An interview with Dr Howard from the Blow Monkeys
Dr Howard is looking forward to 80s Live in June!
Dr Robert Howard has looked back on a long and varied career ahead of a performance in Coventry this summer.
A lot has changed in the decades since the charismatic frontman led his band The Blow Monkeys to fame, which peaked with the release of hit single ‘Digging Your Scene’ in 1986, a top 20 hit in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Ahead of their performance at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday, June 16 at 80s Live, the multi-instrumentalist frontman has spoken on the current state of the music industry and how a positive approach to collaboration has made him a better artist.
The band will perform alongside Billy Ocean, Five Star and Roland Gift at 80s Live, but Dr Howard believes the Blow Monkeys’ new material sets them apart from the line-up.
He said: “We aren’t afraid to say those dreaded words ‘here is a new song’, finding new things to write about is what keeps us going.
“For me certainly, there would be no point in carrying on if we weren’t still creating new material.
“It’s great to perform at the 80s Live show because we do bring something different to the table with our new material and of course we still play all the hits to get people involved.”
The Blow Monkeys entered a music industry yet to fall victim to the all-consuming power of the internet, but Dr Howard believes for true music fans, there is a place for both online streaming and buying physical albums.
He said: “My son keeps me connected with modern music, he is always making playlists for me of the music he is listening to.
“I have Spotify and I buy records, I think they are good for different reasons, obviously so much new music goes on Spotify but I still put on a record if I want to listen to something on a deeper level, with no distractions.
“The last album I brought was Lazaretto by Jack White, who is quite an old fashioned musician usually.
“Even he has got into the more electronic side of things recently though, good on him.
“On the business side, things like Spotify have taken some of the power away from record companies, which I think is a good thing.
“Young musicians today are a lot more aware of how the business side of things works so they have a bit more control over their destiny.”
Currently living near Granada in Spain, Dr Howard spends his time outside of The Blow Monkeys recording with native musicians, which helps quench the thirst for collaboration he has maintained throughout his career.
The 80s Live show also gives him a chance to see more artists in action than on a regular tour, something which he is excited about.
He said: “I have worked with some great people over the years, Paul Weller, Curtis Mayfield and more, to me collaboration is a great way of learning more about yourself and your craft.
“Recently I have been working with local musicians in Spain, I love the mixing of cultures and discovering different what other people have listened to in order to inspire themselves.
“I am always a student, there is always something you can learn.
“The 80s Live show will be great for us because we can see how others control a crowd and learn things as a band.
“Having said that, we have done an enormous amount of gigs in our time, so we pretty much know what we are doing by now.”
Tickets for 80s Live can be purchased from www.eticketing.co.uk/ricoharena, at the Ricoh Arena ticket office or by calling 02476 786 411.