“Un-Block The Music’s” obsession with guitar heroes continues with Andrew Synowiec. That name might not ring a bell right away, but he has been a sought-after guitarist for years having been part of 25 Grammy-nominated recordings. He won a Grammy of his own in 2015 as part of Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band. And….he has worked with top producers like David Foster and Giorgio Moroder. Why write about him now? Well, Andrew finally released his own solo album this year, called “Second Story.”
Having had two big brothers, Andrew, who grew up outside of Annapolis, MD, was exposed to all kinds of music from suburban white hip hop to metal. When he started playing guitar, his approach was like that of Eddie Van Halen, pretty much able to do anything, Andrew says. Then Nirvana hit and there was somewhat of a guitar backlash, but Andrew told “Un-Block The Music, that he “embraced both worlds. It was natural.” That embrace brings him also into the world of musicals (more on that later).
“The first concert I ever attended was Paul McCartney,” says Andrew (making him officially my musical soul mate). “There was a book about the tour, and there was a page for each of their backing musicians. It made a lightbulb go off in my head. Those musicians played with other bands in addition to Paul’s band. I was instantly drawn to that aspect of band playing; of the opportunity to play a variety of music as opposed to playing the same song every night.”
“Un-Block The Music” asked Andrew what lead him to this debut album and why did he decide to record it so far into his career? “I studied composition in school. I have had music inside of me from an early age, but I always thought the world didn’t necessarily need another guitar player record. I never saw where I fit in. At the same time, I have great credits, but it bothered me that when people would put my name in Spotify, what came up was stuff that I have done for other people. Up to now, there was nothing that represented me.”
Everything came together one night at the Los Angeles club, The Baked Potato. “Depending who you ask, it is a legendary club or a dive bar” Andrew laughs. “It’s a tiny place, been there since the 1970s, and it’s the only place where it is all about the music. You can play whatever you want, and people are there to see what’s happening on stage.” Andrew booked a gig there, and he got the best band he could find. “I was so over-prepared about what we were going to play and what the arrangements would be. Ironically, one of my musical heroes and mentors was in the audience, George Doering (“Star Trek Beyond,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “The Core”). He said, I should record this.” Andrew resisted at first, but decided then, he was right.
Andrew wanted to make a record that people would enjoy. He credits his wife (a natural musician, he says) who “reminded me not to make an album that wouldn’t mean anything to the average person. I didn’t want to be another musician that lives in a bubble and complains that no one digs his art.”
“I found a six- hour window when we could actually be in the room and record.” The album was recorded at House of Syn, Andrews’s studio. The band included: Tim Pierce (guitar), Fred Krow (organ and piano), Sean Hurley (bass) and two drummers, Jake Reed and Blair Sinta. Google them all!
And here is “Un-Block The Music’s” theater connection…where the pop/rock artists are now….Andrew played on Fox TV’s presentation of “Rent Live”. “It was like a real job,” Andrew joked. “We practiced for the entire month of January. The people involved were great.” And, if you watched the show, actor Brennin Hunt, who played the lead character Roger, broke his foot the night before the broadcast. So, part of the show was done live and parts were pre-recorded. But, Andrew says, “That’s the other part of my job that I love; seeing people band together to make it work when something unexpected happens.”
Andrew has been part of many amazing movie soundtracks as well. He played on a “little song” called “Let It Go,” from Disney’s “Frozen”. He also played on “The Greatest Showman” and “Coco” to name a few. “Coco” is the story of a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who loves music and has to convince his family this is his calling. “I felt proud to contribute to ‘Coco’. Much of the story mirrored my own life. I was that little boy.”
If you want to find out more about Andrew, his recordings and his studio, check out his website: http://www.andrewsynowiec.com/