Hi, you might have thought my name was Howie… but you’d be wrong! I’m Gary. “Howie Sound” is just a play on words – “How We Sound”. See what I did there?
(for the remainder of this story, picture me as a much older version of... the weird kid on Deliverance sitting on his front porch playing the banjo)
So, yeah, "Howie Sound" is what I call my home studio. Ok, it’s lame... but it’s the name I came up with back in roughly 1998 when I made my FIRST attempt to put a home studio together and I decided to stick with it. Back in '98, I bought a 166MHz Pentium machine, overclocked it to 200MHz, and thought I was the BOMB!
Music software technology then wasn’t much different than the music hardware technology of the day. I had a Roland 303 drum machine and my guitar. I could program the 303 to a basic beat, record it and lay a bass track down using my guitar… Then a rhythm track. Then I had just about enough processor poop left to play those tracks back while I jammed along with it. It wasn’t a lot different than how my college roommate and I used to record 4-track songs on his Tascam home studio in the late 80's. I don’t remember, Cubase might have had a drum VST at the time. If so, it's capabilities were only slightly beyond those of my Roland!
I bought a Johnson Millenium 150 (you read that right... 150... as in 150 Watts! Is that hilarious or what? The only reason my wife didn't divorce me was that I connected its direct-out to my mixing board to play it at headphone levels!) because it was effectively an amp modeling multi-fx unit, but it was an amp… AND it was MIDI controllable! Awesome right? Only problem was, WHAAAT? It didn’t have an editor!?!? Johnson owned Digitech, and every Digitech multi-fx unit they sold had an editor, but not their amp! So, I emailed the guy who wrote the editors for the Digitech units, telling him I’d be his eyes and provide all of the data tables he needed to plug into an editor framework. Boy was HE was a piece of… uh… work. He basically told me to take a hike. Well, I rolled up my sleeves and spent the next two years writing an editor for the JM150 that ran under Windows XP. Right about the time I was finishing it, he comes out with an editor! That was about 2000, my daughter was 4 and my son was 2, and I was burnt out. I was working my regular job as a Software Engineer 8+ hours a day, and working on the editor 3-4 hours a night, and I was SICK of it. I was playing ZERO music, and I was a wreck. So rather than deal with wrapping it up and competing with the other editor, I put it all aside. The editor and playing / recording music. I didn’t know it then, but I’d be putting it aside for a WHILE!
Fast-forward 15 years. In 2015, my daughter had been at college for a couple of years, and my son was heading off to college as well. After all those years of coaching baseball and soccer, it was time to see if I could even DO the music thing anymore. I bought a new computer, mixer, guitar, amp and got back to it.
I found that while I could still write – at least write songs that I thought were ok – my chops had gotten pretty rusty. I’ve been working on that for the past 5 years, and I’ll just have to settle with the fact that at this point I’m a songwriter – not a performer. But I have been writing quite a bit. I just never got the love of music – and in particular, songwriting – out of my system.
But dang! Music software technology has come a LONG WAY in 20 years! In '98, I didn't even have reverb plugins. Now? You got every type of effect and every type of virtual instrument known to man. You - and I mean you as in JUST you with no other musicians - can put together some crazy stuff if you have the patience and talent to do it! I've been at for about 5 years. I've learned a great deal about dozens of software packages and music theory... and have been having a lot of fun in the process. I keep hoping one of these days I'll do something of commercial value... until then, I'll be having fun trying!
So, I decided to put this website together as a means of publishing my songs. For now, I’m just streaming them until I figure out how to publish my genre of music… you know… "OLD GUY"... which I'll give street cred by abbreviating as "OG"! SoundCloud seems more geared to EDM, and I’m too ugly for YouTube. So, personal website it is!
Anyway, thanks for stopping by howiesound.com!!! Hope you enjoyed the music and some scenery.