Ricktopia Interviews Keith Howland, aka "The New Guy" from the 93 Tour.
is the most memorable event or moment of the RS 1993 tour?
I have so many
great memories of the '93 tour that it's hard to pinpoint one thing
that stands out above the rest. The entire Japan tour was amazing...we
had a Japanese bartender backstage making Margaritas for us which
we dubbed "Rock Juice". The "Rock Juice" got
the best of us one night and we wound up playing for over 2 hours
doing impromptu cover tunes and blues. It was actually a great show.
I was dubbed "The New Guy" on the tour (for doing "New
Guy" things) and in Japan I became "Shin Jin" which
is "New Guy" in Japanese. Rick being quite the artist left
some very unflattering (and very funny) depictions of "The New
Guy" and other band members on the backstage walls of the venues
in Japan. Also very memorable was when Rick "pied" me on
stage in Philadelphia. I still have cream pie stains on the front
of my Marshall speaker cabinets. But probably my fondest memory of
'93 was my very first gig at "Slim's" in San Francisco.
I had never been to a Rick show and didn't know what to expect from
his audience or Rick himself. I remember asking Rick just before
going on, "So what kind of crowds have you been getting?" Rick
looked at me kind of smug and said "you'll see". Well we
walked out on stage and slammed into "Kristina" and suddenly "Beatlemania" broke
out. The place was jam packed with screaming Rick fans and a fine
looking bunch I must say. I knew then that in was in for a very special
experience that summer. I also got quite a lesson on just what a
great performer Rick really is....to say he's charismatic is an understatement.
Of course you knew that already.
did you become a member of Rick's tour in 1993?
I became a member
of Rick's '93 touring band on a recommendation from Rick's former
guitarist Tim Pierce. I had been working for a company in LA that
does "cartage" for session guitarists around town, and
Tim was one of our clients. Cartage basically is "carting" a
musician's equipment down to a studio, setting it up, stringing guitars,
tuning them up, putting out a cup of coffee, a doughnut....you get
the idea. Anyway, Tim knew I was a player and had heard that Rick
was looking for a guitarist and was gracious enough to give him my
number. Jack White gave me a call and I went down to the band's rehearsal
space and auditioned for the gig. The rest is history. Thanks Tim!
do you like the most and the least about touring?
The thing I like
the most about touring is the time on stage playing music....the
thing I like the least is being away from my family.
was it working with Lance Morrison on your latest project? How long
have you known Lance? Is there a Lance / Rick / Keith connection
I have known Lance
since our college days at James Madison University in Virginia. We
were roommates for a long time and played in several different bands
together during that period. We actually "loaded up the truck
and moved to Beverly" together as well...well, not Beverly Hills
but Hollywood. I sort of recommended Lance for the Rick gig so yes
there is a connection. Working with Lance on my most recent project
was great...Lance is a consummate professional and a pretty funny
guy as well. Nothing really has changed since our college days (except
for hairstyles perhaps), we still enjoy making music together. There
are actually some interesting photos of Lance and me (and our hair)
during our college days on my web site at www.keithhowland.com.
Lance wants to kill me for posting those pictures....hee hee.
What will you be doing to promote your new CD?
Well, the new CD you
speak of is called "The Howland/Imboden Project". As you probably
already know, I have spent the last seven years playing with the band
Chicago. The HIP CD is a collaboration between Tris Imboden (Chicago's
drummer) and myself. The record is all instrumental fusion and features
most of the current members of Chicago as well as Lance Morrison and
a host of other great musicians. You can find out more about it on my
web site at www.keithhowland.com or
you can pick it up online (only online in fact) at www.cdbaby.com... search "Howland" and
you should find it. As far as promoting the record goes, we may do some
shows around LA to start with and then we'll see what happens from there.
you have any quotes you live by?
is your biggest daily challenge?
sleep has become a challenge since I have a new baby daughter who
doesn't really like to sleep a whole lot! It's a good kind of sleep
What's your favorite Rick Springfield song?
Allison is one of
my favorites....Living In Oz...Father's Chair (makes me cry), and his
new one "It's Always Something".
half empty or half full?
person or night owl?
I've become a
morning person. See answer above.
- How has it changed you and the things you do?
I try not to dwell
on the little stuff as much and I try to live in the moment more
than I used to.
I do Yahoo....do
So there you have
it folks....that's all I've got for now. Feel free to come over to www.keithhowland.com and
jump on the message board, I'd love to have you! Keep your eyes open
for Chicago coming to a venue near you this summer. Bring your "Hey
New Guy" signs and I'll know who you are. The band (Chicago)
is going to record a new record this year as well and it should be
real special. And finally, if you would like to support your former
Rick guitarist and hear many guitar solos, pick up the HIP CD (Howland/Imboden
Project....HIP...get it?) at www.cdbaby.com.
Take care everyone!