I was asked to write a remembrance of my former husband, Howie Pyro, and I didn’t realize how therapeutic it would be for me. As I write, the pending anniversary of his passing May 4, 2022 has brought up so many overwhelming feelings. Howie’s illness and death is the heaviest thing I’ve ever been through and I suppose I have done a lot of mourning in public posting pictures and memories on Facebook. I was devastated that I couldn’t get to LA for his funeral– finances and work schedule prevented it but I was able to go back to my hometown, NYC, for the Memorial there. I thought I’d try to share some of the stories I told at that intimate event at Bowery Electric.
Howie Pyro was the love of my life, my soulmate. It's hard to write about a person when you've had such an intense relationship. It's difficult to put into words exactly the impact of the lightning bolts that shot out of his eyes the first time we met. It was like the heaviest deja vu I have ever experienced. So forgive my gushing as I try to write a remembrance of my dear departed onetime hubby. Cool. That is the number one word that comes to mind when I think of Howie. He was the cool little kid with the extended fork chopper banana seat bike. He was the coolest pre-teen with the most monster magazines. He was an actual teenage runaway who ventured to NYC and started his own punk rock band. He shared stages and drugs with his idols in the late 70s Max's Kansas City scene where his group The Blessed were the underage darlings.
I’m Andrea Kusten, but they call me The Big Mama Freak. FREAKS was my Heavy Orange Rock band with then-husband, Howie Pyro, in NYC circa the late 80’s. Fast forward to 2023, we’ve just released a deluxe career-spanning retrospective double LP set on translucent 180 gram orange vinyl, available to purchase from Rough Trade mail order: https://www.roughtrade.com/us/product/freaks/still-in-sensurround