Howard Wants To Escape Its Escape.
Behind every great band is a great van. And when these former church vans, daycare buses and plumber's work vehicles have racked up enough miles on the road, they eventually start being thought of by the band as another member of the team. Hey, we get it: It's hard to spend so many hours with bandmates (both human and machine) without a few things getting broken, a few good fights taking place and lots of great memories being made. We hope that, by exploring these stories, we might get to know some bands from both North Texas and beyond on a more personal level. Check out this feature's archives here.
After dismantling something called Orange Television and relocating from Massachusetts to Brooklyn, Howie Feibusch and Myles Heff morphed into a folktronica outfit called Howard, and started taking things more seriously than they had in the past. The result? A buzzworthy take on low-key pop that's simply irresistible.
Currently, the still-young band finds itself on the road opening for Bronze Radio Return, and promoting its Please Recycle EP that earns its release later this month. But that hasn't stopped the boys from touring and spreading their sound, introducing themselves to new audiences and worming their way into the hearts and ears of new fans.
That road warrior spirit brought Howard to Dada not long ago, where we talked to the band about its tour vehicle, a rented Ford Escape that makes up for its size limitations with good gas mileage and reasonable day rates.
Band Name: Howard.
Van Name: Mom Van.
Year/Make/Model: 2015 Ford Escape.
You're on tour with Bronze Radio Return right now, what kind of vehicle are you in at the moment?
Howie Feibusch (Guitar/ Vocals): “Just a Ford Escape.”
Myles Heff (Bass): “We rented it from Hertz.”
Howie: “It's a midsize SUV.”
Chris Holdridge (Drums): “By midsize SUV we mean 'Glorified Sedan.'
What made you guys go the sedan route?
Myles: “Keep that overhead down and figure it out later on how we would fit in.”
Have you guys taken to calling it by a name, even though you're just renting it?
Chris: “Mom Van. I just kind of see soccer practice happening.”
Myles: “Just the shape of it, it's very mom-like.”
Howie: “The trunk is really small and cute.”
Myles: “It's a like a mom who is in shape, though — like a mom who does yoga.”
Howie: “Or dad.”
Where all have you and the Mom Van been on this tour so far?
Howie: “From New York to Akron to Indianapolis to De Moines to Kansas City, and St. Louis to Nashville to Dallas and everywhere in between. It's got some good miles on it.”
Myles: “I think about 3,000, I just looked at the odometer. So far. We have another four or five thousand. More like 7,000.”
Have any interesting things happened inside her thus far?
Howie: “Nothing that can go on record.”
Myles: “Yes, we have.”
Howie: “Not that we can talk about.”
Haha, any that you can talk about?
Howie: “We're running with the law.”
Myles: “Little run in's. Unfortunately, it's a rental.”
Howie: “We don't like it very much.”
Myles: “It's just too small, it doesn't have great gas mileage. Even though it's so small, you think it would have good gas mileage. It's brand new.”
Chris: “Yeah, it's super new.”
Myles: “It's got the rear view camera. It's got a glove compartment.”
Howie: “Two cup holders.”
Myles: “A bunch of cup holders.”
I see it's got a rearview camera, has that been pretty useful?
Howie: “Yeah, because we can't really see out the rearview mirror.”
Myles: “With all the gear.”
Howie: “You got green lines, you got red lines. I think the green line is the trajectory. The red line is sort of where you are.”
Myles: “There would have been a lot of babies run over by now.”
Are you guys not great drivers?
Myles: “None of us are excellent.”
Chris: “I'm the best driver.”
Myles: “I don't feel safe with any of us driving to be honest.”
I guess it's good that you're renting then. Have you guys ever considered buying a van?
Howie: “We have.”
Myles: “We've owned one in the past.”
What can you tell us about that one?
Myles: “It was amazing. It was a palace. It was the greatest thing ever.”
Howie: “Yeah, it was a Ford E150 or something.”
Myles: “Yeah, the Chateau model.”
Chris: “It had all bucket seats. Electric stuff. Really nice sound system.”
What happened to that one?
Howie: “Well we moved to New York and couldn't park it anywhere.”
Myles: “We had really started over from scratch as a band there, so we didn't really know when we'd be on tour again. We're still making payments on it. But I now I wish we kept it for sure.”
Well how long have y'all existed as Howard?
Howie: “Two years.”
Chris: “We're fairly new to touring. This our third tour, I guess, this year. Well, in general, in the last six months. It's our third tour ever. For now it's just been sort of smart to rent, until there's real money coming in.”
What did you name your last van?
Myles: “Big Red, I think. Clifford. Big and red.”
And now this one is small and red.
Myles: “Clifford's weird little runt brother.”
So for the rest of tour this one will be known as Elmo?
Chris: “We're definitely calling it Elmo now. Tickle Me Elmo.”
Any parting words about your tour vehicle?
Howie: “Never, ever get a Ford Escape. It is the worst car. Its handling is very shaky. You can't fit anything in the trunk. You'll automatically get carsick if you're sitting in the back. It's happened to all of us, so…”
Chris: “Not me.”
Howie: “That's because he hasn't sat in the back. Maybe it's because you're driving, you're not getting car sick.”
Chris: “Or maybe I just don't get carsick. Miles is a jerky driver.”
Howie: “It's not a 'midsize' SUV.”
Myles: “It's false advertising. It's not an SUV.”
Howie: “I thought that meant like a Jeep and like under a Suburban.”
Myles: “No, it's smaller than a station wagon. You could fit way more in a Subaru or something.”
Chris: “That Prius over there probably has as much room as this.”
Howie: “And there's so much stuff on the inside with the frame and it's terrible.”
Myles: “And we have a fourth member coming, with his shit and his guitar and he's going to join us for a week-and-a-half. That's going to be fun. We're going to have to put stuff on our laps, like each other.”
Well, now you know.
Chris: “Yep, I'm going to start a foundation, “Escape The Escape”. It's going to be a non-profit.”
Howie: “That's the article title: 'Escape The Escape.'”
Myles: “'Howard Wants You To Escape The Escape.'”