Inspired by Clapton, Page and Hendrix, Howard began playing guitar as a young student in Northern California, his first paid gig being his own Junior High graduation dance. He played in the rock bands Mister Science and Stereotactics while studying music in college, opening for X, Captain Beefheart and others. In this period he met Rob Ruiz, who played bass for the rival band Rolls Rock. When Howard relocated sometime later to the San Francisco area, Rob asked him to join the Sorentinos, to their lasting regret.
Howard currently favors Telecaster guitars through Fender tube amps and an ever-changing assortment of effects pedals, but he will occasionally play Les Pauls and/or Marshall amps on a whim. He and his twin brother Don have released several albums of their own acclaimed music as the Vatcher Brothers.