Features Regular Columns Meeting Moose (Howardian)

Regular Columns: Meeting Moose (Howardian)

Scene Point Blank’s latest column is more than a column about life as a musician. Yes, it is that, but we’re also debuting two new videos from Howardian – for the songs “Move Yer Butt” and “On My Honor.”

Rather than use a feature as a pretext for a link that sends you to buy their album, we let the band talk about how they came to be. You see, a few years ago we chatted with drummer Moose about a guest column at SPB. It didn’t happen at the time but, serendipitously, Ian touched base with us about debuting the video for “Still Here.”

Here we are, full circle. Conversations rekindled. The flames ignited.

Now move yer butt.

Howardian: An Origin Story

Like many of my best friends, I met Moose in a featureless parking lot somewhere random. I think it might have been in Missouri or Kansas, on tour with Dillinger 4. He was drumming in The Brokedowns and I played in Japanther. We’d all kick back together in my forest green Ford van, telling jokes to pass the time. His sweet Albanian demeanor and hilarious storytelling ability quickly endeared him to us over the course of the short tour. He reminded me of a long lost Blues Brother. His hair was neatly greased back, he had huge chops and real Ray Bans on. It seemed only natural to seek him out as we floated through, soon after, on another voyage. He took us to the gazebo from Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day and to meet Chuck-a-lo, a real life Juggalo tattoo artist and full-on Midwestern time capsule clique.

Over many more tours I visited Mustafa at many more houses in the Chicagoland area. He and I remained friends after I left Japanther, effortlessly. My new band Howardian played with Moose’s new band Post Child at Subterranean on one of our first tours. In 2015 he recorded some drum parts on the Do You Know I Wiggle album with Schuyler Maehl. The next year, while held up in a practice space together, we recorded some more drum parts for Howardian’s All Signs Point To Bliss. In 2018 Mustafa flew to the Bay Area to record The Silly Shit You Say with Schuyler Maehl, Scott Brummel, Damion Gallegos and I. We then performed together as Howardian at Ian’s Party 2019 and released a 12” on a premiere punk imprint (Let’s Pretend.) Now Moose and I are full-fledged creative partners, he’s one of the eight members of Howardian spread across the country and one of my favorite drummers.

Included in this post are the final two videos from the latest album on Let’s Pretend and Starcleaner. They are “Move Yer Butt” and “On My Honor.” The former is a Phil Collins remake of sorts and the latter is a cyclical punk anthem about human tribulations. Both videos were shot and edited by Justin McKaughan and directed by Scott Brummel. As a trio, we laughed until it hurt while making them.

Mustafa Daka wrote the 2nd half of this piece back in the day for Scene Point Blank and eventually backed out. This was before we bonded over doing Howardian together.

– Ian Vanek

I thought I’d mostly hang out with Patrick Costello, who got us on the tour, but I found myself gravitating toward Matt and Ian in Japanther as well as their roadie, Alex. They were super friendly guys and they seemed to be down to come with us to parties after shows that random kids would invite us to. I found myself hanging out in their van with them during downtime. Ian always had cool stories about projects they did and people they met. We were only on the tour for a few weeks and it was a blast. We vowed to keep in touch after the tour. Now, realistically, I know what that usually means. That's like when you become friends with someone at work, you even hangout after work sometimes but when one of you leaves the job, you say you'll keep in touch but will probably never see each other again.

Now fast forward a few weeks. I get a text from Ian saying that they might be passing through Chicago and wanted to know where I lived. I had recently moved back in with my family in Crystal Lake, IL about 40 minutes north west of Chicago. I broke the news to them, figuring they had way cooler spots in the city they could stay at. You see, they weren't touring anymore. They made a lot of money on their tour and got a sweet check from HBO for letting True Blood use like 10 seconds of one of their songs on an episode. They decided they were going to just keep driving and visit friends all over the country. I think I was just taking a nap when my phone rang. It was Ian. "Hey man, do you have a sweet ass green ‘70s Cadillac?" he asked. "Uh....yeah...." I replied. "Then we're here." he said. Holy shit! It was a little dark so I turned on my porch light and all of a sudden, Japanther.....illuminated....in the driveway.....of my parent's house......in Crystal Lake, IL! My mind was blown!

After a few hugs, I started to scramble ideas of what to do. These guys live in Brooklyn and there was nothing outside of Chicago that was cool or logistically significant that I can take them to that they would get a kick out of. There was nothing to do at my parent's house so I suggested they get in my Cadillac and go for a ride.

We got in the car and then it hit me. "You guys like that movie, Groundhog Day?" I asked. "Of course," they both said. You see, one town over is Woodstock and its only claim to fame is that Harold Ramis chose to shoot almost the entire movie in and around Woodstock's town square and gazebo. They even have a plaque on a building that reads, "Ned's Corner" and a brief description about it being the setting for a few key scenes from that movie. So we walked around the town's square. They saw the gazebo. They saw Ned's Corner. I even took them to my buddy's tattoo shop. We didn't get any BFF tattoos but they got to see firsthand the Juggalo epidemic I had only told them about when we were on tour. After that there was literally nothing else to do and they were still going to drive up north to meet up with some other friends.

I gave Matt and Ian some fruit and some bottled water and wished them safe travels on their DIY summer vacation. I've seen them a few times since and they usually bring up our little Groundhog Day adventure. I would have never believed that would happen. Japanther, friends of mine.

– Mustafa Daka

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Posted on July 2, 2019, 3:42 p.m.

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Meeting Moose (Howardian)

Posted on July 2, 2019, 3:42 p.m.

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