In October 2013, Ballyhoo! Contacted me with an invite to a show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Unfortunately, I was unable to make the show, but they were still more than willing to do an interview with me over email. Feel free to check out everything their lead singer, Howi Spangler had to say, along with their latest music video “No Good.”
1. What was your inspiration for the song Ricochet off of Daydreams?
It started with the music. I didn’t have lyrics when we recorded it. I knew that it had to be a positive, uplifting song by the way the music made me feel. I just started thinking about life and the things it throws at us. I wanted people to feel like they had a friend in this crazy world we live in.
2. Was it difficult to establish a firm standing in the music scene, what with the genre and all?
If you’re not signed to a big label that cares and has money for marketing, you have your work cut out for you…no matter what genre you’re in. We’ve done it all by ourselves, save for our time with LAW Records. They gave us money for videos and radio campaigns, so we’re thankful for that. We also have great management with Fly South. They have cool ideas that we may have otherwise not thought of on our own. We’ve definitely had our eyes opened. We say all the time that we’ve everything the hard way. No one ever told us, “Hey, you’re gonna lose a lot of money doing it that way!”, ha ha. As for the genre, I think when most people think of this "reggae-rock” thing, we show up on that list. We’ve been cutting out our own spot for years and I think we have something different going on to help us stand on our own.
3. Are you hoping to get further or are smaller venues with close knit people more your style?
Since day one it’s been “ride it till the wheels fall off”. In the basement, I used to pretend I was performing on SNL, I’d even say “Ladies and Gentlemen, BALLYHOO!”. And then rock out. That’s still a big dream of mine. We want this to last forever and we feel that if we ever get there, we will have earned it. It’s been a hard road. If we ever make it to big theaters and arenas, I know that we would still want to do small venues from time to time. It really is a good feeling when people are right there vibing off of you.
4. What are your favorite tour memories?
Not my favorite, but most memorable for sure is when the van caught on fire on our first tour. We were halfway through a 6 week run with transmission fluid spraying all over our exhaust which had big hole it in. In the middle of the night, we had to pull over fast and jump out, flames were shooting out from under the van. It was fucking scary. The whole undercarriage was on fire. Luckily, we keep an extinguisher with us at all times. If it ever feels like a low point, I just think about those days. Sleeping in the van, no money for hotels. We were a mess.
5. What is one thing on your iPod that nobody would expect?
Kimbra. Love her voice. And TLC’s Greatest Hits.
6.What is one band you'd love to tour with but have yet to get the chance to?
Green Day. Bucket list right there.
7. How did you come up with your band name? (Also, did you know it is a kind of fish bait, and also means 'a noisy attention getting demonstration or talk' according to Google.)
That’s exactly where it came from. A friend of ours pitched it to us and I really liked it because it was different and full of color in my mind. I felt like we were a loud, disturbing noise in my mom’s basement. But she was cool with it most of the time. She did restrict us for a few months because of bad grades though.
8. What are your favorite and least favorite songs that you have ever written?
They’re all my children but I like Ricochet, She Wants to Destroy Me and Last Night off the top of my head. Least favorite is probably Rt 40 Ho, ha ha.
9.Where in the world would you like to perform that you haven't gotten to yet?
Would be nice to go to Australia. And I want to sell out Madison Square Garden. ;)
10.Did you originally start the band with plans to get bigger or was it just for fun?
Yeah, it was always about that for us. I wanted people to hear my songs, know my world. I also didn’t want to work some job that I hated. I wanted to start a band since i was 5 or 6 I think. My dad was in a band around that time and I went to some rehearsals and thought it was so great.
11. What would you be doing if you weren't in a band?
I would definitely still be producing or doing film. Something on the art side. That’s just what I love to do. Create.
12. What is your porn star name? (Just so you know, this question actually comes from Bryan Stars, just in case he never gets the chance to ask you himself.)
13. Do you ever regret not living an "average" lifestyle?
Not really. Sometimes I have thoughts of what it would be like working in a cubicle somewhere, getting home at 5 every day, having dinner with my family, going out with friends on the weekends and going to the movies and shit. But I can’t imagine a life without the road and our own albums and chart success. I know I would feel incomplete.
14. What's your most valuable life lesson you've learned while on the road?
Nothing is free.
15. What's one thing you miss while on the road?
My son, my family. Its hard to leave these days. But I know that I’m out there doing what I’ve always wanted and working towards something that could change the way we live forever.
16. What's one piece of advice you can give aspiring bands?
Practice, practice! Make a good record that sounds great. Give it away for free. Don’t play the hometown more than 4 times a year. Get a van and play everywhere else.
There you have it! From tour stories, to advice and porn star names, you heard it all! Big thanks to Howi himself for taking the time to answer my question, and Becky from Big Picture Media for setting all of this up and being incredibly wonderful! Don’t forget to check out Ballyhoo!’s video for “No Good”, like them on Facebook, and get their album Pineapple Grenade on iTunes! You can also catch them live with bands such as Passafire, Eastbourne, Under Fire, and more on various tour dates now through the end of February 2014.
These are interview that I myself have done. They have not been found anywhere, they have not been done for me. They are my work.