Guitar great Greg Howe talks instruction, new amp and band… Maragold
“VIRTUOSO,” “guitar hero,” “guitar legend,” and of course “shredder” — they’re all tags and titles attached to Greg Howe’s name, and while each may be apt, they neither define nor determine his musical trajectory. Howe has been recording and touring nationally since 1988, when Shrapnel Records released his self-titled debut album. The disc introduced him as part of a group of innovative guitarists who raised the bar on technique, but Howe soon broke away from the niche by venturing into the worlds of jazz fusion, production, session work, and tours with rock and pop artists. His diverse resume includes stints with Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, and Enrique Iglesias.
Throughout his work with other artists, Howe has continued creating acclaimed instrumental albums, always experimenting and striving for new and different approaches to composition and sound. Two years ago, he made a complete shift in direction when he formed the rock band Maragold. Featuring vocalist Meghan Krauss, bassist Kevin Vecchione, and recently welcoming drummer Dan Conway, their self-titled debut album was released last year. Since then, they’ve been busy with tour dates, while Howe continues his ongoing schedule of interview after interview.
“It doesn’t get tiring,” he says of the process. “It’s my pleasure. I love doing this, and I love that people are interested in what I’m doing, so it’s cool.”
Howe was packing his bags again when he spoke to Gearphoria. He was on his way to Europe for a clinic tour, where he would meet with fans and introduce them to his signature DV Mark amplifier, the Maragold.
GEARPHORIA: You have a clinic tour coming up. What are they like for you? Are they mostly structured or somewhat spontaneous?
GREG: It’s a little of both. The last time I was out, in March 2013, I didn’t really have a theme. It wasn’t sponsored by a company, so it was more like the Greg Howe clinic tour. To some degree it was a matter of reading the crowd, playing some music, answering questions, and talking about my career, about technique, and about my life as a recording artist.
However, this time we have an amplifier. I’ve been working with a company called DV Mark, which is the same as Markbass, and we developed an amplifier called the Maragold. It’s a signature amplifier that was recently released, so this tour is based on promoting that amp and letting people hear it. Obviously, the clinics will entail a lot more than that, but there will be more of a framework to adhere to, so it will be a little bit different.