This Thursday, March 11th, Drew Kennedy will be releasing his new live album Alone, But Not Lonely. The digital release will be FREE on his website! You can also purchase a signed, individually numbered physical copy with hand-printed artwork here. I've heard the album and it's fantastic and I think you'll concur.
In anticipation of the release of the album, and Drew's 30th birthday, we sat down for an intimate, well-researched interview with the man, the myth, the music-maker.
Drew Kennedy: The Farce the Music Interview
FTM: Alright Dean, so you were born in New Braunfels in the big state of Texas. Tell me about your upbringing there.
Dean: Actually, I grew up in Pennsylvania, and went to college in Virginia, which is where I started playing music... so New Braunfels didn't play a very large role during my formative years. And it's Drew, not Dean.
FTM: Oh, so that explains your love of the Eagles baseball team. Well, how does one become interested in country music being from such a liberal yankee-fied bastion of south-hate?
Drew: Carpetbagging, really. I mean, it's a time honored tradition where I come from. You grow up, start to develop a plan that will allow you to take advantage of the south as quickly as possible, move there, and then it's go time.
FTM: So what led you to renounce the land from whence you came and move to the land of milk and honey?
Drew: Carpetbagging, really. I mean, it's a time honored tradition where I come from. You grow up, start to develop a plan that will allow you to take advantage of the south and it's vast supply of dairy and bee-related products as quickly as possible, move there, and then it's go time.
FTM: Do you have a cleft palate?
Drew: Oh, yes. I love bass lines, but I like hot lead guitar licks, too.... so I'd say I have a palate for both the bass and treble clefts.
FTM: Well you know... you just, uh. It just sounds like you kinda sing through your nose. Don't hit me.
Drew: No, no, it's ok. You're spot on. I have a pretty decent sized proboscis... and like my momma told me when I was little, if you got it, flaunt it. I'd like to think of it as both my calling card (stylistically, of course, as it pertains to my vocals) as well as the source for all of my cultural scentsability. BOOM. Thank you, thank you.
FTM: Ah, yeah, it's your vocal style. Style he says. Well, do you like parfaits?
Drew: Did you just say par-fits? Do you mean parfaits?
FTM: Who doesn't like parfaits, right? I loved that scene in Shrek. Layers, ha ha.
FTM: Soo, you're just hitting the big 3-0, huh? Those little blue pill adds starting to make more sense now, hotshot? Just kidding, but seriously, since a benchmark birthday is a time to take stock of things, do you have any regrets?
Drew: Well, I'd say skipping law school in favor of the life of a penniless, nomadic, socially outcast musician would count as one of my regrets, but other than that, no. And maybe this interview.... yeah, definitely this interview.
FTM: Touché, no... I mean, touchy. Next question. Besides Gary LeVox, who are your main influences?
Drew: Gary The Voice is definitely my main influence. I mean, it's so, like, providential and stuff, that he would be born with a name like LeVox, and be able to sing like that. Gary for sure, and I'd say Kristofferson. I may not be able to write like him, but at least I can sing a little better.... it's always better to be better than at least one person at something.
FTM: So you're a family man. Do you do poopy diapers? I mean, not personally, uh, do you change 'em?
Drew: My family consists of my wife, our three dogs, and a cat. They're all free range defecators. Outside, of course. Except for the cat... my wife is far better at diapering the cat than I am.
FTM: Cliche question of the day: How do you balance a busy touring schedule with family time?
Drew: Flowers. I used to write songs for my wife, but she's hip to the fact that it doesn't cost me anything other than time to write her a song... and she'd rather I do the dishes with that time... so yeah, flowers.
FTM: Right. Drew, you're a part of the Texas music scene. What the hell is a man fan and do you have them?
Drew: Calling me a part of the Texas music scene is like saying that guns kill people. I think we all know by now that the guy in Happy Gillmore kills people-- his shirt said so-- not guns. I live here, I tour here, but I don't have any desire to do what a lot of these guys down here are doing. That being said, 2 of my 3 fans are male, so yeah, I guess I do have men fans.
FTM: Your music is pretty literate for Texas music. Three syllable words and only the rare rhyme with "beer." It's apparent you're a reader... and you almost went into the legal profession. How 'bout that John Grisham?
Drew: Who told you about that? Look, the beef between John and I was settled quietly. In a courtroom. With lawyers. I heard he's writing a new novel about it, which will inevitably result in us tangling it up again... and then the lawyers will pop up... again... which will remind me that I should have gone to Law School. Again.
FTM: Sooooo, your new project is a live album entitled Alone, But Not Lonely and it features just you and your guitar and a handsomely paid audience. Tell us about this record.
Drew: Applause is more expensive than you'd think. Next time, I'm just going to get everyone drunk. It'll be cheaper in the long run. It's just me, and some songs, and some of the stories behind some of the songs. It's pretty heady stuff. By heady, I'm referring to that "sing through your nose" crack you made earlier.
FTM: In "We've All Got Our Marks to Make," you sing a whole lot of words about stuff. What mark do you hope to leave before you take a dirt nap?
Drew: Pretend answer: I'd like to blacken your eye. Real answer: I know I'm not the most talented vocalist out there-- that used to really bug me-- but I'm ok with it now. This is what I've been given, and I'll make the best I can with it. When it's all said and done, I'd just like to be remembered as a good writer, and have my songs still be viable and ring true in 20, 40, 100 years. Without meaning and depth, music is just something that sounds like the soundtrack to an elevator ride. There are apparently a lot of people who think we should all be living our lives in an elevator. I'm not one of them, and I hope that matters some day.
FTM: I was happy to hear you explain some of the songs on this album. I really have a difficult time with the three syllable words and songs that aren't about beer or how country someone is. Do you think Avatar got screwed at the Oscars?
Drew: I'm sure when it gets remade in 15 years or so, it'll maybe win. I liked it more the first time, without all of that technology, when it was called "The Last Of The Mohicans."
FTM: Can I get a what what?
FTM: Okay, one last question before I let you get back to watching What Not To Wear. Are there any bits of gossip you'd like to lay out there on the table before Rita Ballou dishes on you?
Drew: Not really. Who would have thought that the chick that Guy Clark wrote about would get so ornery in her 60's, though, right? She's / He's / It's created quite a fuss down here-- which I think is pretty funny in and of itself. Oh, and this thing about me having a tattoo of Kelly Kapowski kissing Zack Morris at The Max on my foot is complete hogwash, for the record. That's Josh Grider. It's on his left foot. He'll pretend he won't know what you're talking about if you ask him... but he also never wears sandals in public for a reason. People are always getting us confused.
FTM: Thanks for your time, Dean. Good luck with the album, the touring and that pesky rash you mentioned off the record.