How did you get started in the music business?
AG: I don’t really fell as if I’m "in" the music business. I decided that I want to write songs and put out records but I didn’t have the luxury of being signed to a label. Luckily, the availability of affordable home recording rigs along with the distribution possibilities offered by the internet has allowed me to do what I want. Having said that, here is my musical saga.
Once upon a time…when I was around 5 years old or so, my parents had a copy of "Meet The Beatles" laying around the house. Well I played that piece of vinyl (you remember vinyl) incessantly. My love affair with rock and pop started then. To this day I’m an avid music fan. This passion propelled my to play and ultimately create my own music. I started by playing drums when I was about 10 years old. Soon thereafter at around 13 or 14 (Junior High School) I began playing in bands doing lots of classic rock stuff. At 15, I bought a cheap acoustic guitar for $10. From there I taught myself to play using the chord diagrams in a Beatles songbook. Within the first couple of weeks I began writing some songs that in hindsight were pretty terrible, but I kept at it.
By the time I went to college, guitar had evolved into my main instrument. After graduating, I put together "The Sun Kings" with Dean Basil on Bass and Todd Bauer on Drums. Dean and I attempted the Lennon & McCartney thing with both of us singing and writing together. During the mid 1990’s we played a bit around NYC and put out 2 self released CD’s, "Bask" & "Stupid Grin". We put out some good music and remain the best of friends, but unfortunately day jobs and family has put the band on hold. We still play the occasional gig together and hope to record more music in the future.
Meanwhile, I wanted to keep creating so I put out "Hooks, Lines & Sinkers" and "Under The Radar" as solo efforts.
If you don’t mind, what is your "real" job when you’re not recording?
AG: My day job is not very "Rock ‘n Roll"…I’m actually an attorney.
Tell us three of your musical heroes and what makes them so special
AG: The Beatles are certainly my number one. The phases that they went thru and the unbelievable quality of the music they created encapsulates everything I love about rock and pop. Beginning as purveyors of American Rock and R ‘n B while in Hamburg, then virtually inventing there own brand of rock ‘n pop (circa Hard Day’s Night & Help), then on to making classic albums from Rubber Soul thru Abbey Road. For me, the most striking aspect of The Beatles is the vast variety of styles of music they created. Always musical, always dynamic, never boring.
Louis Armstrong may be an unlikely choice for a power pop guy like myself, but his music swung like mad and was always cool. I don’t know if it’s because of their age, but his recordings have a great atmosphere to them. But what I truly love about Armstrong is his trumpet playing. The solos he played were perfectly phrased with beautiful tone. Check out "Stardust" "Potato Head Blues" or "Ain’t Misbehavin’" to see what I mean.
Nick Lowe has produced a great body of work that is probably under appreciated by the general public. The man is a MONSTER songwriter, from Brinsley Schwarz to his latest release ("At My Age"). Top notch melodies matched with clever witty lyrics, he is incapable of writing a bad song… a true master.
What do you find works best for your creative process when
bringing a song together? Does it evolve from jams, riffs, lyrics?
AG: I have no set formula for writing. It can start with a phrase or a riff. But 9 times out of 10 I start with a hook that is a combination of a wordless melody over chord progression. Hooks are first and foremost with me, if it’s not memorable I just don’t use it. Creativity comes and goes. Sometimes I find it’s better not to write for a while and wait for the urge to find you. It can be a personal experience or observation. Often, I find myself writing after hearing some music that I like a lot which drives me to emulate or match what i just heard. Once I get the basis for a song I think it’s very important to be able to edit myself to make the arrangement flow both lyrically and musically. I trim the fat best i can, I don’t want to bore the listener.
Tell me what other current artists you’re listening to now.?
AG: Currently listening to;
Shelby Lynne (Just a Little Lovin’")
Frank Royster ("Thru The Years")
Nick Lowe ("Jesus of Cool" Reissue)
Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings ("100 Days, 100 Nights")
Harry Nilsson ("Harry/Nilsson Sings Newman" 2fer)
Would you ever change the name of "The Goldbergs" so it sounds
less Jewish, or now that you have a reputation for doing great songs under that name, will it stick around??
AG: "The Goldbergs" is a TERRIBLE name…very Jewy (but I should mention that my rabbi likes it! LOL). The truth is, and it’s a lame excuse, but I can’t think of anything I like. Originally (when I was putting out ‘Hooks’) it was suggested by a friend of mine, and since I’m playing everything except bass and drums it was kind of descriptive. I was hoping that the name was so bad that it would become cool in a reverse cool kind of way. Hopefully at this point the name has become somewhat of a brand name for my music. I am essentially a solo act and I figure that "The Goldbergs" is a little better than just "Andy Goldberg". I seem to have no trouble coming up with album titles or song titles but this one has me stumped. I’m seriously open to suggestions.
Cool. I like "The Golden Ticket" – but seriously if you’d like to re-name "The Goldbergs," send me an e-mail and I’ll get it back to Andy.