The Hitman Howie T is the 2012 Clash of the Titans champion disc jockey. The popular DJ wrested the title from CT Vibe 105.1FM jock CG Soca General at a keenly-contested spin-off last Saturday night, at Pier 1, Chaguaramas, staged by Yorke Inc.
With a huge turnout in attendance at the popular western peninsula venue, Howie T faced off against five DJs: Mr Q, Sensational Sammy, Richard Simply Smooth, King International and CG. Each disc jockey was allotted one hour to work their magic, the competition judged by Andrea Perez, of 96.1FM, yours truly, and the patrons.
Many people think that popular disc jockey Howie T from the 80s is the father of today’s Howie T, but that is not so. It’s the same guy who has withstood the test of time and is still weaving his infectious brand of music to satisfied customers.
Christened Howie Richards by his mother, Eileen Richards, Howie began dabbling as a student at Malick Senior Comprehensive School. Back then, he’d practise on an old Technic belt-driven turntable and a cassette player at his home.
Says the popular disc jockey: “I got the love for music from the days of vinyl records which were bought by my mother. I’d practise at home, day and night. In those days I would emulate DJs like Rocky the Wax Wizard, Production Sounds, Teddy Mohammed and Brian Regis. These guys really had the skills.”
Upon graduating high school in the 80s, Howie had a short stint with Production Sounds as an apprentice before going professional. Now established, his main competition came from DJs like Starchild, Rocky, Teddy Mohammed, Production Sounds, Dr Hyde, and System Live from San Fernando.
As a professional disc jockey, Howie has toured the world, as he is very much in demand, especially in Canada, USA and across the Caribbean.
Said Howie: “I have travelled abroad so much some years my passport runs out because of being stamped too much. People just can’t get enough of my music.”
When not playing at a party, Howie relishes “home life.” The father of a son and daughter, he prides himself in being “a fish-broth specialist.”
“I spend a lot of time by myself, taking long walks and listening to music. I also enjoy playing windball cricket and small-goalpost football. I play cricket very well as an all-rounder.
“Both of my children also love playing music, and they are good at it. In fact, they are better than many DJs out there. My daughter, who’s 16, has already played on the radio.”
So, what does it take to remain at the top of your game for more than three decades?
“Many people ask me the secret for my longevity in this business. Well, my secret is my love for music. It’s not work when I play at a party; it’s me having fun and enjoying myself. My joy comes from making people dance, and watching them enjoy themselves.”
Speaking to Pulse on Saturday night, promoter Gerard Yorke said: “The concept of the clash dates back as far as 2000 when Yorke Inc put forward the idea of putting together, in one event, two mega back-in-times parties and most popular DJs at the time—Hurricane George and Crosby Sounds.
“Parties in those days featured either one or the other, seldom both. The event was held on the last Saturday in September that year and continues to be held on that date. This particular event in 2000 was held at The Anchorage in Chaguaramas and there was no clear-cut winner.
“In 2006, a trophy was offered as the championship attracted more DJs, such as Crosby Sounds. Hurricane George no longer participated. The likes of CG and Sir Charles, King International, Dr Ross, Sensational Sammy, John Gill and Sounds of Kabuki emerged. Richard Simply Smooth acted as the “referee” in these challenges. For three consecutive years from 2006-2008, the crown was taken by CG and Sir Charles. It was symbolic that this year, CG was in attendance to hand over the trophy to the champion titan, Howie T.
Yorke, a manager at WASA, is considered one the country’s foremost party promoters and his all-inclusive events during the year, some held with FB Promotions, are considered “must-attend” events. In recent years, Yorke has hosted charity-driven parties in Salybia, as well as a tribute to venerable musician Roy Cape.
After 2008, Yorke Inc introduced the Back in Times Hall of Fame in September 2009 at which three “major” DJs—CG, Sir Charles and John Gill—who had perfected the art in previous back-in-times parties, were honoured.
Further honorees in subsequent years were King International, Dr Ross, Howie T, Sensational Sammy and Sounds of Kabuki.