Love The Hate, a hard rock band based in Mobile, Alabama, recently released a moving tribute to one of the band's founding members and former lead singer, Butch Howell, with a lovely acoustic version of "If I Would Go". Current band members JRod Mclain (vocals), Frank Killian (guitar), Marshall Mears (guitar), Leon Craft (bass), and John Gavin (drums) have every reason to be proud of this project, as it definitely does justice to this great song originally written by Howell and Killian and released on the 2019 album Burn.
Ryan Keith Howell, a.k.a. "Butch", passed away at the age of 44 April 1st, 2019, but not before leaving a lasting imprint on the Mobile rock scene. Because of Howell's hard work, dedication, and desire to make great music, other singers, musicians, and bands are determined to keep going so his legacy will continue to live on.
I recently had the opportunity to speak to Mclain and Killian about Howell, the new release, and the story of Love The Hate. It was a great conversation which I thoroughly enjoyed because of the energy and passion these two men truly have for the music and the love and admiration they both have for Howell. "Butch wanted to be the best he could be," Killian says. "He wanted the music to be beneficial for everyone. He worked hard, but he also had an easygoing personality" The melancholy irony of Howell having written "If I Would Go" is this song's overall theme, which is mortality. The recurrent lyrics "what if I would go and leave it all behind" and "what if I never said goodbye" really hit home. To me, this can also be a call to action, like reminding listeners to not take anything for granted in their lives, whether it be with relationships, dreams they want to achieve, or anything important to them.
This acoustic version of "If I Would Go" is the first song by Love The Hate with Mclain on lead vocals, and features Killian on piano. The sound engineer was Mears, and this is the first song he has put together for the band. He studied audio engineering/music production in college, and going forward he will be doing all mixing and mastering for the band. There is a beautiful lyric video for this single, which includes photos of Howell, both with the band and individually. The video was designed by Blake Reed, who was a guitarist in Mclain's former band.
There are two original members of Love The Hate, which was formed in 2015 -- Killian and Craft. Mears has been with the band for about three years. Mclain joined the band this year, in January. He talks about his audition, when he sang "If I Would Go", "Solid Ground", and "Burn". He said he got a good vibe right away and knew he would be a good fit with the band. From what I can tell so far just by seeing some videos of the band practicing, he was correct. Finally, rounding out the line-up back in March was Gavin. He and Mclain were in another band together, and Mclain was hopeful that Gavin would do well in his audition. Luckily, he did, and the band is now complete. The enthusiasm Mclain has talking about this band and the music and live performances to come is contagious.
Love The Hate is working on new music, including an upcoming album. The writing of the music is a group effort between Killian, Mears, and Craft. They feed the music to Mclain, who is the primary lyric writer. Mclain says, "I have notebooks full of lyrics. I probably have about 10 albums' worth of lyrics. I write every single day. I write lyrics that tell a story". The band is also practicing together to get ready for live performances, If the videos of recent practices posted on the band's Facebook page are any indication, their live shows are sure to be highly entertaining and energetic. Mclain keeps talking about the "vibe" between the band members. I can feel this vibe just from talking with him and Killian. There is so much passion and drive to create awesome music and entertain audiences. The future of Love The Hate, with Howell watching over and guiding them, is sure to be bright. <Annie Schlottman>