Dominic James Howard better known as Dom Howard was born on December 7th 1977 in Stockport, and moved to Devon at 8 years old. He and his family had no interest in music until he went to high school where he became interested in a jazz band, and as a result started playing drums. Now, he is the drummer for the English rock band Muse.
Howard’s first band was named ‘Carnage Mayhem‘, which he was in at school. Meanwhile, he befriended Matt Bellamy, who played guitar but didn’t have a stable band. Not long after, Bellamy was faced with the chance of entering Howard’s band. After two years of drop-outs after Bellamy suggested that they write their own songs, only Howard and Bellamy remained. Chris Wolstenholme, who played drums in “Fixed Penalty“, then entered the scene and with a great “spirit of sacrifice” he began to play bass.
In the first months of 1994 Gothic Plague was born, followed by Rocket Baby Dolls and then finally Muse. From then on, things got more serious for Howard and the others. Howard is the oldest member of the band, followed by Bellamy, then Wolstenholme.
In 2004, Howard’s father, William Howard, came to watch Muse’s performance at Glastonbury 2004, a concert which Bellamy described as “the best gig of our lives”. Just after their performance finished, William died from a heart attack. Through support from his family and fellow band members, Dominic recovered, and Muse managed to continue their tour.
The song Howard wants played at his funeral is “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen.
In a session where he and Bellamy answered questions from fans, Howard stated that the celebrity, alive or dead, he’d most like to meet is Jimi Hendrix.
On 26 September 2008, Howard, along with Bellamy and Wolstenholme, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University of Plymouth.
Howard is known to be an endorser of DW Drums, and uses a custom finished kit by the brand. However, he has used a set of orange and red Ludwig Vistalites in the USA cut of the Stockholm Syndrome music video, while a clear set of Vistalites is seen on one of the background images of Muse’s official site. As of 2009, Dominic appears to be using DW Drums. His new kit is maple with VLT (Vertical Low Timbre) shells and reinforcement rings in a custom finish. All of his recent appearances in support of the new album “Resistance”, Howard can be seen using Drum Workshop kits.
Some of his past drum sets include:
- British racing green Starclassic Maple kit with chrome hardware.
- Brown fade Starclassic Maple kit with chrome hardware.
- Blue sparkle Starclassic Maple kit with chrome hardware (destroyed at the conclusion of the 2001 Origin of Symmetry / Dead Star/In Your World EP support tour, as seen on “Hullabaloo” DVD).
- Grey kit (unknown composition) with chrome hardware (as seen on the “Top Of the Pops” live performance and recording of Origin Of Symmetry). Its fate is unknown.
- Blue sparkle Starclassic Maple kit with chrome hardware (used during 2002 tour and Absolution recording). Its fate is unknown. At least one rack tom survived until 2003 as it was used at the Grouse Lodge sessions of the Absolution recordings.
- Silver sparkle Starclassic maple kit with chrome hardware (as seen in music videos for Hyper Music, Feeling Good, Plug In Baby and Dead Star).
- Custom chrome finished Starclassic Maple kit with black nickel hardware (as seen on the Absolution Tour DVD). At least four different instances of this kit have been acquired and subsequently destroyed by the band at the end of live shows, at the conclusion of the Earls Court 2004 performance, at the 2004 Glastonbury Festival and on two other occasions.
- Crystal ice (transparent) Starclassic Mirage kit with white powder-coated hardware. This Kit was donated to Oxfam in help of the 2010 haiti earthquake. (During the last show of the Black Holes and Revelations tour, at V festival, Howard used this kit but with the standard chrome hardware).
- He has also played a Starclassic Bubinga kit supporting My Chemical Romance in Williamsburg USA.
- For recording he has used a blue DW kit.
- During 3 songs (Soldier’s Poem, Unintended, Blackout) at the band’s performance at Wembley Stadium he used a Vintage Gretsch Jazz Kit in a Champagne Sparkle Finish.
- Dom recently started endorsing with the Resistance album tour DW Drums Pedals and Hardware and has been seen using two different kits: a Gold Sparkle with Gold hardware and a Black Lacquer and Silver custom logo rebase finish with chrome hardware kits and the sizes for both kits are:12×10 tom,14×14 floor tom,16×16 floor tom,22×20 bass drum, 21×16 gong drum and 14×6,5 DW aluminium snare drum shell or Ludwig Black Beauty with the same size. However Dom is still using the same cymbal brand
- He previously used a 22×16″ bass drum, 12×10″ rack tom and 14×14″ and 16×16″ floor toms.
- His new chrome kits have a 22×18 bass drum, 12×8 rack tom, 14×14 and 16×16 floor toms with the last being a custom size.
- His newer still acrylic kits has a 24″x18″ bass drum, 12″x8″ rack tom, 14″x14″ and 16″x16″ floor toms. Also he uses a matching 14″x6″ snare, sometimes a 14″x6.5″ Ludwig Black Beauty Brass Snare, a 20″x14″ gong bass drum.
- His Gretsch USA Custom Vintage Champagne Sparkle that he used during 3 songs at Wembley Stadium (Soldier’s Poem, Unintended and Black Out) has a 18×16 bass drum, 12×8 tom, 14×14 and a 14×5,5 matching snare.
- His new DW kit has a 20″x22″ Kick drum, 10″x12″ rack tom, 14″x14″ and 16″x16″ floor toms and a 16″x21″ gong drum. He also uses a 6.5″x14″ snare.
As well as alternating between using mainly Tama Starclassic Maple 14×6.5″, to match his chrome kit and Ludwig LB417 Black Beauty 14×6.5″ snare drums, he has a number of less prominent snares used for recording and video clips (for example the shallow snare used for recording Fury, the Starclassic Maple 14×5.5″ that matched his silver sparkle kit used for the recording of Ruled By Secrecy, the brass snare in the Time Is Running Out video clip) . He also uses a 6.5″x14″ DW Aluminum snare.
Howard uses a selection of Zildjian cymbals. Over the years his tastes in cymbals have changed – for example, on the Hullabaloo DVD he uses 13″ A Custom Projection hi-hats, 8″ A Custom splash, 11″ FX Oriental “Trash” Splash, 18″ and 19″ A Custom Crashes, 18″ FX Oriental China Trash and a 22″ K Custom Ride, whereas more recent performances have seen the addition of a 20″ Escalade Rim as a cymbal, hung above his hi-hats, and the discontinued (some how he manages to still get them) 14″ K Custom Special Dry Hi-Hats replace – and contrast – the A Customs. Lately the A Custom splash has been changed out in favour of an 9″ A Splash. He has discontinued using the Crash Of Doom as of the Black Holes period, and now uses a 22″ K Custom Ride in live situations (and for recording). Also in 2006 at the Quart festival he is seen in a picture at www.muse.mu using an 24″ Escalade rim as a Cymbal on his right stand.
For recording he uses darker K Custom Zildjian Fast and Dark crashes while he often uses the brighter A Customs in live performances for their increased “cut” (K Customs were used at Live 8, Abbey Road Session, Royal Abert Hall, and so on).
Howard is currently using:
- Zildjian K Custom Special Dry 14″ Hi-Hats (discontinued)
- Zildjian A Custom 18″ and 19″ crashes
- Zildjian K Custom 18″ Fast crash
- Zildjian K Thin 19″ Dark Crash
- Zildjian 11″ FX Oriental Trash Splash
- Zildjian 8″ A Splash
- Zildjian K Custom 22″ Medium Ride
- Zildjian A Custom 22″ Medium Ride
- Zildjian 18″ FX Oriental Trash China
Howard has not been known to use all of these cymbals at the same time on his kit. He incorporates cymbals into his kit that are appropriate to the tour and songs being played on the setlist.
- He uses Tama Roadpro hardware.
- His drum throne is a Tama First Chair with back-rest
- He uses the limited Chrome Tama Iron Cobra single pedal.
- He also uses the Tama Iron Cobra Lever-Glide Hi-Hat Stand.
- He now uses all DW 9000 series hardware, including a 9000 series bass drum pedal and hi-hat stand.
Howard states in the January 2010 issue of ModernDrummer Magazine that he uses a rhythm tech ribbon crasher to the left of his rack tom.
- Howard uses the Pro-Mark Dominic Howard Autograph Series American Hickory TX101 with Wood-tip.
Howard uses an assortment of Remo and Aquarian drum heads. At Hullabaloo his toms have clear Remo Emperor batter heads while the Black Beauty snare has an Aquarian Hi-energy batter head. His Ayotte kick has a Remo Powerstroke 3 batter and the Starclassic snare usually has either coated Emperor or coated CS dot heads.
Recalling Re:Covered where Muse performed Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Bellamy explained how Howard wanted to do this song because he could sing the “Ba DA” bits. After performing at BBC Re:Covered and a few other performances, Howard didn’t sing live again, until Supermassive Black Hole became part of the band’s set, when he sang through a vocoder at the end of each repetition of the chorus. During The Resistance Tour, Dom adds vocals during Uprising and Unnatural Selection, he adds the ‘oi’ parts.
While recording Absolution, he demonstrated his inability to sing in tune when the whole band had to perform vocals in Blackout together (Thomas Kirk could have been singing too). The sound techs pointed out that someone was out of tune. After a couple of attempts the results were the same. To find out and solve who was singing out of tune, one person was taken out at a time and the recording was tested again, resulting in Howard not being used for vocals.
- School canteen assistant
- Factory worker (Packing Spice Girls t-shirts)
- In 2004, Howard’s father, William Howard, came to watch Muse’s performance at Glastonbury 2004; a concert which Bellamy described as “the best gig of our lives”. Just after their performance finished, William died from a heart attack. Through support from his family and fellow band members Dominic recovered, and Muse managed to continue their tour.
- Around the time that Absolution was released Howard was on several occasions seen sporting a black shirt with ruffles down the front. Wearing said shirt he famously stated, when questioned by Zane Lowe on MTV2′s Gonzo, that his favourite type of cheese was Brie, quashing internet rumours that he likes Roulé.
- According to Howard, the song which he would like played at his funeral is ‘Don’t Stop me Now’ by Queen, mainly due to him being a big fan of Queen.
- Howard would like to have a drink with Jimi Hendrix – “He was just such a cool guy; the way he played, how he seemed to be in his personal life or whenever he was being interviewed, he just seemed like a really cool cat”, and the first thing Howard wanted to say to Hendrix is – “Good riff, man!”
- At the band’s 14th November 2006 arena show at the Birmingham NEC, Howard told a fan that he disliked playing Knights of Cydonia at the end of the set because it leaves him “knackered”. However he did state that the riff at the end is chilling.
- In the 2nd disc of the Hullabaloo DVD, Howard can be seen in a Slipknot mask making Bellamy laugh uncontrollably by repeatedly yelling, in a mock Slipknot ‘vocal’ fashion, “Sit the fuck down!”. Contrary to popular belief, Howard did not steal the mask, but was given it by a female fan when Muse played with Slipknot at Metalfest in Spain some years ago. Howard says he still has the mask and thinks it is probably in a box hidden underneath his bed somewhere. He chuckles: “I’ll dig it out one of these days and put it on again.”
- Howard downloads music through the internet, presumably using peer to peer software.
- Bellamy once filmed Howard having sex with someone. He managed to catch the money shot during climax, and joked that he should upload it some day.
- Matthew Bellamy said in an interview that he and Chris are messy people but that Dom is a very clean person. Matthew also applauds Dom’s cooking skills as well as his driving and snowboarding skills. “Great snowboarder. I wish I could snowboard. I can’t snowboard at all. I’m trying to learn but I keep falling over.”
- Dom often keeps all us fans up to date on everything using sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, and we love him for it.
- Dom is left handed.
- Dom lives in Nice, France.
- Dom’s love of pink
- Dom’s baldness
- Dom’s faff bag
- Dom fishing
- Dom’s perfect girlfriend
- Dom’s injuries
- Dom’s fashion sense
- Dom likes Spiderman
- The Buke of Dom’s Cockminster Is Sacked