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,
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
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: