Better Know an Artist (Vol 2): Andy Pickett

Andy Pickett is a passionate songwriter from Fort Worth, TX. He makes piano pop music infused with some retro soul or funk, somewhat reminiscent of Randy Newman, if you need a reference point. His songs are spirited, driving, and introspective, all with a sense of humor. Andy sat down (again, I emailed him) and answered our questions (yep, the same ones). In his responses, you can tell that the guy eats, sleeps and breathes music, and the good stuff just flows out of him. Also, theme songs and curse words 🙂 Check him out when you get a chance.

Me: For starters, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into music? And when did you know this is what you want to do for a living (money be damned)?

AP: I first remember music being infectious and making me do things I’d never do normally. The skit on Sesame Street where the ball goes into the psychedelic pinball world and the lyrics are just a counting to twelve and the music is some kind of acid funk from the planet Neon X, it would drive me crazy. I’d lose it and funk out hard, age 4, having a straight-up little kid convulsion. Another was the Starsky and Hutch theme. Once it came on, I had to get crazy. Back then, it was all reruns. They came on at any time. One morning, Starsky and Hutch was on and my mom came in to the living room and there I was, naked as a jaybird, covered in butter. To this day, I don’t know why I did it, I just heard that music and had to do something about it, no lie. That’s how I remember first getting into music. Yes, that’s the way I’d get into it: the theme from People’s Court by Alan Tew, the Heart to Heart theme, and the S.W.A.T. theme were big for me too. Yes, it was TV, but I never watched it. I was just waiting for the music; Night Court, Sanford and Son, What’s Happening, Dif’rent Strokes, even the old Days of Our Lives and Sesame Street Themes, all of that shit was played by paid musicians and bands. I used to turn it way up.

As for doing music as a living? I’ve never once thought about doing it for a living or wanted to. What is a living? Music? To me, it’s like asking ‘When did you know you wanted to breathe air for a living?’, know what I mean? How could there ever be money in that? And if so, how could I ever want to try to make it? It’s absurd to want to make a living out of playing music. Alien. Almost as absurd as the way working musicians are treated, and the circle is complete. Piano is my blood. There is no living beyond that.

Me: How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

AP: Sad. Funny. A bunch of piano. Randy Newman. I don’t have any idea how to describe it. I’m not like anyone you will ever meet. My music follows suit. People seem to dig it.

Me: Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and why?

AP: Nina Simone. I love and adore Nina Eunice Waymon Simone on a deeply profound, personal level. I cannot tell you why, as the same way I cannot tell you why I like the taste of bananas or explain why they taste the way they do. I just love her. I love how black she is, and I love how openly in love she is with her blackness, more so I think too her womanliness, she seemed so seemed so confident to me in those areas. She was never the prettiest or the best singer, she was just the real thing. That was beautiful to me the most. That patina on her voice, that dark black voice. I have always wished I was Nina Simone. I always will. I love her with all my heart. I don’t know much about her life. I didn’t watch that new documentary about her. I couldn’t get through the first five minutes. I’ve never read her biographies. I just listen to her music. There’s a great music doc called Nina Live at Ronnie Scott’s. I own it. I weap to it.

Also, Curtis Mayfield. He is massive. There are no words. Listen to There Ain’t No Place Like America Today. Besides Stevie Wonder, I don’t think anyone can touch Curtis Mayfield.

Me: Which of your songs means the most ot you, and if you don’t mind me asking, why?

AP: Which one of your kids mean the most to you? Which one of your testicles mean the most to you?

Me: If you could open for any act, dead or alive, who would it be, and why?

AP: Dead? See Question 3 Why? See Question 3. Alive? Leon Bridges, and it’s obvious why. He is the absolute man right now. I’m very happy for him. He makes me proud.

Me: Any favorite new musical acts, local or otherwise?

AP: Starbass. They are really weird. They remind me of that band, Suicide. I love that band, totally original. Starbass is like that, very original, very cool. They’re just far out. Nice guys, super cool people, love’m

Me: What’s your “stranded on an island” record?

AP: Man, anything you listen to for long enough gets old, but if you held a gun to my head and said ‘Choose or die, motherfucker, I’d pick Innervisions by Stevie. I just don’t tire of it. That or There Ain’t No Place Like America Today by Curtis or Nina’s Greatest Hits. I don’t know, I’d rather pick 10 albums.

Me: Moving onto the home front, what are your favorite (and least favorite) things about the DFW music scene?

AP: My favorite things about the Fort Worth scene; the comradery, the loyalty, the talent, the possibilities, theres’ always something going on-ness, the support, the love, just all of this goddamned love out here in these city blocks. I don’t know a damn thing about any scene. I never have. I just know that folks in Fort Worth are kind and laid back, and not in a hippy dippy way. They care. All of the bands and artists have been very nice to me, more than I could have ever imagined. It’s not a scene, it’s a family, and I don’t give two fucking shits how corny that sounds. It’s true. There’s nothing worse than a shit head musician who thinks they invented cool. People out in Fort Worth let their music do the talking. Fort Worth music saved my life. I’ve never known what it felt like to not want to die, since I was four years old. That’s no lie. You have no idea. Fort Worth music saved me. I owe Fort Worth my life.

Me: Favorite DFW venue to play (or see a show). Why?

AP: Lola’s or Live Oak. Lola’s, because duh, it’s Lola’s, and Live Oak because the sound is the best, the room is the best, the stage is the best. I love playing those places. Love’m.

Me: Any favorite local acts people should be looking out for?

AP: Doo-Dad radio. Cool-daddy-o, doo-dad radio. You have no idea what’ s about to hit this city. Doo-dad radio is the future. I’m trying to get John Rody in on it. He’s a visionary.

Me: And for shits and giggle, what’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

AP: Just that, I shit when I giggle, LOL. Oh fuck, I made a mess.

A big thanks to Andy Pickett for wasting his time and testing to see if WordPress has an auto-NSFW feature. The man’s a gifted songwriter who obviously bleeds music, and we get to benefit from it. Check out his new record, It Happens Every Night below and catch him live when you get the chance.

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