Sad news has come down as singer Jill Janus of Huntress has died of an apparent suicide. She was 43. Janus had been open about her lifelong battle with depression and mental illness, all of her life. She also had a bout of Uterine Cancer and a resultant hysterectomy in 2015 that kept the band off of the road during their tour to support their album Static (Napalm Records). Static featured Lemmy from Motorhead on a track and was well-received. The news of her death was broken in posts by her bandmates. Casey Wood, who posted the following message on Facebook: “I’m in shock and can’t stop crying. My X best friend, singer has left the world. She was the biggest sweetheart and I hope that her Legacy lives on as it should! You were supposed to be on your way back here Jill Janus. I love you I miss you, and my door is still open for you always. Rest in peace my sister.” Johnny Jetson also commented “Very sad news… Just talked to my drummer Casey Wood who informed me that our singer Jill Janus has passed away. My deepest condolences to her family and loved ones… Jill was amazing and will be missed…”
Jill told Psychology Today in a 2015 interview that she attempted suicide for the first time at the age of 16 “with a pair of scissors. I was getting mandatory counseling at school but didn’t see a psychiatrist until I was 20,” she said. “I was then diagnosed manic-depressive and participated in a medical study at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.”
Janus was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, telling Psychology Today: “I’ve always seen and heard things others couldn’t. Many visions or dreams would manifest into reality, which my family and friends described as my ‘psychic ability.’ This caused more drama at school, being called a ‘freak’ and getting beaten up. When I was 17, the visions and encounters with ‘other-worldly creatures’ was almost a daily occurrence.”
Jill was a terrific singer and screamer, and artist overall. Huntress was several years ahead of the resurgent wave of “Occult Rock” that many other bands later capitalized on. Janus herself was a legit practicer of witchcraft and openly talked about it her lyrics and her life. In a 2015 interview with Ghost Cult, Jill talked about her struggles and the pressures of “making it”.
“I’ve really had to abandon all other ambitions and only live for Huntress” confirms the focused singer “and it’s not easy to do. Right now my main focus is self-control. It’s not easy to stay sane doing what I do and the pace at which I do it, and a lot of my focus now is ‘Keep your shit together, Jill, and don’t lose it’, and that’s it daily. Every day when I wake up, it’s focus, don’t lose it.”
Making it happen in a professional metal band isn’t all banging out some riffs and seeing what happens… “One side of it is to really maintain your self-control. The other is don’t believe your own hype. The minute you believe you’re a rock star, you’re an asshole. I stay very focused. I am cogniscent of the things that are going on around me, I can hear the buzz, I can hear hype, I won’t believe it because I’m very focused on my purpose.
“I don’t ever look online. It is toxic. It’s deadly. I never read anything online about Huntress. The only thing I interact with are my fans, and that’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and those are focused, limited moments. It’s come down to a science. I do not allow myself to read anything online, it’s methodical, and I do not allow any trolls to know my goals. I always say “Keep your goals away from trolls”, and that’s something I live by.
I’ve seen every part of this journey and it’s all come to fruition. Every single bit of Huntress, every moment, every plan has all been visualized and not only by myself but my band mates as well. If you dream it, you can be it. You’re looking at me here, because it was in my head at first. And that goes along with a lot of the imagery, the “occult” aspect as well. As I said, I’m a big believer in visualisation.”
We send our sympathies to Jill’s family, friends, and many fans at this difficult time. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of resources.