Howie G

The Classic Rock Show, Howie G

When and where were you born?

October 1978 in the Royal Berks Hospital in Reading.

When did you start to play?

I started playing guitar on the 27th of December 1989. The reason I know the date is because myMum, mylittle brother and sister and I went to Newcastle upon Tyne to visit family for Christmas as we did every year and my Grandparents had bought me a nylon string, three quarter size guitar.Life has never been the same since! Ha ha!

Tell us about some of your previous projects.

My first gigging band was called Paranoia, a three piece put together whilst at St. Thomas More School in Nuneaton with two of my oldest friends, Paul Carnevale and Pete Dalziel. When I left school I joined The Bon Scott tribute ABCD which I am proud to say I am still with. (16 years, half my life and counting!) If you’re gonna play lead guitar in a tribute band, you might as well have some fun with it! Although my Angus shorts are getting a bit tight around the middle! I also front a three piece band called The P.L.O.T. orThe Primeval Leviathan of Truth. We will soon be releasing our second album of original material and gig regularly. I have also played with The New Disciples ofSoul, which was a different thing for me having mostly played in rock bands. I also enjoy joining Damian and Gareth Darlington every once in a while for a bit of Acoustic Unlimited. Damian can be a hard taskmaster at times and leaves me nowhere to hide.He likes making me play Guardian Angel by John McLaughlin first number and wonders why I say oh no! I have done many things over the years, but the opportunity to play some of my favourite material, which normally goes untouched because it's either impractical or sometimes impossible, is what I am looking forward to most of all with The Classic Rock Show, especially the Steely Danand Dire Straits.I'm a big fan of all the bands we are covering in the set but these two will be a first for me and I have loved their stuff for years.

Who are your influences?

I like all the classic rock bands from the seventies, Led Zep, Deep Purple and so on but my all time favourite will always be Black Sabbath. I even habitually play some things with my little finger when it's totally unnecessary as a result of obsessively copying Tony Iommi as a teenager even though I've got all of my fingers. My vocal hero has to be the late great Ronnie James Dio. I was setting up at a gig when I heard the recent news of his death and it literally made me cry. I had to leave the room. I saw him many times and was always astounded by his range, power, consistency and unfaltering presence. If I could choose to sing like anyone, it would be likehim. I often try. I love Zappa, Hendrix, Queen, ZZ Top, too many to mention but Billy Gibbons has to be the best pinched harmonic player ever. As he puts it "You gotta graze the twine to make it whine." It doesn't get any cooler than that!

If you had to take one album to your desert island, what would it be and why?

This is a really tough one. After some careful thought it would have to be Black Sabbath's Reunion album. Why? Because I was there. Nobody thought that the original lineup would get back together and then they did. December 4th and5th 1997 N.E.C. Birmingham. I went both nights and had a fantastic time. It was special because I got to see something that, for years, seemed extremely unlikelybut then there I was. It's the only live album I have where I was in the crowd and when I listen to it I can see Ozzy, Tony ,Geezer and Bill very clearly in my head as if it were yesterday. Happy memories.

What gear do you tour with?

My main guitar is a 1990 Gibson Les Paul Gold Bullion Classicwith aSeymour Duncan Custom in the neck positionand an EMG 81 in the bridge. I use it for almost everything and as a result, there's not much paint left on it but she sounds awesome. I bought it from former Tyketto guitarist Brooke St James in 1996. I use a Laney VH100Rhead and a 300 watt Marshall 4 x 12 cabinet, Boss effects and an essential BBE sonic maximiser. If you want to be sent to sleep, come and see me after one of the shows and I'll tell you all about how it works in detail. Yawn! I also use an original Parker Fly Deluxe, one of the first ones sold in the U.K. It's very useful due to its ability to go from a high power electric sound to a very dynamic acoustic sound at the flick of a switch. This is due to its softwood core. A1974 Gibson S.G. standard goes in the rackas a spare. And of course, a good old Stratocaster for the Knopfler stuff!

One obscure interesting fact about yourself.

I love cars, always have done. I've had lots of rare stuff over the years but none as rare as my current project. I am the proud owner of two Audi V8 Quattros. One of which I bought on e-bay last winter for £175 with no engine or rear differential. It now has the engine from the first one I had and apparently was bought brand new by a member of Genesis. I think it was Mike Rutherford’s car but I could be wrong. I've traced it back as far as I can. It's K463UNH in black if anyone can verify this. It would be nice if it was, not only because I play guitar and bass myself but also because the day the engine first started in its new shell was the same day we were rehearsing the Genesis tunes. How's that for a coincidence?

See you on the road folks!