By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
Earlier this year, the heavy metal lost one of its beloved heroes in Vinnie Paul. It was hard to fathom that one of the best heavy metal drummers in the world was no longer with us on Earth. Just when I was finally getting over Vinnie’s passing, the Universe decided to throw another curveball. Jill Janus, frontwoman of Huntress, has suddenly passed away. She was known for her snarling, in-your-face singing style, and her wiccan/goddess style outfits. As most of metalheads are aware by now, the 43 year old ended her own life. She was a sheer force to be reckoned with on stage, but off stage, she was a sweetheart to her friends and fans.
The first time I saw her was when I was watching the 2013 Revolver Golden Gods’ Awards, where she presented Five Finger Death Punch with Butcher Babies lady growlers Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd. I remembered by mesmerized by her beauty, but when she started shouting to put up the fans, I was amazed. Next, I went online to check out Huntress, and immediately fell in love with their mixture of classic metal, thrash metal, and dark metal, starting with the song “Eight of Swords.” I have all their albums (Spell Eater, Starbound Beast, and Static) and have been a devoted fan since then. I had the good fortune of catching the band on 2 occasions, and I was blown away by their performance.
In 2017, I was very lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview her. They were playing Jose Mangin’s Metal Night event in Santa Ana. She was very kind, down-to-earth, and open about herself. Before meeting her, I had no idea about her history with mental illness. We also talk about the band’s history and what future had in store for them. Being someone who battles depression on occasion, I somewhat understood what she was battling with. She was full of life and loved being a singer. I never thought I would get to meet her, let alone become a friend of hers. Not close, but we enjoyed getting to know one another. I hope she has now found the peace she has been searching for, and her death will help spread further awareness of mental illness and suicide prevention. Jill Janus, it was a pleasure getting to know you, and I will see you on the other side. Horns up!!!
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