Howard received his inspiration to pick up the guitar during the 1960s after seeing Dick Dale, the guitarist in the surf band “the Del-Tones”, and feeling the excitement from his playing. He studied violin and music theory at the City College, Los Angeles, and also played in a band called The Zoo.
Leese had his first recording contract with Ed Cobb’s Sunburst label at the age of 15, as the band The Zoo with friend and drummer Mike Flicker. Later, when Flicker went to work for Jack Herschorn at Mushroom Studios in Vancouver, Leese went with him as a production manager. While there, he and Shelly Siegel started Mushroom Records.
It was at Mushroom Studios in 1974 that Leese helped produce a demo for Heart. The next year, Mushroom Records signed Heart and released the group’s first album Dreamboat Annie which Flicker produced. Leese was assistant producer on the album, and was asked to join the band later that year. He stayed with the band until 1997. Leese was Heart’s guitarist, backing vocalist, keyboard player and song arranger. Apart from the Wilson Sisters, Leese is the longest serving member of Heart.
In 1998 he joined the The Paul Rodgers Band. He continues to tour with The Paul Rodgers Band and Bad Company.
As of May, 2013, When not touring, Howard is performing in “Raiding the Rock Vault” at the LVH Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada