How did you get into being a musician?
Who are your biggest influences?
After your album with The Yeah in 2000, things got quiet for you. What happened? The new LP “Tornadoes Here and Past” was great, but did it take ten years to make or was something else happening?
I also was involved heavily with a project called Hautewerk, which also put a record out. I was the main writer on that album and performed most of the instruments too. So I did keep very busy, but the last couple years I was in California I did actually have writer’s block and couldn’t come up with anything new. After leaving California and eventually winding up back in Atlanta I decided it was time to do a new Kenny Howes album, and like I said before I pulled three songs from the Ultra Suede project that I had co-written and did those, and just had some other little bits of pieces sitting around.
Yeah, it was quite a break between those albums; I guess 12 years difference between the Yeah! album and my latest album Tornadoes Here & Past. But as I said I did do quite a bit in between and eventually re-lit the spark and finished up Tornadoes Here & Past, and it came out in 2012.
Tell me how you got involved in the “Do Ya” project (Jeff Lynne tribute).
She knew I was a fan of the band The Move and she had the concept for the “Do Ya” EP, which is four different bands covering “Do Ya.” She knew that we would be good at doing a version that sounded close to the one of the Move and so we very carefully recorded it and tried to make the arrangement as close to The Move’s arrangement as possible, because the other three artists on the EP were gonna do different things with it.
One, the Linus Of Hollywood version is completely different. And then I believe one of the other artists on there did it closer to the ELO version. So that was a vinyl-only EP that came out around then, around 2001. The fun thing for me was that I was able to participate in the record release show of that at the IPO Chicago in 2002. Not everybody that was on the EP, but most of the people that were on the EP were able to be there. We had a big hootenanny on stage where we had 10 people all on at the same time. Anna handed out little tambourines that said “Do Ya” on them and everybody in the audience was playing tambourines. It was a whole lot of fun. It was one of my favorite shows ever. And Pat from the Smithereens was there that night too, so that was pretty fun. And we were up all night; it was great!
How did you get involved with the Smithereens?
Any new LP in the works? I noticed a lot more guitar acrobatics than your previous albums — any more of that style?
Guitar acrobatics? There’s actually a lot of guitar acrobatics on my earlier records. *laughs* But, I don’t know, it’s funny. I’m a strange guitar player because I never wanted to be a lead guitar player. I was always more interested in songs and learning lots and lots of chords and things like that. It’s funny that you think that the new album has acrobatics because I think in some ways stuff is a lot simpler. That’s my goal anyways, to try and make things simpler. But yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know what my next record will sound like yet. We’ll see.
Wow, that was a cool interview. Thank you Kenny and Elizabeth.