In This Moment Interview with Chris Howorth – October 2007

Circa October 2007 – Fazer Magazine

Chris Howorth, guitarist for In This Moment, took a bit of time while on the road to field some questions for Fazer. Read on…

Mike: How did you get into playing guitar?
Chris: It came from watching MTV and reading metal mags and just wanting to do that…I always loved music and as a kid I owned a guitar for awhile before I even learned how to play it, I would just listen to my favorite albums and rock out with my guitar, once I learned how to play a power chord I was off and running, learning all my favorite songs. I had a pretty good ear.

How did In This Moment (ITM) get together as a band? Who started it up? First members through last members?
Maria and I wrote the first 3 songs together with a drum machine, and then got Jeff Fabb to play drums on a real recording, we recorded a 3 song demo and started putting the band together. We found Blake through myspace and Jesse was playing in another band, once we got the line up together we immediately wrote more songs and everyone worked really well together.

Do you feel there are more challenge being in a band fronted by a female vocalist? I ask this based on seeing you twice, and watching audience reaction. Some dudes just seemed to turn off – while others did the opposite.
I think it’s challenging playing in any band regardless of the singers gender, some people will hate you and some will love you. We’ve been on tour with Megadeth for the last month and they have diehard fans that don’t want to see any band but Megadeth and we have been winning them over every night. If a band is good people can’t deny it, but there will always be those ignorant people who want to hate us because we have a female singer but we don’t care about them anyway.

The band seems to maintain a regimented touring schedule. Hottest Chicks In Metal – Ozzfest – Static X shows and next up opening for Megadeth then Ozzy and Rob Zombie. Do you find it hard keeping up the schedule?
This has been the biggest baddest and hardest year of our lives, we have been playing with some of the best bands in the business, we have played the biggest festivals in the world, been in front of thousands of people, and we’ve been playing with legends like Ozzy and Megadeth, it’s been an unbelievable year that we have dreamed of ever since we were kids. But it has also been extremely hard work, we have had about 2 weeks off total since January, we miss our families and friends and miss sleeping in a real bed. But we are so grateful for where we are right now, every night we go up on stage we are reminded of how lucky we are.

As a guy – how’d you feel about the “hottest chicks” tour in general?
I thought it was awesome, all the bands kicked ass and the girls are all so talented it was a really great tour!

I’m curious about Ozzfest this year. Seeing as it was ‘free’, how was that different from your perspective on things related to the tour? Things like audience attendance, revenues generated, morale of participants. It must have been cool to play the gigs. I’m wondering if it worked in your opinion?
I think it worked out really well, some of the bands had a tough time getting by with out making any money but the exposure they got was well worth it. On the first day I was a bit nervous to see if people really would show up because there were a lot of unknown underground bands on the bill and the first show was packed, the second show was packed, every show was packed! It proved that Ozzfest is more than just a bunch of glossy huge bands making tons of money, its about true metal fans and bands that just want to throw down for 2 months regardless of money. The morale of all the bands participating was very high, the shows were so amazing and every band did great, no one was bummed at this years Ozzfest that I know of. It definitely worked in my opinion.

I’m impressed with the bands you are getting to open for. It seems like a no-brainer that you’ll glean fans just by opening for other metal acts. Do you get to see people warming up to your music from the stage? And after the gigs, when you meet some of the attendees?
So far we have had overwhelmingly positive responses. We see the crowd reaction from the stage and we always try to go out and meet people after the shows and it seems we are making new fans everywhere we go.

The recent Revolver article on In This Moment focused primarily on Maria, and her journey to becoming a band member in ITM. What’s your story Chris? Any kids? Was there a defining moment for you for becoming a guitarist? And then a player in ITM?
Well I was born and raised in Topeka KS and left for L.A. at the age of 19 to make it in music, I was in so many different bands in L.A. always trying to get a band together that would do something, I have always wanted to do music and never had any kids or really serious long term relationships because I was so obsessed with it, I think the defining moment for me in my music history so far was the realization that I had to do more than just have a good band, I had to give up every comfort I had and jump off the cliff and just pray that I would be able to fly. I knew ITM was a good band and I knew we had something to offer, but it wasn’t until I gave up my job and my home and got rid of almost everything I owned and went on tour and put all my faith in ITM that things started happening for the band.

Can you talk a bit about your approach to song-writing Chris? Do your songs tend to start as riffs? Or is the lyrics where ITM tend to start their songwriting?
Most of the songs on Beautiful Tragedy started as riffs or chorus ideas, then the song would develop from the initial idea. Maria is very good at coming up with catchy melodies and Blake and Jesse both write too so it’s very much a group effort. Maria and I tend to clash the most because we both have very strong ideas about where we want the songs and the bands sound to go.

Who are some of your mentors Chris? Do you have a favourite guitarist (or ten)?
I have tons of guitarists that influenced me, I really love a lot of the 80’s players like George Lynch or Warren Demartini, and Eddie Van Halen, I love Yngwie and all Ozzy’s guitarists too. One of the biggest overall influences for me is Darrell Abbott, every thing he did was amazing, he is a true super talent.

As a genre, metal (more than most musical genres) seems to go through different stages. The 70s sound, 80’s hair metal / thrash metal, and then on to grunge, nü metal, math metal… there are so many sub-classifications, I can’t even keep up with them now. What’s your take on 2007 Metal? Where it at, and where it seems to be going?
I really hate all those classifications. It’s like someone always has to be analyzing and categorizing everything. Metal is Metal. It’s alive and well in 2007 and will never die. Metal is the cockroach of music, there could be a nuclear war and there will still be metal.

Can you talk a bit about starting a band? What’s involved? Where the payoffs lie, and where the day-to-day work seems to be?
Being in a band is like being in a relationship, it involves unconditional love, dedication, patience, understanding, compromise and hard work, and even with all those things there is no guarantee that it will work out. The payoff if it ever does work is doing what you love every day.

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