Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Where the hell is TOD HOWARTH?
We got him! Tod, singer/songwriter/guitarist, is currently working on a new solid rock CD due early 2009. Tod has released three solo albums of his own (Silhouette, Colbalt Parlor, West Of Eight) .The man who wrote and toured with ACE FREHLEY (Frehley's Comet, Second Sighting)... Toured with CHEAP TRICK and who just recently played at Budokan for TRICK's 30th Anniversary of LIVE AT BUDOKAN... Played to huge crowds with 707 (50,000 in 1981 with REO SPEEDWAGON)... Toured with TED NUGENT and contributed to Ted's Penetration album. In Tod's off time, he enjoys riding his Quad and Wakeboarding.

I personally have met Tod at KISS Expos and showed him my 707 album which surprised him and he graciously signed. He is one of the nicest guys (besides ERIC CARR) I've ever met in the music business. You can visit Tod at his MySpace and website below. Special Thanks to TOD HOWARTH and MARK COOPER.
(Intro:J. Frank Hagan)

Mark Cooper sat down with Tod recently in this one on one interview.

1) First off, thank you for sitting down with KISS Mask for a while and giving us some of your time as you prepare your new CD. How are things coming along on your new project? What style CD can we expect this time around and who are your major influences during this recording?

ANSWER: You are very welcome! The recording - and writing - is coming along pretty well, slowly, but I'm thrilled with what I'm coming up with. While recording the new tunes I'm writing additional ones to see if I can better the existing songs - this way there should be no 'Fillers' the only toll it's taking is time, because I'm playing all the instruments again - a very lengthy process.

2) How did your gig w/ Cheap Trick go in Budokan? How did that gig come about?

ANSWER:The show in Japan went quickly really. 'Trick had contacted me about three weeks ahead of schedule so I could program my new keyboard (the old one 'cooked' on the last stage with them) and they could get an okay to book my flights, arrange work visas etc. I flew in with them on a Tuesday, the show was Thursday and I came home Friday. Fairly whirl wind.
The 30 year anniversary gig came about because I've played with them off and on since 1985 - and usually when they do an important show or tour they ask me out - with exception to this current tour (it's all about a budget)

3) Do you see or talk to Ace as of late?

ANSWER: Unfortunately no. Our lives at this point (and for quite some time) have traveled in different directions. Everyone knows that he went back to KISS for many years while I had to struggle with starting up new bands to get signed to Gene Simmons' label - then only to have 'us' dropped because 'grunge' came in and cleaned house! This may sound bitter as I write it - and parts of the story I did feel that way at the time - BUT it's just business and the taste of the American musical public (And I like grunge even though it took me out!)
Ace and I haven't seen each other or talked in years. I do hear through some fans that he 'thinks' about me on occasion.

4) What was one of your most memorable times with Ace during the Frehley's Comet days?

ANSWER: The beginning was a blast, Ace was clean and driven again, the touring was fun, you know there isn't one time really that was the best, HOWEVER Ace and I did have a blast going through my song catalog, playing guitars together in his New York Apartment. It's where we got to know each other musically and connected for what would be the Comet. He has a great sense of humor as do I, and we laughed our asses off about many things while working up there in his place. I think now that, perhaps that was the funniest times - weird eh? You have to remember that I had toured extensively before meeting Ace'

5) What was it like performing with Ted Nugent? Any special memories?

ANSWER: Ted was a pretty damn good guitar player although before I met him I didn't think so (I was into Jeff Beck) He was also almost exclusively all business. He had the gift of gab and sometimes never shut the hell up! Once we were on tour in Europe and we had to drive through the night. Well Ted liked to drive and before they discovered that I could 'drive' too I sat and had to listen, all night, as Ted rambled on about anything to keep himself awake during the night ride. Ted seems to easily amuse himself - but I understand this because I can do the very same thing! He had some backstage antics as well. One time he knew that woman interviewer was backstage with us while he went to the bathroom so he comes flying out of there with no pants on, toilet paper stuck in-between his ass cheeks trailing out like a six foot tail, 'sees' her after shouting out 'Are we on yet?!' and hits the floor face first sliding into home plate sort 'o speak. That shit was funny.
He also asked every one after the first night in Europe, 'Okay, who shit in the bidet?' For those of you who don't know what that is, it's the European butt washer that looked like a toilet - NOW they have the heated combo wherein one can deliver....

6) Do you keep in touch with John Regan? Can you share a special memory of your time working with him?

ANSWER: John and I see each other most every time that he comes through on tour with Peter Frampton. He is responsible for getting me into the Comet, and he has a great business sense, a terrific bass player and a great guy. Any time we spent together was memorable. The most fun was, well Hell again, anytime because he just had that wry humor - everything had an amusing point to any given situation. I think what I really liked about John is he loved my song writing and when I had met him when he was playing with John Waite - and I with Cheap Trick, he was very complimenting on what he heard me do on stage for 'Trick. He convinced ace to have me in the band because I could play guitar and keys and sing, write and at the time 'look' the part...I guess. And this also cut down on a five member band so there was more funds to go around to the existing members!

7) What are you listening to these days? What's spinning in your player right now?

ANSWER: Most fans don't like to hear what I'm listening to but I always tell. Evanescence, Velvet Revolver, STP, Alice in Chains, KORN, Chevelle, Kelly Clarkson, yes Kelly - that woman can sing!! Hinder, Van Halen, some Zep, Nirvana, A lot of new heavy bands of which I don't know the names....

8) If you could only bring 10 CD's with you on a deserted island....Which 10 would they be?
ANSWER: Jeff Beck ' Blow by Blow'
Alice in Chains 'Dirt'
Van Halen 'Van Halen'
Joni Mitchell 'Court and Spark'
The sound track to the movie 'Against all Odds'
STP 'Shangra-la-di-da'
Led Zeppelin 'Houses of the Holly'
Nirvana 'Nevermind'
The Babys 'First album'
Me 'Cobalt Parlor'

9) What advise would you share with young aspiring artists trying to make in the music biz these days?

ANSWER: Man, go to medical school! If you absolutely have to do full time music be prepared to put your ass on the line and remember that most don't make it. It's a different world out there than when I 'roamed' the earth looking for the elusive record deal - what the Hell is that nowadays? I don't even really know. Educate yourself on what should be done to get your music out there - it's ever changing. Learn what's available to promote yourself and band - learn where and what to play and stick with it so you form an identity AND keep your responsibilities at the bare minimum as you'll need every fucking dime for yourself to survive. If anyone else has to depend on you then you've made your quest four times as hard to achieve. I personally am exhausted and I'm not sure why I'm still standing.

10 What do you think of the latest KISS lineup and current tour?

ANSWER: In truth? I have no idea nor do I have an opinion other than I think the fans would probably like a different lineup. And as far as the tour goes one might think that if you miss this one...oh, well there might be another one...but that's a good thing right? You as long as they can bring happiness to the ears of the fans that made them then they are right were they should be.
Gene, Paul, nice work!

11) Could you share with some fellow tech-heads out there what kind of gear you're using on the current CD?

ANSWER: I've long since stopped chasing the new, latest, best gear because it really doesn't do any good for songwriting I've learned early on, and it's gets expensive for some budgets depending on your level of involvement. However, I use the following!
Steinberger guitars Headless stock 'M' bodies (2)
Chandler custom made Baritone guitars (2)
Takamine acoustic six (1)
Gibson Artist bass (1)
Waterstone 12 string bass (1)
the wife's Washburn,
a 'P2' whatever the Hell that is.......hah! (1)
KORG Triton extreme keyboard (1)
KORG O1w/ProX (1)
MAPEX 5 piece drum kit (1)
Many Shure sm 57's (?)
Electrovoice re20 (1)
Tascam DA88 (2)
MACKIE 16.8 console (1)
Marshall 100 watt6100Lm Ann series (1)
Marshall 100 that I bought from
Jim Marshall in London (1)
SansAmp tech 21 for Bass
Alesis M230 EQ (2)
Tascam DA 30 dat
Sony portable DAT
dbx1 266 compressor
TC helicon voice tone
staple gun
duct tape
Claw hammer
kerosene and a match
running shoes
You know where I'm going with this right?

12) What is your overall view of the current state of the music biz?

ANSWER: It seems to be in every which way. There are so many styles, so many managers, artist manufactures, fly by night 'talents', flavors of the week. There is a lot of great music out there but the thing that really pisses me off is that I took years to learn how to write a song, play a song, sing a tune, play different instruments and try to package it up in a presentable fashion. Now it appears that any dicksmoke with an attitude, hat, Gold Tijuana grill and a 2nd grade music listening degree can whip the public up in a artistic frenzy and get paid big (temporary) bucks for it.. Hmmm maybe it's the taste of certain American public.
I like it when an artist or band has real substance and longevity - even in today's realm and has a good solid six year or so run with it - by the way invest your money because it's gonna end. See question number 9.

13) Could you share with us one of your favorite memories of working with Cheap Trick?

ANSWER: I guess would have to be the first time that I played with them. Back in the day they were a favorite band of mine so it was kind of a kick to perform with the band. Also playing "the Flame" to the big crowds was fun. Doing the Jay Leno show, my first trip to Japan with them, and the long bus tours and card games. Hanging with Tom Petersson, we were (and still are) pretty tight.

14) What would you like to say to your loyal fans who have stuck by you though the thick and thin?
ANSWER: You know, truly, if it wasn't for you I would not be doing this new rock CD. I would not have done the last three solo CDs, nor would I have hung in there in the lovely 'business' of music. I love to write and perform - for the fans, not so much for me really because I lived that, now it's fun to watch the fans eyes and ears when they hear a fav tune. Thank you all so very much for being there. I keep thinking that "This will be my last CD effort" because the industry is so very different and there are so many new, younger, great artists who are waiting to take their turns..... and that solo CD efforts (real ones where I'm doing everything) take so damn long to finish!
But again, I really thank you all!
Thank you Tod. I appreciate your time.
Stay tuned to KISSMASKWEBZINE on news of Tod Howarth.
It's Over Now/Frehley's Comet video on YouTube-click link below to view.
Into The Night/Frehley's Comet video on YouTube-click link below to view.

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