Once an established band breaks up, most members usually find employment with other groups or move on to other roles within the music industry, such as management and/or production. Not Mike Howe — in a 2020 interview with Loudwire, he revealed that he chose to retire from performing because he felt disillusioned with the business aspect of being in a band, including the many “outside forces that were ruining the band and my love of music.” So instead of forming a new band or joining an existing one, he started working as a carpenter and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife. When Howe’s wife got a teaching job at a university in northern California, he moved back to the Golden State but had no plans whatsoever of returning to music on a professional level — at that point, he was busy raising his two sons and working a full-time job.
Eventually, jamming with friends at home no longer cut it when it came to scratching that itch to perform. On April 30, 2015, Howe rejoined Metal Church, replacing previous vocalist Ronny Munroe (via Blabbermouth), but it took some time before he committed to his decision. “I didn’t want to come back to Metal Church just for nostalgia,” he explained. “It had to be for the right reasons. It had to be the best stuff we’ve ever written together or it just wouldn’t be worth it to anyone, especially the fans.”