Danielle Howle and the Tantrums
I’ve wanted to build this showcase for a long time but I knew I had to be patient because I understood that it would take a lot of collaboration to do it correctly. Getting to know Danielle opened that door giving me access to a lot of data and personal recounts but John Furr holds the mantle of gatekeeper and I’m very grateful for his time, patience, and wealth of knowledge.
This band represents one of those rare moments in a timeline where the right musicians with the right talent connect to form something truly unique. When I listen to their body of work I get the overwhelming impression that there was so much creativity going on in and around them that the disc could barely contain it. A wide spectrum of styles and genres, I find it hard to keep up with and absorb in a single listen –
it demands binge listening!
Danielle Howle and the Tantrums were formed shortly after the disbanding of Lay Quiet Awhile and after the release of Howle’s solo effort, “Live at McKissick Museum”. The summer of 1996 Howle returned to the Columbia music scene with her second studio full-length offering, “About to Burst”, which was released by Simple Machines Records, an independent pop label in Arlington, Virginia. The album featured solo acoustic tracks written by Howle, and several tracks with her backing band, the Tantrums. The band lineup for that release consisted of Danielle Howle on vocals and guitar, John Furr on guitar, Angelo Gianni, (of Treadmill Trackstar), on bass, and Troy Tague on drums and percussions. Gianni would leave and be replaced by Bryan Williams on bass.
John Furr and Bryan Williams were both central figures in the Columbia, SC ’90s alternative rock scene as guitarist and bassist in Blightobody, a band that was probably the closest thing the city had to a traditional grunge success. In 1994 the group would win an AT&T-designated “Best College Band in America” tag, giving it a one-off record deal for a single which was released on Restless Records and an appearance on Conan O’Brien’s late-night show. Troy Tague had broken onto the SC punk-rock scene in 1985 as a member of Bored Suburban Youths who in their career opened for such national acts as Suicidal Tendencies, D.R.I., the Bad Brains, the Circle Jerks, and D.O.A. The band contributed a song ("Annihilation") to the 1986 compilation album "There's A Method To Our Madness", which was issued in both the USA and in Germany. Tague went on to play with Lay Quiet Awhile along with future Tantrums band mate, Danielle Howle.
After the release of “About to Burst” in 1996, Danielle Howle and the Tantrums toured the country with bands such as Whiskeytown, Indigo Girls, Old 97’s, and Throwing Muses and they performed showcases such as SXSW in Austin TX, CMJ in New York City, and NAMM in Nashville. The band had television appearances on SCETV for South Carolina Home Grown, and MTV for Hootie’s USC Horseshoe Concert and they had soundtrack song placements in the award winning films “The Station Agent”, and the 2019 short film “Parallel Chords” as well as the Nintendo Gameboy video game “Mary-Kate and Ashley: Sweet 16 - Licensed to Drive”. In 2019 Oxford American Magazine selected the song "Cut A Rug" to be included in the South Carolina Music compilation alongside other SC artists over many decades.
While working with the Tantrums, Howle continued to write and release her own solo projects including 1997’s “High School Dance” EP and 1999’s “Catalog”. Having caught the ear of Amy Ray of the recording duo, “the Indigo Girls”, both Howle and the Tantrums were picked up for national and international distribution by Ray’s label, Daemon Records based out of Decatur, Georgia.
In 1997 Danielle Howle and the Tantrums released “Do A Two Sable” which was recorded at the Jam Room Studios in Columbia, SC and marked the first release as a complete working band formula. These sessions were engineered by two-time Grammy winner, David Leonard, (Toto, the Go-Go’s, Fishbone, Michelle Shocked, John Mellencamp, and K.D. Lang). A stylistic and wide spectrum body of work it included tastes ranging from country to punk and everything in-between such as the eerie and heavy laced “Dusty” to the bouncy pop driven “Big Front Porch” there was something for every taste represented.
2002 saw the final release from Danielle Howle and the Tantrums, “Skorborealis”, which was recorded by engineer John Plymale, (Superchunk, Dillon Fence, Meat Puppets, Mountain Goats, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and Alejandro Escovedo), at Overdub Lane Studios in Durham, NC. Arguably their finest work together as a band and a brilliant high note to close on as summarized by Hal Horowitz writing the bands AllMusic.com album review…
“A schizophrenic album and all the better for it, Danielle Howle shifts from slightly psychedelic folk to upbeat country, a harder-edged, almost punk guitar rock, and even closes with a lounge tune on this consistently bracing disc.”
After the Tantrums disbanded Danielle Howle continued writing and recording as a solo artist beloved by the state of South Carolina as well as fronting many different band combinations made up with some of the finest players the state has to offer. Troy Tague spent several years as a professional touring drummer. From 2005-2007 he toured the US and Europe with Iron and Wine on drums and percussion for the "Woman King" and "Calexico" albums. From 2007-2008 he played drums with Brandi Carlisle on the album tour for "The Story", which took him nationally across the US and internationally to Australia, England, and Mexico. After a short self-imposed stay of all things music John Furr began a path of discovery experimenting with new ideas and soundscapes which led to recording and sound production after which he established a home recording studio under the moniker Pow Pow Sound where he has recorded several projects for independent artists to date. John also has played guitar alongside Zach Seibert of the Americana outfit E.Z. Shakes and more recently he performs with former Tantrums band mate and drummer Troy Tague in their project band Grand Republic.