By: Dennis M. Kelly
DK: Hello Andre, how are you doing this evening?
AR: Great, thanks!
DK: Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for me here and thanks also for being a part of our first benefit concert with our “Local Musicians Supporting Local Causes”, I really appreciate it! So, lets start at the beginning here… when would you say was the first time that music first made an impact in your life?
AR: When I was four or five years old I use to watch rock videos and jump on the bed for hours with my little toy green guitar, a lot of that music rubbed off on me. I started off playing and singing old traditional blues, and then got into playing traditional blues, and gradually got into playing and writing rock music. Recently I’ve been getting heavily into jazz music thanks to my teacher Dave Uhrich. My influences include Eddie Van Halen, Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Iron Maiden, Randy Rhodes, Slipknot, and more modern bands We Came as Romans, Veil of Maya, Born of Osiris, Of Mice and Men, Pierce the Veil, and much more.
DK: How were your parents with recognizing your musical interest and how did they encourage it?
AR: I was a pretty serious hockey player for a while, until my first recital at the Huntley Park District, I was 8 or 9 at the time, and I received a standing ovation. From that moment my parents and I knew that music was my destiny.
DK: I would say so! When did you get your first guitar?
AR: My first guitar was a Les Paul and I got that when I was 6 , but never really got serious until I was 7. I still love that guitar and use it on a daily basis.
DK: Have you had lessons or are you self taught?
AR: A bit of both, I definitely started with books. In fact, the author of one of my favorite shredding books is Troy Stetina, and now he is one of my private teachers.
DK: Oh, how cool is that?
AR: Meeting Troy the first time was one of our family’s coolest moments. I started with Drew Ruger who schooled me with techniques, theory, and scales at a very early age, and this made it easy to teach myself with books. My biggest blessings are my teachers, Drew Ruger, David Uhrich, Troy Stetina and of course my classical teacher, Steve Vazquez.
DK: Do you have much difficulty in balancing your school life with your music life?
AR: As of this year I am homeschooled and this helps. I’m still getting used to it, and balance is always something we look for.
DK: Indeed! How many hours do you practice?
AR: 3 to 6 hours daily.
DK: Wow, that is a hearty amount of time, but well worth it, I’m sure! Tell me about your band, “Andre and the Giants”?
AR: Andre and The Giants consist of myself, drummer Chuck White (Ion Vein), and bassist Geoff Jania (who toured with The Motherload for years). We are on our way to becoming and all original band. These guys are amazing musicians, they would make anyone look good.
DK: How did you come to find your bandmates?
AR: Crazy but Chuck White is my neighbor who we met over music business dinner in Chicago, and during our dinner we realized we live a few blocks apart. Geoff was introduced to me via Chuck. We jamed and that was it.
DK: Cool! How many shows have you played so far?
AR: Personally, I have done quite a few, from open mics, to school shows, to Rockstar 101 and this past summer I was involved with Farm Rock. This band however has only a few shows, so we are just getting started. We just played the Arcada Theatre opening for Gary Hoey with Nick Bell. Very great night and made some new fans. Ron Onesti Rocks.
DK: What show(s) have been the most rewarding for you and why?
AR: The Arcada Theater, we had a green room, and I felt like a rock star!
DK: Very cool! How many original songs do you have written so far?
AR: Our latest EP has four songs and we have at least 6 more songs ready to record. Personally I’ve got dozens of songs, three or four albums worth. My dad writes the lyrics and so we are a writing team. Dad was a former professional drummer and is very musical too.
DK: That has to be a lot of fun! Where did you record it?
AR: Area 44 Music in Chicago
DK: What would you say has proven to be the most effective in promotion for the band?
AR: Chicago Music Guide of course!
DK: Thank you very much for saying so! I appreciate it!
AR: …shows, getting out there is important, social media, ie Facebook, and Twitter have really helped. Mom helps with this.
DK: Aside from your show with us on January 24th, what do you have lined up after that?
AR: We’re busy in the studio but hopefully will have a good show lined up soon.
DK: I’m sure you will, you’re amazing at what you do already! What are some long term goals for you and the band?
AR: I’m hoping this is our break out year and that we can be heard!!!! I want to be able to perform and share my originals.
DK: Well Andre, I would very much like to thank you for your time and I look forward to your show at EvenFlow on January 24th! Thanks again!
AR: Thank you!
Andre Reilly is the child prodigy of Andre and the Giants. Lead singer, writer, guitar wizard and performer. A ROCK STAR IN THE MAKING!