Andrew Prickett: Interview With One of the Driving Forces Behind Cush

posted in: Articles, September 2013 | 0
Prickett at Northern Studios

Cush…There’s so much to say about a band that has been such a unique contribution musically, but by their very definition they are an innovative idea and concept. Their first release was a ‘who’s who’ of the alternative world. Released on Northern Records in 2000, the artists included Andrew Prickett, Michael Knott, Wayne Everett, Campuzano, Snowman, Frank Lenz, Gene Eugene, Blake Wescott, Tim Taber and Jyro Xhan. The accidentally released Cush Manifesto only added to the intrigue and the mystique, and for anyone fortunate to catch a live show, they quite possibly were the best new band going and the promise was something to anticipate. The live shows also added even different artists like Steve Hindalong and Michael Pritzl, as well as several others.

The first release “Cush: The New Sound” was an amazing foray into a beautiful world of sound and emotion, and it has to be said the vocal style of Michael Knott really complemented the mood and the music, as well as bringing some truly moving lyrics to the mix. The future looked bright, and unpredictable in the sense of where would Cush plant their musical heels next…and when. Their second release ambiguously titled, “EP 1” completely flew under my radar at the time. It was a concept album that followed it’s own path musically, but stayed in line with it’s theme. Again, numerous players were involved, but somewhat shrouded in mystery. Next up was “Cush: Spirituals One ep” and it was a distinctly different album from the first two releases, and it is there that the mystery of the force known as Cush really begins to gel into a mix of wonder, mystery and magnificence. “Spirituals 1” was released in 2003, closely followed by Spiritual 2 later the same year. For me, the Spirituals EP’s were so different and eclectic and I’m a sucker for traditional songs, so the enigmatic movement of Cush became even more interesting in my mind.

Fast forward to this year…2013 sees the return of Cush, and the sound has once again changed and grown into a swirling echo of ambience and lush sounds that captivate and transport the listener into another place. The music is accompanied by video which is a bonus and something quite unique. It gives the listener a visually pleasing experience that not only compliments the music, but actually takes it into another realm. The songs are up on YouTube to watch and listen to at the same time. I recommend headphones for maximum sonic enjoyment. We’ll provide the links below to all things Cush.

Sorry for all my gushing about Cush, this interview is actually about Andy Prickett, the guitar wizard behind Cush and a host of other bands, as well as a producer on  several stellar releases. Andy is one of those guys that when you hear that he is involved in any capacity, the music is on the ‘to get’ list. He has carved a path above trend and change and maintained a completely unique sound with the projects that he creates and lends his talents to. We talk about the past and the present and it is was great to catch up and hear what he had to say!

When did you first start playing music, and has the guitar always been your instrument of first choice, or do you play other instruments as well?

I got my first electric guitar at age 14.  I was figuring stuff out on a small, yucky acoustic guitar before that.  Just playing along with records, trying to find the notes and feeling the energy.  I have always been a guitar player, although I can fake my way through other instruments.  The electric guitar has had my distinct interest since the late 70’s, when I heard (what are now called “classic”) rock songs blasting on FM radio and my brother’s vinyl.  The sound and the power of that instrument always, quite literally, “struck a chord” within me.  This continued on into the 80’s, with all the punk/post­punk/new wave and even heavy metal stuff that was coming out.  Early U2, The Cult’s ‘Love’ album, amongst many others, were big influences, because they mixed some of the rock feeling with modern, new, effected sounds.

Transitioning from there was Jane’s Addiction and the Stone Roses who fused different sounds and feels, and on into the 90’s, where we were all trying to destroy our guitar sounds, basically. All the cool stuff from the UK at the time, Smashing Pumpkins, and from here in L.A. we had Medicine.  So much great guitar sound in this era of music, I had little interest in playing other instruments.  The only other thing I wanted to learn how to do was record and produce.

I first heard of you with The Prayer Chain, bought Whirlpool when it came out and have tried to follow you ever since, but you are involved in so many projects, can you give a list of all the bands past and present you have worked with?

In the near future, my website will more correctly reflect this, but, along with The Prayer Chain, I have played in The Violet Burning at a couple different points, mainly back in the mid 90’s for their self-titled record.  I started producing around then, as well, and worked with The Lassie Foundation, The Autumns, and Midsummer, amongst others.  In 2000, we put out the first CUSH album, and I also started working with Northern Records.  I have had something to do with just about every single release from them, whether it be playing, writing, recording, editing, mixing, or mastering.  We played live as CUSH for a while, but got more swept up in running a label and producing other people.  But, I managed to play in The Violet Burning again, with Kevin Max during his L.A. years, and a couple of my own bands, including The Black Lantern, who is currently active.

In the last 5 years I have been trying to launch young artists, like Telegram and Set To Sea, have worked a bit on HOTT MT and Gazoota. I worked quite a bit on OneRepublic’s second album, and played a short tour with them, played with Mammoth Thunderpower, and produced and mixed some Stranger Kings and Leslie DuPre­Grimaud.  I am currently finishing up the CUSH SP3 album, working on a new Holly Nelson album, and helping a girl named Annie make her way.  Also, I played some guitar on the new Starflyer 59 album, and am playing in a band with Steve Dail and Mark Solomon that Jason Martin is producing called City Sailors.  These are just the main ones, there are others as well, but it’s hard to keep track.

How did you come into playing with The Prayer Chain, had you known those guys a long time?

I answered an ad in the Recycler newspaper (which is the old, local form of Craigslist). “Drummer seeks band” and listed a couple of influences that matched mine. That was Brian.

We started writing and doing 4­track demos together. He was in another band, and they lost their bass player, so they put an ad in the Recycler. I went to see them play, and met the guy who had answered the ad, which was Eric (who became my long­time friend and musical partner, not to mention best man at my wedding). Later, we three formed a band together (Laughing Boy), came up with a bunch of material, yet we still didn’t have a singer, until Eric booked us a show. Then his friend Matt joined us on vocals, and we finished out the year together. So, two ads in the Recycler led to pretty much every musical thing I’ve done in my life since then. Crazy.  Brian left us for a woman (and rightfully so; she [Jaime] was a tremendous vocalist in her own right and they had a much better band than ours together–and eventually three kids as well). In the wake of this we formed The Prayer Chain.  Eric knew Tim from other bands in their high school days, so we three began writing songs together, and after we played a couple shows with friends on drums, we met Wayne at one of them, and he came to a rehearsal, and that was that.

Obviously TPC grew musically into a very different place then when you started, what was your favorite album and why?

I can stand behind ‘Mercury’.  It’s more “us” than the other two.  But, they are all very much “us” filtering “them” (our influences) through our weird combo.  That one came out the best, though. We started out as a band of young idealists, and ended up a bunch of jaded cynics, in just a few short years.  And we didn’t even have the internet at that time to expedite the process, like it can today!  Nope, just our experience in real time.  I think ‘Mercury’ best captures that moment in time of our lives, so, it is a more accurate portrayal of the folks behind it.  I am also under the impression that I played some interesting guitar things on it, as well.

You played on my favorite Violet Burning release with their self-titled album. How did you happen to come into that? If I am correct it was the only Violet’s album you played on? (I don’t have all my discs in front of me to look.)

We (The Prayer Chain) and The Violets rehearsed in the same place for a while.  One night, I sneaked a peak inside their door, and noticed that Jeff Schroeder wasn’t rehearsing with them (as he had been).  Come to find out that he had left.  There was another guy filling in, and I offered myself to do the same, until they figured things out, or patched things up.  Well, other guy left, Schroeder came back, and Michael wanted to try a three ­guitar onslaught.  Of course, that sounded fun to me, and I really like playing with them, so, onslaught we did.

I also played on ‘This Is The Moment’, when they were signed to Northern. We had a great trip to Europe during that run, and played a very large Saturday night slot at Flevo Festival. Those were fun times.

What were you directly involved in after TVB, and why did you leave after such a brilliant album?

I was directly involved in being tired of band politics, actually.  There were ill feelings in The Prayer Chain for the last 2 years of it, and there were some going on in The Violets, too.  I was tiring of the way musicians behaved and treated each other, myself included.  I just wanted to rock.  No drama.  I met a girl, as well, and it sure was a lot more fun being with her than it was in a band with back­fighting and back­biting.  So I called Michael up, and just said, “I’m out.”  I had formulated the idea for CUSH by then, too, and wanted to pursue that, as well as become more of a producer.  That was when I started work on Lassie, and The Autumns, and such, and I’m really glad I got to be a part of those records.  However, I regret leaving the ‘live guitar player’ role so drastically at that time.  Not a good move.

Can you shed any light on the Cush 2001 release? Can you name the players, etc? Any chance you have a lyric list anywhere, or any copies for sale?

CUSH started out as an idea for a way of doing things.  It was originally intended to be nameless and faceless, just music presented for your love or loathing.  Actually, it was ideally meant to be given away for free, which now seems like normal, but, back then, not so much.  We got together every so often, and would just play and play, for long periods of time.  I captured it all on cassette tapes, and combed through them afterwards, looking for the best moments that happened by accident.  The things you can’t plan, and can’t construct.  Once those were found, we would go back in the rehearsal room, and extrapolate a song from those moments.  Songs like “Heaven Sent” and “Arching Heart” reflect their original long­form, of­the­moment, jammyness.  The core group of guys were exactly who you’d think:  me, Eric, Wayne, Doug Moss, Frank Lenz.  We had other friends, like Schroeder and Gyro help us on the actual recording, as well.  And of course, Knott.  There was not supposed to be only one singer, but, I think because we all liked how it was going, and we were very native to the band­ lineup way doing things, it ended up going that way.  You’ll find words by going to, and you can download a copy at  I don’t think there are any CD’s left.

Oops, I got my dates mixed up, I was actually asking about the release after “The New Sound” recording.

Ah yes, the “Rock N Roll EP”.  There is a little bit of information and lyrics on the CUSH “WORDS” site (  To summarize: things had fallen apart with Knott, and we were just about to start on a new record.  So, in his honor, we wrote a tribute album of sorts to him.  Lenz handled drums and Wayne switched to writing and singing vocals and lyrics, with a couple other folks joining in, as well.  Basic music was tracked very live, and written pretty much on the spot.  It’s a couple songs too long, but, if you read the words and listen to it on the Bandcamp site (, it might make more sense.  We were in the mood for fun, and listening to garage­y rock, and the music is deliberately intended to sound less modern.  The lyrics are actually quite serious, though.  We covered a lot of ground, all the way from our youthful admiration of him, to our time working with him in CUSH, plus more just about him and his history.  He’s a pretty significant character in our scene from that time frame.  I don’t believe there are any copies for sale, it was a limited run. But you can listen to it on our site.

So the first Cush album had Knott on vocals, and there were various other vocalists in later albums, what does the future hold as far as vocalists, will it be varied and who is singing on the new material?

Ideally, we will fulfill the original goal of having multiple singers involved, but, you never know. Singers are hard to come by, and pin down.  I’d prefer to keep it unknown at this point, that was always the intention.

Also, who are the players in the latest Cush incarnation?

The usual suspects, more or less.  I will cave on mentioning exact names, however, and give a much deserved salute to excellence in drumming and keyboards from Dylan Hake and Jesse Nason, respectively.

Is Cush SP3 going to be putting out a full length or will the tracks come one at a time as time permits?

The songs for SP3 are being released one at a time, in video form.  We started on December 25th, with song 01.  Then we will release the record on May 7th, in full (two days after Orthodox Easter).  There will ultimately be a video for every song, which, when paired with the lyrics, artwork, and additional writings, will hopefully convey the ideas we are trying to get across with this one.  It is the last of the CUSH concept records, thankfully.  From here on out, it should be just albums of songs about stuff that’s cool.  After that, there will be more songs and albums, including the KUXH Super G album.

The new “All My Eyes Knew” is really amazing…the video with it really helps to add to the sensory feel of the whole thing. Will there be additional media coming with new material?

Yeah, ultimately, the videos will be just one piece of a larger picture, that when looked at in full, should be something that hits you with a clear idea.

I interviewed Dean from Sungrazerr and Mammoth Thunderpower and he touched on your philosophy of music being a drug. Can you elaborate on the concept a bit?

For us, as physical life­forms, everything is a drug.  Anything you experience is causing a chemical reaction in your body and brain.  From music to food, shopping for ‘affordable luxury’ to charity work, being ‘cool’ to being ‘right’, family life to hot sex, you name it, you’re a drug addict. And everyone has their particular favorites, although, due to our common code, we do find quite a few fellow addicts who have similar tastes.  The joy of which is also a drug.  And none of this excludes the realm of the indescribable, non­physical ‘spirituality’, but in fact, the unknowable mystery of the perfect co­existence of the mutually exclusive is probably where we begin to even wrap our heads and hearts around what could be considered ‘God.’  Music seems to be a commonality amongst us that is wonderfully communicative, and a mysterious enhancement of life.  Basically, like a drug.  And I do believe that artists and entertainers do well when they realize that they are in fact just a dealer, and not necessarily the inventor or creator.


OneRepublic live in Austria
Making CUSH LP1
Making CUSH LP1
CUSH live at Cornerstone 2000
The Violet Burning live at Flevo

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