Jesse Leach's Check Your Head

Jesse Leach's Check Your Head
An amazing album was finally released today — an album some of us have waited ten years for. Killswitch Engage have released Disarm The Descent, their first album with original frontman Jesse Leach since Alive or Just Breathing. The album’s an instant classic, and Leach, on this all-important day, is feeling grateful.

It’s 4:30 in the morning, and I am awakened out of a sound sleep to have my own lyrics running through my head?!

I have been listening to my new record Disarm the Descent non-stop (yes, I know…kind of lame listening to my own music, but I need to really get all the lyrics in my head and rehearse the few songs we are playing off the album for our upcoming tours). So now I am wide awake, sitting here in the dark with Alice in Chains’ Dirt playing quietly in the background and just thinking about the past year of my life and it all hits me. 


Things happen in life because of self determination or simply because they are “meant to happen.” Or, perhaps you believe in chance? I look at my own life and can’t help but feel like I was in the right place at the right time.

I am not saying I didn’t work hard, struggle and have serious doubts about my career and even my personal life. Hell, if I didn’t suffer and struggle I wouldn’t have written the past three albums of my career. I know everyone for the most part can relate to struggle. These times we live in, it is not easy to keep your head above water with relationships, bills to be paid, family issues, career issues, corporate takeovers or perhaps keeping a personal business a float.

I know! Up until a year ago, I had been a “working man,” holding down various jobs to make ends meet. Last year, I was behind the bar at a restaurant in Manhattan, working as a bar-back and a bartender/mixologist in training. I worked long shifts — sometimes until 3 or 4 in the morning. Let me tell you if you have never worked in the service industry in New York City, it can be brutal and very fast paced! However, there are these moments in life when everything seems to be in its right place. Amidst the chaos and struggle there must be gratitude.

Gratitude, to me, is the realization that you are blessed or “lucky” or just simply having a sense of thankfulness for what you have. Often times, people find it so easy to complain; don’t get me wrong, I get it man — it feels good sometimes to just vent and let it all out. When you really stop and count your blessings (even if they are few), it is a good feeling.

Simple things, like the fact that I am in a warm apartment with food in my cupboards and a beautiful woman (my wife) in my bed get me through the day. How easy is it to forget those “little things” that, in the long run, are huge things that we take for granted. There are a great deal of people with no place to call home and feel the pangs of hunger even now as you read this column…think about that.

Feeling any of that gratitude yet? Well, you should.

So in closing I just wanted to say a personal thank you to all of you for reading my column, supporting my music, giving me encouragement in person at shows and sending me messages on Facebook. I am so blessed to have anyone care about what I do as an artist. I know I could just as easily be back behind a bar or be taking your order for food.

If we don’t take time to feel that gratitude we are missing the whole point of why we have trials and tribulations or why we are alive!. So I hope if nothing else, the words I write give you a moment (even if it is brief) to stop and be thankful; things can always be much worse.)

On the eve of the final release day of my/our new album Disarm the Descent, I just have to say…Thank you. 

Thank you to God for his grace and love. Thank you to my family and friends for having my back, encouraging me and having faith in me when I was out of faith. Thank you to the guys in my other bands — The Empire Shall Fall and Times of Grace — for being a great support system and inspiration (as well as their willingness to work with me and all of my projects). Thank you to the guys in Killswitch Engage for being my true friends and believing in my abilities as an artist. Thank you to my friends and managers at Strong Management for steering me in the right direction. Thank you to Chris (GunShyAssasin) for wanting my thoughts and perspective on his Web site. Lastly thank YOU, reading this!

I hope you dig the new record and come out to a show or two; we will be doing a great deal of touring over the next year or two!

One Love

“Gratitude,” by one of my all time favorites, The Beastie Boys, from a great record which so happens to be the name of my column Check Your Head.


  • Mike Sommer

    Always love these posts Jesse; they’re good reads to start the day off on a good foot. On that note, it’s time to check the mailbox to see if my limited edition Disarm the Descent is here yet!

  • Anyone know what bar he worked at in NYC? Would have loved to run into him there.

  • Don’t like the idea of such a talent ‘stuck’ behind a bar or waiting on tables in NYC. So grateful he rejoined his brother in music! Thanks for getting back into the swing of things on an INTERNATIONAL stage more than anything Jesse.

  • Haha Check Your Head is my favorite album of all time. Stumbled upon this article in the midst of listening to the new KSE album. Right on, good read bro

  • Just got my copy of the new album in the mail Jesse! It’s awesome. Thanks for being a guy with integrity and for the tunes! One love brother.

  • William Busa

    God Bless man!! Come to Brazil with Killswitch!

  • You’re right, we must be grateful for what we have… I’m gratefull for what I have, my family, friends, health and my girl…and I’d like to say thank you for being such a good artist and for writing messages to remind us of “little things” that are truly important and of course the amazing lyrics.

    god bless you and your family in your journey Jesse.

  • AllenJernigan

    I check gunshy pretty regularly, most recently for constant KSE updates and of course I have been reading the “check your head column.” This segment has reminded of how grateful I am myself. Though I have the undying passion to be a full time musician and the love for music, I work a full time job pulling many hours supporting those I love. Though there may always be things you want and desire, you cannot overlook or disgrace what you already have.

  • No Jesse, thank YOU for what you’ve done for us. The new record is fantastic and exactly what I’ve been needing spiritually. God bless, I hope I have a chance to see you all next time you roll into the Austin area!

  • Jesse!

    ‘You can do whatever you want with your life, but one day you’ll know what love truly is. It’s the sour and the sweet. And I know sour, which allows me to appreciate the sweet.’ I love this quote, because it is so utterly true. You know it. I know it.

    Even after the darkest times a spark in the dark means – life! You really derserve every little bit of what you have. And more 🙂 Celebrate!

  • Eddie Rattlehead

    Yeah, dude, spot on. My wife is so overworked, stressed and exhausted she complains about everything 99% of the time. She often gets angry at my “coolth” in the midst of life’s chaos and asks how can I, an Iraq War veteran with PTSD, Anxiety, ADD, Depression and possible Aspergers in addition to abusive childhood past and seven (7) attempted suicidal attempts, one as recent as in 2011, often barely struggling to stay positive, can just as often stay calm and peaceful, a faithless agnostic man, against her practicing Christian. How come so much stuff does not seem to phase me, seeing our country is being ruined by a two-headed party monster, we are in serious jeopardy of becoming a theocracy fatal to both believers and non-believers alike, my disabilities prevent me from having a gainful employment despite two college degrees, besides working a security guard night shift, one of our boys diagnosed with ADHD after his daddy and both of our boys’ amazing ability to bring out the worst (but also the best) in both of us or the fact that we as a couple are only now slowly recovering from a brink of a divorce having not gone even as far as separation, still married, apparently still in love, but how long?

    Well, my answer is like yours, Jessie. Gratitude. I look at my children play and I am overwhelmed with how perfect they are to me. I look at my wife cooking dinner or discussing some tidbit from a blog with me and I am aware and awed how beautiful she is inside and out. I drive my car listening to my music and pass by men far more able than me with signs “Hungry, will work for food”, etc. and am grateful to be driving a good car (despite my recent repairs driving our household budget in the E zone), having a job that along with my wife’s main breadwinning career keeps our family afloat, time to do my reviews online, listen to my music, read and it strikes me, as much as I’d like to have more money, a more fulfilling job, etc. I am incredibly RICH. I am incredibly blessed and highly favored. I am extremely fortunate to have come back from war hell in one piece, with all my physical and most mental faculties intact, when so many have lost their lives, limbs, been paralyzed, severely burned and maimed for life. I am a SURVIVOR and the Universe seems to favor me for some crazy reason. That is what keeps me afloat.

  • Mchail Gorbachev

    I am truly greatful for all that the Lord has gifted me in life. I am also full of gratitude in discovering that my favorite band’s old singer is back and his powerful lyrics, performance, and attitude all add up to the same awesome person. Great article man, and Disarm the Descent Rocks!