Greg Howe- A Profile
(12 Nov 02)
OK, lemme try a different kind of introduction this time. Go and get yourself a pillow, let's roast some marshmallows and I'll tell ya a little story. Nope, don't wanna put you to sleep, but I figured you might be bored by my usual kind of introduction so...
It was the long hot summer of 35 ... uhmmm... actually it was like 1993 or so, but I thought I should try some dramatic stuff. Anyway, I was in some kind of a rut back then. I had been practising a lot (this was prior to my time at the GIT), and I had been listening to a bunch of shred-records, learning lots of licks off them.
But somehow I was looking for something else. In my mind I had these neat ideas, and I was looking for a player who was doing something similar.
Now, back then the CD store in my town occasionally had some really cool CDs in stock, some rather unusual CDs that looked weird next to all the "hip" rock & pop-stuff. (i.e. I found a copy of Vinnie Moore's "Meltdown" there...). So one day I was browsing through the CD shelves and I see a CD by a dude called "Greg Howe". I had heard about him, saw his name in a Shrapnel-ad in the GUITAR magazine. So, I went by my gut-feeling and just purchased the CD.
Went home, put it into the CD-player and... man, was I blown away. Sure, the CD had some of that Varney-sound (guitar-doubling in thirds, not the best production-sound), but the songwriting and playing was SO awesome.
So very different from the neoclassical, harmonic minor type stuff I had listened to for way too long, here was a guy who had a very smooth sound, played some fusion / rock-style songs, and playing-wise he was just soaring... amazing licks, very fast stuff, intervals so very different from the neoclassical stuff.
At first I was blown away, then I felt extremely inspired. I sat down, tried to transcribe some of this stuff, tried to learn some of the licks.
I later got my hands on his video (by REH) and an old issue of the Guitar Player magazine, which featured a very long interview, a transcription of one whole song, and a lesson with Greg. This cleared up a lot of it, it made it easier to understand what he was doing, I learned a lot of cool licks and ideas from that.
To this day, Greg is one of my main influences, next to Ed Van Halen, Paul Gilbert, Steve Morse and a few others. His playing, note-choice and style inspired me, and I still do find a lot of "Howe-isms" in my playing.
Remember the two articles about the stretch-pentatonic ("Stretch It !" and "Stretch Some More")? Well, Greg Howe was probably the first guy that I heard using the pentatonic scale in such a creative and cool way. I couldn't even tell it was a lot of pentatonic stuff when I listened to his records. It just sounded like an alien playing really melodic and cool stuff at about lightspeed.
And since Howe is such a big influence of mine, and still never ceases to amaze me with both his older and his more recent releases I figured I could pay some kind of a tribute to him by telling you guys about him, his music and his style.
Also, my songs "Groove Addict", "Rainy Night" and "Cab To Queens" are some kind of tributes to him, since they feature lots of licks that definitely were influenced by Greg.
So, let's take a look at the man...
By the way... did you think that that story was boring?!? No?!? Good!!! Then maybe next time, I can tell you about how I had to walk to school every morning, 7 miles one way, 9 miles the other, with the snow 9 feet high... ok, maybe I won't, maybe I'm just full of...