Sticky Carpet Jack Article

Article on Jack Howard from The Age in relation to his My Lucky Day album.

Author: Patrick Donovan, Andrew Murfett.

Date: 14 September 2007.

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Article Text

There was electricity in the air when Melbourne rock legends the Hunters & Collectors tore through a ripping set at the inaugural ARIA Hall of Fame awards in July 2005.

It was their first show together since 1998, and the Hunters have not played together since.

Jack Howard, the trumpeter from the band’s horn section, says he is often asked about the Hunnas’ reformation.

“It ain’t happening,” he says. “There was brief flirtation with it after that gig but everybody is quite satisfied with their professional lives. There’s not an imperative to get back together. It’s only the money, and that’s not something you want to do it for.”

In the meantime, Howard has carved out a niche as a solo artist. He recently released a terrific new album, My Lucky Day.

His day job is teaching trumpet at Wesley College, where he also runs jazz ensembles for the school. Howard is known in the Elwood area for a couple of things: he held a popular 2-year Friday-night residency at the Elwood RSL, and is part of the Elwood Dad’s Band: a bunch of Elwood Primary school dads who got together to do some fund-raising gigs.

He says much of My Lucky Day came from those Friday night gigs in Elwood.

“It was a unique sort of residency in that it was always an originals show,” he says.

“A lot of people who came were RSL regulars so I felt a strong urge to write a lot of new material.”

Howard also honed his band’s sound by playing regular gigs at the Rosstown Hotel in Carnegie and Geelong’s Limelight Lounge.

The album was recorded from last September to May. “You can really tell the band was in cracking form for the record,” he says.

Along with the 11 band tracks on the album, six others have Howard with guitarist John Betro, who he met through the Elwood Dad’s band. Howard played with a couple of old mates from Midnight Oil this year: Rob Hirst and Martin Rotsey, and their band Ghostwriters.

“The Hunters’ horn section played on the original Ghostwriters CD,” he says.

“We ended up playing live with them that night. It was all very nostalgic and an 1980s band night reunion!” Were there any post-show hijinks?

“We had drinks after the show. We didn’t tear it up too heavily; we’ve all got day jobs. I was teaching at eight the next morning.”

The Hunters’ horn section, which also includes Jeremy Smith and Michael Waters, has been in big demand in recent times. Last year the trio went on a national tour with the Living End.

“When you listen to the Living End, you can hear their influences of Midnight Oil and the Clash,” Howard says.

“They were big fans of the Hunters’ horn section sound. We recorded on their last album, State of Emergency, and doing the tour with them really got the juices flowing again. It was a brief return to the glory days.”

Howard also recently played with the band X at the Ding Dong Lounge.

“Our horns played on their classic record At Home With You,” he says. “When they relaunched it a few months ago at Ding Dong, it was a hoot. There were tequila shots flying around on stage.”

Howard will be playing a set this afternoon at Basement Discs from 12.30pm. He’ll be at Chaucer’s, in Burke Road, Glen Iris, tonight at 7pm and at Bar 9T4, tomorrow night.