Andy Curran on Unknown Sunday 3-2016

Andy Curran is probably a little bit well known to most Canadian music listeners of my generation (wait, that would be dating myself if I time tabled any further). Coney Hatch singer-songwriter and guitarist from the 1980’s, where something should have happened, but timing is everything sometimes, and promotions from the record label after a decent debut went to fund a little band called Def Leppard and their Pyromania album. So, the “Monkey Bars” were starting to corrode, and not even touring with Iron Maiden or having the same management as Rush could save Coney Hatch.
Enter 1990’s Andy Curran solo project, which was not a stretch from Coney Hatch mind you, but definitely showcased that he was capable of writing and making music that related to a certain viable demographic. Songs like “No Tatoos” and “License to Love” proved this well enough to a good percentage of music listeners in Canada, earning him the Juno Award “Best New Male Artist.” However, again, despite accolades the record label dropped Curran, forcing him to find another way to continue his career.
Curran’s knack for the less than serious lyrics under a rocking guitar still kept him a float, forming Soho 69 (album called Scatterbrain) and Caramel (self titled album) . I actually saw Caramel perform at the Warehouse in Toronto with Stabbing Westward and Econoline Crush. There was always this sound that you could identify and just get into…kind of like how people feel about a new Tom Petty track. I always thought he would eventually find the solidified position and make it out of the business funk that was holding him hostage. That would not be the case even with again a great single “Lucy” that came with US airplay. Caramel came to an end and the music industry started to weave away from the light hearted rock and even grunge began to see alterations.
Nearing the year 2000 now, and Curran stayed busy as usual. He wrote for Kim Mitchell while quietly changing the band name and experimenting with a modern sound while maintaining his touches of humor. November of 1999 this band gets a small independent record deal so as to avoid maybe the possibilities of getting lost in distribution. Drug Plan, not exactly the greatest band title in my estimation, but again—there’s Andy’s humor I think, considering the times. However, this is the album that shocked me. I was expecting that standard satire-delivery, but not with groovy hooks and grunge bashing guitar hinting that he’d been embodied by the spirit of Nirvana. What I had missed about not having Andy Curran was there and it was a bit more, which was great to hear. This time it the small independent label kept the album in obscurity. Hell, I didn’t find this record until 2015! That’s right, and I paid $2.99 for it…and I had no idea it was Andy Curran until I turned the record over and checked it on my mobile device. A steal…and I find tons of these mind you…and is the reason I write these articles.
Andy, I believe, is an “A&R” guy for that very band that they shared management with years ago, Rush. Not to mention a slew of others he’s helping/helped: Ian Thornley, The Reason, Dearly Beloved, The Tea Party, Steven Page, and in Andy’s own words, “ I’ve lost track of how many bands I personally formed, played in, produced, etc…just a blur.” Well, I take comfort that he’s still in the music, making a difference today.
Not so much “unknown” this week, as just unfortunately lost…in a blur of music and circumstance. A problem in the industry this still is, but at least some have an advocate who has lived it, fighting for them–in Andy Curran.
SPECIAL ARCHIVE POSTING NOTE

Albums in my collection:  Coney Hatch Live in Quebec 1983, Andy Curran (Whiskey and the Devil), Scatterbrain, Caramel, Drug Plan, and Envy of None

Andy Curran (in the ball cap) with bandmates: Alex Lifeson, Alfio Annibalini and singer Maiah Wynne of “Envy of None”

This “Unknown Sundays” was back on January 17 of 2016, and Andy Curran remains active in the music industry with just this past year finishing a record with Alex Lifeson of Rush and Maiah Wynne as the band, Envy of None.  The debut record is solid alternative style release, which relates nothing to any of the bandmate’s histories.  It’s got a bit of ambient in keyboard arrangements, garage rockin’ with hints of Garbage and Eisley in my opinion, as well as harmonies in her vocal that meet some clever bass and electric guitar moments often enough to give them status above the average.  Whiskey and the Devil is 30 years old now, and is getting a new vinyl pressing, so there’s no question it’s going to get some record collectors ears and wallets ready!   – Mark Kuligowski, April 2, 2023

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