm with, but man I miss those [Killswitch] guys.'"