In a year that will see his band Ballyhoo! perform at several high profile festivals, Howi Spangler took time out to be interviewed for my weekly column in the Pensacola News Journal. The full interview follows below.
*** Howi Spangler Interview ***
MS: If someone came up to you in when you started this band and said, “Howi, in 2012 you will be playing Bamboozle on the same day as Foo Fighters, Blink 182, and then the 311 Caribbean Cruise, playing on the Vans Warped Tour.” what would you have said to them.
HS: I probably would have said, “Yeah, whatever. (chuckles) I hope so, but yeah, whatever.”
MS: You guys work hard. You’re road warriors. How does it feel with all of these shows coming up? Do you ever get overwhelmed?
HS: I’m pretty much more excited than anything. Overwhelmed? Just try not to think about that kind of stuff. Just keep moving forward and say “Alright! We booked a show.” It’s definitely an accomplishment. Things that we’ve been working for a long time. And finally the work is starting to show. It definitely feels good.
MS: The last time I saw you at Vinyl Music Hall in Pensacola, it got wild with tour-mates the Bastard Suns. What can the Pensacola diehard fans expect when your “Daydreams” tour this time around?
HS: Another hard rocking show. Good time party vibe, you know. We have something for everybody. A lot of fun. The last time we played there, it was our first time there, it was a lot of people there singing our songs and we were pumped. Hopefully this time is no different. We’re definitely going to come through and rock it out for them.
MS: The next single “Walk Away” is very reflective on a break-up yet spun into an uplifting song. What inspired the writing of that song.
HS: I was driving in my car one day after band practice driving home and I thought to myself sometimes it’s easier to walk away and the melody just came to me. I sang a little bit and “girl we can’t take much more, we make each other miserable.” I thought that was kind of a funny line, but it’s so true for lots of people. Tons of people have been in relationships where you know neither one of you are happy, but you stay with each other because it’s easier. You’re comfortable. To get up and move and change your life would just shake things up.
MS: Now that you mention it, you’re schedule is crazy, how do you find time for relationships with your work? Is it possible? How do you do it?
HS: You just make it work, man. You do the best you can to make it work. My chick understands that this is what I’ve been working for, for a long time and nobody is going to change my mind. I’m not just going to quit. There’s give and take for sure. Just got keep making phone calls and be there as much as I’m not there.
MS: What is the wildest thing you’ve ever done or seen at one of your shows?
HS: That’s a good question, we have so many shows. There’s no really crazy or nutty things that happen during the shows. It’s more or less what happens on the way to a show or things that happen behind the scenes. The shows…we just rock out. I pretty much scream at people all night long, which is awesome. Things like the van catching on fire and things like that on the way to our first tour. Stuff like that.
MS: Was that on purpose or accident?
HS: It was definitely by accident and I blew the transmission earlier in the day. The fluid sprayed all over the undercarriage, it was really hot. Eventually it just got so hot that it ignited and there were flames shooting out the side of the van underneath, it was pretty scary.
MS: What struck me when I saw you live was, you’ve got the vocal chops. Did you take lessons or are you self taught? You can sing and you bring it?
HS: I never got lessons. I listened to Incubus and Sublime those guys that could really sing. I decided that every day in my car when I’m driving, I’m going to blast it and sing as loud as I can and try to match what they’re doing and eventually it started working. Lessons are always good for people to take because it teaches you how to breathe and how to not blow your voice out which you know, I’ve done many times. I’ve never had the vocal training, but definitely for me, it was listening to those Incubus and Sublime records and really just trying to make my voice sound like theirs and hit every note and that’s kind of how it developed for me.
MS: Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
HS: Just keep moving forward. Don’t think. If you stop and think about how exhausted you are, you start getting tired, you actually feel tired. Because it’s all in your head. We’ve done so many shows and tours where we’re driving overnight and loading the gear and playing and getting back in the van and doing it again. Driving again another 10-12 hours a night. It’s very exhausting and tiresome, but if you think about how tired you are, then your motivation goes out the window. You’ve got to keep thinking about, “We’re playing Bamboozle. This is awesome!” Stuff like that.
MS: Last question, Howi. It’s kind of a crazy one. Do you prefer crunchy or creamy peanut butter?
HS: As a kid, I loved the crunchy but I have a lot more appreciation for the creamy. I love peanuts man, but I like the smooth, creamy peanut butter these days.
MS: Is there anything you want to add or say for the fans in Pensacola, that are coming to the show March 6th?
HS: We’ve got a free sampler up. Check it out. It’s at Ballyhoo.bandcamp.com We’ve got five or six songs for free. And just give em’ out to your friends. Spread the word. Come hang out, it’s going to be a good time.
– Michael L. Smith
Link to an additional photo gallery of the concert by the PNJ crew.