‘The dog collar of our love’

Trish and Bob Howard

THAT’S AMORE<br> Bob and Trish Howard share a cozy moment. Like Bob says, “There was no decision-making really—Trish and I <i>had</i> to be married.”

Bob and Trish Howard share a cozy moment. Like Bob says, “There was no decision-making really—Trish and I had to be married.”

Photo By C. Owsley Rain

The amazing true love story of Trish and Bob Howard goes as follows:

Trish: I figured that boys and men were good for mainly one thing and that thing was not marriage. I had no intention of becoming anything but what I was: Freedom Girl. I was having a hard night, as my nemesis was in the audience of the show where my band, the Repeat Offenders, was playing with an intriguing assortment that was the Transexpistols, and I didn’t feel like I wanted to spend a lot of time in the public eye.

I couldn’t help but notice that there was an extremely enticing morsel playing bass in the Transexpistols, though it was hard to tell what he actually looked like without the makeup, dress and high-heels. I put my intrigue on hold and retreated to the back room at Duffy’s.

Bob: Yep, our band was visiting Chico for the second time, and yes, I was dressed in drag when I first met Trish. It was Labor Day weekend and we were all pretty in love with Chico—cheap beer, lots of good-looking and very friendly ladies. A great place to visit—a great place to be “available.” Never in a million years would I have thought I would find a woman I wanted to marry, well, anywhere, but certainly not in Chico.

Anyway, one thing led to the next, and I found myself in the back room of Duffy’s after we’d finished our set and there was a very charming and attractive young lady in there with me. She had on a silver dress, spiked hair, and a doggy choke-chain around her neck. I checked her out, we exchanged pleasantries, and then I was off to the bar to chat up the ladies and knock back a few cold ones.

When the Repeat Offenders took to the stage, I was mesmerized. This tiny little girl had a huge voice and her band ripped through a set of classic high-octane punk rock songs that had me hoisting my Pabst and singing along. I didn’t know it, but this was the infamous Trish Rowland, alternative diva turned punk rock queen. She owned the stage, and I could not take my eyes off of her.

Trish: At the end of the show, I was again hiding in the back room of Duffy’s (where many great love affairs are launched) when I heard approaching footsteps and I said, “Honey baby, I am too tired to load equipment right now.” Bob Howard (aka Cynthia Vicious) replied, “I don’t think I’m who you meant, but you can call me honey baby.”

My dog collar became the dog collar of our love as he led me out to the lubricious after-hours party at Ultra-Beautician and I decided to give him a chance to show me what he did best. To my surprise, I completely fell; I could actually talk to this guy. About everything. And he seemed to feel the same way.

Bob: That’s true. After Deryl’s party, I ended up over at Trish’s house and I spent the better part of the rest of the weekend there. Strangely, it wasn’t enough. I had to see Trish, and so we began a whirlwind four-month courtship in which we were flying or driving back and forth between Los Angeles and Chico just about every other weekend.

Trish: I have an entire suitcase filled with love letters. Our phone bills were outrageous. Our friends were kind.

Bob: We used to fax each other back and forth a dozen times a day from work. It was like a high school crush except we’d both lived life enough to know that this was really something different and amazing.

Trish: Finally for our fourth real date, we went to Nashville. We saw many wonderful things, we peed on the Country Music Hall of Fame, and we decided to get married.

Bob: We peed on it at night, I went back the next day and snuck in for free to see the exhibits.

Trish: In January of 2000 we rounded up our friends and loved ones, not all of whom were convinced this was the best decision …

Bob: None of my friends thought it was a bad idea; they all knew this was something special. And it was and still is. There was no decision-making really—Trish and I had to be married.

Trish: We went to Las Vegas and got married. Best thing that ever happened to me in my entire life.

Bob: That was seven years and one month ago. I actually can’t believe that. It seems like it was maybe a year ago.

Trish: I could never have imagined being as loved as I am by Bob Howard. He is a nice, nice man.

Bob: That’s me!