Labonte filled in for Jones during KILLSWITCH ENGAGE‘s early 2010 North American headlining tour after Howard was deemed “unfit” to be on the road.
Following today’s announcement that KILLSWITCH ENGAGE had “decided to continue on without Howard Jones” as the band’s lead singer, Labonte posted the following short message on his official Facebook page: “No, I’m not gonna be singing for KsE [KILLSWITCH ENGAGE].”
In a March 2010 interview with Metal Assault, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE guitarist Joel Stroetzel stated about his band’s decision to hire Labonte for the aforementioned tour, “Initially, we just had Phil come out with the thought that we had three shows we had to get through, then we’d postpone the tour and come back and do it with Howard in a few months. But it went so well with Phil the first few shows that everybody was so stoked. We have a lot of the same fans, I think, so a lot of people were psyched to see him. If it was Joe Schmoe, it wouldn’t work, but since it’s Phil, it works. And like I said, the shows were so much fun and Phil was willing to do the whole tour.”
When asked if KILLSWITCH ENGAGE had a chance to rehearse extensively with Labonte before he came aboard as Jones‘ temporary replacement, Joel said, “No, he was thrown, thrown to the wolves. We called him, I think, at three in the morning and we were like, ‘Hey, can you fly to Florida in about five hours?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll be there!’ So we did like a quick soundcheck with him, went through the songs that he wasn’t familiar with, and we played that night. That was pretty much it. So, yeah, obviously after a couple of shows he started to get more comfortable.”