Volume 96, Issue 64
Thursday, January 23, 2003

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Singing the praises of Nickelback

By Maggie Wrobel
Gazette Staff

Gazette file photo
"I'M SURE IF I WISH HARD ENOUGH, SHE'LL APPEAR..." Andy Stochansky wistfully reflects on his dream girl.

Andy Stochansky is a brave man.

Within the first five minutes of the interview, he enthusiastically proclaims his love for both country music and Nickelback – two things that could very likely hurt the credibility of a contemporary pop-rocker like himself, when one considers the vast numbers of people who shy away from anything with twang, as well as the ever-growing army of Nickelback haters.

Sitting in a noisy country bar "somewhere in Ottawa," Stochansky is quick to affirm his support of old-school favourites like Patsy Cline. Does he really like country music that much?

"Oh yeah!" he enthuses, "I like the real stuff though – stuff like Hank Williams and Hank Snow."

As a jukebox blares loudly in the background – as though to prove his point – the conversation turns to his current cross-Canada tour.

Touring is something Stochansky knows all too well. After a seven-year stint of touring with various acclaimed musicians – including self-made, renowned indie songstress Ani DiFranco – Stochansky branched out on his own and started devoting all of his recording and touring time to his own music.

He reveals that he quickly fell in love with touring, largely due to the intimate interaction it allows with his audience.

"Touring is great because it allows me to watch the reactions people have to my music. Response [to the tour] has been amazing so far. It's exciting because it seems like people really know the record."

That "record" is Five Star Motel, Stochansky's third full-length album, but his first for a major label. The album represents a change in the richly instrumental sound Stochansky developed on his first two albums, 1995's While You Slept and 1999's Radio Fusebox.

"I was listening to a lot of guitar rock [while recording the album] and it inspired me to go for simpler instrumentation."

It's this "just-one-man-and-his-guitar" sensibility that Stochansky likens to Alberta rockers Nickelback. He insists that Nickelback's rugged sound was influential on Five Star Motel, though this is hard to believe when listening to sweet songs, such as the musical love letter "22 Steps."

With lines like "It takes 22 steps from the walk to your door/ takes 22 steps 'cause I've tried it before," it's easy to wonder if Stochansky is speaking from heartbroken personal experience.

"For some songs I use my own perspective, but for others, I definitely take on a persona," he reveals. "My songs are always personal, but it's usually a 50-50 split between those two things."

Despite his seemingly distracted demeanour throughout the interview, Stochansky sounds warm and sincere when discussing his songwriting.

When asked if there's any particular message he would like to pass along to his fans through the article, he simply stresses his gratitude to the people who buy and listen to his music, and for the radio DJs who play his songs.

"The main thing about art, no matter what you do, be it painting or writing, [is that] all you're trying to do is to get people to feel something," he concludes.

Andy Stochansky plays at Call the Office tonight for $5. Doors open at 9 p.m..


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