By ERIC SCHELKOPF
On his first solo album in seven years, Chicago singer-songwriter Andy Metz talks about many topics, including the always timely topic of guns.
Metz will celebrate the release of "Delusions" by performing Dec. 13 at Quenchers Saloon, 2401 N. Western Ave., Chicago.
Led Astray, Brad Brubaker & The Crowd Goes Wild and Laura Glyda also are on the bill. The show starts at
8 p.m. and tickets are $7, available at www.ticketfly.com.
I had the chance to talk to Metz about the new album.
Q - Great talking to you. Your new song, "Guns," is getting a lot of attention these days. In sitting down and writing the song, did you ever imagine that it would be so timely? What would you like for people to take away from the song?
Thank you for having me. I've enjoyed "The Total Scene" for a while.
I don't tend to write many songs that are political in nature, but I do have strong opinions on the issue of gun control. The sad thing I realized with "Guns" is that it's almost always timely.
I hate that it's always timely. Lately, I've started to view gun ownership along similar lines as smoking or alcoholism. It's an addiction, and I think perhaps the most effective way of getting the next generation to not buy guns and kill people might be to make gun ownership seem uncool, for lack of a better word.
There's been an improvement in our generation with the number of people who don't smoke or drive drunk, and I believe we can do the same with guns.
Q - The song is from your new album, "Delusions," which you crowd sourced in order to fund its release. You met your fundraising goal. Does it make you feel good knowing that people were willing to contribute to ensure the release of the record? Do you think crowd sourcing is a good way to strengthen the connection between the artist and his audience?
I am glad that we were able to meet the crowd funding goal and am happy and flattered that so many people decided to pre-order the album. With that said, I'm not sure how I feel about crowd sourcing in general.
I think it gives musicians without the financial means to fund an album an opportunity to still produce music, but I also feel that many people in the music-consuming public might be fatigued with how common crowd funding has become. I personally would likely not go that route again, but it definitely works well for some musicians.
Q - Is there a story behind the album's name?
"Delusions" comes from the idea that all musicians, unless you have a voice like Adele, need to be a little bit delusional in order to think they'll be successful. A good sort of delusional.
On a personal level, I've never been a supremely talented singer or instrumentalist, but my self-confidence has always been buoyed by my own high opinion of my songwriting ability. My own delusions of success, whether they come true or not, have kept me motoring in recorded music for the last 15 years, and I couldn't be happier that they have.
Q - "Delusions" is your first solo album in seven years. I know that last year you were busy with your other music projects, 8090 and Hero Monster Zero. Was it just time to release a solo album?
Definitely. I feel like "Delusions" was long overdue for me.
I like to write songs without a specific genre in mind, but after a song starts taking shape, it becomes obvious whether it will work as a hip hop track (8090) or Hero Monster Zero song (hard rock). The collection of songs that make up "Delusions" never worked well as either, but I knew they still needed to be heard and that I would have to find an outlet for them.
Q - It seems like you are comfortable in any music genre. 8090 is a hip hop/rap band, and Hero Monster Zero is more of a rock band, with influences of hip hop. How do you think those bands have influenced your solo music? Is there a musical genre you like the best?
Hip hop is probably still my favorite genre of music, though less definitively so than before. Writing hip hop tracks with 8090 and with other artists has definitely informed the way I write acoustic folk music as well.
I want each lyric to have meaning, but to also be tightly constructed, biting and clever. I hope to have brought that sensibility to "Delusions."
Q - Do you have any dream projects or collaborations?
I would give my left arm to open for The Presidents of the United States of America next time they swing through Chicago. Their first two albums were the first CDs I owned and I listened to them to death.
Their songs are more energetic than mine, but my musical opinions were heavily informed by their hook-heavy, instrumentally-minimal, short and funny songs. I also attended the same high school that two of the original members graduated from (Bush School in Seattle).
Q - What do you think of the Chicago music scene and where do you think you fit into it?
I love the Chicago music scene. First of all, it's huge, so no matter what your interests are, I think you can find it well represented in Chicago.
I've found the songwriter community in the city to be incredibly supportive, even for someone like me who isn't very outgoing. I don't know how many different songwriter sessions I've been to at cool venues like Tonic Room, Uncommon Ground and Hungry Brain (RIP), but each time I go, I discover at least one or two incredibly talented individuals I had never heard before.