"Big Howie" Coleman : Guitar & Vocals

PKHF (400027 von 43)

Howies Story…

Howie started playing guitar at age twelve and loved Rock & Roll music, all he ever wanted to do was play his guitar. His early influences were Elvis, Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins and, being a guitar player of course, Scotty Moore. Like all youngsters he used to play along to his records in his bedroom for hours, dreaming of becoming a Rock & Roll star.

Reality hit, however, when he left school and went to work for the National Coal Board as an engineer; he hated it! He always held on to his dream of becoming a musician. At that young age, if you told him where his musical journey would take him – travelling the world, meeting and working with his musical heroes then ending up on the road with his family, sharing some incredible experiences in far-flung corners of the globe, he would never have believed it! Although, while working in a freezing workshop on a night shift, he would have settled for just a teeny, tiny piece of it.

At 21, Howie had had enough. He left the NCB and moved to the city, where he spent a year or two playing in different local bands in every smokey bar and music venue he could; all he wanted to do was play.

In 1986, “The Class of ’58” was formed. This period happened to coincide with a lot of the original fifties recording stars coming over from the USA, playing the increasing number of Rock & Roll festivals and gigs on the revival circuit. Howie, have garnered a good reputation as a strong, reliable guitarist was offered the opportunity for him and the band to back these stars on tour, both in the UK and Europe; he couldn’t believe his luck! He got to work with, not only, rockabilly artists off the legendary Sun Records Label but also the household name hit-makers of that era, and not to mention the British stars as well; it was a very exciting time.

The one constant thing that Howie has always had in his life, from being a youngster all those years ago to now, is The Class of ’58. As you can imagine, he could write many books with the memories and stories from the tours he’s been on. Some are repeatable, some not so. One of Howie’s stand out stories, which can be told however, was doing a tour with a load of Rock & Roll icons and having supper sat next to DJ Fontana, spending the evening eating, drinking wine and just chatting. Then, weeks later, DJ greeting Howie like an old friend and introducing him to his hero, Elvis’ legendary guitarist, Scotty Moore. As a big Elvis fan since being a kid, his mind was blown. Coming from a small Welsh mining community, thirty years after their records were recorded, this should’ve been impossible!

Stories are, as the saying goes, like the buses. When you wait for one, another comes right along and another “pinch me” moment for Howie was when he sessioned with the great Freddie “Fingers” Lee and ended up performing with Ray Charles, on a warm evening in France; he couldn’t believe it.

The Class of ’58 has become Howie’s life. He’s spent many, many years, gigging, travelling and generally having a great time and it has presented him with a great many opportunities and experiences. The band has evolved from where it started and Howie says it’s “been elevated to another level of enjoyment and opportunity, now we do this together”.

Time goes by so quickly and the band is now the family business. What Howie enjoys most now is, as the boys have long since grown up, he can now tell them all the stories of those tours; in full detail, some of them believable and some unbelievable. If people ask him if, as he gets older, it’s hard work, he simply replies “No, the Coal Board was hard work, this is a love affair; playing music with your family, travelling the world, seeing great places and meeting great people, it doesn’t get much better”.