Virgil Howe

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Virgil Howe in 2011

Virgil Howe (23 September 1975 – 11 September 2017) was a British musician best known for his work in Little Barrie and with his father Steve Howe.


Born in London,[1] Virgil Howe was the second son of guitarist Steve Howe (of Yes). He played on several of his father's projects: he performed on keys, alongside his brother Dylan Howe on drums, for the Steve Howe solo albums The Grand Scheme of Things (1993) and Spectrum (2005). He was in Steve Howe's Remedy band, who released an album Elements (2003), toured the UK and then released a live DVD. He wrote and performed on a piece on his father's 2011 release Time. He also plays drums on 11 tracks of Steve Howe's Anthology 2: Groups and Collaborations that were largely recorded in the 1980s. Under the name The Verge, Virgil Howe produced the Yes Remixes album, released 2003.[2]

Howe was in The Dirty Feel, with Kerim 'Kez' Gunes (bass, vocals) and Nick Hirsch (guitar, vocals; died 2012[3]). A debut single, "Get Down and Love In", had a limited UK release in 2004. They were signed to DirtE. In 2005, the band took part in MTV's A-Cut amateur band competition. In 2005, Howe formed a related band The Killer Meters with again Gunes on bass and Hirsch on guitar, with Karime Kendra (vocals), Henry Broadbent (keyboards) and Stephen Wilcock (saxophone). They released a tribute album to The Meters and then signed to Breaking Bread records in 2008, releasing an original album.[4]

Howe also worked for a period with psychedelic group Amorphous Androgynous, fronted by Garry Cobain of The Future Sound of London.

Howe produced under his own name, having previously produced under the name "Sparo", under which he released the album Sparo Worlds. He also played DJ sets in London, and a regular radio show for Soho Radio.[1]

In 2008, Howe joined band Little Barrie on drums. Between 2009 and October 2010 the band wrote and recorded their third album King of the Waves, working again with Edwyn Collins, Seb Lewsley at the controls and Shawn Lee mixing. Chris Potter mastered the album. The first single off King of the Waves was "Surf Hell". This track was featured as the theme tune to the 2011 Channel 4 series Sirens and an advert for Rimmel "scandal eyes" mascara; it was also playable on the multi-platform video game "Rocksmith". The album was released in the UK on 27 June 2011[5] and in the US on 28 February 2012.[6] After touring with Charles Bradley in Spain, Little Barrie was invited onto his North American Tour in early 2012.[7] The band went on to do the theme music for the US TV series Better Call Saul.

Session work included drumming on the Pet Shop Boys' album Fundamental and for Demis Roussos.

Nexus, released November 17, 2017 on InsideOut, is a joint album by Virgil & Steve Howe.[8][9] Father Steve described the album: "Most of the credit goes to Virgil on this; it's Virgil's bed and melodies but I've come in to add a little bit more."[10]

Howe died unexpectedly in September 2017 at the age of 41, shortly before Little Barrie were to embark on a tour for their fourth album, Death Express.[1][11][12] His death was noted in the 2017 Prog Readers' Poll Disappointment category, coming fourth.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Howe married fashion model Jen Dawson in 2007[14] and they had a daughter, Zuni, in September 2012.[citation needed] They had separated in 2015.[citation needed] He was living with his partner, Mariah do Vale, at the time of his death.


Main projects[edit]

  • The Verge/Yes: Yes Remixes, 2003
  • Virgil Howe: "Someday", 2009 (single)[15]
  • Virgil Howe & Malcolm Catto: "B-Boy Bounce", 2010 (single)[16]
  • Virgil Howe & Mark Claydon: "The Claydon Break", 2011 (single)
  • Virgil Howe & Shawn Lee: "Electronic Brain Break", 2011 (single)
  • Virgil & Steve Howe: Nexus, 2017

The Dirty Feel[edit]

  • "Get Down and Love In", 2004 (single)
  • Talk in the City (EP)

As Sparo[edit]

  • Geniac
  • Sparo Worlds (mix CD)
    • "Astroscience" (single)
    • "The Falling" (single)

The Killer Meters[edit]

  • A Tribute to the Meters, 2005[17]
    • "Dance Move Shake!", 2008 (single)
    • "Freak" (single)[18]
  • Breakin' Out![19][4]
    • "Rainbow of Love", 2017 (single)[20]

Little Barrie[edit]

  • King of the Waves, 2010
    • "Surf Hell", 2011 (single)
    • "How Come", 2011 (single)
  • Shadow, 2013
    • "Fuzz Bomb", 2014 (single)
    • "I.5.C.A.", 2016 (single)
  • Death Express, 2017
    • "Produkt", 2017 (single)

Also appear on:

Steve Howe[edit]

  • The Grand Scheme of Things, 1993
  • Spectrum, 2005
  • Elements, 2003
  • Remedy Live, 2002 (DVD)
  • Time, 2011
  • Anthology, 2015 (compiling previously released material)
  • Anthology 2: Groups & Collaborations, 2017 (plays on 11 previously unreleased tracks)



  • Marc Hype & Jim Dunloop: "Al Naafiysh: The Remixes", 2010 (single)
  • Syd Arthur: A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble, 2014[22]



  1. ^ a b c "Little Barrie drummer Virgil Howe dies suddenly aged 41". The Independent. 12 September 2017. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  2. ^ Potts, Henry. "Yes Remixes". Retrieved 12 September 2017. 
  3. ^ Youle, Emma. "Contaminated blood: MP alleges 'cover-up' over scandal that ruined lives in Hampstead and Highgate". Retrieved 12 September 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Longley, Martin. "BBC – Music – Review of The Killer Meters – Breakin' Out". BBC. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 December 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "Little Barrie Review". Retrieved 12 September 2017. 
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "Little Barrie, Marc Riley – BBC Radio 6 Music". BBC. Retrieved 12 September 2017. 
  9. ^ "Yes cancel Yestival tour after death of Steve Howe's son Virgil". 12 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017. 
  10. ^ "The Howes' Otherwordly Delights", by Natasha Scharf, Prog issue 80, September 2017, pp. 12–3
  11. ^ "Little Barrie drummer Virgil Howe has died, aged 42". NME. 12 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017. 
  12. ^ "Little Barrie's Virgil Howe Has Died". Clash Music. Retrieved 12 September 2017. 
  13. ^ Prog February 2018, p. 42
  14. ^ "Yes cancel tour after Steve Howe's son dies". 12 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017. 
  15. ^ "Someday – Virgil Howe – Kudos Records". Kudos Records. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  16. ^ "Breakin Bread (UK) – [BNB 060] Virgil Howe – B-Boy Bounce". Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  17. ^ "Killer Meters – A Tribute to the Meters". Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  18. ^ "The Killer Meters – Freak/Stomp 2 x 7", by Breakin Bread". Breakin Bread. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  19. ^ "The Killer Meters – Breakin' Out ! CD BNB052". 12 September 2009. Archived from the original on 12 September 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  20. ^ "The Killer Meters – Rainbow of Love 12", by Breakin Bread". Breakin Bread. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  21. ^ "Kitsuné Maison Compilation, Vol. 15 – Various Artists – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  22. ^ "Syd Arthur – A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble (Remixes by The Amorphous Androgynous)". Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  23. ^ "Le disque du jour : Mareva Galanter, "Happy Fiu"". Les Inrockuptibles. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  24. ^ "Demis Roussos – Demis – NU – Het laatste nieuws het eerst op". Retrieved 16 September 2017. 
  25. ^ "Demis Roussos – Demis". 26 January 2010. Retrieved 16 September 2017. 

External links[edit]