If the title Tommy Howell doesn’t ring a bell, possibly his different title, C. Thomas Howell, does.
As an actor, Howell has been working since his characteristic movie debut within the basic “E.T. the Additional Terrestrial” in 1982. He adopted it together with his iconic position as Ponyboy in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Outsiders,” alongside Matt Dillon, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Patrick Swayze and the Karate Child himself, Ralph Macchio.
As of late, he’s nonetheless appearing; we spoke to him whereas he was in Las Vegas taking pictures upcoming present “Obliterated,” for Netflix. However he’s additionally writing and enjoying music. And he will get it in the event you don’t instantly take that significantly.
“I’ve gotta cope with being an actor saying, ‘Hey, hearken to my music,’” he mentioned. “Individuals are gonna be like, ‘Effectively OK, this’ll be cute.’ However I really feel prefer it’s a tough life. It’s loads of onerous work. And I’m keen to do this work. I like to get higher. I really feel there’s a spot for me.”
His journey into music began, like so many new issues, through the pandemic. Los Angeles shut down only some days earlier than he was set to be in a two-man play, so he discovered himself with loads of time and an unfulfilled artistic drive. So he turned to a long-simmering thought.
“I’ve had this concept to do a movie about what I’d name the J.D. Salinger of nation music: a man who simply pumped out one superior piece, it went by the roof, then he walked away from the enterprise and by no means did something ever once more as a result of he simply wished to be a cowboy,” he mentioned. “I may do all the horse a part of it, however the guitar enjoying was one thing I wanted to start. Then two issues occurred: One, COVID by no means went away, so I didn’t put this guitar down for a yr, and two, I came upon I may write a track.”
Whereas appearing and music are each performing, and Howell’s 40 years of expertise with the previous does inform the latter, there are key, refreshing variations.
“What I’m experiencing now for the primary time is the chance to not disguise behind a task or a digital camera lens. I am going on the market with my guitar and my coronary heart. I shocked myself as a result of I didn’t know if I may do it or not,” he mentioned. “Proper now, the way in which I design my present, the entrance half is plugged in and standing up and kinda loud; the second half is unplugged, sitting down, telling tales and alluring folks to ask questions. I’m extra of a personality once I’m standing up, and I’m extra myself once I’m sitting and alluring you into my lounge.”
As soon as he realized to play and write songs, and located that he may carry out them, it was time to choose a sound. Howell started in nation due to the origin of the thought: mandolin-driven acoustic mountain music, as he known as it. As soon as he obtained a band and began enjoying, it developed fairly rapidly. He determined he wished music with some enamel, so he plugged in and went electrical, and the place he ended up was someplace near his coronary heart.
“I really like listening to Southern rock. I really like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, the Allman Brothers,” he mentioned. “I additionally like that Texas thunder sound, that Stevie Ray Vaughan. I miss that in music immediately. Southern rock remains to be cherished and adored however it’s lacking. And that’s the stuff that I like listening to.”
Chances are you’ll be asking what an actor from L.A. is aware of about nation music. Tommy Howell, because it seems, is extra certified to be a cowboy than you’d suppose.
“If I used to be making an attempt to be a rapper or to do modern music, I’d get it if folks have been like, ‘Hit the street,’” he mentioned. “However I come from a rural background. My daddy rode bulls for 10 years professionally, and all my household are cowboys. In 1979, 1980, 1981, I used to be California state junior all-around champion cowboy. I used to be gonna be an expert cowboy; I wished to do this. After which the appearing factor took over. My father was a stuntman, so I obtained in that enterprise as a substitute.”
Because it stands, Howell is completely happy to each proceed his appearing profession and pursue music. He has a ardour for each, and he works onerous at each. Most of all, they every fulfill a distinct side of his artistic drive.
“To me, music has develop into a lovely platform to achieve out and join with so many individuals and simply have a rattling good time. You recognize, I’ve spent a lifetime in leisure, however it’s been all work for me. If you’re engaged on a movie, there’s no rapid response, no ‘Meet me after the present, and I’ll signal an autograph and take an image and discuss it.’ No ‘thanks for the applause; my coronary heart’s racing and I’m feeling the love.’ Music’s been enjoyable. It’s been loads of enjoyable. I really feel like I’ve already gained; I’m so grateful.”
Observe writer Daniel J. Willis at Twitter.com/BayAreaData.