If you know local music in San Diego, then you know Al Howard. From 2002 to 2008, he fronted the K23 Orchestra, an up-tempo jazz collective that featured his mile-a-minute spoken-word poetry.
When the band called it quits, Howard knew he didn’t want to be front and center anymore.
“I don’t have a lot of melody in my voice,” Howard told DiscoverSD in a recent interview. “I don’t think anyone other than my shower should hear me sing.”
Enter Howard’s 1,500-page lyric document. It occurred to him that other singers in town might want to mine his extended cache of songs - maybe even sing a few.
He was right.
“There are some winners in there,” said Howard. “I wouldn’t go on record saying they’re all good songs (laughs). But I feel pretty strongly about a lot of them. They’re all malleable. And I’m constantly adding to it. There’s no shortage of songs.”
First on board was Erik Canzona. Howard and longtime friend/collaborator Josh Rice enlisted the singer to front rockers The Heavy Guilt after one rehearsal in 2009.
Since then, the floodgates have opened.
Howard is now involved with seven different bands and recording projects. Whether he’s playing percussion and writing the lyrics or solely working on the words, the constantly working poet is at the center of them all.
In addition to the Guilt, The Midnight Pine and The Black Sands, Howard’s lyrics can be heard on Rebecca Jade & The Cold Fact’s tremendous new self-titled soul album.
He’s also responsible for the words on Canzona’s soon-to-be-released solo effort, as well as an upcoming project called “The Lion and the Lady,” featuring Trent Hancock.
To top it off, a tentatively-titled project called “Dark West” with Transfer’s Matt Molarius, Jake Najor, The New Kenetics’ Birdy Bardot, Jason Littlefield and Mrs. Henry’s Dan Cervantes is coming soon.
What's Up at the Belly Up with musician, poet, writer, vinyl album lover, DJ, podcaster and smoothie drinker Al Howard! Meryl and Damian talk to Al about food allergies, opening for Mini Kiss at a motorcross event and how he ended up at a lady's house with her 21 year old cat dressed like Lady Gaga.