Get this crazy baby off my head!


Howe II (Greg Howe Related)

Howe II - High Gear - 1989 - Shrapnel Records

After Easton, PA, native Greg Howe established himself as a promising new guitar virtuoso in the hard rock underground with his instrumental, self-titled debut in 1988, he immediately returned in 1989 with a band effort called Howe 2. Collecting the local talents of brother Al Howe (lead vocals), Vern Parsons (bass), and Joe Nevolo (drums), Greg put together a sort of high-tech Van Halen and released the inspired, super-charged High Gear. Much as many other guitar hero-types of the late '80s were redirecting their talents toward a more commercially minded band sound (like Paul Gilbert's Mr. Big), Greg's Howe 2 project was aiming for a more mainstream market. And, truth be told, Howe 2 outgunned many of their contemporaries. The songs on High Gear are good, the riffs are killer, and the execution is flawless. Reigned in by more conventional song structures and being limited to short solo sections, Greg Howe's playing is more effective than ever; focused like a laser, his brilliant solos drive home the point of the songs rather than being the point of the songs. Al's vocals recall classic David Lee Roth. The entire band plays with an articulate, inspired precision and energy that is truly awesome. With better promotion, "Thinking of You" could have been a huge hit in 1989. Far more deserving of commercial success than the watered-down and severely less-talented MTV hair metal bands that ruled the airwaves at the time, Howe 2 unfortunately never got past the indie market and the occasional spin on Headbanger's Ball. But this album remains a high watermark in the genre. © Andy Hinds © 2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/howe-2-high-gear-mw0000201697

There are many great guitarists playing today. The problem is that many guitar and fusion albums are just displays of the guitarist’s technical ability without giving much thought to originality of composition. Also there are many, many albums released every year with mediocre, AOR, commercial, mainstream material on them. The pity is that many of these albums have outstanding guitar work, and some great guitarists are prostituting their great fretboard skills for some of the greedy pimps running the money driven commercial rock market. "High Gear" by Greg's short lived Howe II band was originally intended for the “mainstream” market, but Greg Howe is not just a stupendous guitarist and certainly not a typical shredder. He also rose above the mediocre late ’80’s rock crap with this 1989 release. Although this album sold few copies in 1989, it deserved much better. The album is brimming with stupendous guitar work with intelligent and original compositions composed by Greg and his brother Al. Al also handles the lead vocals very well. Jason Becker and Mike Varney play a couple of terrific solos on “Party Favors”. Many people regard Greg as the best guitarist in the world today, but there are so many different guitar styles and musical genres in existence, the word “best” is probably too general a word to use as regards technically brilliant guitarists. Listen to Paul Gilbert and Guthrie Govan who, like Greg Howe are masters of the instrument and are proving that the “impossible” is now “possible” on a fretboard. These guys’ advanced techniques juxtaposed to intricate rhythms are simply mind-blowing. One can really only compare guitarists. Check out Greg’s “Hyperacuity” and “Introspection” albums on this blog and listen to Greg’s 1988 s/t album. [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 85.2 Mb]


1.High Gear 4:41
2.Carry the Torch 4:01
3.Strat-O-Various 1:13
4.Disorderly Conduct 4:33
5.Thinking of You 5:02
6.Standing on Line 3:32
7.Ferocious 4:34
8.Don't Let the Sloe Gin (Order the Wine) 5:08
9.Party Favors 3:30
10.Social Fever 5:48

All songs composed by Albert Howe and Greg Howe


Greg Howe – Guitar, Background Vocals
Mike Varney – Guitar Solo on Track 9
Jason Becker – Guitar Solo on Track 9
Vern Parsons – Bass, Background Vocals
Joe Nevolo – Drums, Background Vocals
Albert Howe – Vocals


Easton, PA's Greg Howe was a breath of fresh air amidst the seemingly never-ending stream of harmonic minor guitar virtuosos pouring forth from the Shrapnel Records label in the late '80s. While other post-Yngwie Malmsteen players of the "shred guitar" genre were pursuing the dramatic neo-classical vein, Howe brought a sense of funk and groove to the table that was sorely needed. Howe paid his dues playing the Easton/Allentown club circuit in the '80s with the band Duke, featuring his brother Al on lead vocals. When one of his instrumental demos grabbed the ear of talent scout and Shrapnel Records owner Mike Varney, Howe was signed to the Shrapnel label in 1987. His all-instrumental debut, Greg Howe, featuring the talents of Billy Sheehan and Atma Anur on bass and drums, respectively, was released in 1988, to considerable acclaim. Howe's second album, High Gear, released under the moniker Howe 2, was less a solo album than a Van Halen-styled band effort, featuring his brother Al Howe on lead vocals. The band broke up after releasing its more commercially minded follow-up, Now Hear This, in 1990 and Greg Howe returned to making all-instrumental albums in his home studio, taking a decidedly more fusion-styled direction. Howe released Introspection in 1993 and Uncertain Terms in 1994 and has continued to produce albums at a prolific rate since then. Aside from releasing Parallax and Five in 1995 and 1996, respectively, Howe collaborated with fellow Pennsylvania virtuoso and Shrapnel labelmate Richie Kotzen on the Tilt album in 1995 and again on 1997's Richie Kotzen/Greg Howe Project. His last Shrapnel album, Ascend, was released in 1999, followed by his debut on the Tone Center label, Hyperacuity, released in 2000. Outside of his solo career, Greg Howe is also a sought-after sideman who has toured with the likes of Michael Jackson and N'Sync. © Andy Hinds © 2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/greg-howe-mn0000195552/biography

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