Photo credit: Jason Myers
Tell us about your travel vehicle. Any notable breakdown stories?
Well we've had a number of different touring vehicles over the years, it just depends on the type of show / tour we're on, what the track / tour routing is, and how many crew / band people I have need on the run. We have everything from a Ford E350 with over 300,000 miles on it, my Dodge Ram truck that I just sold with 400,000 miles, an Eagle bus from 1994 old bus). That means we're currently upgrading our rigs, haha.
We had to do a lot of repairs to each of them that were normally done by ourselves. Once my bass player had to change the gas pump in our roadside van in South GA while I hooked the trailer and gear to my truck (which I happened to have for an acoustic appointment in FL) and myself, and the rest of the guys jumped in to help Venue to come to do the sound check.
Another time in Navarre Beach, Florida, we got the bus stuck in the sand at the venue and had to haul it out in a dump truck because there were no tow trucks in the area. Otherwise mainly broken tires, alternators, V-ribbed belts, radiators, which are mostly repaired on the side of the road, things like that.
How do you eat cheaply and / or healthy on tour?
If you want to eat healthy, bring a cool box and meal prep ahead of time, it's that simple. Usually most venues feed us before and after so I just pray they have a grilled chicken sandwich, but I do can't say the boys or me will ever shrink back when the only option is a cheeseburger or chicken tender.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace it?
A lot. I grab the strings and or show is pretty energetic, so I usually go through at least a pack or two a week. I would say it's about $ 5 / pack or so.
Where do you rehearse?
We have had many of these over the years. Everything from basements and garages to full-blown studios. I remember when I started we were rehearsing in my basement and I literally had to stand behind the hot water boiler and the drummer was in the other room. Well, we haven't been out much since early 2020, so when we usually rehearse in my drummer's studio in his basement, he has a fantastic setup.
What was the title and sample text from the first song you wrote?
In all honesty, I couldn't even tell you the name of the first song I wrote because I was trying to write songs when I was around 11 years old. I remember the first song I ever wrote and recorded that I could ever hear was written by me in high school called "Every Now and Then" and it was the typical "My girl took me." Broke me up and I'm currently emo "type of song. If I remember correctly, the chorus began with the text, "So every now and then I just drive, pull down the windows and watch your memory fly by." I really couldn't tell you where this recording is today, but I could wish i could find her sometime.
Describe your first appearance.
Oh boy are you ready for this ..? My first paid gig, I was 14 years old, was in the men's section of a new Bass Pro shop that was being built in a new mall not far from my childhood. I got $ 50 and a $ 50 Bass Pro gift card and thought I was Alan Jackson because of it.
What was your last job? What was your favorite job that day?
My last full-time job was in a retail store for Apple. However, my favorite job I've ever had is split between two things. The first worked for a classic rock radio station in Young Harris, GA while I was up there in college. They literally gave me the alarm code and key and I came and went as I wanted, hung up late at night when I wanted, organized their catalog, looked after the UGA recap show on Monday, made radio remote controls, etc.
The second was coaching high school football in GA. I started coaching when I was still in high school, so I've known these kids for a long time. In all honesty, if country music wasn't my life, I'd be coaching somewhere part-time.
How has your music-related income changed in the past 5-10 years? What do you think it will be like in 5-10 years?
Well it depends how you look at it I guess how much comes out in verse, how much has to get out. I've had times when the income made me feel very blessed, and then it was like a farmer looking at a corn field in a drought. I think this doesn't change much over time, this is just life and when you start a business it's just about growing that business and that determines where the money goes. I've had a steak dinner when I could only afford a loaf of bread and some butter and slices of cheese. The more successful you get, the more cost you will incur, so I hope that over time, that number really does the trick.
I remember when I started playing around tips and tips on my own and sometimes went with $ 20. Then it was $ 500 per show, then $ 1,000, then $ 3,500 +. Every show is different, you need to know your market and what you are worth there.
As for royalties, that has changed a lot because I have my own masters of the recordings and we've released so much music and a lot more is to come.
What do you know now, what you would have wished you knew when you started your music career?
Be patient and listen. The smartest words that usually concern your life are usually the ones that no one speaks to you directly. Watch what happens and keep your blinders on while you focus on what is really important and that is YOUR way. Fans are built to shake hands, chat and smile. Take your time and don't rush, longevity comes from building a brand, not just a good song or two. All of that and … pray. Pray a lot because you are out of control.
Raised in Northern Georgia, Andy knew at the age of 11 that he wanted to devote his life to country music. Right out of high school, Andy took to the streets with aspiring country artist Corey Smith. From that experience, he was able to learn firsthand what it took to become a touring artist behind the scenes. After several years of traveling back and forth to establish himself in the city, Andy left his hometown of Suwanee, Georgia in 2012 to officially move to Nashville, TN, releasing his self-titled EP that same year. His second studio EP, Blue Collar Cruise in August 2014, included songs like "Roll of a Dirt Road". , Headlining clubs and screenings for some of the top performers in the country like Brad Paisley, Brantley Gilbert, Cody Johnson, Granger Smith, in addition to the tours of Corey Smith. In 2018 Andy released The North Georgia Pines, a 12-song LP with songs like "God Made a Backroad," "Song You Can Drink a Beer To," and "Thinkin".
On May 3, 2019, Andy released his latest single, Half-Truths & Other Lies, produced by Jimmy Ritchey. CMT also debuted the official music video for the single on May 21, and was number 1 on CMT's 12 Pack Countdown for several weeks.
Way Out, Velo's newest album, was released on July 23rd. Connect with him online and (possibly) on the go.