Ricktopia Interviews Keith Howland, aka "The New Guy" from the 93 Tour.

What 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.

How 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!

What 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.

How was it working with Lance Morrison on your latest project? How long have you known Lance? Is there a Lance / Rick / Keith connection somewhere?

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.

Do you have any quotes you live by?

Uh........Uh..........I don't know.

What is your biggest daily challenge?

Getting enough 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 deprivation though.

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".

Cup half empty or half full?

Definitely half full.

Morning person or night owl?

I've become a morning person. See answer above.

9/11/01 - 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.

Do You....Yahoo?

I do Yahoo....do you?

Any last comments?

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!


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