Threat Signal Celebrate Ten Years of "Vigilance"
Jon Howard is in a good place right now. Since starting Threat Signal some sixteen years ago, the vocalist has weathered the international metal scene and thrived. And not just with Threat Signal. When Jed Simon (VIMIC, ex–Strapping Young Lad) on guitars, Brian ‘Beav Waddell (ex–The Devin Townsend Project) on guitars, Byron Stroud (ex–Strapping Young Lad/Fear Factory) on bass and Ryan Van Poederooyen (ex–The Devin Townsend Project) on drums, were putting together the supergroup known as Imonolith, Howard was tapped to front the band. Now spending a lot more time in Vancouver, Howard has a lot on his plate but the lifelong Hamiltonian remains steadfast to his roots and with a prominent anniversary on the horizon, it was time to bring Threat Signal back for Ontario fans.
“We speed up, we slow down but we’ve never given up,” says Howard on the career arc of Threat Signal who released their fifth album, Disconnect in 2017. “The members all have their own lives and do other projects and then we get together and do Threat Signal when we can. If a good opportunity comes together or a tour, we take it but music doesn’t always pay the bills. We used to push the band hard with multiple tours a year but band membership has switched up a lot and we do what makes sense for us now.
“They were looking for a singer and my name popped up, they tried me out and I made the band,” adds Howard on his other musical project. “I went out to Vancouver, we tracked a record and I’m excited that the record will be coming out in the new year.”
About a decade ago, the wheels started coming off the Hamilton based Threat Signal as they were touring the world. Band members were barely out of high school when they were thrust into the international spotlight and touring the world. For most of the band, the experience was too much.
“We had gotten a lot of attention but by the time we released our second album, Under Reprisal, I wasn’t sure if the band could continue as it was,” says Howard. “We did a lot of touring and some members couldn’t take it and I had to reform the group. Somehow I did it and we ended up recording Vigilance. It ended up being the most fun recording and touring this record. It was the best times of my life.”
This week, Howard takes a break from Imonolith and tours Ontario with a clutch of shows for Threat Signal fans to celebrate the album from ten years ago. The Hamilton showcase that ends the tour will be extra special for Howard for a few reasons.
“We’re doing these Ontario shows and having a blast — we’re writing some new material and who knows what’s going to happen from here for Threat Signal,” says Howard. “My first tattoo was Threat Signal and that’s not going anywhere so I’m certain we’ll be doing the band until I’m in the ground. It’s always fun to get together for this music. Playing Absinthe is always a good time and I’m excited to be doing it again. Along with celebrating the tenth anniversary of Vigilance, we will be celebrating the life of our brother Norman Killeen. Norm was a major part of Threat Signal between roughly 2007 and 2010. He was the drummer on Vigilance and also designed the artwork for the album. Sadly, Norm chose to leave this world August 25, 2016 and it’s still hard for me. I tell everyone, if you are struggling with depression of any kind please reach out to someone. You are not alone.
“We’re playing all of these shows with the current line up,” says Howard on the current incarnation of Threat Signal featuring Howard, guitarists Travis Montgomery and Oswin Wong, bassist Ryan Miller and drummer Joey Muha. “But I’ve tried to stay in touch with all of the former band members, there are no hard feelings for me, so this show in Hamilton is going to be a little bit special. We’re going to bring Adam [Weber, rhythm guitar] and Pat [Kavanagh, bass] for a couple of songs and we’re going to throw that out for a tribute to Norm. I hope everyone comes out to celebrate.”
Threat Signal play this Saturday August 24 at Club Absinthe with Lutharo, Snake River Redemption, Death Perception and more. Doors open at 9pm and tickets are $10 in advance. Click on threatsignalmusic.com