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The Great Bruce Andrews

Dan Langevin
May 08, 2012

This week I'd like to introduce Bruce Andrews.

Bruce Andrews plays at Sheehans Irish Pub in St.Catharines and has been a musician most his life. I caught up with Bruce to ask him some questions about the music industry in hopes that he can shed some wisdom on the difficult to understand game.

GP. How long have you been performing?
1. Been performing since 1971 ,

GP. What instruments do you play?
2.Have played guitar, banjo, bass, mandolin and harmonica in various bands over years.. also play accordion, piano, recorder, tin whistle for my own entertainment.

GP. What’s your reason for playing for 41 years? Is it the people or the music?
3. Have been trying to learn how to play various instruments over years because of love for music and the gratification and confidence that arises with practice and devotion to learning.

GP. Where have you gigged in Niagara over the 50 years?
4. Have gigged at many places in St Catharines. Queensway hotel, the old Montebello, old City House, Esquire hotel, Harding Hotel, Curleys mug, Mansion house, Bumping Uglies, Chili Pepper, Union House, THE hacienda, York Hotel, the Crossroads, Feathery, Sheeans, Celtic Club Murphys, the old Port Hotel, Lion Tavern, Lakeside.In N O L, Starters, American Hotel, Lakeside Hotel, Anchorage, Angel Inn, Irish Harp, Ports of Call, Vickies, Grimsby House, Stevensville hotel, Aquaduct, The Golden Pheasant, and a few more places that I have forgotten over time. Also many halls and some hospitals and some old folks homes.

GP. How have times changed for gigging in the Niagara area?
5. Some things never change, like the various types of Musicians and bar Owners but now there seems that there is less money for bands but more venues for playing.With increasing taxes,awareness of drinking and driving, the ban on smoking,it is harder for bars to make a good profit. When I started gigging,most places wanted Country Music. The scene is much more eclectic now and many styles and types of music can be offered.

GP. What are some highlights in your music career?
6. Highlights over the years have been the opportunity to play with great people and musicians like Dave Curry, Omer Langlois, Rick Rochon, Glen Gratto, Mark Haggarty, Mark Campbell, Brian and Alan Daniels, Grant Marchand, Derek Simons, Ted Cooper, Blind Boy Paxton, Alex Andrews, Dan Phaelan, Shawn Phelow and some whom I have forgotten. Not only have these players shown excellence in their abilities but they also have qualities of selflessness, compassion, respect a great love for music. This spans all generations.

GP. Is it more important to enjoy your music career or push to make it to the top?
7. It is more important to practice and persevere over the years and enjoy the benefits of diligence and practice, For most musicians music is a passion and not a career and few make it to the "top"

GP. Did you ever get involved with the digital age of producing?
8. Very little and I don't know much about topic.

GP. What do you think the future of music is? Electronic or Traditional Instruments?
9. The future of music lies in the hands of musicians who have passion for playing what ever the form the expression takes. There is really no difference.

GP. Did you ever put out an album or have you just always been the life of the party with the live tunes?
10. I have an album of original tunes and many recordings of gigs I have played with bands over years.

GP. How did you establish a continuous gig at the same venue for years?
11. In order to maintain a steady gig, one has to be lucky, have the support of the bar staff and owner and have a good group of people to play with who have respect for the establishment and the people who they work with. Also one has to have a healthy respect of dangers of alcohol which in time can have a debilitating effect on performance and personality. For this current gig, I have to thank the previous bar owner Tammy Ferguson who is a role model for trust, honesty, respect and compassion for her businesses and staff. Also Steven Smith and Candice Manser who previously worked at pub.In the present day, great workers like Bill , Alex, Jen, Sandra, Brian, Matt, Landon and apologies to those that I can't think of right now.

GP. Do you do any other types of performances?
12. Not really but I like to dance with hot young women when I can.

GP. Where do you see your music career going in the future?
13. I continue to improve my musical abilities and will do so until the end. I am looking forward to watching my son Alexander grow into a great musician and will play with him as much as I can.

GP. If you could jam with a well known artist who would it be and why?
14. They might not be well known but I would love to play with Dave Curry and Omer Langlois because over time they have shown excellence in their playing abilities, compassion for all players, their love of music.

GP. What do you have to say to the young people working on a 50 year career today? Any words of wisdom?
15. I try to advise younger players to persevere,practice and have a healthy respect for the dangers of alcohol which is a musicians worst enemy. It contributes to bad playing and abhorrent personalities. I would suggest that young musicians should only use themselves as measuring sticks and not be intimidated by the seeming complexity of various musical styles and people.In time, with determination, diligence and practice any piece of music can be mastered. Those who suggest otherwise only show their ignorance and should be dis regarded.

GP. Thank you Bruce, your words are true and offer a stable solid foundation for up and coming musicians! Oh and.. everyone likes dancing with a hot girl! Yes folks, welcome to Earth!

- Dan Langevin -