It's the quintessential modern mystery - does rock n' roll lead to the harder stuff? Joel Stroetzel, guitarist with increasingly pervasive Massachusetts metal-core mob Killswitch Engage understands this only too well.
He admits the fabulous life of a touring musician may not always bring wealth, beauty and fame but often just another boring day at the office. "Sure, it gets to be a bit of a grind, especially after you're playing every night and you don't get to go home," says Stroetzel.
"Sometimes at the end of the day with a beer in my hand I'm practically falling asleep in the chair in the dressing room before the show! But at the same time everybody's there because they love playing the show and doing their thing on stage. So it's a trade off, you don't get to go home but you get to do your own thing which is really cool."
Now back in the game after fellow guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz's recovery from spinal surgery, Killswitch Engage's promotional run for 2006's As Daylight Dies album is finally winding down. But just don't expect their busy schedule to allow much time off for normal tourist activities.
"That's usually the way it goes man, it seems like the coolest places are always the busiest," shrugs Stroetzel. "Going overseas is kind of rough on everyone's bodies and minds but you can be the furthest place from home but when get in front of people who know your songs and who know the lyrics, hell, it warms the heart man!"
Living the dream of every metal grommet, Stroetzel credits an uncle for instilling hard rock 'values' in him as a youngster. First it was Dio and Black Sabbath then Judas Priest and soon an incurable metal addiction.
"I kind of grew up with the classic metal," says the guitarist. "I loved the whole 80s thing and all the crazy guitar players out there. Van Halen kind of blew me away as a piano player as a little kid. To hear Eddie Van Halen doing Eruption I was like 'oh man, I wanna play guitar mum!'.
"So after three or four years of playing piano they finally bought me a guitar. I think once I actually discovered guitar, Metallica kind of changed it for me, you know the whole James Hetfield rhythm guitar thing with the down riff and the aggression. Slayer and Sepultura came later."
Stroetzel formed Killswitch with Dutkiewicz and bassist Mike D'Antonio in 1999 and says the group shares much in common with the original wave of metal bands.
"There's still the heavy fast drumming and guitar harmonics and scream-y kind of vocals, that stuff's been going on for a long time," he says. "If you really look back to bands like Dokken and listen to some of those riffs they're really not a lot different to guitar riffs that bands are writing today. Overall, it's still kind of the same vibe - it's high-energy high-impact loud music."