Andy Frasco releases his upcoming LP Keep On Keepin’ On via SideOneDummy Records on April 24. The album is a powerful musical snapshot of what’s going on with Andy, his band, and his fans. It’s hailed as a therapeutic helping of rock ‘n’ roll with powerful pop and Americana roots influences. You see, in writing the new album, Andy tackled his own depression and mental health.
Prior to the release, Andy Frasco and The UN appear at 9:30 Club for a show on Thursday, Feb. 13. Parklife DC Editor Mickey McCarter caught up with Andy via email to ask him about the approach to the new music and the healing power of performance.
In a statement announcing the new album, Andy said, “We all have things that make us who we are. Some things are just uncomfortable to talk about, so we tend to suppress those feelings because we don’t want our friends and social media followers to look at us as weak. It’s time to speak up about not just the good things in our life but the bad as well. This is who I am.”
Mickey McCarter: With your new album, Keep on Keeping’ On, you open up about mental health and honestly tackle some troubles you’ve been facing. How have people reacted? Do you find a lot of folks relate to the message and the new songs?
Andy Frasco: For the first time in my life, I’m actually looking inward for happiness instead of outward. It was a hard pill to swallow because when you look inward the first things we see are our insecurities. And that’s scary as shit. To finally be honest about who I am felt like a weight has been taken off my chest. My thought was If I can be honest with my fans about how I’m feeling then I’m off the stage then maybe they can be honest about their insecurities as well. So far, the reaction has been tremendous. We’re all just trying to look for authenticity.
MM: What challenges have you faced in giving folks a show, being a good-time “crowd-surfing, Jameson-drinking maniac,” as you told American Songwriter, while also being an honest and open storyteller? Do the two ever collide?
AF: All the time. It’s hard to know if you’re doing things for others or if you’re doing them for yourself. In terms with my drinking, at first I thought that was what everybody wanted to see. A crazy person entertaining them. I feel you can still have a good time while being honest with what you’re becoming. Life is a push and pull when it comes to living. If we abuse anything then it slowly becomes an addiction. We just need to know our body and trust or limits. I knew I couldn’t sustain that type of lifestyle anymore. So I’ve slowed down and figured out a way to still be that crazy maniac on stage but with a deeper message then getting fucked up all the time. You can still have fun without abusing yourself.
Watch the album trailer for Keep on Keepin’ On by Andy Frasco and The UN on YouTube:
MM: Folks go to shows like yours as a from of therapy, don’t you think? If people see Andy Frasco and The UN, they have a good time, you lift their spirits, and they dance the blues away. First, thanks for giving people that, and second, does performance provide you the same sort of therapy that it might provide the audience?
AF: I appreciate that — and totally. Being on that stage for the two hours I am on it is the only time in a day where I am completely present. Not thinking about my flaws from yesterday nor the future. Life is about trying be present while in it. The real question I’m asking my self is how do I stay present when I’m off the stage. I’ve got a lot of work to do but I gotta do it. You never know when it’s your turn to leave this beautiful gift we call life.
MM: You’ve been through DC a few times recently. Previously, you played Gypsy Sally’s (2018) and Pearl Street Warehouse (2019). Headlining 9:30 Club is quite a big step up! How has your tour evolved in the past year since playing those smaller venues? What can fans expect when seeing you perform on larger stages?
AF: 2019 and 2020 have been amazing for my career. Shows and crowds are getting bigger, and we actually have a sound man now! Lolll this tour is going to be a theatrical blast… we have big something and comedian Kyle Ayers on tour with us. We’ve been working on the show for a couple months now. We’re just getting tighter and tighter with this royal rumble wrestling concept. The show’s gonna be the same amount of chaos as they are used to when we play small clubs. It’s just a little more polished and little more organized chaos. I’m stoked for DC to see what we have cookin’ up for the historic 9:30 Club!
Stream Change of Pace, the 2019 studio album by Andy Frasco and The UN, on Spotify:
MM: It is of course great to see you in DC. Any favorite things about visiting our city?
AF: I’m a huge basketball fan. I’m gonna try to see if I can catch a Wizards game while I’m in town. Bradley Beal has been ballin’ out of his mind lately. Stoked to see the city of DC have such a superstar on their squad again.