Posted on January 8, 2021
It’s been a while since we initiated a new Howler Ambassador into the ranks. We’re pleased to welcome John Dunaway to our merry gang of creatives, weirdos and amigos. Some of you all may have seen this coming when John starred as the Howler Frogman for our recent Wes Anderson inspired Mutation. We got to see John’s expertise in stealth, karate, explosives and diving all in a short time period. Beyond these skills and a keen interest in the outdoors, John has one of the most romantic professions around - a life at sea piloting cargo ships.
We caught up with John recently when he was back on dry land and dug into his brain a bit. Here’s what we found out…
You easily kicked Andy and Chase’s ass in the Howler Frogman video. Are they pathetic fighters or are you skilled in martial arts?
It was supposed to be a secret, but I did train martial arts heavily as a kid for 2 weeks. It clearly carried through the decades.
My alter ego. It’s the way I approach life, living fairly conformed to societies standards with my own view of things within that box; just a little abstract from the norm. I’m not unique, I just like to do whatever sparks my fancy and it usually contrasts with the standard approach. While going to sea it became my creative outlet from a physically labor intensive job to show folks more about the maritime industry.
How did you come to be a cargo ship pilot?
Years ago, my mom said I could get paid to drive ships and the rest is history. It never seemed like a “job” Because it was and remains so fulfilling working on ships. I went to maritime school for 4 years, sailed deep sea for another decade then had the good fortune to start piloting ships 3.5 years ago in Houston.
You mentioned having traveled to loads of countries during your early days as a seaman. What’s your favorite?
Two port calls have always wrestled for the top spot on very different spectrums.
Freetown, Sierra Leone in West Africa for its perspectives growth on life. Here is a country in West Africa with rolling blackouts if you’re lucky enough to even have electricity, little running water and unpaved streets yet I had the time of my life because of the people. Even with all their struggles they showed me such warmth and the ability to find happiness within those confines because that is their daily norm. Sure they want better, but they still work with what they had.
My other favorite was Buenos Aires, Argentina for the culture. We’d move cargo all day, grab lunch across the street at a churrascareia, wash all the meat down with a cold beer or two on the outdoor barstools then work until dinner. Everyone would hit that gangway with a vengeance and we’d partake in 3 hour meals before wandering the streets. It was a great 4 days in port.
Is life at sea as romantic as it seems?
It certainly can be with the right mindset and run. At the same time it has the ability to be a complete drag. I was fortunate enough to sail on ships that tramped the globe, staying in port for days at a time in rather unknown locations and the office had little oversight on us. Captains still captained the ship instead of the office running things. I loved my decade at sea.
In the Howler Frogman video, you appear to blow up an enemy boat. What’s the biggest thing you’ve actually blown up in life?
Probably an ant hill with M80s, but it was a Texas sized ant hill for a 10 year old. Sure seemed large at the time.
Twenty One Pilots or Stone Temple Pilots?
STP for sure. In a product of the “alternative rock” generation.
Frank Ocean or Billy Ocean?
Truthfully, I had to open Spotify and listen to both of them because I was clueless. Billy Ocean it is!
Why do you believe that Howler Brothers is the coolest designer of apparel in all the land ? (shameless promotional inquiry)
Do you see anyone else making an Aguacero Jacket video? That creativity flows right into the designs. The patterns are fresh and nobody can have enough Gaucho designs in their arsenal. From top to bottom, the products look slick and were designed with purpose by folks that use it for such. I’m stoked to be in the merry gang of amigos.
The Frogman Mutation starring John.
Posted on December 8, 2020
It’s such an honor for us to work with Fort Lonesome once again on a new collection. They are bonafide artists who work in a truly unique medium. For those who are not familiar with them, we cooked up this little video to highlight their craft. You can catch a glimpse of the the inner workings of their Austin studio where they design and stitch for people like Bill Murray, Sam Beam from Iron & Wine and a laundry list of celebrity types. But they aren’t all caught up in that and they are just as happy working with anyone who wants to create something unique.
For the collection this time, Howler Brothers Founder Chase Heard and our graphic design guru Josh Abel put their heads together with Fort Lonesome to come up with a series of desert themed icons - like ocotillo cactus, thunderheads, circling hawks and misty forms from the cosmos. The whole thing evolved into a series we are calling Desert Elements. We love it and think you will too. Remember that everything is made by hand and very limited edition so hop on it if you see something you like or else it will be gone.
We look forward to whatever is next with Fort Lonesome.
Posted on November 3, 2020
By sea or by land, the Howler Brothers Frogman is equipped to handle any covert operation with stealth and precision. His mission is to take on villains, minions and henchmen so the world is free to heed the call. Join the Frogman Unit today.
Posted on October 13, 2020
We are glad to be back at it to create a little collection which benefits our friends at Indifly. This time we are celebrating their work in the Anaa Atoll in French Polynesia. Their efforts have brought not only conservation but also sustainable livelihoods to the 500 people who call Anaa home. We thought nothing could be more appropriate than putting a bonefish (kio kio to the locals on Anaa) on one of our Sheridan Shirts and hats in order to help the cause.
We encourage you to watch this video, made with the help of Costa Del Mar, about Anaa.
It’s a beautiful place full of kio kio! And go to indifly.org to read more about their mission. Get involved. Here’s a little photo collection of Anaa to tempt you. Photos by Josh Hutchins (@aussieflyfisher).
Posted on August 25, 2020
When we started design on our Fall 2020 collection way back in the spring of 2019, we never could have imagined the state the world would be in when we got around to releasing the collection. Like everyone, we long for the days of unrestricted movement and gatherings big and small. But, in the chaos, we have found solace in stepping back, reexamining and slowing things down. We’ve surfed more, taken road trips, backpacked and listened to more music. Silver linings.
Under ordinary circumstances, our photo shoots are big, jolly affairs. Many of the Howler crew pack up and head off to whatever exotic locale we have chosen for the shoot even if they don’t necessarily need to be there or have a “job” to do. We work hard and play a lot. Unfortunately, this year, the obvious restrictions on travel prevented us from putting on a big and social photo shoot. Instead, we carved up the collection and farmed it out to some of our favorite photogs with instructions for each of them to “do your thing." The results were awesome and it was fun for us to see how each put their own spin on Fall 2020.
Here’s some highlights of Fall 2020 from Jonathan Nimerfroh, Boone Rodriguez, Josh Abel, and Sam Roberts
Posted on June 25, 2020
Austin isn’t on the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, it’s a couple hour drive before we can even smell the Gulf. But it’s still our home waters and the closest place to grab a wave and feel the sigh of relief that comes whenever you go to some spot on the coast. The Gulf has always held a special place in our collective hearts because of the strange and cool culture that seems to grow up along its banks. Anyone that’s ever been to Key West or New Orleans can certainly vouch for the strangeness. But there’s also an amazing natural world along the Gulf. Birds, animals, reefs, fish, oysters and a million reptiles and snakes. We love all this stuff and wanted to pay a little homage to it with our Gulf Destinations collection for this spring and summer.
Howler founder Chase Heard put his mighty pen to paper and drew a selection of these cool destinations - Apalachicola, Key West, Campeche, Yucatan, Espiritu Santo, Dry Tortugas, Cuba - in the style of an old sea map. It turned out super cool and timeless. We asked a few of Howler Ambassadors to share their favorite place in the Gulf. Here’s what they had to say…
Colby Crossland - Yucatan
“All summer the anticipation builds and when the temperature starts to drop I know it's time to get on a plane and fly over The Gulf of Mexico to touch down in the Yucatan. The Mayan Coast is where I want to be. Spicy food, kind people, great tacos, beautiful flats, amazing al pastor, and missed shots on permit; it's just where I am, when I am who I want to be.”
Curt Hamby - New Orleans
“New Orleans is one of my favorite November trips with my favorite local guide buddy in his favorite local spots. Shooting teal in the morning, catching BIG bull reds in the afternoon and a few trout! Duck and trout on the grill with some fresh oysters, can’t wait for fall! Head down to Tipitinas for some brass band music for some NOLA nightlife and hit the beignets at Cafe Monde before my flight back home is a great trip for me!”
Kameron Brown - New Orleans
“The finest shrimp Po Boy I ever did have..... and the 'not-so-finest' Blue Drinks served in a fish bowl...”
Patrick Duke - Yucatan
“Margs at the airport, road trips in white vans, roadside al pastor, Victoria micheladas with my hermanos, early morning panga rides and tailing permit.”
JT Van Zandt - Apalachicola
“Beautiful little town on the forgotten coast of Florida. Little pastel colored farmhouses built in the mid 1800s surround the square. Seabirds float on the warm wind under the salty sunshine while the pines lean inland. An amazing tributary that flows into the Gulf of Mexico, the Apalachicola River and all of its fingers feed the sea with a tea stained Pineywood forests full of bears and deer. The Tarpon bite well and the old culture is true gulf coast America preserved in time”
Honson Lau - Cayo Hueso
“Beyond the rich history and debauchery lies vast shallow water flats teaming with bonefish, permit, and tarpon. This is a fly fisherman's paradise to one who seeks to pursue seemingly unpressured fish without having to travel to an exotic destination. The night life here brings a "come one come all" feel from scenic family dinners to derelict adventures. Some of my younger years were spent here crawling into a skiff at 6am after 30 minutes of shut eye. What happens in Cayo Hueso... stays on the skiff the next day.”
Christiaan Pretorius - Apalachicola
"I have fond memories of soft shell crabs with Brett Martina and jumping Tarpon on Mangum’s skiff."
Posted on June 15, 2020
Everyone knows what Chacos are. You might have them on right now. Or maybe you have the distinct Chaco tan lines. We’ve been fans for a long time so it's an honor to once again team up with them to make an array of collaborative things for this spring and summer. This time we kept to a simple, tonal strap design as a subtle reminder to HEED THE CALL. We also took things a bit deeper by making up an H Bar B Tech Shirt, Snapback hat, a pair of good old Tamarin Tech Shorts and even leashes and collars for your dog. Or tiger.
Posted on April 20, 2020
You're invited to join us in The Howler Hut, our brand new locale for delivering some Howler hilarity and delicious content direct to your digital door. We have a whole laundry list of fun things lined up to help you pass the time and dig deep into the world of Howler Brothers. Music, hard hitting interviews, Ambassador quarantine explorations and more. All coming to you episode by episode from a place where it's always breezy and warm. Take shelter in The Howler Hut.
Posted on March 26, 2020
When Howler founders Chase Heard and Andy Stepanian were dreaming up the concept for Howler way back in 2008, they reached out to Austin creative Christian Helms for assistance creating the brand’s identity and icons. Christian and his designs of everything from music posters to craft beer packaging are well known around Austin and beyond. That original collaboration produced our now iconic monkey logo and primary Howler Electric logo.
About three years ago, we decided to revisit our creative relationship with Christian and his design squad at Helms Workshop in order to create a capsule collection. The purpose was just to have some fun and reconnect. The result was our runaway hit Old Friends, New Horizons capsule featuring a bad ass coral snake graphic. The launch party and hat giveaway were events for the ages. We even made our own custom beer for the occasion thanks to our friends at Austin Beerworks. So, we kept it going for a second year in 2019 with our Texas Flora & Fauna collection.
This year, we decided to keep it rolling once again to pay tribute to our local watering holes with a design featuring a stylized tribute to our favorite establishments to eat, drink, hang with friends and listen to music. It’s our deepest collab with Helms yet with three hats, a T-shirt, boardshorts, a printed H Bar B, a special version of our Inspector Jacket and even a beach towel and handkerchief. We wouldn’t have gone this deep if we didn’t love it.
Truth told, we didn’t even plan to put this collection out for a few months. All the goods were just sitting comfortably in our warehouse ready to roll as soon as summer hit full swing. But, then along came everyone’s new nemesis, COVID-19. Like you all, we can’t believe the impact this virus has had and we are constantly wondering what happened to the normalcy we were enjoying just a few weeks ago. Cancelled. Postponed. Closed. Those are the words of the day.
These cancellations have wreaked havoc on all of us but the bars, restaurants, musicians, servers and bartenders around the country have taken one of the biggest hits. In Austin, the cancellation of our annual city-defining event, South by Southwest, has compounded the problem. Income and business that is an annual expectation vanished overnight.
When something like this happens, we try and look outside of ourselves and find a way to give back. We quickly identified the Stand with Austin Fund and the Austin Relief Fund at Southern Smoke as folks who were doing good work benefitting our local community. Our first instinct was to do a simple T-shirt to benefit the cause as we did in the past with our Hurricane Harvey relief effort. But, then the lightbulb went off. We already had the PERFECT thing in the pipeline to use in the relief effort - our Howler x Helms Workshop Watering Holes Collection. Of course, Christian and the crew over at Helms Workshop fully agreed.
A significant percentage of the proceeds from the sales of the collection will benefit two great causes: the Stand with Austin Fund at the Austin Community Foundation and the Austin Relief Fund at the Southern Smoke Foundation. Please take time to click the links and learn about what they have going on for those in need right now. We sincerely wish we could do something big enough to benefit service industry and creatives throughout the country but, at the end of the day, we thought it was best to focus our efforts at home. We absolutely encourage you all to support your own community in whatever way you can.
Our best to everyone during these times. Our company ethos is built on community, so we are missing it badly. But, we have faith in what we will learn and how we will all emerge from this. In the meantime, check out this collection. It’s cool and you’ll want some in your closet when your favorite watering hole reopens
Posted on March 20, 2020
We’re all finding an opportunity to revisit our favorite books, shows, podcasts, music and movies. We polled a few Howler staffers for their recommendations and thought we’d pass them along to you.