A Nectar favorite: Talking with Andy CoeJanuary 26, 2017
If you’ve scrolled through the Nectar Lounge calendar before, you’ve probably noticed a recurring name: Andy Coe. The Seattle guitarist is one of our most frequent, and well-attended, acts. Whether he’s playing with the Grateful Dead-inspired Andy Coe Band or one of his many other local projects, audiences can expect a night of great musicianship and amazingly danceable tunes.
We sat down with Andy to learn more about his inspirations, and upcoming shows at Nectar Lounge (including The Dead of Winter THIS FRIDAY).
Nectar Lounge: You’re involved in a lot of musical projects, it’s hard to keep track! Can you give me a list of all the groups you’re currently playing with?
Andy Coe: It kind of fluctuates honestly! But yeah right now…Andy Coe Band, Skerik’s Bandalabra, Tuatara, Barrett Martin Group, McTuff sometimes, and those are the main ones. There are a bunch of other ones here and there.
NL: I’d love to focus on Andy Coe Band, since you have a show coming up this Friday (2nd Annual Dead of Winter). What is Andy Coe Band, and how did it get started? How long have you been playing?
AC: Andy Coe Band was originally formed around an annual Jerry Garcia celebration that I started, I think it was around 2004 or 2005. It sprung out of that. We just did an annual Jerry Celebration once a year and after years of doing that, everyone was like…”hey, this is fun, we should play more than once a year.” So I called up my buddy at the Blue Moon and said: We’ve got Monday nights free, let’s do this. (Andy Coe Band currently holds a free, weekly performance on Mondays at the Blue Moon Tavern)
NL: For people who don’t know, is Andy Coe Band strictly a Grateful Dead tribute group or are you inspired by the Grateful Dead?
AC: Most of our material is Grateful Dead related, and then we do a lot of originals as well. We also do a bunch of Bob Dylan. We do a bunch of The Band. We do a bunch of Pink Floyd and other stuff in that category. Psychedelic jam rock. We’ve even done some Michael Jackson and Johnny “Guitar” Watson. We mix it up.
NL: What about Grateful Dead inspired you? How many GD shows would you say you’ve seen?
AC: I luckily got into them when I was younger, you know 8th grade, 9th grade, and that’s right when they happened to come back to play Seattle. The Memorial Stadium in ‘94. That’s the first time I saw them, and it was awesome. But it was their concept that I liked, it’s kind of the American music concept. It comes out of the blues, jazz and bluegrass tradition, which is having awesome songs and also improvising over those songs. So the combination of composition and improvisation, and improvisation within composition, is what I love about what they do.
NL: So Andy Coe Band plays weekly Monday at the Blue Moon and you also have a bunch of performances at Nectar. What differences can people expect to see between a Nectar show and a Blue Moon show?
AC: We usually debut newer songs at the Nectar shows that we haven’t done before at the Blue Moon. We’re debuting several songs this Friday that we haven’t performed ever. Obviously we have Scott Law playing with us this Friday which is awesome. He hasn’t done the Blue Moon with us! At Nectar we can reel in the special guests we want, because Nectar gives us that opportunity.
NL: Being a part of so many different projects, you work with a ton of Seattle musicians. Can you talk about what it’s like to collaborate with so many different artists?
AC: It’s just amazing because, the thing about music is that each person has their own interpretation of their life and their experience. It comes through in their music, which is the beautiful thing about it. Everyone’s got their own take. It’s nice to be able to expand the circle, and learn a lot from everyone else.
NL: I heard that you once got to play with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page. How was that experience?
AC: Once in a lifetime, it was amazing. He was one of my childhood heros on the guitar, he was the dude on my wall. That was incredible. And the coolest thing about that was being able to hang out and get to know a lot of the Seattle rock legends like Kim Thayil, Duff McKagan, Jerry Cantrell in particular.
NL: Andy Coe Band isn’t your only “tribute band”. We recently got to debut another project of yours. Where did the idea for your reggae-inspired Billy Idol tribute (The Billy Itals) come from?
AC: It was kind of late night joke, it started around a campfire. We were partying around a fire in the middle of the woods, we had instruments and other substances. I mentioned it to Andy Palmer (Nectar Lounge Talent Buyer), which I’d forgotten, and then he asked us to play a show.
NL: Will there be any Billy Itals shows in the future?
AC: There might be some more. If the public demands it!
NL: You have a bunch of shows coming up in February (Skerik’s Bandalabra on 2/1, An evening with Terrapin Flyer on 2/8, Flowmotion+Andy Coe on 2/18 and Kneebody on 2/19) but looking beyond that, we have “A Galaxy Far Far Away….the concert”. What can folks expect from that show?
AC: Um…some kind of intergalactic, crazy, f***ing trip. You’ll all just have to find out!
Catch Andy Coe with the Andy Coe Band at the 2nd Annual Dead of Winter performance TOMORROW, January 27.