Born: 1964 in Easton, PA
Styles: Prog-Rock, Guitar Virtuoso, Neo-Classical Metal, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
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 (All Music Guide)