Who the hell is CLAY HOWARD? (interview)

John Borack writes in Goldmine about Who the hell is Clay Howard?: So, yeah – catch these classic-sounding classic rock sounds before they becomes classics. Or something.

What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

The best part of making “Who the Hell is Clay Howard?” was being able to work with Brynn Arens, of FLIPP fame. Even though I’ve made almost 20 albums over the years, this was the first to have my name, and not the name of a band on it. SO, working with Brynn allowed me to really make these songs everything they could be. Brynn can play almost any instrument, and has great instincts as a producer and we used both of those things on this record…a lot. He also pushed me to work on my lyrics.

If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

That is a tough call. “Never Give It Away” was written to give my kids a positive song with inspirational lyrics, and I like to think that represents me well… but, “Biscuits Ain’t Rising,” is the most autobiographical song on “Who the Hell is Clay Howard?” since it tells the story of true incidents in my family history.

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

The music industry has changed- a lot. The internet has made it much easier to promote a record, as this interview clearly demonstrates. I have had good press in Australia, Hawaii, Iowa, Spai, etc…. without leaving North Carolina. The other aspect brought on by the internet, is the near-death of “sales.” People stream music now, and the pay for that is dismal. To answer your question, the changes in the music industry brought me the ability to spread my music further, and make less from it.:)

When (and how) did you discover you had this huge rock voice?

Just now- you let me know.:)
I’ve been singing for over 26 years, and when people say something like that, it still humbles me. Thank you.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mixt tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

1- Voices- Cheap Trick
2- Baby’s Coming Back- Jellyfish
3- Don’t Say No- Billy Squier
4- Wouldn’t It Be Good- Nik Kershaw
5- Sing My Blues Away- Cheap Trick
(showing my age on the first 4, huh…)

6. What’s up for the next couple of months?

Let’s see…. I have recorded a follow-up record with Brynn , that we are going to release under the band name, DIG…. hopefully we can announce the details of that in the next few months.
One single is out there on youtube, watch it here
 The whole thing is a bit more “rock” than the last record, and I look forward to getting feedback on it. I also hope to announce some more live shows with my band, Clay Howard & the Silver Alerts!
For updates check the website
Check Clay’s YouTube



HUNGRYHEART – Dirty Italian Job (interview)


Time stood still. “Dirty Italian Job” sounds like the AOR/Melodic Rock records sounded in the mid – 80s. That’s a big big compliment. Last Of The Runaways spoke with Josh Zighetti , Hungryheart’s singer.

What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

We had a tough time! Especially during the night sessions and believe me, it’s not easy to stay awake while recording and when you’re losing the rhythm you definitely needed a helping hand. So after a few beers (almost one for each track) we found that thing that some would say a perfect balance! That was fun! What was not fun was cleaning the studio later on!

If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

A song that represents and describes me, good question… there’s no doubt in my mind that Soldier Of Fortune from Stormbringer is one of those! The reason why is because it relates to the deepest part of my heart and soul. One the best song ever that has marked me for life

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

Artists have to be a bit careful now about how to keep their careers going if they want to continue in music. Some people say “The music industry is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free,and good men die like dogs”. Sometimes I felt like a dog that gets his food before dying. The truth is that big business controls the types of music and artists that get exposure and become popular. Much respect to all starving artists and independent companies, in which you are not forgotten and you are appreciated.

Who is the best musician in the world nobody has heard of yet? And why will this change very soon?

One of the most passionate, sensitive and open-hearted musician I ever met…my bestfriend and partner in crime Mr.Mario Percudani. We grew up, and we’re getting older together. You got to know his solo work via his stunning debut album New Day. It’s a bunch of songs that pick you up when you are down. But you shouldn’t forget that he’s also the mastermind behind Hungryheart 🙂 The whole world should know this great musician!

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mixt tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

It’s simple, but not easy, there’s lots of great songs! Maybe something about Garth Brooks, Don Henley, Bryan Adams, Michael Bolton,John Elefante. They wrote songs that get stuck to your head and go round and round, sometimes for days, sometimes for months. There’s always something incredible when we feel like we’ve made a deep connection with someone’s music. It’s just something that can’t be controlled and it can be very overwhelming for both of us. Anyway, here’s my personal list of top 5-song-mix tape:

Garth Brooks – The Change

Don Henley – The Heart Of The Matter

Bryan Adams – I’ll Always Be Right There

Michael Bolton – You’re All That I Need

John Elefamte – Where Does Our Love Go

I’m a little bit romantic, but I just wanna make her mine!

What’s up for the next couple of months?

We’ve some shows coming up just in time for summer, kicking off with this one in mid-June, mostly here in North Italy, and then ending in November at HEAT Festival in Germany. Then so never get up to late that day!

Check the Hungryheart website for update



‘Bombay Tears’ is not blues rock, jazz rock, hard rock or acoustic rock but a wonderfully addictive combination of all those styles and more
“IF TEXAN MUSIC has a ‘sound’ then Van Wilks would be the perfect example.

Bombay Tears was released in 1980. What comes to mind when you think about the recording sessions?

So long ago! September 1979! Where did those years go?! We drove out to Los Angeles from Austin, Texas. And spent a month or so recording. We’d been touring constantly so we had the songs down tight.

Do the songs still represent who you are?

Yes to a certain extent.  I think they have held up rather well and are still relevant 36 years later. A few still really resonate with me such as The title cut Bombay Tears and Living on Borrowed Time. We re-cut Borrowed Time for my new record.

Rock Candy will re-release the album soon. Where you surprised when they contacted you?

Yes very pleasantly surprised! I was familiar with what they were doing and was happy to jump on board! They are very passionate about the music they release. Kerrang magazine gave a great review to Bombay Tears in 1980 and the writer of that review, Xavier Russell , did the liner notes for the re-release! Very cool ….

Buy Bombay Tears here

You just a released 21st Century Blues. The music business has changed a lot between the release of Bombay Tears and the new one. What did it do for you?

Yes! We are very jazzed about the new record and the reviews it’s getting around the globe! The songs on this record hit hard and really show my “Texas Blues-Rock style. It’s available thru www.vanwilks.com and CD Baby and Amazon.
The music biz has changed so dramatically that I don’t even know how to begin to tell you how it’s affected me and virtually every artist.  We just want the folks that like our music to buy Physical Product instead of downloading. The quality is so much better.

Is Bombay Tears the album people should listen too if they want to know you? Or should they start somewhere else?

If listeners want to get to know my music I think 21st Century Blues and Bombay Tears defines my style the best. But I like to leave that up to the individual…

What’s up for the next couple of months?
Same as always: playing live wherever they’ll have us!