Shirt Stains: Jonesing For Howard


Yeah! No! Come on!

A few weeks ago, we interviewed former Killswitch Engage/Blood Has Been Shed and current Light The Torch vocalist Howard Jones for the podcast. I’ve been a fan of Killswitch Engage since their first album, before Jones even joined. The desire for a good podcast and to connect with someone whose work I enjoy was very strong. To say I was excited and nervous is an understatement.

To be honest, I’m always a little nervous before our interviews. “What’s going to happen? I hope they’re cool. I really want to make them laugh.” There is a need to strike a balance between asking quality, informative questions and producing an entertaining show. We always want to create a good show and when you inject the uncertainty of interviews, a “good” show is not always a given.

Often times, the artists we speak to are doing blocks of interviews, some times for days in a row. There’s only so many times you can talk about the new album or an upcoming tour. We totally get it. That’s why we try to have fun and spice things up by talking about comics or wrestling or whatever. Sometimes it works out great and sometimes it does not.

Looking back on our interview, I still have twinges of regret and disappointment. We were not at our best and it shows. Maybe it was nerves or the wrong questions. Perhaps it was a disinterested interviewee tired of the usual banality of questions. It could be all three. It’s not the end of the world and I’m sure he forgot about it 2 minutes after the interview ended, but it is still a bummer. It could be worse, though. At least I didn’t make this shirt.

The shirt is a take on Shepard Fairey’s iconic Obama “Hope” poster from the 2008 presidential campaign. Since that time the style has been relentlessly parodied. There are even “Hope” poster generators out there if you’re feeling particularly nostalgic for the good old days when each week wasn’t filled with at least five new political scandals and ten new embarrassments.

They couldn’t have used a better picture of Howard? It looks like he was in the middle of eating his lunch and just realized his entire life has been a lie. Did someone just shout “Cheese!” and take his picture while he was mid-burp? He looks like Joe has asked him a third dumb question and wants nothing more than to give him an atomic wedgie.

The traditional blue and red colors make Jones looks like he’s either part Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka or filling up with an controllable rage. The popping eyes make it look like he’s on the surface of Mars without a protective space suit. Is he supposed to have facial air or is he part Thanos?

Have you ever heard of someone referring to Howard Jones as “Hojo”? I know it fits the whole “Hope” letter scheme, but come on. When I hear “Hojo” I either think of Howard Johnson hotels, former New York Met Howard Johnson, or professional wrestler Hojo (Kairi) Sane. Maybe only his close friends and fans that want to buy a shirt that needs to be explained call him Hojo. Luckily, the Devil You Know symbol on the corner makes the shirt a collector’s item because it is already out-of-date. Silver linings, y’know? Like having a bad interview, but still getting to talk to someone you like.

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