A few years back, when Andrew Bean was lead vocalist for Indy hard rock giants Emerson Rose, it would have been hard to imagine him in any other context. But times change.
After Emerson Rose broke up, Bean spent some time playing oldies and working as a janitor at his alma mater, St. Matthew Parish School. And then he regrouped.
He's spent the past couple years assembling a new band, Lady Apollo, and has found a new life as a roots rocker. Bean's coming-of-age party falls this Saturday at Birdy's, where he will celebrate the release of his debut album with Lady Apollo, The Wreckage of my Youth.
"This album is a concrete remembrance of what has brought me to this point," Bean, sitting in the cellar-based studio of local engineer Joe Cheeseman, explains. "A lot of what's on this record, especially the lyrics come from things that I picked in my youth, so it's going back to a sort of comfort zone for me."
With Cheeseman's help, Bean has created a mature, heterogeneous album which jumps from the catchy country twang of "Imaginary Lines" to the R&B-flavored "All Dead" to the Black Crowes meets gospel sound of "Maybe Tomorrow.""Imaginary Lines" from The Wreckage of my Youth:
"I tend to hold on to my stuff a little too tightly, and I have these preconceived notions about what they should sound like," Bean says. "This was the record where I learned to let go, to be able to trust another person to help shape the sound. Joe really helped me to realize that I don't know everything."
Bean could be forgiven if he thought he did know everything, given how Emerson Rose so quickly rose to the top of the local scene through a combination of face-melting live shows and tight, groovy songs.
Growing up in the giant sucking void known as the late 90's, Bean struggled to find his musical path. That is, until Robert Plant and Jimmy Page saved him.
"Led Zeppelin IV was the record that made me want to be a rock star, but it was a different type of rock star that I was inspired to be," Andrew says with a smile. "There was something smart about what Robert and Jimmy were doing with this record, there was hard rock, but they also incorporated folk and blues and things like that. So that was what I picked up on. I wanted to be a rock star, but I also wanted to be smart about it as well."
In Lady Apollo, a rhythm section made up of bassist Andrew Newell and drummer Alex VanBergeijk, a smooth-sounding guitarist, Adam Sarzo, and piano utility man David Hammes supplements Bean's warm husk of a voice. The band can handle a wide range of material, and particularly shine on their gorgeous version of Tim Buckley's "Song to the Siren" or the Darkness on the Edge of Town-fuelled rave-up "We Own The Night."
"With this record and with Lady Apollo, it's a much richer experience. All the guys I play with have such a deep knowledge of roots music: jazz, blues and country. I feel like I'm in a blessed place because, with this band behind me, I feel like I can do whatever it is I want to do."
"Ghosts in the Rain" from The Wreckage of my Youth:
"Hats Off" from The Wreckage: