Born Douglas J. Howard in Englewood, New Jersey, he is the only child of actor Patience Jarvis (dec.) and opera singer Joseph E. Howard, Jr. (dec.). His stepsister by his mother’s second marriage is Amanda Naughton, co-star of the AMC Network sitcom Remember WENN He is the fifth generation of a family of entertainers, notably paternal grandson of songwriter Joseph E. Howard and maternal grandson of Broadway actor & director Robert C. “Bobby” Jarvis..
While attending Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, Ernie Isley of the legendary Funk and R&B group The Isley Brothers, though a guitarist himself, gave Howard his initial lesson on the fundamentals of the bass. Howard soon thereafter found himself playing in local and then regional cover bands on what was then referred to as the “New York/New Jersey circuit” of clubs and bars that he would otherwise not have been allowed into except as a paid performer due to his “underage” status. He also quickly discovered his high school classes increasingly impossible to juggle against his performing schedule. He resigned from school in favor of playing full-time when he was offered the bass slot backing the Phil Spector girl group, The Crystals (“Da Doo Run Run,” “He’s A Rebel”). Howard later resumed his studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied under the jazz bassist, John Neves.
Howard was signed to his first recording contract with Atco Records records by then label President Doug Morris, with the AOR/Metal band Touch in 1979, the subsequent debut self-titled release of the band produced two significant singles “Call Me When The Spirit Moves You” and “Don’t You Know What Love Is.” One of the band’s most notable performances was at the first Castle Donnington Monsters of Rock Festival in Nottingham, England, where Doug gained dubious notoriety for accidentally swallowing a bee immediately after the band’s performance opening for The Scorpions, Judas Priest and Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Despite several #1 chart positions in the UK and Europe, and a strong showing on the US charts as well, Touch broke up in 1982, but not before recording their sophomore album effort with Todd Rundgren as producer.
Upon the album’s completion, Doug resigned from Touch and briefly replaced Kasim Sulton in Todd Rundgren’s Utopia during Kasim’s support tour for his then upcoming solo effort. During this time, Doug scored another hit in the US as co-writer of “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” with Todd. Upon Kasim’s return, Howard joined The Edgar Winter Group replacing the band’s original bassist Dan Hartman (“Instant Replay,” “I Can Dream About You”), and along with drummer Rudy Richman of The Quireboys, Doug toured and recorded with Edgar for many years, performing occasionally with Edgar’s brother Johnny Winter and their Blue Sky Records label-mates Muddy Waters and Roy Buchanan.
In 1989 Doug was invited to join an album project titled Stun Leer as its lead vocalist which was being produced in Boston by Bob St. John (Extreme, Ozzy Osbourne) and Anthony Resta (Duran Duran, Collective Soul, Megadeth, Scissor Sisters). The album despite various overtures from the US labels was never picked up in the States and stayed on the shelf, until a few years later when, unbeknownst to the band and its producers, and by virtue of a few leaks of the material, the album had become a literal file-sharing sensation in the UK, Europe, Japan and beyond on the then burgeoning Napster file sharing network. MTM Records of Germany quickly tracked the band down and signed the project, but as a band Stun Leer only performed a few shows in support of the release as by that time the members had all individually moved onto other projects.
In 2000, as a follow up to the Stun Leer album “Once” (and in that MTM was still owed a second album from the now dispersed band), Doug produced a solo effort for MTM entitled “Last Man Standing,” which he wrote, arranged, performed and produced for the most part entirely by himself. Doug is also the Founder and Managing Partner of Lodestar Entertainment, a music and video licensing and publishing company.
Doug’s touring credits also notably contain his part as the singing narrator “Songster” for the international touring company of The Masters of The Universe Power Tour, wherein he gave 18 consecutive sold out performances at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, a house attendance record still standing today. Aside from his performing credits, he has worked as a session musician, singer and producer on various side projects, sound tracks and commercial jingles. Currently Doug performs in a number of bands, most notably the all-star band SpoonBread; an evolving line-up of former members and backing musicians from such notable acts as The Isley Brothers, Grand Funk Railroad, Ruth Copeland, James Brown and Ben E. King.