Howi Spangler from Ballyhoo! Talked with WIGNZ before Ballyhoo! performed at Cervantes Masterpiece in Denver, Colorado. In Episode #002 of the Yolo Rum Podcast they discuss writing music, the bands upcoming album and about Howi’s podcast ‘Tales from the Green Room’.
WIGNZ: We are live right now on Instagram, but we’re also recording for the podcast episode number two of the Yolo Rum Podcast my man. We’ve met before, I’ve done other podcasts with you, but this is Yolo Rum-specific, hosted by myself. I mean, we will get into it, but you, you’ve been in that podcast world a little bit. But we’ve got Howi from Ballyhoo! He and I go way back, we were … I kind of hijacked a backstage dressing room at Chillin Music Fest in Florida, and that was when we first met, but it’s cool to be hanging with you, man, and just-
Howi Spangler: Thanks, man.
WIGNZ: -full circle after, I mean, three years? I think we, every time you come to Colorado and you do your thing, we run into each other, so how you doing?
Howi Spangler: Doing great man, doing great. Did you almost get in trouble or something with O.A.R. or something like that?
WIGNZ: I was totally going to bring that up, because we, dude, totally just BS’ed my way backstage. Like, totally just … I’ve worked in radio for so long that I’m just like, if you fake the funk, no one’s going to question you.
Howi Spangler: If you look like you know what you’re doing …
WIGNZ: If you look like you know what you’re doing …
Howi Spangler: You could walk right the fuck back there.
WIGNZ: Yeah, that’s-
Howi Spangler: Doesn’t matter.
WIGNZ: So, I remember Eric, who is a partner at Yolo Rum, he’s like, “Oh, you can go backstage, I’ll let you interview Ballyhoo! and then we’ll try to get you these interviews”, but when I’m in the audience, I was like like, I can’t hear anything. I hear this ruffle, I was like, there’s terrible noise, I’m not set up for a podcast. I was like, “The only way this will work is if I get backstage.” So, I’m hustling my way back there, the security gate guy, I was like, “Hey, I’m supposed to meet Steve over there, or, oh, Sam? That’s the guy.”
Howi Spangler: “Yeah, that’s the guy.”
WIGNZ: “That’s the guy.” And so, O.A.R.’s dressing room was there, and I was like, “Hey, can I set up for a podcast in there?” I mean, they know all about it, and so, yeah, that was … you were really the highlight of my interviewing back then-
Howi Spangler: Aw, thanks man.
WIGNZ: -because it was definitely ghetto-rigged.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, yeah, totally.
WIGNZ: But, you know we had a good time, and I can’t believe you remember that. But yeah, we’re in the middle of the interview, and … “Hey! What are you doing in our dressing room?”
Howi Spangler: Oh, man, sorry, O.A.R. Sorry about that.
WIGNZ: Yeah, yeah, so … but man, you yourself tour all the time. I was listening to your podcast, and I want to get into that, but when I was listening to it, and it was episode nine you did, you’re fairly fresh with the episodes, just like we are. You travel 200 days a year? Is that right?
Howi Spangler: Yeah, I mean, it’s … we’ve cut it back the last couple years, but we were doing, I mean for the last decade, and we’ve been touring for 12 years. And so, like roughly, about a decade of probably 250 days on the road with travel, because you’re doing 200 shows, plus the days that … to get there and between and all that. It’s a lot, you start to feel it for sure.
WIGNZ: God, yeah, no, but I mean you love it, right?
Howi Spangler: Yeah, no, you love it. It’s like, if it’s your passion, man? It’s not work, and you love it, but just like anything else, it does get exhausting and you do get tired. Sometimes you want to quit. I think your passion, though, it makes you crazy, because you want it so bad, and you feel like you’re working really super hard, but then you realize you’re not working hard enough, you know? But no, we … the last couple of years, we’ve just kind of pulled it back a little bit, just to be more home with the family, and things like that.
WIGNZ: And you got kids!
Howi Spangler: Yeah, I got two kids.
WIGNZ: I’ve learned so much about you without even talking to you, bro, like the podcast really is paying off, bro, yeah.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, yo, that’s good, I guess. Yeah, yeah.
WIGNZ: Yeah, yeah. So, how many? Two kids? How many-
Howi Spangler: Two kids that I know of. Sorry. Just kidding, babe. Just kidding, just kidding.
WIGNZ: You better knock on some wood now bro.
Howi Spangler: No, I got two kids, they’re awesome. Halo and Draven.
WIGNZ: Oh, great names.
Howi Spangler: Halo’s three. Yeah. Halo’s three, Draven is eight. He just turned eight last weekend.
WIGNZ: Good for you. I’m about to have my first in July.
Howi Spangler: Congrats.
WIGNZ: Yeah, but the name is the hardest part, because you want to be unique, but you don’t want them to also be like, I don’t want to say made fun of, but you don’t want to pick that one name where it’s like …
Howi Spangler: Yeah, yeah.
WIGNZ: But Halo and Draven, that’s awesome.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, we, I don’t know, we didn’t want like normal names. We wanted to do something different and cool, so. And I actually, my son’s name came from the movie The Crow, you know the comic book? His name’s Eric Draven, and so, The Crow’s my favorite movie since I was 13, whenever that came out, and I remember saying, I was like, “Whenever I have a son, I’m going to name him Draven.” And then I did, like whenever, 20 years later, whenever it was.
WIGNZ: Did you have to convince your wife, or was she cool with it?
Howi Spangler: She was totally cool with it. She loves the name, and then my daughter, we were, it was kind of like, it was almost last-minute. We had talked about it, but we weren’t exactly sure, and then my daughter was born, and then the midwives asked, “What are you going to name her?” And we were like, “Halo Moon. Halo Moon. Yeah.” So-
WIGNZ: That’s awesome.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, yeah, that, it came from-
WIGNZ: Yeah, that was last minute.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, it was … well, it wasn’t like, I didn’t pull it out of my ass, but like-
WIGNZ: But it was there, but.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, no. She, we had talked about it, because like, when I was a kid, my grandfather died when I was seven, and the night of his funeral, we came home, and we were walking into the house, and it was night time, and the moon had a halo around it, and that happens every so often, you’ll see that sometimes. And apparently, it’s like crystals in the air, like ice crystals. Anyway, so it makes this halo around the moon, and I asked my mom and said, “What is that? That’s so cool.” She said, “Oh, that’s”-
WIGNZ: Did she know it was ice crystals?
Howi Spangler: I’m sure she did. But, I was like seven, so she said, “Oh, that’s your pop-pop letting you know he made it to heaven”, right? Yeah, I was like, “Oh, that’s really sweet”, so kind of always grew up with that, and anytime I would see it, I was like, “Oh, that’s cool.” So, I told her that story, and she fell in love with the story, and we’d thought that, maybe kind of a cool name for the girl. And then Halo, Moon, because the halo, moon part. And so yeah, and then we told the ladies the name, and they were like, “Yeah, that’s really hippie of you.” Yeah, I guess so.
WIGNZ: “Yeah, yeah, thanks. Way to put that on us, midwife.” That’s cool, man. So then, you’re performing at Cervantes tonight, and you’ve been, you were in Colorado Springs and Pueblo?
Howi Spangler: Yeah, Pueblo to … so we do Pueblo tomorrow night. We were in Colorado Springs last night, and we were in Fort Collins the night before.
WIGNZ: And you’re with Fortunate Youth.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, Fortunate Youth, Tatanka, and they’re from Denver actually, Tatanka. So, that’s going to be their big hometown show tonight. It’s going to be a rager. We’ve got like more than half the room sold out already, and it’s going to be nuts, yeah.
WIGNZ: That’s awesome, man, and then you’ve been doing your podcast too, episode nine. What is it, I’m going to mess this up, I don’t want to mess it up. The Greener Tales From The Green Room.
Howi Spangler: “Tales From The Green Room”.
WIGNZ: “Tales From The Green Room”. I was like, “I was listening to it, damn it!” But no, that’s the best name for it, because you’re like, “What does go down?”
Howi Spangler: Yeah, and people will be surprised, or maybe they wouldn’t be surprised to know. I don’t know these days, but it’s not Mötley Crüe. It’s not glam metal, 80s metal, glam rock show. It’s like, there’s no crazy groupie shit backstage-
WIGNZ: Well, I don’t even think those guys get crazy anymore. Those guys are like-
Howi Spangler: No, no-
WIGNZ: It’s not even what it used to be.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, it’s not, it’s, I think everything pre-social media and all that, but also, I don’t know, man. Just, everybody’s, we’re always buried in our phones, and I’ve got shit going on all the time. I have no time to do anything, so, it’s, I’m just working constantly. I’m a workaholic, and I can’t stop myself.
WIGNZ: You’ve got to be, if you want to be to that level that you’re at, and you want to keep setting that bar and meeting it, you just … that’s just the way it is.
Howi Spangler: Exactly, man, it’s, but yeah, so the whole thing the Tales From The Green Room podcast is just kind of about my experiences in this whole industry, everything that’s kind of happened, good and bad, and it’s sort of a way for me to help young artists coming up to maybe avoid some of the pitfalls.
WIGNZ: Oh, so you, you’re kind of like a therapist?
Howi Spangler: Yeah, in a way, I’m a young band therapist, young musicians. No, it’s, yeah, I mean, that’s really what it is, it’s really liberating. It’s nice to kind of talk and get it out there. Like, the first, I remember the first episode I uploaded, and I was like, “Wow, this is really cool.” And then, I started getting feedback, like everybody was really stoked, so I went-
WIGNZ: Five stars. You have five stars across the board, got tons of, yeah-
Howi Spangler: Yeah, I got five stars, and I was like, “Wow, that’s fucking cool, man.” And-
WIGNZ: Yeah, because you don’t know how people are going to react.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, exactly!
WIGNZ: Because, especially like you said, social media age, people can hate on you, and then you just … like, I’ve had people when I talked on the radio, they’re like, “Your voice fucking sucks, bro.” And then you’re just like, “I guess my voice sucks.” It’s all those haters, can really just-
Howi Spangler: Yeah, if you let it get to you, it can really tear you apart, but it’s, you can’t really … I don’t, I want to say, don’t read the comments, but in nowadays, it’s good to engage. You want to engage those people-
WIGNZ: Embrace the haters. Embrace them, yeah.
Howi Spangler: -that are leaving comments. Yeah, you have to embrace them, and either turn it into a joke, or, I don’t know, you can even get in and be like, “Well, what didn’t you like about it?” Or something like that. Some people-
WIGNZ: And it throws them off completely, they do, yeah.
Howi Spangler: Completely. Some people are just assholes, you know what I mean?
WIGNZ: Just the way they are, yeah.
Howi Spangler: It doesn’t matter, but-
WIGNZ: They’re trolls.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, they’re just trolls, and so you have to deal with it, so for me, I try to get back and I answer all the DMs, and I answer all the comments on the-
WIGNZ: Yeah, you do.
Howi Spangler: -the Instagram, and our Facebook and-
WIGNZ: That’s how we linked up today, and Twitter.
Howi Spangler: Exactly, yeah, yeah, you hit me up on Twitter and you asked me, and I was like, “Yeah, let’s do it”, and thanks for having me, by the way.
WIGNZ: Yeah, of course, thank you. But that, so that, we talked about that last time when I hijacked O.A.R.’s dress room, that, when, especially for the listeners out there, and people streaming, it’s, you are the guy, or your group is the ones that hit people back on social media. It’s not a bot, it’s not some auto-generated response. It’s you guys hitting them back, and I think that there’s a relatability to your audience that most people don’t get, because it’s easy to throw out, “Hey, thanks for listening to our music!” And that’s it. But you’re heads-up straight with them, all the time.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, there’s, I don’t think there’s any other way to be, man. It’s like, for me, I guess with … I don’t ever want anybody going in and answering for me. I don’t want people replying just some generic response from Howi, but it’s not me, like that would, that’s weird. I mean, we’re at a point now where I’m starting to have staff members post things about shows and stuff, things like that-
WIGNZ: You got a staff now, bro? Is that-
Howi Spangler: Yeah, well, part of our … yeah, yeah, part of our management and stuff, they-
WIGNZ: How much you have grown, bro!
Howi Spangler: Yeah. They help me out with that stuff, but really, that’s not so much the personal part. This is just like letting people know what’s going on. As far as the engagement and talking and conversing with people, I want to be all over that. There’s no other way, so yeah, the Snapchat, you got the Instagram, you got Facebook, Twitter, I mean, just everything. YouTube. So, it’s a lot, but I don’t know. It’s fun at the same time.
WIGNZ: Yeah, well, I mean, you … I gotta give you props, because that was the one thing I noticed years ago when you were in Florida, but then, “I Don’t Wanna Go”. You even set up a campaign, and said, “Hey, send us your videos of yourself singing the song”, and you made their, your own video with them, and it featured … and dude, it was a great video, because you literally watch it and it’s like, it’s your crew, man! It’s the people that fucking love you, and they’re reacting to you.
Howi Spangler: That was so legit. I was floored, to be honest. I only gave them like two days, maybe three days, to do this, and it basically was just a simple post, like, “Hey, be in the video, send me a video, portrait, like an Instagram story, the way it looks formatted, and just of you and your friends or your family, whoever, doing whatever you want. Goof off to the song, bounce around, you don’t have to lip sync, you can just be whatever. Just do what you want.” And I mean, the quality of content, first, that I got, was amazing. There was a guy that got his daughters to film, to basically reenact the old Robert Palmer videos, “Simply Irresistible”, with the girls, with the lipstick and the hair pulled back and the black dresses-
WIGNZ: Yeah, and they’re playing this, they’re playing the guitar, it’s all that?
Howi Spangler: -playing … and they’re dancing in sync, and like, it’s just amazing. I was like, “Wow, these people care enough to do this kind of stuff.” So that was just, I don’t know, I was overwhelmed and floored by just how cool our fan base is.
WIGNZ: Yeah, I think it’s the fan base, the power of your music, the song itself, that shows you that everyone loved that song, and that people were really engaged. And I mean, people were singing every lyric on there. And then the rift, when the rift happened, you just had people dancing and jumping on their bed, it’s-
Howi Spangler: The people’s, their kids and stuff, and it was so neat, man. It’s just, I don’t know, it’s a great feeling. I felt bad that I couldn’t fit everyone. That’s how much footage I got. I couldn’t fit all the stuff and-
WIGNZ: Did you edit it?
Howi Spangler: I edited it, yeah.
WIGNZ: Wow, dude, you are hands-on with every aspect, everything.
Howi Spangler: I do it all, man, I don’t like to let anybody. Unless, if it’s something, if it’s a really big job and I know I just can’t handle it, because I’ve got so much on my plate, I hire out, I just commission someone to do the art or whatever. But I like to be hands-on with everything, because I feel like, as an artist, you should be, if it’s your vision, don’t let someone else-
WIGNZ: Do what you, what you’re thinking-
Howi Spangler: -to try to interpret-
WIGNZ: -your artwork.
Howi Spangler: And, but on the flip side, I love that as well. I love for when I say, “Hey, this is what I would like to see”, and they put their spin on it. I’m all for that. I love hiring out to do art for T-shirts and things like that. But when it comes to the music and the overall-
WIGNZ: Well, the music is all what you’re all about, so you don’t want to have someone have their fingerprints on something that is yours.
Howi Spangler: It’s the music that sort of dictates the brand and the imagery, and I mean, it’s obviously a beach thing. It’s just kind of like what we sort of put out there, and I get videos all the time of people in their cars. I got one, I think yesterday, this girl sent me like three videos of her cruising to our song “Beautiful Day”, and it’s beautiful outside. You know what I mean? So I think we’re just kind of known as that band. But yeah, I don’t know. I just love being hands-on, and being just in it.
WIGNZ: Do you ever sleep?
Howi Spangler: Not that much, man. I try, yeah. I probably get five or six hours a night.
WIGNZ: Yeah, I don’t see it. I mean, if you’re, I mean you’re performing, the main part is obviously the music, but then there’s that whole element of connecting to your audience, and you’re trying to do that at the same time, so … and then you’re doing your podcast on top of it, so you’re trying to get a whole nother element into it. I mean, you’re a psychologist in that front for it.
Howi Spangler: In a way, yeah. In a way.
WIGNZ: So it’s just cool to see you in that. Yeah, enjoy your Yolo Rum, I want to make sure that this is charged, so enjoy your Yolo Rum, he’s sipping on some Yolo Rum Gold right now. Howi, we’re hanging out, from Ballyhoo! He’s performing at Cervantes tonight, I should say his band is performing at Cervantes tonight, so it’s just cool to have him with us, Episode Two of the Yolo Rum Podcast. Keep enjoying that rum, let me charge this computer real quick, and we’ll be right back.
Female speaker: Yolo Rum is giving you a chance to invest and own a piece of the award-winning rum. Visit yolorum.com/invest for more details.
WIGNZ: Hanging out for Episode Two. We just heard about Howi taking edibles and losing his wallet. But there was a moral to that story, good vibes off of that, and so, I mean, that kind of gives us full circle to where, do you feel like your music … because your music does have an uptempo vibe to it. First of all, I gotta say that you have a huge fan base in Colorado.
Howi Spangler: I’ve noticed, man. Shows been rad this week.
WIGNZ: It’s off the chart, because if you, like obviously, I was just counting … all right, let’s see where they’re at, they went to Nebraska, okay, they’ve been all over so far. But the Colorado reaction, you could just see the engagement off the charts off that. But do you … your music’s so upbeat, and the vibes are good. Do you ever feel like the music needs to be, “All right, let’s do a positive fun song, because there’s so much fucking darkness in the world”?
Howi Spangler: Yeah. I mean, there’s a … I never force anything, but at the same time, sometimes, yeah, you do think of themes, or like, “I kind of want to write a song that’s like” … it mostly is for the live stuff. There’s certain, sometimes in our set list, I feel like there’s holes, and I need to fill in this gap with a certain type of song, like I’m not feeling what should be there right now, and it’s something really uppity, and something loud, or, I mean … We love rocking out, and I love swaying to the reggae too, but so this new record that we’re working on, I don’t want to get dark or anything, but my father passed away like about 15, 16 months ago, and-
WIGNZ: Sorry, man.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, no, thank you, so I didn’t write anything for like eight months, and I started, and I guess the first song I wrote was “I Don’t Wanna Go”, back in like August of 2017, so it sort of just came out the way it did, and it’s an aggressive song, but it’s still like upbeat and fun? But the lyrics are sort of dark in a way of like it’s quirky, but it’s like “I’m just over all this shit right now”, or like “I can’t take this anymore”, or like, it’s about feeling like a puppet. That’s why the art is that way, it’s kind of feeling like a puppet, where you’re sort of this dancing clown or something, and having to do all the press and all the crazy shit. It’s just sometimes, as fun as it is, and as much as it does come with the territory, we’re, I’m human.
Howi Spangler: It’s like, it gets frustrating sometimes, so the rest of the record is sort of in that vein of … I wrote a lot about my dad, and my mom. She passed away when I was a kid, so both of my parents are gone now, and so I didn’t feel like the things that I was writing about was going to be like pop reggae, and stuff wasn’t really the right backdrop for that. And I started out, I mean Green Day is my favorite band, and-
WIGNZ: Yeah, what’s your tat?
Howi Spangler: Oh yeah, that’s the-
WIGNZ: Oh yeah.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, from “American Idiot”.
WIGNZ: That’s awesome.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, they’re my favorite band, so-
WIGNZ: Always, even kept engaged with your … so, wait, here, I’m going to show you as well, Instagram.
Howi Spangler: And so, I just come from that school of Billie Joe Armstrong, and just chunking away on my guitar, and getting crazy with the crowd and rocking out and running around. And I can’t really do that on stage, when we’re, I’m stuck with the reggae, I’m just kind of swaying, which is great, but I want to move around-
WIGNZ: You want to feel it.
Howi Spangler: -yeah, I do. And like, I still feel it when we play the reggae and stuff, but … So anyway, this one-
WIGNZ: The intensity just isn’t in the style.
Howi Spangler: -yeah, yeah. I want to, I feel like I’m not giving enough to the crowd. I want to give more, and when I played punk rock and ska and stuff, I feel like I can get more energy to the crowd.
WIGNZ: Let yourself go. I mean, you’ve got, it seems like you’ve been through just a lot that you want to translate that through your music.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, there are times where I just want to be … I do, like you said, let yourself go in a way. I want to, I just want to be in the moment, and not thinking about anything but the music, and just doing it. So, back to the record, that’s sort of what this record is trying, it’s … the new record is heavy, it’s punk rock, it’s metal, it’s like there’s one song that’s like a reggae song, you know what I mean?
Howi Spangler: And even in itself, it’s kind of a more-
WIGNZ: It’s an evolution of your band. I think that you hear that a lot. I mean, it’s funny, if you turn on your radio station, you’ll hear Slightly Stoopid, but I mean, even they themselves go from kind of like a punk pre-era, to a raging out, to where you just hear an evolution of it, and I think that’s kind of where you guys are at. It’s just that … because all of your songs, like “Cali Girl”. You just have these songs where it’s like a fun vibe, but you almost need to show how you’re actually feeling. Do you feel that? Is that why this record kind of took the path that it took?
Howi Spangler: Absolutely. I don’t, that’s why it sounds like it does, because I didn’t want, I didn’t feel like writing party songs, you know what I mean?
Howi Spangler: And we did that on “girls.” and I love that record, it’s our most successful release ever, but just the way I was feeling, I’m not going to fake it, and it … I just, I don’t know, I just wasn’t feeling it when I was writing it. It was just more dark shit coming out. And it’s still the way, it’s funny, like the way it comes out, even when I write weird dark material or whatever, it’s still, the music itself sort of, kind of balances it out, I guess? Like it’s still kind of in a positive way.
WIGNZ: There’s a story being told, yeah.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, we’re basically just, I’m telling a story, and the music is sort of … and it just, and it keeps it from being too emo, I guess. I like to-
WIGNZ: That you’re more than that, and that’s what, Ballyhoo! is a lot more than that, yeah.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, yeah, and there’s something about our brand or our style, that somehow still sounds like us no matter what we do. And I think our fans are really going to love this record when it comes out.
WIGNZ: When does it come out, do you, is it hard to-
Howi Spangler: Yeah, at the moment, I still, I got about half the songs recorded vocally. The music’s all done, and I did, I’ve done, there’s 12 tracks on it, and I’ve got six songs in the can vocally. And then, I’ve got to go home, I’ve been on tour for six weeks, so I haven’t been able to get to it. There’s nowhere quiet to go to record vocals at the moment for us, so when I get home next week, I’m going to get back to it, and hopefully, end of summer, maybe September, something like that.
WIGNZ: Now, when it comes to writing those lyrics, I mean obviously, I want to say you’re the head guy of the band, you’re the head guy of the band, so when you write something that’s different than what you’re used to, how do you approach the band and say, “Hey, check this out, what do you think about this?” Do you want their fingerprints on that?
Howi Spangler: Oh, for sure.
WIGNZ: Or is it kind of like, “No, this is the direction we’re going”? Or, how does that whole process-
Howi Spangler: Yeah, it’s not like a … I’m not a fascist.
WIGNZ: You’re not a huge fascist!
Howi Spangler: Yeah, I’m not a huge fascist! Oh. No, I just, it’s not like that. I have a vision I do, and there are certain things that I just want to be that way, but I love when my brother does his thing on the drums, and Nick plays bass. It’s just, they have their own thing, and they put their spin on it, and there’s some-
WIGNZ: It’s why you’re a band.
Howi Spangler: -yeah, and there’s, yeah, you work together, and I’m a primary songwriter, but sometimes if Donald comes in with a different drum part than what I had on the demo-
WIGNZ: Not the fascist?
Howi Spangler: Yeah, yeah, yeah, right. Different Donald, different Donald. He, he’ll, it’s usually better than what I wrote. I’m not a drummer, but I have an idea what the beat should sound like-
WIGNZ: And he takes it-
Howi Spangler: And he just runs with it, and sometimes I’ll be like, “I don’t like that, it’s just, it’s weird and you should pull it back”, and whatever. We’ll compromise on things like that, but, no, man, that’s just what it is to be in a band. You work together, and-
WIGNZ: Especially if you want to be successful, because I mean, if, otherwise, you guys would just be in the tour bus, and there’d be tension.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, you don’t want people hating on each other because they didn’t get their part on the record or something like that. So it just, I don’t know, it just kind of works the way we do it, I guess, and-
WIGNZ: So you’ve been doing it for so long.
Howi Spangler: It’s been a long time, yeah. We’ve been a band for 23 years, we’ve been putting out records for 18 years. So, been on tour for 12 years.
WIGNZ: And then the evolution of, do you feel like the new streaming of the way music is now has hurt you? Do you think it’s, I mean, do you feel like it’s … because it’s totally different than it was, and you got to experience what it was 10 years ago to now, like just-
Howi Spangler: I’ve seen all the sides of it. It’s weird. Both sides of it, when-
WIGNZ: Yeah, not many people can say that, that they’re still-
Howi Spangler: Yeah, there’s a, I was there in the 90s when bands were getting signed for millions of dollars, and had tour support and stuff like that. We weren’t getting that, we weren’t even anywhere near that, but I knew about it, I heard about it, and once Napster came along and ruined all that, the labels started freaking out in the mid 2000s.
WIGNZ: Took them a minute.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, it took them a minute, they didn’t understand, they didn’t know how to embrace it. But that’s the whole thing. You have to embrace the change. As much as it might suck to change what you’re used to, you have to embrace it, and for us, I think monetarily in a way it did, the band and most artists took a hit when it turned to streaming, because you make more money off of downloads, and you make more money off of selling your CDs, but CDs are pretty much-
WIGNZ: Out the window now, yeah, it’s like DVDs are even going that way now, yeah.
Howi Spangler: Even DVDs, yeah. And with streaming, they get so many subscribers every year, or every month even, I think in a couple years, downloads are going to be gone. That’s what I think. But-
WIGNZ: Just straight streaming, it’s, everyone’s-
Howi Spangler: It’s, everyone’s going to be streaming. It makes total sense for the consumer. You’re paying $10.
WIGNZ: It’s all it is, yeah, for all. Versus, when you used to pay like $18.99 for an album, and then you only liked one song off of it, and then you were like-
Howi Spangler: Yeah, so you’re paying $10, you get pretty much everything you want. Most bands are on Spotify and Apple Music, and all that, so I think eventually, it’ll sort of get back to where I was, maybe, monetarily, because all songwriters are actually getting a raise very soon. They just signed a, Congress just signed some paperwork that they’re going to sign shortly.
WIGNZ: So it’s like a percentage of whatever, yeah.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, I think it’s like 9 or 10% right now, but with Spotify, it’s like a pot, so all the money goes into a pot. That $10 doesn’t go to Ballyhoo!, it goes to every artist that’s on Spotify. But it depends, it changes every month-
WIGNZ: Is it based on your rate, your plays? Does that count-
Howi Spangler: Yes. It’s based on streams, so different, the bigger artists are obviously, they’re going to get the bigger chunk because they’re getting the most streams. It’s really crazy, so you’re never getting paid the same every quarter.
WIGNZ: So almost every check that you get from Spotify, you’re like, “Oh, they, this is the month!”
Howi Spangler: Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s like, “Oh, we killed it!” But, no, it’s wild, man. But I think eventually it may even out, or whatever. And eventually, there will be all these new bands, and they don’t know what it’s like to get paid by downloads and all that stuff. But having gone through it, yeah, absolutely. But the one thing is, those same people that are paying the $10, they can listen to your music if they want.
WIGNZ: Over and over and over, yeah.
Howi Spangler: Over and over and over. They can find your music. If someone sends them a link, they can open it right up in their Spotify or Apple, and they can listen, and therefore you’re getting more exposure. When you put your fans behind a paywall, like when you say “We’re not going to put it on Spotify”, some, like, I think Adele and Taylor Swift. And it was probably-
WIGNZ: It almost, you take off your audience almost, yeah.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, and I think it was all in, with good intention, but I think ultimately what it did was it put a paywall there, and their fans are like, “Well, I’m not going to fucking buy that shit, I’m going to listen to it on Spotify in two weeks when it comes out”, because I think-
WIGNZ: “I’m already paying $10.”
Howi Spangler: Yeah, I think they ultimately went with, they put it on there, but it’s like the first two weeks or month or something like that-
WIGNZ: They were trying to battle it, yeah.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, exactly. And I get it, but, and I know Taylor Swift was standing up for indie artists in this way. But, at the end of the day, man-
WIGNZ: It’s a lost battle.
Howi Spangler: -the change is coming. The change is here. It’s more and more, like I said, every year downloads go down, streaming goes up, and I’m fine with it, man. I love that anyone can listen to our songs.
WIGNZ: Well, I think that’s why it’s so key that you are as awesome as you are on social media, because you have to be able to say, “Hey, here’s our new song. Check it out”, or “Hey, you want to be a part of our music video? This is what you got to do, stream, take video of yourself, send it to us.” I think that that’s, if you’re not doing that, and these artists aren’t taking advantage of that, then you’re just doing an empty like. You’re just like, “Hey, just like my photo! Look out”, yeah.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, yeah, you can’t do it that way. It’s got to … I love trying to include our fans any way we can, and “I Don’t Wanna Go” was like the perfect song for that. I felt like it was just the way, I don’t know, vibe of the song, was just perfect to have people jumping around and acting crazy and silly, and I hope to do it again in the future. And, I don’t know, I just love, we get so much support, we have the Ballyhooligans, they’re just the best.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, the Ballyhooligans, yeah.
WIGNZ: Yeah, I love that.
Howi Spangler: There’s a Facebook group called the Ballyhooligans, it’s over 2,000 members, and they ask you a certain set of question, I think it’s three questions, and-
WIGNZ: To get into the club?
Howi Spangler: -to get in, yeah.
WIGNZ: Oh, wow. “What’s the password?”
Howi Spangler: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, well, you can’t just be, “I just wanna be in the group, just because.” It’s like-
WIGNZ: You got to prove.
Howi Spangler: -we don’t want fair weather. We want the people that really love the band, and-
WIGNZ: The die-hard.
Howi Spangler: Yeah, and these are the people that, they’re so positive, and they just really care, and they’ll schedule meetups before shows in the cities, and hang out and have some drinks together and stuff. It’s awesome, man, it’s a community.
WIGNZ: Well, you, even in that video, you were hanging out with the crowd, you had all fans all behind you and doing all that stuff, so that’s-
Howi Spangler: Yeah, we, that was the night we were in Baltimore, and we had all our friends and family there, so we, just like that, I had the camera, we were all drunk, it was after the set. I’m glad it was after the set, because everyone was wasted, and my buddy was crowd surfing on top of everybody, and just, it was fun, man.
WIGNZ: That’s what you’re all about. Well, Howi, man, I appreciate it. Yolo Rum Podcast, this is our second episode. I loved listening to your podcast, I’m subscribed.
Howi Spangler: Thanks, man.
WIGNZ: So, yeah, so I got you on that. But any time you’re in Colorado, I know that Colorado loves you. We love you, man. You and I go way back, so I appreciate you coming out and hanging out with us, and kill it tonight at Cervantes, enjoy the tour, and hope you enjoy that Yolo Rum.
Howi Spangler: Oh, dude, this is great, this is awesome.
WIGNZ: And let me know when that new album’s out, man. And we got you. Yolo Rum, all the way. Thank you, Howi, appreciate it, bro.