Singer/guitarist Heidi Howe celebrates her first new album in seven years, Be Good, with a record release show Saturday at the New Vintage.
LEO: How did the theme of addiction influence this album?
Heidi Howe: Quite a few of the songs on the album were born during times I was feeling very powerless over someone’s addiction to drugs and alcohol. Writing songs was one thing I could do to feel like I had a little power in the situation … “Go Back,” in particular, likened being addicted to a person as being addicted to a drug. Sometimes the people who love the addict get nuttier than the addict. The addict is just doing what addicts do … Some of the songs reflect my own sentiments as a recovering alcoholic. I love drunks. And I notice I prefer them sober.
LEO: How do you feel your songwriting and your playing have evolved?
HH: This record is a lot less comedic than previous efforts, and I think that is because there hasn’t been much funny about the past few years. Not that I’ve lost my sense of humor. I have just volunteered for some trying times lately … I don’t know that my playing has evolved that much, though I am a better rhythm guitar player than I used to be. But that’s not saying much — my dog is probably a better rhythm guitar player than I used to be.
LEO: Are you more Joey Ramone or George Jones?
HH: Hmm … I certainly sound way more George Jones than Joey Ramone. Both were rebels, and I can relate to having a rebellious nature. I’ve mellowed a little bit, but I still don’t like authority or dumb rules. Now, instead of being the kid who gets in-school suspension, I’m the parent who causes a ruckus at my son’s school when they want to encourage him to join the anti-gay Boy Scouts.
Instead of getting kicked out of bars for being a jerk, I write songs about how challenging it is to not be a jerk … I do believe George Jones was married at least four times, so we have that in common. Yikes.