I just returned from my first Japanese tour. Tokyo was a glorious revelation. These days I tour as much for the food experience as the music and I fell big time for Ramen and Izakaya.
I played four shows, two acoustic and two electric. The electric shows were done Chuck Berry style. The promoter provided a band of Japanese players to back me up and though we only had one rehearsal Touch, Sa Wa and Greg rose to the occasion playing with precision and energy. The audiences also made my job easier by singing along with every chorus. Japanese fans are known for their intense passion for rock and roll but I was still surprised they knew all my lyrics.
The main purpose was to celebrate and promote Teengenerate’s 20th anniversary. Teengenerate; Japan’s premiere punk band named themselves after a song I wrote and are being honored with concerts, a tribute record (http://www.kingrecords.co.jp/cs/g/gKICS-3099/) and a documentary (http://www.get-action.net)!! Thanks so much to Koji and Masao for bringing me over.
Here’s a picture of me with Fink and Fifi from Teengenerate
I am pleased to announce the release of my new EP “On The First Day, Man Created God.” Four songs about the subject we dare not speak of in proper company; religion. This is not a topic for children my friends, this is punk rock for adults! I’ve been taking pot shots at American culture since the first Dictators album in 1975.
The sound may be less distorted and the tempos a bit slower but the bad attitude remains .…. here’s the story behind the songs.
Are You Ready To Rapture?
I’m from New York City where nobody actually believes Jesus will return to earth so I grew up completely unaware of the Rapture. As a kid I saw a few nut jobs in Times Square screaming about the end of the world but it’s different today. It’s not just the ranting of religious fanatics anymore, we have powerful people in government who gleefully anticipate the apocalypse …. and some want to be President. I find that very scary.
I had the phrase Jewish zombie rolling around my brain and wanted to incorporate it into a song, so I researched Christian eschatology extensively. It was very important to me that every line in the song reflected what these knuckleheads actually believe. I probably wrote 25 verses until I found the right combination of drama, truth and sarcasm.
… enjoy my video for the song as well.
What happens when lovers have different views on religion? … I conceived this song as a conversation between a couple where one is a skeptic and the other a believer. I imagine this would be awfully difficult to maneuver in real life so in a rare move, I dropped the sarcasm.
Fisher Of Men
I loved the phrase Fisher Of Men and thought it would be a good starting point for an empathetic song about an evangelical with doubts. The phrase comes from the New Testament (Matthew 4:19) and is a call for evangelicals to convert non-believers. If you sincerely believe in a literal bible I understand why you would want to convert your friends and family to save them from an eternity of torture. The question then arises, what would happen if you couldn’t “save” your brother? Is it possible to be happy in heaven if you know a loved one is burning in hell? …. If that was the case heaven would not paradise.
Get On Your Knees For Jesus
We’re back to sarcastic Andy on this one but delve beneath the surface and I think you will find serious lyrics about original sin, one of the most preposterous religious concepts I have ever heard …. Let me get this straight, we are all sinners because a talking snake convinced Adam and Eve to taste an apple from the tree of knowledge? I deserve punishment for the sins of someone else? Sorry I’m not buying.
The Dictators’ bassist knows of what he speaks. By Blurt Staff
There’s a four song EP by Andy (aka “Adny”) Shernoff, “On The First Day, Man Created God,” due out Feb. 11. Shernoff needs no introduction, but for those who walked in late: He is best known as the songwriter and bassist for the great New York punk band, The Dictators. His songs have been covered by Dion, Mary Weiss of the Shangri-las and The Ramones and he has had some mainstream success with Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom. In 2010 he sang “California Sun” for the official promotional video of the Major League Baseball All Star game.
This is his second solo EP and while it’s very different musically, it displays the same irreverent humor and catchy songwriting that made the Dictators so popular. The lyrics were inspired by Andy’s interest in the conflict between religious and secular values in a changing world. It led to him performing at the Reason Rally on the National Mall in Washington DC in 2012 with Bill Maher and Eddie Izzard.
What do Blue Coupe and Drivin’ N’ Cryin have in common?…..They both had the smarts to use Andy Shernoff songs on their new CD’s.
Supernatural Love- Blue Coupe
Blue Coupe is comprised of musicians Albert and Joe Bouchard from the Blue Oyster Cult and Dennis Dunaway from Alice Cooper. As a budding young rocker I listened to to both those bands incessantly, worshiping their records but more importantly assimilating their songwriting craft which helped me establish the standards I aspire to in my own writing. I was thrilled when Albert Bouchard asked me to collaborate on a tune for the new Blue Coupe record.
We sat in my home studio one evening throwing ideas back and forth until we had a few chord changes and a melody we both liked. I kept hearing the phrase Supernatural Love in the chorus, so we parted that evening with chord changes and a title. A day or two later Albert came up with the first lyrical draft and again we went back and forth a few times until I felt I needed clarification as to exactly what we were writing about. Albert said he was thinking about Helen Wheels, our dear friend who left this world tragically in 2000. At that moment the skies parted and all the lyrics flowed into place. I even wanted to sub-title the song “Helen’s Tune”.
Helen Wheels is a footnote in the history of New York rock but a woman whose legend looms large for those who knew her and her accomplishments… She was a songwriter with numerous songs covered by the Blue Oyster Cult, she was one of the first women to lead a band in the CBGB’s era and she was a competitive bodybuilder long before women were a force in that sport. Helen left a strong, powerful, feminist legacy but will always be remembered for her heart of gold by those who loved her. Supernatural Love is about how Albert and I maintain contact with our dearly departed soul sister.
Check out Supernatural Love on Blue Coupe’s CD, Million Miles More – http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bluecoupe4
Up and Down and Round and Round
The band Drivin’ n’ Cryin’ is on a schedule to record and release a new EP every few months. That puts a lot of pressure on songwriter Kevn Kinney. He stopped by my house one day and after a few cups of coffee, he mentions that he could use another song for his next EP with the title “From The Psychedelic Time Clock”. I pulled out my 12 string and played him a 60’s inspired riff and chord change that I thought might fit his theme. He took it home and came back with some hilarious lysergic soaked lyrics. The tune is tons of fun, complete with an electric sitar riff and hallucinogenic production techniques.
My master plan to pump out new music every few months is in full effect. I am currently in final overdub mode for my second solo record at the world renowned recording studio Andy’s House Of Hits; otherwise known as my spare bedroom. With one EP under my belt, I am feeling more focused and assured as a solo artist, which will come across in the performances and production.
This new EP will be a concept record about two of my favorite subjects; religion and faith. Entitled On The First Day, Man Created God, it includes three new tunes, Fisher Of Men, Skeptical and Get On Your Knees For Jesus as well as my epic, viral YouTube video hit, Are You Ready To Rapture, finally available on CD and download.
This is a record that will undoubtably bring hours of listening pleasure for you, the discerning audiophile…. but be forewarned, if you are easily offended or have a weak heart; please do not attempt to give it a listen !
As I look back on 2012, I see the usual line-up of records, videos and live shows. However they all fall to the wayside in the shadow of one event … performing at the Reason Rally on the National Mall in Washington DC. It was a once in a lifetime experience to share the stage with the amazing Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Kraus, Tim Minchin, Eddie Izzard, Bad Religion and the dozens of other thinkers and artists I admire. This was the largest atheist event ever held and I honestly felt as if I was taking part in an transformational moment in American history.
If you’ve been out of the loop, here are the highpoints for the rest of 2012 ….
Just got my official certificate from the Atheist Film Festival. This was my first attempt at creating a video for one of my songs, so it’s very fulfilling to see the acceptance it has received…. Working on a Christmas video as we speak.