#aTypicalInterview: Musician Howie Combrink on what he would like to be remembered for

Musician, singer-songwriter, businessman, and drummer Howie Combrink. Supplied image.

Musician, singer-songwriter, businessman, and drummer Howie Combrink. Supplied image.

Published Feb 27, 2022


Johannesburg - This week we feature musician, singer-songwriter, businessman, and drummer Howie Combrink.

Combrink is best known for his stint as drummer for renowned South African rock band Watershed.

During his time with the band and as a solo artist, he has shared a stage with acts such as Roxette, James, The Parlotones, Prime Circle, Jeremy Loops, Fokofpolisiekar, Scott Stapp, Grassy Spark, ChianoSky, Goodluck, Majozi, Michael Lowman, The Kiffness and many more.

Combrink also enjoyed many great slots at festivals including Lush, Splashy Fen, Parklife, and the OFM Sound of your Life in Concert.

Combrink has also been nominated for several South African Music Awards since 2007 until now.

He also runs the Hit Lab, which is an audio recording and videography/photography studio based in Joburg.

Most recently Combrink joined forces with Rada, a non-profit organisation, with his brand new track, I See You, drawing attention to the hard-heartedness of abuse and human trafficking.

Musician, singer-songwriter, businessman, and drummer Howie Combrink. Supplied image.

You are able to collaborate with any SA artist on a track. Who do you choose?

I would like to collaborate with my good friend, Selaelo Selota. Reason being, I was lucky enough to engineer and mix his latest album, and working with him on that process was so eye-opening as to what a true professional is. His approach to music is special and I admire how he thinks and makes decisions when producing music and tracking in studio.

The meal that most reminds you of your childhood is … ?

There is a certain very South African stew that my mom makes and this stew always reminds me of home.

You are able to take on any SA celeb in a charity 12 round boxing match. Who do you choose to go up against?

It would have to be a fight in good faith and all for charity and I would probably say, my friend Bongi Archi. Bongi and I have come a long way and if I were to think of who I would want to get into a ring with and battle it out for charity, it would be Bongi. It would be a good laugh but I would definitely have to get training for it.

You are stuck in an elevator with President Cyril Ramaphosa. What’s the first question you ask him?

I would ask him if he had any guarantee that those who were responsible for the misappropriation of relief funds in the arts sector would ever be held accountable, and whether or not the artists would ever get what was allocated to them? Some artists received, and certain artists that were aligned with certain political parties, received money but the general process of applying for relief was mishandled and for some artists, they made it impossible to receive anything. I would ask him to explain that and not shift accountability as he is our president and the artists of South Africa deserve some sort of answer to this issue that arose and ruined many artists’ lives during the lockdown.

The one thing that has captured your attention on social media in the last week is … ?

I was shocked to see that the Joe Rogan Podcast overtook every other media platform show with the most views per episode sitting at around 11 million views. Those are crazy numbers and it blew my mind to an extent.

Musician, singer-songwriter, businessman, and drummer Howie Combrink. Supplied image.

Tell us about the most embarrassing moment you’ve had on stage … ?

I was playing a small show in East London and I was busy with a performance of a piano balled. When I got up from the piano to move to the front mic to sing the next song with my guitar, I started singing to an empty mic stand with no mic on it. I had forgotten to take the mic from the piano due to us not having any extra mics for the show. This was very embarrassing but at least the audience had a good laugh.

The best and worst thing about being a musician in SA is … ?

SA is rich with culture in music, so one of the great things about being an artist in SA is that you as an artist can really explore many flavours of music and sounds that are unique to South Africa and that makes for some interesting music. One of the worst things is that we are so far away from the rest of the world, it is often challenging to get ears abroad but technology has made this easier but one can’t help but think if we were closer to some of the global music hubs, things would be better and possibly bigger for many South African artists.

You are able to spend a day with any drummer in the world, learning from him/her. Who do you choose to spend the day with?

I haven’t followed drummers for many, many years but I would say Carter Beauford from the Dave Matthews Band. He has always been a huge inspiration for me and was one of the reasons I started playing drums as a young kid. The Dave Matthews Band are just legendary.

Musician, singer-songwriter, businessman, and drummer Howie Combrink. Supplied image.

What would you like to be remembered for … ?

I would like to be remembered for the music I’ve written and will continue writing. I would also like to be remembered for the difference we are making in South Africa with Rada. Rada is the organisation I have collaborated with on my latest release, I See You. I have many more plans but time will reveal these plans and hopefully some of them will be things worth remembering.

You are on death row. You are allowed one last meal and drink. What do you choose to have?

I had this conversation the other day actually. The funny thing is every time I answer this question, I give a different answer. So, based on how I feel today, here goes. I would go for pizza – a very specific pizza that I once had on a small island. It was so good. I would want some aloe vera juice along with that. I love aloe vera juice. A bowl of malva pudding with some custard on the side for dessert.

The Saturday Star