Who’s your inspiration? …nice. Mine? Oh, thanks for asking! While learning surf rock song pieces on my crappy acoustic guitar at the awkward age of 12, I continued to be inspired, as I grew up even more awkwardly, by artists such as the Aussie punkabilly band The Living End, West Coast punks NOFX, Sactown nümetal headbangers Deftones and South Bay art rock band Dredg. Yes I know, quite an eclectic sound without being so eclectic; all white, middle class bands with a few Latinos and Europeans sprinkled in. Regardless, to be able to interview someone I listened to as a budding adult, is a dream come true!
Dredg, for the uninitiated, is a NorCal band who blew up in the pre-and-post-9-11-days, at least for many West Coast residents. During a time of the Korn, Limp Bizkit, Tommy Lee rap/rock craze, Dredg came along and brought complexity back to the alt-rock radio stations. Their debut album Leitmotif took elements of jazz, acoustic/electric sounds, symphonic middle eastern riffs and of course angsty screams and blended them all together in a concept album like no other.
El Cielo came next with a milder, dreamy, reverb-drenched approach while retaining the concept album feel. I remember seeing them multiple times in Petaluma’s Phoenix Theatre and driving down to “the city” (SF) to see their live shows. Good times, bruh.
For the past “ten years strong, it’s much too long’” the guys have been pursuing their own individual endeavors. Mark with his band Maps hasn’t stopped full throttle, pedal to the medal, rockin’ in out, good times bro! Drummer Dino and singer Gavin? Who knows! But Drew has kept the art in art-rock alive with his paintings for the past decade plus. His commissioned work along with his psychedelic painting style keeps the Dredg theme alive, this time with our eyes and minds creating the music for us. Drew sets aside a few insta-minutes to chat with us about his inspirations and future for his art and music.
Drew, did your folks foresee your art career when choosing your name or did you choose your career based on your name?
“Ha. My name is Andrew, when I was young my Grandmother asked me if I wanted to be called Andrew, Andy or Drew.”
Do you have any inspirational music recommendations that motivate yourself while you create your paintings and/or music?
“My inspiration is conceptual, it is combining two concepts together to create something new. A new idea, a play on words, a mash up, and puns fuel my fire when it comes to painting or drawing. Musically I get inspired by most things I hear, I can always imagine new ideas while ingesting most things musical.
I loved NOFX when I first entered high school and throughout. A very talented band and Fat Mike is an amazing bass player and his lyrical humor is intelligent and progressive.
“Lately I have been listening to a lot of Bright Eyes, Fleet Foxes, Future Islands and Jazz. Jazz everyday. Jazz to not distract. Jazz to keep the thoughts from ping ponging.”
It’s pretty common for artists to delve into other forms of expressing themselves. What inspired you to pursue painting as an artistic means?
“For me, painting comes from drawing. It is an end path of drawing and expression in art. A classic, well compacted and well directed use of space. It is a direct way to express an idea as well as a colorful piece of furniture. I like the process, I like ideas. I have an obsession with my own collections and I exhaust myself creating them but it is a drive that keeps pushing me from an invisible past/present/future source. I like paintings because they come in all shapes and sizes and they can hang on walls and force people to have conversations.”
Is it challenging to balance both means of artistic self-expression? Do you ever feel uninspired with one or both at times?
“I’ve focused on music for 15 years and now I am focusing on Painting. I never feel uninspired. I can close my eyes, flip through a book and stop my finger on a word and be inspired.”
For all the Dredg fans out there, what can we expect for 2021? “It’s been ten years strong” brah, what’s going on with the new album? Soft-lockdown is the perfect time to write and record!
“We were on path to finish up the writing process and then this pandemic struck. We talk on the phone all the time about ideas and text our favorite parts to each other and discuss where they might go. Each conversation brings eagerness to produce and inspiration to get back in the writing room. I am pretty confident that, depending on the universe, we will hopefully be in the studio by next summer.”
Let’s reminisce a little, can you relate a couple of interesting experiences while on tour with Dredg?
“For me the most interesting thing we did live was the electronic wireless air drum sticks that Dino would play after the last song. He would jump out into the crowd, walk towards the back and air drum along with Mark and I playing on stage. It would feel like a large game of Marco Polo and every fish was out of water.”
When the band finally reunites (I’m not giving up hope) will live shows just be an excuse for you to push your awesome paintings on us audience members? I remember you teasing some of your art onstage for your shows in the past.
“Maybe, it is a fun idea. It might be better to have a dedicated space, off stage to view my artwork. Maybe a Uhaul in the parking lot made into a faux studio.”
Thanks for chatting with us, Drew! All of you dear readers, please click/tap on the links below to support Mr. Roulette!