by Alexandra Froehlich
Friday, June 28, 2013 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Philadelphia is where you could find bands: Versus the World, Authority Zero and Ballyhoo! on their Summer Sickness Tour. As people packed in I got to hang out with Howi Spangler, lead singer and guitarist of Ballyhoo! Ballyhoo! plays reggae rock music with great lyrics and knows how to have fun. Their latest album Pineapple Grenade came out on June 25th and is also a shot which includes:
- 1 oz Stoli Vanilla Vodka
- 1 oz of Malibu Rum
- ½ oz of Pineapple Juice
- Shake then pour
- A dash of Grenadine
They recently had a new single called “Marijuana Laws” that expresses the bands enthusiasm to have marijuana laws banished. The set they played at the Hard Rock in Philadelphia was amazing. They kept the crowd dancing and singing along all night, and had wonderful stage presence and energy. The show overall was a must see. Getting to know Howi was the best part because he is such a down-to-earth guy who plays because he genuinely loves music and to perform. He took the time to answer some questions for Nevermind the Posers.
Ally (AF): Growing up in Aberdeen, MD was there a reggae rock scene? Did you all grow up in Aberdeen together or meet later on?
Howi Spangler (HS): Yeah, the drummer is my brother and J.R., Scott and I met in about 5th grade, maybe middle school. We started hanging out in high school; they weren’t in the band then, but another guy was. He was our bass player, then he left and we got another bass player. But then he left and that’s when we added J.R. and Scott. So we have been this line up for about 10 years. And as far as it goes with the reggae rock scene in Aberdeen, there wasn’t much, but there was a band we loved called Colouring Lesson, and they were playing reggae rock before anyone even knew what to call it. And I fell in love with Sublime and Goldfinger and Reel Big Fish and No Doubt. I just took it all and made my music. So we were really the ones around that area to make it known.
AF: How did you come up with the name Ballyhoo!?
HS: We were kids when we started the band. We were coming up with different names and a friend of ours said you should call your band Ballyhoo, it just means loud noise, crazy events, blatant advertising ‘look at me-look at me’, and it fit because I thought we were loud noise playing in my mom’s basement and it was really colorful in my mind. We just put the exclamation point on there and it was the first flier for our first show.
AF: As a band you have traveled all over North America, which city and state is your favorite to play in and why?
HS: There’s a few; I don’t know if there is a particular favorite, obviously we love playing Baltimore. Philly is always great and we played in New York City last night. St. Pete’s Florida is usually beautiful weather, San Diego, LA, and Hollywood are always great too.
AF: When you have free time, what do you enjoy doing?
HS: I like to play hidden object games on my laptop because I am a nerd, and I like to record demos and what not. I just love creating. I’ve always drawn; I used to draw a lot as a kid. I wanted to write books, draw comic books, create video games, make iPhone apps and of course create music. I write most of the music for Ballyhoo! and some of the guys will also have ideas and we just run with it if it fits with our music style. But we’re always looking to branch out, so we’re not putting out the same album. There are always new sounds to discover.
AF: Ballyhoo! has come a long way since the beginning and have a pretty loyal fan base now, how does it feel when you take the stage at shows?
HS: It feels amazing. It’s definitely uplifting, it’s an adrenaline rush knowing that people are there to hear our songs. To see them singing or screaming our songs back to us, and knowing that you came from sitting on your bed writing them down…the live experience is where it’s at. We try to always put on the best show possible, because when you put on a show the fans pay a hundred percent of the money to see you, so you put on a hundred percent performance. Just try to have a good time.
AF: What is one thing you try to achieve with your music?
HS: It all starts for me with myself. I write things for myself then once they get recorded, they become everyone else’s. Once it goes there, I want to make sure people have a good time, can relate to the songs. This one guy last week actually, came up to me and told me that he was actually in Afghanistan for a year and lost a few of his boys in an IED attack on his convoy. His friends passed right in front of him, and he went through this traumatized stage of his life. He has three kids and a wife, and he wanted to kill himself. He was watching a YouTube playlist or something and “Ricochet” came on and he just stopped. He told me this and I was like that’s really heavy, it’s just like, damn. So when I hear things like that, it’s not about me anymore. Now it’s we have a duty to give this music to give everyone. It’s wild man. I told that man that I was so glad that he was still here. We’re just always looking to promote positivity, just want to make people happy.
AF: If you can say one thing to your fans what would it be?
HS: Thank you, because there is no way we could keep doing this without you guys. We could not make it if they didn’t come to our shows and buy our merch, we just couldn’t do it. We get calls all the time saying that places want to book us because people want to see us and I just couldn’t be more appreciative of that. The fans keep us going.
AF: What is your definition of a poser?
HS: Haha, that’s awesome because poser is such a big word. I used to use it all the time as a kid, I think it’s somebody that doesn’t fully own up to it or whatever he’s trying to do. If you’re going for something, commit. Do it right, go all the way. Don’t do it cause you think it’s cool, do it because you love it. Do it because you’re into it and feel it. Just do you and do what you want to do and whatever you do, give all of yourself. That would be my definition of a poser.
Howi took the stage and rocked it with his fellow band members after that. They played about 15 songs from old and new albums and played “Marijuana Laws”. They took pineapple grenade shots on stage and played two encore songs. If you don’t have your copy of Pineapple Grenade yet, it’s a must get!