ANDY FRASCO & THE U.N. LIVE @ ASHEVILLE MUSIC HALL 4-26-2019
In 2017, Andy Frasco reached a fork in the road. Renowned for a jubilant jambalaya of rule-breaking rock n roll his career kept rolling ahead at full steam. To date, he had released three independent albums, chronicled a German gig in front of 15,000 screaming fans on the recent live opus Songs from the Road, made jaws drop at festivals such as Grandoozy, Firefly, Mountain Jam, Summer Camp, Rock am Ring, Rock im Park and Electric Forest, generated millions of streams, launched Andy Frasco’s World Saving Podcast, and performed at festivals alongside icons such as Peter Frampton, Gary Clark Jr., The Revivalists, Snoop Dog, Dr. Dog, Joe Walsh and Kendrick Lamar, to name a few.
After a string of wild shows (and wilder nights) on tour somewhere in the heart of America, one morning sounded a very loud wakeup call for the singer, songwriter, performer, and namesake of Andy Frasco & The U.N.
“I woke up after a five-day bender on cocaine,” he recalls. “This relationship I was in didn’t work out. I bought a house in the Midwest to be close to a girl, but she didn’t trust me. I wouldn’t trust me either, because I was fucking chicks and doing drugs every night on the road. I would take ecstasy just to get out of bed. I was sleep deprived, losing all of my friendships, and fucking overworked. I decided to make a change in my life. I realized that I’m getting older; I couldn’t only be the party guy. I wanted to chronicle my life. I wanted to capture my feelings. I wanted substance in my life and music. I decided to take a step back from this wild life for a second and reevaluate, so I could genuinely enjoy the ride I’m on for the long haul.”
The ride ramps up on his third full-length album, the aptly titled Change of Pace. Andy approached recording from a new vantage point encouraged by iconic Widespread Panic bassist and producer Dave Schools.
At sessions in a remote Sonoma County mountain studio in a converted chicken coop of all places, Schools challenged him as a songwriter and lyricist.
“Dave sat me down and asked, ‘Who do you want to be? What do you want to be remembered by?’,” recalls Andy. “I never really thought of it that way. He dialed things back for me. He’s become a huge inspiration to me as a musician and a friend. The album began there.”
Cutting six songs with Dave, he embarked on something of a “studio tour” to finish Change of Pace. He tapped the talents of Ben Ellman in New Orleans, Charles Goodan in Los Angeles, and Caleb Hawley in New York at Lady Gaga’s Atomic Studios.
As a result, the songs reflect the respective regions.
“There’s a grungy Bourbon street feel, hard-working and moody New York energy, and that indie California vibe,” he goes on. “I’m a traveler at the end of the day. I became a musician to travel and give people therapy through music. As part of this revelation, I realized I don’t need to stay at home when I’m off tour. I decided since I’m most comfortable on the road, so I might as well make this record on the road.”
The first single “Up/Down” slips from a simmering beat and bass line into a horn-driven swoon. Produced by Goodan, its undeniable refrain proves immediately irresistible as he sings, “Your love is up and down.”
“I was just getting through my relationship with that girl from Arkansas,” Andy goes on. “One day, she was happy. The next day, she wasn’t. I speak on the bipolar nature of a relationship. This was the first time I felt that. Normally, I’d be in the next town before things got any further. The song came from an outside point-of-a-view by a guy who never had a real relationship before this in his life!”
Meanwhile, the boisterous “Waiting Game” features Schools’ touch and thrives on delightful proclamations such as “I wanna be the man you can tell your momma about!” The theatrical piano chords, cinematic accordion, and barroom chant delivery on “Don’t Let the Haters Get You Down” takes dead aim at “online trolls talking shit from their parents basements.”
The title track “Change of Pace” gallops ahead on tambourine and organ as Andy’s voice stretches to the heavens and back on the admission, “I’m looking for change of pace. Then, I’ll be on my way.”
“Everyone has an idea of how you should live your life,” he states. “If you’re dealing with something that you’re not into, try something the complete opposite. Instead of always pondering what you could do tomorrow, do it today.”
In the end, this change elevates Andy to a new level.
“I’d love for people to connect to the songs in addition to the live show,” he leaves off. “I’m a philosopher and a musician at the end of the day. I want to emulate those aspects in my work. I’m also just a guy trying to find happiness like everyone else is. It’s about being okay with the lows, not getting too high with the highs, and being comfortable in your own skin.”