ANDY CREEGGAN - ANDIWORK III
Featured in The Top 100 Canadian Albums, with Barenaked Ladies: #27 - Gordon
Featured in The Top 100 Canadian Singles, with Barenaked Ladies: #30 - If I Had $1000000
Andy Creeggan was one of the original Barenaked Ladies, the keyboard guy for If I Had A Million Dollars, Brian Wilson, Be My Yoko Ono, all the early big hits for the band. But he chucked it all in in 1995 to follow his own path. You see, Andy is a composer at heart, a music experimentalist, a gear and instrument enthusiast, an all-round creative guy, and really, the confines of a pop band were just going to hold him back. Since he left the Ladies, he's released albums on his own, and as The Brothers Creeggan, with brother Jim who stayed in the band. But the big question is: What is he doing in Moncton?
Well, he lives there now. He laughs "I'm just following the wife." Turns out she's a doctor, and originally from Moncton. They had always hoped she would get back to the city, and it happened last fall. So Andy has packed up all his gear and Moncton is now his musical home.
It turns out he needs quite a lot of room in that home. Andy had a lot of gear to bring. He had never really had them all in one place until his last home in Sherbrooke, Quebec. "I've been collecting instruments over the years," he says, "and I finally had a space where I could set them all up." When they were all in one place, he got inspired to put them all to use. The results, over some time of recording, ended up as his new disc, called Andiwork 3. It is pretty much all Andy, except for some minimal outside help on selected specialist instruments like harps and horns, and of course, brother Jim on double bass. It's almost entirely instrumental, except for some backing vocals by guests, ooos and aaas. That leaves Andy messing about with his gear, lots of keyboards and lots of interesting percussion stuff that often formed the basis of the more rhythmic tracks: kalimba, vibraphone, African and Mexican percussion pieces.
Creeggan lets his muse fly in various directions, but the key to this one was to play with the instruments in front of him, often looking around his collection for just the right thing to spice up a piece. "I've done my composition degree, now I just want to have fun" he admits. First, he'd work out an interesting percussion part: "With the instrument that started everything, I'd want to see what I could do with it. I'd try everything out. Then I'd look around the room, and see what else would work." Because he can move so easily from jazz to funk to pop and all over, you get a huge variety here. A lot of it is very funky, some of it lounge music inspired. Perhaps the most interesting influence on the collection is from the extreme sports world. "I was doing a lot of sports, hanging out with those people, so I ended up writing themes, soundtracks for how they played and partied. Ultimate Frisbee, squash - hearing loops, electronica, I was fascinated."
Creeggan loves the creative process he's developed in his musical workshop: "When I'm creating I have to be discovering. I don't like to repeat. Recording this, trying it, see how it works, get ideas. When you listen back, add this abandon that. I have a good time with it. I hear what it's pointing to. I want to try to screw with the systems. That's always something I need to do."
He's also kept up his ties with this brother and the rest of the Ladies. In February he's hitting the seas with them again, for their annual Ships N Dip cruise. This year it features Great Big Sea, Guster, Jenn Grant, and of course The Brothers Creeggan. Also along is another of Andy's frequent collaborators, Montreal's Mike Evan. The two of them are dong a joint CD release show in Moncton on February 21st, at Cafe Aberdeen.