December 22, 2007. Frankie and I arrived at Madison Square Garden for OZZY/Rob Zombie and we were like “In This Moment? Who??” Well, they came out and rocked the shit out of us! I had never seen a band so hungry onstage, and immediately went home and ordered their debut album Beautiful Tragedy and a t-shirt. The next morning was especially hard for me, and In This Moment’s music , “Beautiful Tragedy” in particular, helped me not only through that ordeal, but they have gotten me through every December 23 since. Their albums are something I look forward to more than just about any other band in the six years since I first stumbled onto them, and there isn’t another band out there that has affected me as deeply. So, when the opportunity arose to interview guitarist and founding member Chris Howorth I jumped at the chance. Here’s what we chatted about:
Amps: Chris, thanks for taking a few minutes to talk with me. I have to tell you…I will always associate you guys with my Mom. She died the morning after I saw you live for the first time, and so many of your songs remind me of her, and have helped me get through some rough times when I’m missing her, so thank you for helping me keep those good memories alive.
Chris: Oh man, that is so awesome to hear that we could help you through such a rough time. Thank you so much for sharing that with me. I appreciate that it comes from the heart. I have to tell Maria that.
Amps: How is it that you guys have put out four records that are as completely different as night and day?
Chris: It’s not from planning, I’ll tell you that. It all happened from the natural flow of things and circumstances we were going through at the time. The first album was me writing the bulk of the music, and convincing Maria (Brink, vocals) to sing and put her lyrics over it. That really wasn’t her style of record, the first one. The second one was “We’re so stoked on getting signed, we just toured with OZZY and we’re floating on top of the world” so we just wrote some great songs with Kevin (Churko) our producer, and go wherever the melody took us, not worrying about how “metal” it was. So that’s how The Dream came about. And on A Star-Crossed Wasteland we went a little bit more metal, but kept the melodic side from The Dream. And then our band quit, leaving just Maria and I, and that fueled Blood.
Amps: Yeah, Kevin is awesome. And thanks to you guys posting about them working with him, I got turned onto Gemini Syndrome, so I owe that to you guys!
Chris: The Kevin Churko connection is pretty good, man. Every time he works with a band, I just think, “Yeah, he’s gonna make them better than they were”. He has a way of pulling the best out of people.
Amps: You guys keep growing and the places get bigger. You’re one of THE hardest-working bands I’ve ever seen. What is it that drives you?
Chris: It’s basically our desire to succeed. We wanna become a big band like KISS or OZZY. That’s our goal, to play music and have a nice comfortable life from it, and have that be our main source of income. All of that is what drives us to keep doing it. And we’ve had a lot of success, gotten great tours, and played with our heroes, put out albums that we’re proud of, and built our fan base. And each album has sold a little better, but we’re always breaking even or going in the hole. We’ve never made any money off of In This Moment until recently. We’re just now starting to turn this band around financially to where we’re generating income for ourselves, which is really hard to do, and this whole thing has been a labor of passion and love. If it was about the money, we never would have made it to this point, because we constantly had to have help from loved ones to stay afloat.
Amps: Well, no one is happier about your success than me and Frankie, who was at that show with me. When I found out we’d be speaking I called him, and he FREAKED!! Because your band means so much to us.
Chris: Thank you, bro. And thank you for sticking with us from the beginning. That’s something that we don’t take for granted. Our fans are real fans and have embraced every album and every little change that we’ve done, and felt what we were feeling. People like you are what makes the world go ‘round for us. You’re the ones that keep us going. We’re only the tip of the spear; it’s a big team effort, because you guys are what make the band successful. So thank you.
Amps: Who made you pick up the guitar?
Chris: Probably Ace Frehley- (I scream like a girl! Chris laughs), Eddie Van Halen, and Jake E. Lee. KISS is one of my favorite bands. When I think of what In This Moment is trying to do now with our stage show, we’re trying to bring some of what KISS was doing back. You don’t see a lot of that anymore, whether it’s in a magazine, video, or onstage. They’re larger than life, and I find that missing today from bands.
Chris: I think “Blood”, “Whore”, and “Adrenalize” are my top three. “From the Ashes” is another one I really like. It’s got more of an old-school In This Moment sound.
Amps: Those are all great. In This Moment is one of the few bands that have me at Best Buy at 9:57 A.M. on new release day pounding on the door, because of the artwork, the liner notes, everything. No iTunes here, I have to go get it!
Chris: I’m the same way. You know, looking at the cover of Powerslave, trying to figure out all the little details in the artwork, reading all the liner notes, so we’re gonna do even more cool stuff next time around. Even though less people are buying them, people ARE still buying them.
Amps: Any thoughts on doing a live CD to go with the upcoming DVD?
Chris: The DVD’s gonna have a book with it, like a picture book from that day. It’s really cool, man. I don’t know how they’re gonna do it, you know, how many they’re gonna sell like that, and how many of just the DVD on its own.
Amps: Well you guys have been due for something live for a while now. You can’t explain an In This Moment show to someone, so this is the next best thing.
Chris: The thing about the DVD too is that it’s a snapshot in time of us. Our show has developed and changed since then, so it’s completely different now on Hellpop than what it was there.
Amps: What guitars are you playing, and what’s your gear of choice?
Chris: I am with Schecter guitars. I love them; I’ve been with them since the very beginning of our career. And they just made me a Chris Howorth model guitar that’s coming out next year. It’s awesome! As far as amps go, I’m kind of in limbo right now, soooo…any amp companies out there…
Amps: I’m excited to see you guys finally getting your due and headlining your own tour (Hellpop). What’s in store for the crowds on Hellpop?
Chris: Hellpop is gonna be a mixture of everything we’ve been doing up till now. This is the first fully developed show we’re doing, with all the stuff from the Blood album, plus old stuff. We’re playing about an hour and a half, we’ve got the Blood Girls and all different productions. We’ll be doing some older songs that people haven’t heard in quite a while, too. And the bands on the tour are all really great, it’s gonna be awesome!
Amps: Well, as I said I’m happy because it’s about damn time. Plus, you guys stay out on the road, don’t you?
Chris: Well, usually you tour and tour to try and sell that record until you know it’s time to not tour anymore and make a new one, but Blood has definitely lasted longer than any record for us. It’s still selling pretty good right now, so we’re just gonna keep pushing right on into the next phase. We’ll hit the studio pretty quickly in the next year and have a record out by summer.
Amps: Nice! What would you like to say to the In This Moment fans out there?
Chris: To our fans I like to say that if you’re a fan, you know who you are. Thank you for sticking with us from the beginning and you’re a part of the whole legacy and journey with us. And to anyone new that’s curious, I guarantee it’s not what you think, so check it out.
Amps: Chris, thank you again for doing this. You have no idea how much it means to me. I am a fan for life, you guys could probably put out a polka album and I’d still love it. That’s NOT a suggestion, by the way!!
Chris: (Laughing) no man, don’t worry! Hey, make sure you come say hi when we’re back in town. Talk to you soon.
When I first started doing this, I had no idea I’d be one day talking to not only some of my favorite artists and bands, but also to the ones whose music has touched me on a deeper emotional level. In This Moment is one of those bands, and I have to give big thanks to Paul Gargano at Century Media for making this happen for me.