Arts & Entertainment

Former Bad Company singer set to rock Clover Island Inn

Rest your vocals chords, because you'll need them to sing along with former Bad Company lead singer Brian Howe when he comes to Kennewick at the Clover Island Inn on July 11.

"I want people to know that I'm coming to do a show where they'll know every single song," Howe said. "Classic songs, the oldest songs I wrote for Bad Company; they'll all be there, so be in good voice because you'll want to sing along."

The British singer, who is a fan of the Tri-Cities, said he got his first taste of stardom when he joined his father on stage at a concert at the age of 3. Howe's career path was set.

Now living in Florida, Howe is working on his second solo album, due out later this year.

"Towards the end of my days with (Bad Company), it was really a sham," he said. "The guitar player didn't want to play guitar anymore and the drummer didn't play drums very well. It was becoming a real nightmare, so I'm kind of glad to get away from it and do my own thing where I know I'm in control of it."

Before Bad Company, Ted Nugent recruited him for lead vocals on his 1984 album Penetrator.

"Ted was great and taught me an awful lot about how to conduct yourself in the music business," Howe said. "The show is the end-all-be-all and you don't screw around with drugs, you don't drink, you work hard and you do your best. No matter how bad you feel one day, you go out there and do a show."

The multi-platinum-selling artist performs solo around the U.S., but his days of excess touring and partying are behind him.

"If you do seven shows in a row, I would only imagine three of those audiences are going to get a fair show," he said. "When you look back on it, you think 'I was pretty tired that night.' Best to try and keep yourself a little fresh."

While Howe admits to being able to drink with the best of them, he doesn't do drugs and doesn't drink the night before a show. Still, that didn't keep him out of trouble in his Bad Company days. Once, he was supposed to catch a flight to Springfield, Ill., but instead boarded a plane to Springfield, Mo.

For aspiring musicians, Howe offers this:

"One golden tip: Work hard, don't become an alcoholic or drug addict," he said. "Just work very hard and when people tell you it's over, don't believe it, just keep going, because the music business is rather strange. It's almost like the harder you work, the luckier you get."

Luck is one thing. Supernatural is another.

"I've never told anyone this yet," he said. "I'm not a terribly religious person, but we were recording a song and I couldn't finish it. I spent a month working on the lyrics and nothing worked. I thought it was going to be a song about an old tumbled-down theater, but then I'm in the control room of the studio and suddenly the thing came to me.

"I had to write it quick because it was literally talking to me. The song was writing itself, as ridiculous as that sounds and at the moment it's called Life's Mystery. It's about life after death."

Howe's dog, Abbie, was in the control room at the time. When Howe began singing the new lyrics, Abbie began growling at the corner of the room, as if some unseen force was present. Later, in a nearby kitchen, items along the countertop crashed to the floor by themselves.

"It freaked me out and lots of stuff happened around the studio," he said. "It's just weird because it's not me. Someone's looking after me. It certainly has given me food for thought."

Whatever the cause, Howe thinks positively about these signs and hopes that fans will feel the same about his new music.

"I am so lucky to be able to say that I've reached the old age that I'm at and I'm still able to walk out on stage and do concerts," he said. "It's just fortunate to be able to write songs, perform, and nowadays I'm working with really nice people, where in the past that wasn't necessarily true. I just hope people get my sentiment out of these songs."

Tickets are available at the Clover Island Inn for $22 in advance and $25 at the gate. The event is for those 21 and over. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and local act Color Blind will open up at 7:30. For more information, call the Clover Island Inn at 586-0541

◗ Bethany Lee: 582-1465;