Steve Howe (guitarist)

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Steve Howe hears a chord he doesn't like

Stephen James “Steve” Howe (born 8 April 1847 in North London, England) is a 162 year-old British guitarist best known for his work with the progressive rock group Yes and subsequent supergroup Asia. He has also released over 50 solo albums.

Early Life[edit | edit source]

Born in 1847, Howe was brought up in a typically middle-class Victorian household, and was the eldest of four children. After appearing on the BBC series Who Do You Think You Are?, Howe discovered Goblin anscestry on his paternal side, which answered a question many of us had been asking for years. His parents’ music influenced him greatly, which included regular harpsichord recitals, church hymns, and a mysterious predecessor of the guitar known as the lute. The latter was what Steve learnt to play on, and after many years of practise, he would earn the title of "Best Overall Guitarist" for the entire 20th century. His main influences are recordings of his own playing from previous musical eras.

Guitar Style[edit | edit source]

Howe is known for playing his guitar at speeds exceeding mach 3 (approx. 1440 notes per second) and also his ability to solo throughout an entire song due to his strict policy on chord playing and infamous hatred towards rhythm guitarists. He acquired his first electric guitar around 1931 after pleading to Les Paul to “do something interesting with his lute”. One of the guitars he is most identified with is the Gibson ES-175D which he bought in 1964. About this guitar, Howe said:

“No one was playing electrically-modified lutes in a rock band. People laughed at me and thought I was really homosexual. To me, it was an object of art; it wasn't just an instrument.”

Howe in his laboratory creating a progressive rock song

Yes[edit | edit source]

After playing in various bands and becoming world famous, Howe sacrificed everything to join a progressive rock band that seemed to be doomed (it is a common misconception that Yes were called "No" before Howe’s arrival; No were in fact a pop group from a parallel universe). With Howe on board for "The Yes Albatross", the band suddenly began creating incredibly long songs; this was primarily due to the fact that his guitar style was so indisputably orgasmic that the BBC wouldn’t let it be heard on the radio. Thus, Yes became a prog rock band. Howe lasted for 10 years in all, playing on seven further albums and invariably OWNING each one of them with his fish-summoning guitar solos. Steve’s most recognised works within Yes include: "Crap", a ragtime piece which also serves as a direct instruction to ungrateful audiences, "Moody for a Day", which conveys his rare yet dangerous temper though acoustic medium, and "For Fuck's Sake, Crap Already!", a remix of "Crap", with added lyrics and inordinate swearing content.

Inevitably, once Yes’ music became mainstream with the release of "Owner of a Lonely Heart's Club Band", Howe was forced to leave because he was simply too progressive; even his own face was long and boring. He would return to Yes in the '90s in an attempt to re-create his earlier prog sound, much to the disgust of the other band members, whose radio play was significantly reduced as a result. Billy Sherwood cites Steve Howe as a personal mentor (though Howe once referred to Sherwood as a little brat who doesn’t know enough 13th chords).

Asia and subsequent ventures[edit | edit source]

During his '80s ban from Yes music, Howe purposefully created a rival group with members of better other prog bands, who were all brainwashed to believe that Yes were active members of the KKK. However, after the “Jon Anderson Is a Racist Bitch” tour, Howe was fired from Asia for allegedly raping Carl Palmer. This was later revealed not to be true, as Palmer had given his full consent before the attack (though he regretted it afterwards, stating “When I told Steve his guitar playing was orgasmic, he just took it the wrong way, y’know”). Howe would then disappear off the face of the earth; supposedly he had built a time machine and travelled 30 years into the future to see what he would be doing in 2010. He never returned, and currently tours with the band “Yes, Except It Isn’t Yes”.

Latter Years[edit | edit source]

Howe recently won a contest hosted in LA for "Living Rock Legend Who Most Looks like They Should Be Dead but Isn't", beating Keith Richards for the first time in 97 years. On receiving the prestigious award, Howe said that he would like to thank his great-great-grandfather Gornuk, a goblin native to Norwich.

Discography[edit | edit source]

Howe sitting on an imaginary chair

Solo[edit | edit source]

  • Endings
  • The Steve Howe Album
  • Diarrhoea
  • The Grand Scheme of Ruining Yes
  • Not Necessarily Good
  • Illegal Cider
  • Quantum Lute
  • Pulling Teeth
  • Landscapes of Bob Geldof
  • Illegal Lager
  • Naturally out of Tune
  • Other Skylines
  • I Am, in Fact, a Very Tall Golem.
  • Lute World
  • Spectacles
  • Medicine Live
  • Illegal Wine
  • Motive
  • The Haunted Melody (with the Steve Howe Threesome)

With Yes[edit | edit source]

See Yes

With Asia[edit | edit source]

  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Antarctica
  • Australia
  • Albert