Interview: Howi Spangler of Ballyhoo! | 2013 Summer Sickness Tour Preview

Interview: Howi Spangler of Ballyhoo! | 2013 Summer Sickness Tour Preview

Rocking the mic steady at 200+ shows a year, awesome reggae/rock band Ballyhoo! is no stranger to life on the road. With a sound distinctly their own, members Howi Spangler (lead vocals), Donald Spangler (drums), JR Gregory (bass), and Scott Vandrey (turntables & keys), bring their party lifestyle to their fans. The guys already have a number of notable tours under their belts – 311 Carribean Cruise, Bamboozle and the entire 2012 Vans Warped Tour to name a few.

Ballyhoo! band photo

Ballyhoo! (Photo by Taylor Foiles)

Ballyhoo! is set to start their 2013 Summer Sickness Tour with Authority Zero which includes a stop at Lee’s Palace in Toronto on June 23rd.

As a preview to the show, I had a chance to share some words with lead singer, Howi Spangler. Check out the interview below where he talks about their latest music video, upcoming 5th album Pinapple Grenade and the band’s ‘dirty’ secret.

For all Ballyhoo! tour dates – visit

So Ballyhoo!… Isn’t that the name of a fish?

Yup, it’s a bait fish. A friend took us fishing in the Charleston Sound a few years back and we used ballyhoo to catch sharks and shit. We let them go, of course. The word also means ‘loud noise, blatant advertising’.

I understand you guys have been touring quite a bit in the last few years – Vans Warped Tour, 311 Caribbean Cruise, Bamboozle + more. How do you keep up?

Something like 200 shows/year and that doesn’t include drive days. It’s very exhausting but all the work it takes to make it to the show is justified once we’re on stage. Makes it all worth it. Especially when doing shows with our favorite bands like 311.

You excited to come back to the big smoke (Toronto)? What’s your favourite part about our city? We Canadians like our music ya know.

Toronto has to be the cleanest city I’ve ever seen. We played at The Kathedral back in 2004 or something and we were putting flyers up and down Queen St. On the way back to the hotel, they were ALL gone. Street sweeper was going all day that day. Tried to sneak our way into Much Music too…they didn’t let us in. We did Warped Tour there last summer and it rained so hard, hoping for a nice dry show this time.

I love your sound. I was telling my friend you sound like “a happy party skipping on the beach with Jamaican rum shots”. How would you describe it?

That’s pretty good actually…but yeah, I usually call it Punk Rock Reggae Sex Music.

Where’d you get the idea for your song/music video ‘Walk Away’? Went to an awkward wedding?

I’ve had a negative view of marriage since I was a kid. My parents got divorced and they really made it ugly. Then my friends started getting married after high school, most of them divorced now. I’ve seen people get engaged on our stage and a year later they’re not together. And I thought to myself, if someone isn’t right for you, you probably shouldn’t marry them. Save yourselves the trouble (and money) and get out of there before you make a mistake.

What can we expect from your 5th album coming out this summer? How does it differ from Daydreams?

We got to play with tones more on Pineapple Grenade. The songs took on a different feel after that. This has a more chilled out vibe than Daydreams , but the songs all rock in their own way. I think our fans will love the direction.

How stoked are you for the Summer Sickness Tour with Authority Zero? Your schedule looks busy! Overnights on the bus?

Lots and lots of shows! Overnights in the VAN is more like it. That tour is going to be a rocker. I can’t wait. It’ll be the most hi-energy tour we’ve ever done, I’m sure. I’ve met Jason from AZ a few times and he’s always a nice dude. Gonna be great to rock the country together.

Any idea what lies ahead in the second half of the year?

Nothing yet, but I’m sure there will be a lot more touring. That’s just what we do, ya know? Gotta take it to the people. And hopefully we’ll be celebrating some great record sales!

What’s the ‘ultimate’ secret you have never told your fans about Ballyhoo!…?

Ballyhoo used to mean “penis fish”…I’m not kidding. We looked up the name again last year and apparently an old tribe used to use ‘penis fish’ to catch bigger fish. Please don’t tell anyone…it would ruin our reputation as classy fellows.

For our last question, can you add a caption to this photo? :)

Dinosaur Jetplane

“Mayday, motherfuckers, mayday!!!”


Check out Ballyhoo!’s latest music video for ‘Walk Away’



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