The story behind the music of "Howland, Laug, Morrison & Pinnick"...
From the pen (keyboard) of Keith Howland: As the current guitarist (9 years and counting) of the rock band Chicago and also a fan of the previous incarnations of the band, I'd always admired guitarist Chris Pinnick who had worked with the band during their heyday in the early eighties.
Chris was (is) an exciting, energetic and musical player with frightening chops.
My guitar technician Hank Steiger who has been with the band for over 30 years has maintained a friendship with Chris and speaks with him frequently.
When Chris' name came up in conversation one day I said "Tell Chris he's a Bad Dude!".
Hank relayed the message and returned saying "Chris says he likes your playing too...".
Still having never spoken with Chris, I told Hank to tell him that "we should make a record together".
The messenger returned with "Chris says, OK let's make a record".
I decided to move forward, calling my good friends and monster musicians Lance Morrison (bass, Don Henley, Rod Stewart) and Matt Laug (drums, Alanis Morrisette, Slash) to see if they were interested in recording an instrumental art project.
Both were in, phone calls were made, a date was set and my first meeting with Chris was the day he pulled up in front of my house, guitar in hand and we wrote and recorded what is now called "Snonga".
You can hear us sort of feeling our way on that track, never having played together and not knowing what to expect from each other.
The solos were live during tracking and there is a friendly competition evident there.
Each song on the record was recorded exactly the same way, with someone (or nobody) bringing in a seed of an idea and the four of us hashing it out until we were all satisfied with the results.
Usually in about 2-3 hours we would have written, arranged and tracked a tune in it's entirety only to return to it to overdub the occasional melody line.
Finally, once we felt we had a record with great tunes, performances and diversity, we brought in Jeff Babko to weave some of his keyboard magic on 3 tunes.
Jeff truly is amazing, integrating himself into the song as if he had been there for the tracking session.
As a final touch and a different flavor, my good friend and drummer with Chicago Tris Imboden came over and added some soulful "Blues Harp" to the rocker "Laug Jam".
I now have a new good friend in Chris Pinnick, lots of guitar licks to steal and an album that I'm very proud of.
Now that you know the story and the spirit behind the recording of "Howland, Laug, Morrison, & Pinnick", I hope you enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed playing!