Greg Howe is one of those guitarists that don’t get the crowd they deserve. This phenomenal guitar player has played gigs with Michael Jackson, released his own albums and done a lot of collaborative work with other artists.
Born in the early sixties, Greg Howe was instantly inspired by all of the greats in the shredder era. After discovering Van Halen, he became obsessed by guitars and started to play in clubs with his rock band, featuring his brother Al as lead vocalist. They toured the North East of the US doing covers where Howe continuously practiced his skills as guitarist.
In 1988, Howe sent a demo to Shrapnel Records owner Mike Varney in the hopes of being featured in Varney’s column in Guitar Player magazines. Instead of being featured, Varney contacted Howe and asked him to record an album for his label. Howe then recorded his self-entitled album ‘Greg Howe’, featuring Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth) on the Bass and Atma Anur on drums. The album hit the numbers in the US and the worldwide guitar community. Howe went from cover band guitarist to solo artist within weeks. This all led to numerous endorsement deals, print advertising and lots of clinics all over the country. Years later, in 2009, Guitar World magazine ranked the album as tenth in the all-time top ten list of shred albums.
After this flying start came numerous albums. The first was ‘Introspection’, which was released five years later, in 1993. Howe had changed his musical style, which led to his signature sound, using lots of legato and tapping. His jazzy fusion style playing, combined with a bluesy groove and odd time signatures became a big part his other four albums released in the nineties. His last nineties album, Ascend, featured a more neo-classical approach with keyboardist Vitalij Kuprij on board.
Besides releasing his solo albums, Howe also did a lot of work with other artists. He participated twice in collaborations with Rickie Kotzen. ‘Tilt’ and ‘Project’ were released in 1995 and 1997. He was also a sideman for pop artists such as Jennifer Batten, who he filled in for in 1996 on Michael Jackson’s History tour. He also did a promotional tour in the U.S. and toured with European pop star Enrique Iglesias. In 2001 and 2002 he worked as lead guitarist for NSYNC, touring stadium shows. A year later he did promotional touring with Justin Timberlake, but had to quit early to finish his album ‘Extraction’ in 2003. In 2008 he released his latest album ‘Sound Proof’, which has been received very well.
Related GMC Lessons
1988: Greg Howe
1994: Uncertain Terms
2000: Hyperacuity 2003: Extraction
2006: Collection: The Shrapnel Years (compilation)
2008: Sound Proof