The Ricky Gervais Of Pop - Singer / Songwriter Andrew Cole picks up the Brit Rock Gauntlet Stateside

In The Frame

'I'm surprised no one tries to punch me or throw things at me on stage. In fact, people
give me stuff instead.' Listening to Andrew Cole in mid-flow, one begins to realize that
the comparison to the world renowned king of abrasive jest is hardly appropriate, given
that his music does not pander and is shrouded instead in layers of apoplectic angst.
Sitting in Jerry's Deli across the table from the UK's latest musical progeny one gets
the impression that he's not someone who is easily overwhelmed by unfamiliar situations,
and unlike some of his more drug-addled contemporaries, his animation is fueled by an
entirely different spirit. A disposition owed in part to a ubiquitous upbringing bouncing
back and forth across the water between Canada and the UK. The offspring of a trucker
father and a nursing mother, Cole like many of his UK colleagues ala the Verve, Oasis,
et al, can lay claim to genuine working class roots. The most current musical outing
'Voices' co-written with Canadian Hall of Fame inductee, Tom Cochrane of Red Rider
prominence, is Cole's retrospective mirroring dark musings and troubled recollections
from the past. Both singles, 'Voices at 4am' and 'Psycho Cabaret'  could potentially
gain a core demographic audience among your typical bipolar, schizo-affective, narcisstic
rock archetypes. This dissonant melding of grungy riffs and desultory vocals nevertheless
pales in comparison to his most notable achievement to date, namely assembling a supergroup
comprising of recruits conscripted from the cream of rock's ruling heirarchy, featuring on
guitars Alex Lifeson - founding member of Canadian prog rockers 'Rush', Tom Cochrane of Red
Rider fame on guitar and vocals, Kenny Aronoff - world renowned drummer and percussionist,
formerly of the John Mellencamp backing band, Chris Chaney - Jane's Addiction on bass and
finally Kenny Greer providing support on the Lap Steel. Like a latter day musical Alexander
the great with an inner circle consisting of battled hardened veterans, Cole's relative youth
only serves to accentuate his most recent and formidable triumphs on the field, trumpeting in
turn his arrival among the fray. Like the majority of cutting edge artists, his music sounds
as if it's being utilized to exorcise recurring demons through a cathartic process of sonic
sublimation. The latest CD cover art courtesy of avant-gardist, Ryan James Terry, owes a debt
to the Ralph Steadmanish hallucinatory dystopia which helped catapult Pink Floyd's 'The Wall'
into the cultural memesphere. When asked what his primary influences are, his answer is
non-committal, 'Everyone.' When prodded he offers by way of concession 'A bit of the Verve and
a bit of West Coast.' The two offerings on the CD, Psycho Cabaret and Voices at 4am were both
self-produced and crafted by Cole himself with the help of indie label Crier records and mixed
by Chris Potter and Ian Cooper of Sphere and Metropolis Studios both based on the UK. Both
engineers having demonstrable track records with artists such as the Verve.

On The Rocks

Leaning forward in the leatherback cushioned seats at Jerry's, Cole ruffles a hand through
his tousled dark mane and squints at his cup of coffee, musing in that characteristic
northern drawl on his most recent jaunt, north of the Canadian border in Montreal, where
he spent recent years honing his skills and eschewing the supposed benefits of artistic
conformity. His musical aggression forming a visceral counterpoint to the almost laidback
conservative stasis of his Canadian musical compatriates. 'I hated it, but it was a
learning experience. The same same way British rock bands in the sixties and seventies
would cut their teeth stateside touring the deep South. In my case you could say I was
up in the deep North.' And cerebral the whole Canadian scene certainly was, though at
the expense of genuine creativity. Nonetheless, it was this staid aesthetically antiseptic
backdrop which afforded him his first brush with megastardom opening for Elton John and
John Fogerty at the Plains of Abraham venue in Quebec wowing a 100,000 capacity crowd.
Pausing midsentence to survey his surroundings,as though noticing it for the first time,
Cole's mood is sanguine as he visibly relishes the palpable challenge that the LA music
scene poses, and like others before, makes no bones about his desire to exert a discernable
influence on the cultural and musical backdrop of the city. 'I feel as though by coming to
LA I'm starting from scratch but not really, this is my second album and I've colloborated
with some of the top musicians over here and across the pond, so I've got a bit of history
behind me.' His solo material was well received by music critics on both sides of the Atlantic
and featured the gamut of indie rock true believers like the Bare Naked Ladies, Kathleen 
Edwards and Rusty Anderson guesting on the tracks.

His 'fresh-off-the-plane' 2012 debut performance headlining the annual, guest-studded
Namm festival in Anaheim performing front stage before a 50,000 packed crowd at the
Marriot, was followed by an impromptu, more intimate acoustic set at the Roxy on
Sunset, recently touching down at the Satellite in Silver Lake with the BAE &
Telefunken All Stars which featured Matt Sorum of Guns & Roses/Velvet Revolver
fame among others. During the course of the interview, we broach the subject of
his first solo album and he intones in that stirringly passionate delivery 'Everyone's
first album is bound to be OK to say the least. I mean it's been fifteen years or
more in the making. You know what I mean? You can't go wrong there. It's usually
the second album that's the challenge for most folks. Well I suppose if you really
wanted to be crafty you could take an album's worth of outstanding material and
mix it with some mediocre output and spread it out over three albums. I
mean that's what people would be inclined to do nowadays - right? No one wants to
be a one hit wonder. Everyone wants to be famous for more more than fifteen minutes
nowadays. Fame is like a drug, you've got to have more, so you'll do anything to
stretch it out, even if it means cutting the good stuff with crap, just to make
it seem like there's more of it-right?' This parting shot elicits a few chuckles
round the table. Forthright? Blunt? Candid? Yes, to all the above, but as Cole has
already demonstrated, he's equally adept at conjuring up shimmering waves of musical
pathos which will undoubtedly become this newcomer's future stock-in-trade.'

 

 

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