Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Guitar Legend Greg Howe circa 1985 with local band Duke

Circa 1985 Greg Howe w/ Duke, originally uploaded by biffybeans.

I would have been about 14... My God, 14 years old and going out to see bands?


Back in the mid 80's, there were several local underage clubs where we would go to hang out, dance, drink sodas, watch bands, and get way too deep into adult activities that would have turned our parents hair white had they known what we were up to.

Back at that time, Duke was a local cover band that did a number of current and classic hits, complete with a one hour Van Halen tribute show. The VH tribute show was typically performed as their last set of the night, and since I was still only 14, I had a curfew and only got to see it once or twice.

And boy, was it good. Greg Howe not only physically resembled Eddie Van Halen, he could play every song, every solo, every note, like the real deal. Greg's brother Al also matched Diamond Dave's vocals to a T. Close your eyes and it was really, really hard to not think you weren't listening to Van Halen in small club on the Sunset Strip.

The VH tribute show eventually went away, but they still liberally peppered their sets with loads of VH goodness.

They once did a showcase for some record company at the Empire Rock Club in Philadelphia. I borrowed a friend's driver's license, (because I was only 16 at this time) and hopped on the party bus down to Phila. to show my support.

I'd see them play dozens of times before they reincarnated themselves as a new band - Howe II. I remember Kjell Benner and Jimmy DeGrasso playing with them at various times. I didn't get to see Howe II too often, underage clubs were fewer at this time, and they had moved on from doing all cover tunes, and started to establish themselves with their own music.

Not too long after, Greg recorded his first album - and the rest is history. Now he's a fusion guitarist virtuoso. GregHowe.com

I worked at one of those underage clubs back in the mid to late 80's where Duke often played, and I will always remember Greg as being the nicest guy in the world. My cousin took guitar lessons from Greg for years and I believe they still keep in touch.

One of my fondest memories, (other than that sticker guitar) was one night at the club when the band was doing their sound check. (The club wasn't open yet) Greg was standing there all alone, soloing, and soloing, and soloing - and there were maybe 5 of us in the whole place. It's just burned in my memory....

1 comment:

Thomas said...

um i probably took this pic, thats scarlet o'haras in bethlehem and i probably put that smoke in his guitar!

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