Andy Cole should serve as an inspiration to all Far North Queenslanders.
There is an age old story of the kid who grew up in a one horse town and moved to the bright lights of the big city in pursuit of an escape from the trappings and isolation that chokes the free spirit and stagnates the artistic urge.
Andy is that story personified.
Growing up in Townsville and playing bass guitar in bands in and around the city, Andy dreamed of more, and like most kids with a twinkle in their eye and the passion in their soul he knew deep down that he could only go so far with his music in his hometown.
Unlike most wide eyed travelers though, he decided to relocate overseas instead of interstate, packing up and heading to the fabled promised land of Las Angeles to fulfil his dreams.
“It wasn’t even really with an expectation of success,” he offered of his life changing decision.
“I finished my university degree and I was just sitting back looking at life and just trying to decide what the next step was, whether it was just working and settling down in Townsville or whatever. I had this burning desire to at least have a crack with my music and I didn’t even care if I did it and it didn’t work out for me – it was just one of those things that if I was to quit music tomorrow and settle down I at least wanted to say I had had a fair crack at it. That’s why I didn’t go somewhere obvious like Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne because if I was going to do it then I was going to try in the most extreme market. If I was going to fail and go down in a ball of flames then I may as well do it in Hollywood.”
Unlike most people that pursue their passion blindly, Andy made sure he was prepared for the task ahead, finishing university and making sure his musical talent wasn’t the only thing in his favour.
“I was very lucky to have a degree in Occupational Therapy and I was also lucky enough to have lined up a job before I got there. Other than that I really didn’t have a plan. My plan was actually to just go over there, work, and get settled and then to start networking and meeting people looking for bands but everything actually started happening a lot quicker than I first anticipated. I had not long been in L.A than I joined a band out of Orange County called Neo Geo and I ended up spending the next four years playing with that band and we did 3 Vans Warped tours and a bunch of stuff. Everything happened really, really quickly and I think that was the key too – the ability to recognize opportunities and take them but also being adaptable so that when stuff came up I didn’t baulk at the opportunity”
“The very first night I was in L.A I actually had two Australian friends there and I took them out for dinner at the Rainbow and I’d never been in Hollywood and it was exciting and fun but I had to leave dinner early because I had an audition in North Hollywood in Studio City and I can’t remember what happened but I think Paul Mcartney was playing the Hollywood Bowl but I had no idea he was playing and it took me probably three and a half hours to drive two miles down the road and traffic wasn’t really going anywhere so at that point I just started driving South and that’s how I ended up in Orange County. I just kept driving South until I found a place that I liked the vibe of and that’s where I decided to put my roots down”
As with most things good that happen in life, Andy’s next step came via a chance meeting, but one that could only happen in Hollywood “I was out with a bunch of friends one night out the front of the Viper Room,” he recalled, “and a limousine rolled up and told us to get in and go to a party but I was driving so I told my friend to send me the address. So I went over there and it was like a Beverly Hills type apartment and there can’t have been more than 7 or 8 people there and I was out on the balcony talking to this unassuming little Mexican kid in a Hoody. He was having a cigarette and we were laughing at each others accents and just chatting and when he went back inside the Aussie girl that I was with came over and said ‘have you ever heard of the band Chamber?’ and I just laughed and said no and then she said ‘oh, I think that’s the guitarist from them’ and I peered in and did a double take and I went back to this guy and said ‘are you Meegs from Coal Chamber?’ and he said he was but didn’t do Coal Chamber anymore or play his guitar! I was stoked because I grew up listening to those guys and we hit it off and became really good friends and he ended up playing in Neo Geo for about six months. At the time I met him he wasn’t playing his guitar because I guess Coal Chamber had had a really bad end and there were a few other things that had happened with his other band after and he just wasn’t into playing. Neo Geo was actually the first time that he’d picked up his guitar since. Anyway, when he decided he didn’t want to play in Neo Geo any more he left and started We Are The Riot and he asked me if I wanted to follow him into that and that’s how the band started. It was the first time that he and Mikey (‘Bug’ Cox, also from Coal Chamber) had jammed together since Coal Chamber and Mike was doing the same thing – not playing his instrument when I met him and pretty much burnt out on the industry – but We Are The Riot ignited the fire in him again and as it turns out years later I guess it inspired him to get Coal Chamber rolling again which was awesome!”
While his We Are The Riot bandmates are out on their reunion tour with that legendary band, Andy has decided to put together his own body of work, a six track E.P called Linchpin under the moniker Andy The Kid.
It is a release which lays somewhere between his work with We Are The Riot and some of the stuff he did while playing with Static X, but is also something which is entirely his own. While assembling different musicians for each of the songs and bringing a sense of diversity to his sound, Andy says finally having the freedom to release something of his own doing is the icing on the cake.
“Andy the Kid is just me and my music,” he enthused.
“I’m not a singer so what I did was I collaborated with my friends and got them to sing on the record. I wanted to have a band feel and the exciting thing about it too is the line-up is just going to be ever evolving and the whole thing with this is it’s an opportunity for me to work with all of my friends that I’ve wanted to for years. That was one of the great beauties of doing a solo record was that it just evolved and there was no producers or other band members or whatever getting in the way or stopping that process of evolution so the songs turned out like they seemed like they should have if that makes sense.”
This will be Andy’s first tour of Australia since he left with the dreams of the musical Gods ringing in his ears and he is rapt to be coming back with most of his dreams already coming to fruition.
To top it off, he has realized a childhood dream of being an active contributer to his other love in life, the North Queensland Cowboys football team, providing this year’s official team song.
“I’ve been a Cowboys fan since they came into the competition,” he said proudly.
“I was actually ball boy for their inaugural season. I haven’t missed a game I don’t think in the history of the club. In the States I subscribe to Fox and I watch all the games on my cell phone and once when I was on tour with Wayne Static I was backstage watching one of the games and for whatever reason I was just really pumped and I pulled out my recording rig and tracked the song that became ‘Cowboy Evolution’. I penned the song and presented it to the club- but again, I’m not a singer – so my friend Hatch sang on it and I sent it to the Cowboys and basically said ‘my name’s Andy, I’m over here in America doing my music and you can have this song here that I wrote for the club, take it or leave it it’s yours and they picked it up and ran with it.”
“I grew up in Townsville. I have friends in Cairns and Atherton and I’m a very, very proud North Queenslander,” he enthused, “so it’s the biggest feather in my cap to have the opportunity to do this and give something back to the region.”
Andy the Kid plays at the Union Jack Hotel this Thursday night with support from Sworf. First band starts at 9 pm Entry is free