© Kevin Julie


An Interview With

Andy Curran has been around the Canadian scene for over 20 years. He first came to be easily recognized as bass player / singer / songwriter and co-founder of CONEY HATCH who is responsible for the classic hit "Money Bars".

When Carl Dixon [also singer / songwriter and guitarist in the band] left in '85 Andy and [co-founder / guitarist] Steve Shelski kept the band going for a few years with other singers [Kevin James LaBrie, Phil Naro...] and [drummer] Paul Marangoni], before opting for reunions with the original line-up [which also included drummer Dave Ketchum, and at times 2nd drummer Barry Connors]. In 1990 Curran released his first solo album simply as 'Andy Curran' - which featured the Canadian hits "License To Love" and "No Tattoos". The album [which featured Dixon and Marangoni guesting on a few tracks] gave Curran's post-Coney career a big boost and won him a Juno [Canadian music awards] award for 'Best New Male Artist' [or something like that! Who cares - the Junos are a joke like the Grammies, American Music Awards, etc....!!!].

Anyway, despite all the hits and the award Curran was dumped by Alert Records and without a record deal a year later [so much for loyalty!]. The solo album was also the first time Curran hooked up with former FM guitarist Simon Brierley. In 1993 Curran and Brierley formed 'SOHO 69' [named in part after the Phil Lynott album], who released the excellent "Scatterbrain" album - which spawned another local hit "Kiss My Boots".

After Soho 69 Curran & Brierley put together 'CARAMEL', which introduced more 'techno' sounds to Curran's music and featured another big hit [OK, I'll be honest - I didn't care for the song, and I don't know the title!]. Periodically there have still been the occasional Coney Hatch reunion shows, with the last one being in '97 in Toronto, and no plans for anything in the near future, at least. Most recently Curran and Brierley put continued on from the Caramel project with a new outfit called 'DRUG PLAN', which again encorporates modern influences while still retaining some of the old Curran feel and humor with tracks like "I Can't Quit You" [currently getting a lot of air-play on a few local stations], "The Last Band On Earth", and "Apple". Here Curran talks about the new album, upcoming plans, and a bit about the more recent past.

For more info on Andy Curran and Drug Plan check out

Q) How You been?
AC) Excellent! Things are going well!

Q) This one kind of caught me off guard because I didn't even know you had a new album out until i swapped e-mails with you!
AC) Well, we had it finished and we were thinking about doing a shop to major labels, and then we decided that there was an opportunity for us to release it here in Canada on 41 Records - which is the company in Buffalo which put out the Caramel record, and subsequently we sold it to Geffen. So we thought 'what the hell! Let's put it out in Canada, and let's if we can get things up and running here', and then, of course - try and release it in America and see if we can get a buzz there as well. So, it was actually it was released the last week of November here, and it's out on Oasis which is a brand new label, the Tragically Hip's management company are involved and some people who used to be with A&M Records, it's a very small independent label that took over Page Distribution. It's still very much an indie thing, but we're hoping to do the same thing that we did with the Caramel record - which is either do a production deal with 41 Records and then get a major to distribute it, or just get a major to pick us up.

Q) Why the band change names over the last 3 albums?
AC) It seems to be a question that everyone is asking this particular time. It actually had a lot to do with legal matters, cleaning house, and breaking away from the Geffen deal. We had asked for a release from Geffen when it got bought out by Seagrom's and the Universal merger. And part and parcel of breaking away from Geffen was ending the Caramel chapter and changing the name. And for intents and purposes the new band is not Caramel, it's only half on Caramel really - Simon and myself, so it made sense to me that we should change it anyway. Also, to make a clean break from Geffen and get away from any possible legal implications that might arise after that, so we changed the name.

Q) Where did the name come?
AC) It's the combination of a few things. Pretty much everybody i know is on lewd-enhancing drugs like riddelin, or prozac, or viagra, so it's a pretty sort of timely topic right now, ya know the whole prescription drug industry. And I've never been in a company that was large enough to be involved in a drug plan, so i thought i might as well just form it myself! [ha ha ha]

Q) You always try to keep a sense of humor - be it the marketing, the names, the lyrics , or whatever. Is that just your personality or is that something you intentionally try to inject in there?
AC) I always try to inject a little bit of humor in there! Some of the bands that piss me off the most are the bands that try to take themselves too seriously. Let's be realistic - it's rock n roll, and it's what i love to do, and hopefully try to make a living doing, but certainly the world's going to keep turning if another rock n roll record is not put out - that's for sure!

Q) The Caramel album did pretty good, did it not? [Especially in the States!?]
AC) We got a whack of air-play in America. The critics really liked it, and we got a lot of positive feedback from it. The single "Lucy" was in the Top 98 of '98 for all-time spins at American radio. We did some good dates with Creed, Brother Kane, and Stabbing Westward. Unfortunately, i definitely think if Geffen had not been bought out, and everybody been fired from there, we would've definitely had a second record out on Geffen, and Caramel would still be going, but our A&R man was fired, and they just cleaned house there, so all the Caramel supporters were no longer there. We didn't feel that it was the best place to be after that happened.

Q) You've been working with Simon since your solo album eh?
AC) Yeah, since '90. And we'll be surgically joined at the hips later this year!

Q) How does that whole thing work out with you and him as far as the songwriting, and how does it differ from whole situation with Coney Hatch?
AC) I think Kevin, as far as Simon and I go it's a comfort thing, and we've been working together for so long that we know how each other operates. In comparing it with the Coney Hatch thing, the Coney Hatch writing thing - we were all so young, and there was a little bit of competition always involved between Carl and myself, and underlying tone of 'who's songs would make it to the record!?', and with Simon it's just like 'let's make a great song!', and if Simon happens to write the majority of it - that's fine, or if i happen to then that's just the way it is. The long and short of it is, the egos have gone, and with this project with Simon and I there's no problems with egos.

Q) Now you guys got 2 other new people in this band. What can you tell me about Virginia [Storey], and I know Randy [Cooke] has been around for a long time!?
AC) To touch on Randy first, he probably is the hottest drummer in the city. He's played with a lot of people; he's still currently playing with Kim Mitchell, and he's played with Sass Jordan, and with FM - which is where he met Simon, and we definitely needed some new blood in the drumming department, and Randy had known Simon and heard that the spot was open, and we did 3 tracks with him and it worked out so amazing that we asked him if he wanted to be part of the band, and he jumped at the opportunity. We haven't done any live shows with him yet, but certainly he fits in well in the studio and will be part of the touring band. Virginia was also a friend of Simon's, and Simon had played on her solo record that she had out in the early '90s. She jumped aboard once we Caramel together for the road, and Virginia was the 2nd guitarist for the live dates. Again we hit it off so well that we asked Virginia to stick around.

Q) I notice from album to album you change style, try to keep current - Do you listen to a lot of what's going on?
AC) As far as the changing of sound goes Kevin, I don't think it's a conscience effort to try to remain as current sounding or contemporary, it's just that I'm constantly listening to new music; I still have my old collection that I love - I still listen to Aerosmith, and I still listen to my Jeff Beck records, and Kings X, and I love all that stuff, and I love when i discover new bands. I love the new Stone Temple Pilots, and Rammstein, and Rob Zombie, so for me it's a buzz listening to new music, and maybe that's where the new music is coming out, and I'm kind of wearing it on my sleeve, but I also believe that if I was to keep writing the same type of music I wouldn't really be progressing, and I'm constantly trying to push myself and see what kind of new stuff I can come up with.

Q) As far as lyrics - what keeps you motivated?
AC) I find there's more than enough topics to write about with everyday life [ha ha]. There's so much out there. I carry around a little pad, and just little catch phrases or stuff that happens to me personally or things that i see on TV or in the paper, I mean it's all out there in front of you and if your eyes are wide open you can pull from it. I actually happen to have enough lyrics that I wrote the lyrics for 9 of Kim Mitchell's new things at the same time as working on my new record. So lyrics never seem to be a problem for me.

Q) How much of the Kim Mitchell album are you on?
AC) I co-wrote "Kimosabe" with him, and I sang on that too. I think he's got an 11 track record, and I probably co-wrote 9 of those. I did some vocals for a track called "Suicide Wings" which didn't appear on the record, but hopefully that'll surface one of these days - it was a pretty cool track.

Q) As far as the single, what's being pushed to the radios right now?
AC) Well, right now the single is "I Can't Quit You", and we did a video for it as well which is being played on MuchMusic. And we've got about a half-dozen radio stations in America that have just started playing it; plus it got added in Calgary and Winnipeg I think as well. So, it's still a pretty new thing and that's the track they're going with right now, it's also up at the web site, and I think we got 1500 hits last month, so we're averaging a 150 a day now. Just word of mouth on that thing has been really cool, and it's helped us attract some label interest in America too, so the whole web site thing has been cool for us as well.

Q) "I Can't Quit You" - that's an easily favored song as far as you go, because it's got the riff or the hook, so it's easily identifiable, and it's got the newer sounds to it. That's the one that immediately jumped out at me.
AC) That's odd, because my manager, who's also running '41 Records' - he's the one that chose that; and I don't know if I would have chosen that myself, I'm a little bit partial to "I'm Dead" and "Breakdown", and I like "I'm So Over You". But maybe I Can't Quit You has got a bit of a pop element to it, and a few people have said it sounds a little bit 'Foo Fighter-ish'. But it was his choice, and he's been a radio guy for 22 years, so I'm not going to question that.

Q) When you take this on the road, you're going to have a lot of different instrumentation - is that going to be a problem as far as recreating it?
AC) We're trying to do as much of it as we can without dragging 20 people on the road; but some of the loops that we encorporated, and some of the really weird sounds that we came up with we can't duplicate live, so we'll actually use mini-disc and Randy will be sort of using a mini-disc thing beside him. It's not a lot; it's mostly the loops because we really didn't want to carry a percussionist or a 2nd drummer, so we're cheating a little bit and it'll be coming through the 'front of 'house', but it will be on mini-disc.

Q) Who are the Konkussion Brothers {producers}?
AC) [Ha ha] There's a guy by the name of Vic Florencia here in the city, and he's one of the hottest engineers in Ontario, and he's a real good buddy of mine, and we ended up hitting it off. The Konkussion Brothers are actually Vic and myself, but I really didn't want to put 'Produced by Andy Curran' on it, because it wasn't. We have our own little production company, and the name basically is because we're constantly knocking heads, but we seem to get the job done.

Q) What else stands out on the album for you as far as what you're going to pushing, any personal faves?
AC) Definitely my personal favorite is "I'm So Over You" - I just really like the whole vibe of that, it's got the heavy side, and the mellow vibe beside it, and lyrically it means a lot to me from some stuff I went through last year. I really like "I'm Dead" - it's a fun song, and it's a bit humorous. As far as any other singles, we really haven't decided yet because it's so early in the game here. I was really happy with the way the production turned out. We worked with a guy named Howie Weinberg who mastered it, and he did a great job. He did the Nirvana stuff, and Soundgarden, and i think that really helped to give it a little edge; definitely heavier than Caramel - that's for sure.

Q) "Apple" I liked, that's got kind of an eerie feel to it......
AC) I think that's one like Iggy Pop meets James Bond.

Q) What else do you have planned down the road for this?
AC) Well definitely we hope to be playing, and that's what we're in pre-production for right now. The first show will be something in conjunction with HTZ FM [St Catharines radio] at the end of this month, and it's really just to get out there and let people see us. One of the disappointments with Caramel was we didn't do that many shows; I think we ended up doing like 15 shows total, so our goal is to try and hit the road a little bit and see if we can land ourselves another American deal. Keep on keeping on, and moving forward.

...And to possibly skate with the Black Hawks in practice this year! Q) Is there any plans for any other Coney stuff - not new stuff, I mean old stuff, live stuff, whatever you got!?
AC) Not as far as I know. I know that Carl is working on a Swedish release, and that might include something that I had written for one of my records that Carl is going to finish, and that would probably be the only thing that would be close to the Coney stuff, but there's no plans for doing anything at all right now.

Q) Why did you guys never do a live album?
AC) We had planned on in the reunion dates of actually trying to do something and it just never happened. I don't know why, but we were going to take out a 24-track, and bring that on to the road, but it never happened. We probably should've but we never did. I think everybody's just so busy with their own things, and I think the last thing would be a Coney reunion at this stage - I know Carl's busy with The Guess Who, and Steve's pretty busy with his own thing too, so...who knows!?

Q) How about as far as the stuff in vaults - unreleased tracks, and that stuff?
AC) Not a hell of a lot to tell you the truth, Kevin. I'd like to see the 'Soho 69' stuff get released in America some day - something like that, because that thing never really saw the light of day except for here in Canada, and it got a little release in Germany.

Q) As far the live stuff, how are you going to be setting it up with new stuff and stuff from previous bands?
AC) We're not doing anything old at all, it'll just be all Drug Plan.

Q) Nothing from the Caramel or Soho 69?
AC) We have talked about doing the cover of "Cinnamon Girl" that we did for the Neil Young tribute album, but that would probably be about the only thing.

Q) The photos are a little odd in the packaging here, who's idea was that?
AC) [Ha ha] It's a sequential thing! One the front you have the baby, in the middle you have the adolescent guys and gal in the band, and if you want to see the real life - you've got to come and see us live! [Ha ha] No, you know what - it was one of those things that came together so fast that we were just like 'let's use some old cheesy pictures' of when we were young; and we were just trying to do something different too.
My picture there is from when I was 16, and I had just gotten that bass, and my sister had taken that picture in the back yard. I had fancied myself as a bit of a rocker in that one - the early early days!

Q) What are your favorites as far as bands, singers, bass players.....?
AC) I still think Doug Pinnick [Kings X] is one of my favorite bass players; as far as the older bands go I'm still following Cheap Trick - they probably would have to be my favorite of the old bands. Some of the newer Aerosmith I haven't been a fan of, but I still play the crap out of my Aerosmith "Rocks" record; I've worn out a few copies of that one! I think I just got "The Best of UFO" on CD - which was great to listen to that again. I tracked down all the old Rose Tattoo records on CD through a buddy in Europe.

Q) Familiar with Uriah Heep at all?
AC) I did like the band, but I didn't really know a lot about them - "Easy Livin" - I could tell you about Easy Livin [ha ha]. A buddy of mine had the cover of "Abominog" air-brushed on the hood on his car - it looked wicked.

Q) Anything you're else you're up to - hobbies, hockey...?
AC) Yeah, still doing the pick-up hockey whenever I can and trying to do the charity games and stuff, but not to much time for that right now. I have dabbled in the production of some local bands. One of my favorites is band called 'Nude 101' - they're a Toronto band, and I did a full CD with them; it's pretty heavy sounding stuff.

Interview conducted - January 13 / 2000
Copyright Kevin J. Julie