Late Bad Company singer Brian Howe celebrated with concert
Cape Coral show paid tribute to longtime Fort Myers Beach resident
A year after he died from a heart attack, former Fort Myers Beach resident and Bad Company singer Brian Howe was remembered with a tribute show at Cape Cabaret in Cape Coral.
The Bad Company cover band Bad Inc., featuring some of Howe’s former bandmates, and the Foreigner cover band 4NR2 (with a guest appearance from original drummer Dennis Elliott), both played energetic and well-received sets on an emotional night for the loved ones of Howe.
Howe, who died during the early months of the pandemic, was remembered fondly by the musicians who played with him and the friends and family who knew him.
On Wednesday, the crowd hit the floor for the Bad Inc. cover of Free’s song “All Right Now” with Howe’s son and granddaughter dancing to the tune originally sung by Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers. Bad Inc. also played Bad Company’s greatest hits like “Rock and Roll Fantasy, “Feel Like Making Love,” “Shooting Star” and their self-titled smash “Bad Company.”
Howe’s son Michael, who lives in Lee County, said he was “happy to finally be able to get something done” to honor his father. “We love him and miss him,” Michael said growing up the son of a touring rock “always felt normal.” Michael said he is still in disbelief at his father’s death. “All wounds heal with time,” he said.
Howe’s former wife Karla Gregory said Howe loved animals. “Brian would be very happy to know that all six of his rescue dogs as well as his three parrots were adopted within a couple of weeks of his passing into amazing families, living happy wonderful lives and remembering the man that rescued them off the streets or from the shelter,” Ms. Gregory said.
Gregory, who was also Howe’s business manager, said Howe enjoyed fishing and had a sailboat at one time. She said he would fish “wherever he could put his pole in the water.” Gregory said she was “forever grateful for having him in my life. He was unforgettable.”
Elliott, whose wife Iona helped organize the show, called Brian “a great guy. Every time we had a death (locally) Brian would show up and help (perform). He was such a gentle soul.”
Elliott said “he was there for us so we’re trying to be there for him.”
Ms. Elliott described the late singer as “underrated.”
Howe took over lead singing duties for Bad Company from 1986 to 1994 and co-wrote much of the band’s material with writing partner Terry Thomas.
Chris Turnbow was one of the guitarists who toured with Howe after he left Bad Company and recorded with him. He said the band would rehearse in Nashville, where Howe had been considering locating to at one point. “He liked a good laugh,” Turnbow said. “He was not only my boss but my friend – a good pal. I wish he was still here.”
Miguel Gonzalez, who performed bass with both cover bands Wednesday night, was also the bassist for Howe’s group for more than 20 years after the singer parted ways with Bad Company. They traveled the world together. “He always wanted the best out of you,” he said.
“With me, he was great,” Gonzalez said. “He was a tough guy. He was very, very tough but if you earned his respect he was your friend.” Gonzalez said Howe “wanted to be around people who were strong.”
The bassist felt that “sometimes he didn’t get the respect he needed because he had to follow in Paul Rogers’ footsteps.” Gonzalez said Howe deserved more credit for having “resurrected” Bad Company.
Among the other musicians paying tribute at the show was Bobby Capps, keyboardist for the band 38 Special. “Brian was always one of our favorite people to see on the road,” Capps said. The two musicians developed a friendship when their bands toured together. “He was such a great singer, such a great talent.” Capps said Howe was “one of the greatest singers to ever walk the planet.”
Howe, who lived on Fort Myers Beach for decades, had just moved north to Lake Placid in Highlands County a few months before he died. Capps was with him as Howe dealt with injuries from an accident on a scooter before his heart attack. Howe had suffered a heart attack a few years earlier as well.
Sam Lurie, who was Howe’s tour manager during his solo career after Bad Company through 2010 and lived near him on Fort Myers Beach, said they sailed together and became friends before working with him. Lurie said Howe “had a great voice” and was “quite a character. He was very serious on stage. He was intense and not serious off stage. He was a lot of fun to be around and had a great sense of humor.”
In one of the last songs Howe recorded, he asked if he would leave without a trace. Gregory said “he definitely didn’t leave without a trace.”