Drummer STET HOWLAND Says 'There Is No Profit-Sharing' In W.A.S.P.

May 2, 2007

W.A.S.P. fan site WASParmy.com recently conducted an interview with former W.A.S.P. drummer Stet Howland. A few excerpts follow:

WASParmy.com: How different is it being with TEMPLE OF BRUTALITY as opposed to W.A.S.P.?

Stet: Well, a big part of me not staying with W.A.S.P. was my desire to have my own real estate so to speak. Everyone knows that I loved the W.A.S.P. gig; the guys (band and crew) were like family. The problem for me, aside from not being able to spread my creative wings, was finding the time to pursue other interests. In the end, once the money from recording and touring was gone, that was the end of the income. There is no profit-sharing in that situation. I will say, contrary to what Chris Holmes has said, I feel I was paid well. More important, Blackie is very honorable when it comes to his word. I never had to chase him for one cent over our 16 years together. He would take a personal loss rather than leave a debt unpaid. He has unmatched honor and work ethic.

I guess it's no secret that I didn't always agree with all the decisions that came down the pike in W.A.S.P. I never felt we had proper promotion for our CDs or live shows, I always used to push for longer shows with a revolving set list, but I have heard that still has not happened. I also always wished we could have been kinder in the meet-and-greet department. Stuff like travel, tour buses, rehearsal space, etc. was always booked last minute for top dollar. That shit makes me fucking crazy. This has little to do with the music, but it's what we band members used to live with for 23 hours of the day. Sadly, it seems things will never change.

With TEMPLE, we started with clean slate. No one person will make any more or less than the other, and we all share credit for everything, songwriting, merch, etc. That's the way VAN HALEN did it in the beginning, and honestly it's the only way to get 100% out of people these days. We have a really healthy camp right now. We are doing things ourselves, building staging and props. I designed and built my own drum riser. We are having a lot of fun building this thing. As well, although we are clearly beneath W.A.S.P. in status, I am more than happy with the promotion done for our CD. I am impressed with what Demolition has done for us. We have ads and features in every major U.S. magazine right now. I was actually figuring W.A.S.P. would be added to the Demolition ads with us, VIXEN, and GLEN HUGHES, but I haven't seem or heard a thing so far.

On the upside, I have what most musicians want, an equal share of the pie. Not just the money, but the overall process of how things are done. It's more relaxed when you are part of a team rather than trying to get a higher authority to accept your ideas. On the downside, you lose that comfort of walking into a gig with a rock and roll icon (Blackie). You know that shit is going to be right, or he won't even come into the building. [Laughs] There is over 20 years of power and majesty that come through that door when he enters the room.

I will say that through my association with W.A.S.P., something must have rubbed off because TEMPLE has had great treatment everywhere so far.

Other differences are our start-up costs. It used to cost wasp $35,000 - $50,000 to get up and running for a tour, with TEMPLE it's a lot less. With W.A.S.P., we used to spend more freely not always worrying about getting deals on everything. It was more important to get the task done in the timeframe allowed, than to also get a great deal. With TEMPLE, I oversee where the money goes, so the spending is far less. As well, I own everything we need to get things going, so we don't have to rent rehearsal studios, hotels, cars, etc. I have all of that stuff, so we save lots of money on rentals, etc. Also, TEMPLE only has one or two guys on payroll for maybe a week or less before the tour. With W.A.S.P., we had our band and crew on salary before leaving. As well, we would often have another handful of people on the payroll running around town helping us get things ready. W.A.S.P. is a huge business machine.

There may be differences in budget and personnel, but believe me, no matter how much time or money either band has to prepare, it never seems like enough. [Laughs] It's always a last minute scramble, and even after years of doing this, I still forget something at home every time.

WASParmy.com: What is your most memorable W.A.S.P. moment?

Stet: That sir is an unfair question. [Laughs] When you're a part of something like wasp for as many years as I was, you have a lot of favorite and memorable moments.

One that sticks out is August 14 1992. It was my birthday and we were sound checking for a huge festival in Mannheim Germany. BLACK SABBATH with Dio were the headliner. I stood by myself in the field, sipping a cold beer, and watching SABBATH rock out three songs. It was an amazing birthday present.

To make it even more crazy, I sat next to Tony Iommi at breakfast the next day.... to top it all off, we played to over 140,000 people that night. I remember the breakdown in the middle of "I Wanna Be Somebody" like it was yesterday. Everyone had their arms and fists in the air, it was amazing!

One of my most amusing moments was on the "Neon God" tour. Blackie was locked in the bathroom, the intro was running, and the doorknob came off with him stuck inside. [Laughs] We got him out and made the intro, but I laughed my ass for for the first half of the show. (I actually have that on video somewhere in my archives.)

There was also the ultra-touching last song of the last night of the "Neon" tour in Moscow. Blackie made a speech about a tragedy they had there. We then went into "Raging Storm" (one of the best songs ever). I recall being overcome with emotion and trying to hold back tears. Just as it was impossible to hold back any longer, I look over to my left, and Darrell has tears streaming down his face too. I dared not look at Blackie or Duda at that point. That was a beautiful moment, shared by undeniably the closest lineup of W.A.S.P. since the beginning.

WASParmy.com: Just a few days ago we managed to get the new W.A.S.P. album "Dominator". Have you had a chance to listen to it, [and] if so what are your thoughts?

Stet: I do have a promo copy, I think it's good. It's nothing groundbreaking by any means, but its a solid cd. I recognize most of the parts, but a couple things sound fresh. I think the lead work is great; Dug has always been one of my favorite guitar players. Blackie is his usual, awesome self. He sings with a power and emotion unmatched in his genre. Both Mikes did a good job, and the CD sounds good. Hopefully it will endure the test of time and be appreciated for years to come.

WASParmy.com: Please tell us what its like working with Dave Ellefson?

Stet: [laughs] Un-fucking-believable! The guy is an amazing player, 100% accurate every night. Just dead-on song after song, night after night. Dave is an unbelievable player as well as a great human. We had only met a couple times back in the day. Neither of us really remember the other; I'm guessing the combination of alcohol, drugs, and the fact that all we cared about was females at the time contributed to our long wait to become friends. After years of dealing with players who are more worried about how good they look, rather than how well they play, Dave is a breath of fresh air.

Read the entire interview at WASParmy.com.

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