When Andy Frasco comes to town, you go see his show—no questions asked. However, if you do have some questions, like, “Who the hell is Andy Frasco,” read on. We’ve got answers.
Andy Frasco is a musician, front man to his eponymous blues-rock band, Andy Frasco and the U.N., and he’s playing District Live Dec. 29. Frasco and the U.N. are known for putting on some of the most raucous, energetic shows in the country. You are guaranteed a good time when they storm through town.
From chugging Jameson to crowd surfing to gesticulating unprintable carnal acts, Frasco conducts a frenetic train of hyperactivity through every venue he plays.
“It’s a lot of work to make people happy, but when you see their faces at the end of the night, that’s the most fulfilling shit,” Frasco said. “The band’s on fire right now. We just got off a three-and-a-half-month tour. We’re writing new music. It’s the best we’ve ever sounded, and we’re happy.”
Frasco has been in the music industry since his teen years when he booked and promoted bands for legendary indie label Drive-Thru Records. When the industry crumbled in 2006, Frasco decided to take what he wanted. He became a musician himself.
With $8000 in Bar Mitzvah money, Frasco bought a keyboard and a van and took off across the country, enlisting, on Craigslist, local acts with whom he could learn to be a musician. Trial by fire, do or die, sink or swim, whatever cliché you want, it’s how Frasco built his career.
“It’s like shit or get off the pot. I like working like that,” Frasco said. “When you are forced to get better or you’re gonna…sink in front of people, that’s what really helped me get better and get better and get better.”
Frasco’s brand of music education was a natural fit for the blues, rock and the jam band scenes. His early tunes like “Blame it on the Pussy” and “Smokin’ Dope and Rock and Roll” are powerful yet simple reflections of the classic “Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll” lifestyle.
However, lost in the hedonic haze of Frasco’s persona is his work ethic. The man is non-stop.
Each year of Frasco’s 15 years touring, he has put on at least 250 shows, and most have been veritable bangers. But it seems almost contradictory: how could someone with a tendency for blackout benders and one-night stands have such an artisanal fidelity to his product night after night?
The answer is balance; Frasco has mastered juggling his industry and his indulgences.
“I want to work hard so I can enjoy this life. And if I’m going to work really hard, my mentality is I’m going to play hard too,” Frasco said. “It’s about meeting it in the middle. I’m not just going to always party if I can’t get work done. That’s when I start getting anxiety.”
Things weren’t always this clear for Frasco, however. Anxiety has vexed him all his life. It’s the reason he got into music.
“I just wanted to find a thing that would cure it and definitely what cured it was playing music, doing something that I loved where I don’t have to think about anything else,” Frasco said. “When I’m on stage and I’m running around and making people happy, that’s keeping me the most present.”
He said he hid his other vulnerabilities in cocaine and sex, and when the rigors of touring began to tear at him, and the loneliness of his bad habits broke him down, he found a new solution.
“When I was doing it too much, I got burnt out,” Frasco said. “Music wasn’t making me present anymore so that’s when I got into psilocybin, so I could fall back in love with music. And now we’re in a stride where we’re playing the best music we’ve ever made and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”
To manage his anxiety and depression, Frasco says he micro-doses psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient found in magic mushrooms. The result, he says, is a clearer, more serene mindset that distances him from his ego and pins him to the present.
Frasco’s maturity, clarity and happiness have shaped his newest releases without damaging what has made him a must-see act. New tracks like “Dancin’ Around my Grave” scoop from a deeper well of wisdom while keeping the same vigor that super-charged his early work.
The band has been releasing a single a month in anticipation for their new album which drops in March.
“This has been a big year for the band,” Frasco said. “There’s hope. There’s optimism. It makes me stoked, and we’re ready to play music for everybody, so if there’s any time to see the band, this is the time to see us.”
Andy Frasco and the U.N. play District Live Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. For tickets and more information visit plantriverside.com/district-live