‘Mystic rhythms under city lights’

Chad Andrews sits behind his drum set while practicing in his room. Photo courtesy of Chad Andrews

Chad Andrews was fidgety as a child, and he found it hard to pay attention.

Often, his mother would come into his room to see him tapping and hitting furniture to pacify his hyperactivity. Hoping it would help, his mother encouraged him to start taking drum lessons, which resulted in the formation of a new, lifelong passion. 

Andrews is a Georgia State student and a drummer for various Atlanta musicians. His passion for the drums began with the interest in playing other instruments, but those interests never really stuck. 

“The first instrument I learned was guitar when I was seven or so, but it never really clicked with me,” Andrews said. “My dad played guitar in church, and my older brother, Dylan, has made a career in teaching and playing guitar. When I learned, I lost interest relatively quickly.”

His interest in the drums began with the encouragement of his mother, who thought it would be helpful for a hyperactive child. Andrews began taking drum lessons at eight years old after his parents gave him a starter drum kit. 

“Once I started learning, I never lost the excitement of improving my craft,” Andrews said. “Focusing on developing one craft has bled into other aspects of life for me and taught me how to learn things efficiently.”

As his excitement grew, he started learning more from other drummers. His dad introduced him to classic rock where he found some of his childhood inspirations like the late Neil Peart from Rush. He then branched out to listening to more jazz and modern drummers, citing Chris Dave as his favorite.

“As I developed, jazz drummers like Art Blakey, Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, Vernel Fournier and Kenny Clarke have impacted my playing immensely,” Andrews said. “Modern drummers that I love include Chris Dave, Ronald Bruner Jr., Justin Tyson and Brian Blade.”

When he entered high school, Andrews started learning to play percussive keyboards like the marimba, vibraphone and the xylophone. 

“It was helpful for me to read music and get a better grasp of the melodic component of music,” he said. 

Andrews joined an Athens-based psychedelic rock band called Dream Culture while he was in high school. He spoke about one of his most memorable experiences while playing for them. 

“We once played a DIY fundraiser show on our singer’s front porch for Mariah Parker, an amazing hip-hop artist [who is] invested in the Athens community, to get elected as treasurer,” Andrews said. “It was awesome seeing everyone come out and see real change driven by music and community.”

Upon moving to Atlanta and starting school at Georgia State, Andrews got the opportunity to play at local venues like The Bakery, Smith’s Olde Bar and The Masquerade. He has also worked with many local artists, including R&B vocalist CheyHawwt and hip-hop artist Lord Bones.

“Lord Bones and I recently played the Lotus Rosery together with my bassist, Billy Ross,” Andrews said.

Andrews and Ross have been friends for a few years who play together quite often.

“[Ross] and I also play in a new wave R&B band called Suede Cassidy, and we have an album coming out called ‘Big Water.’ I will be playing on a track or two with live drums,” Andrews said. 

The current COVID-19 crisis has taken a toll on Andrews, as all of his shows have been canceled or postponed, including an appearance at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. 

“It has impacted me a lot. I can’t work with artists or even meet to practice. Certain opportunities to network and make some money from gigs are gone,” Andrews said.

Despite the grimness of the situation, Andrews noted that the public health crisis has given him and other local artists more time to work on their music and has taught them to be more flexible.

“Other musicians and I are using this time to explore creative ideas and practice with all this free time at home,” he said. “We are adapting and realize how necessary these precautions are for everyone to stay safe!” 


Where to find Chad Andrews:

Instagram: @chad_andrews111