Thanks so very much to take the time to do this interview. Can you give the readers some background on yourself?
Andy: Ginger ..... the only thing your readers need to know is, I'm the Christopher Columbus of punk rock.
Punk Globe: Is it true you attended elementary school with Johnny Thunders and went to Flushing Queens High School (in one of those horrible scenes) with Fran Fine aka Fran Drescher of "The Nanny"?
Andy: Absolutely, I attended PS 148 in Jackson Heights, Queens with the young Johnny Genzele. I have some old class photos of him in 4th grade. Even back then he was the most stylish kid in class, ... I never watched the Nanny so I'm ignorant of anything Fran Drescher but for the record, Flushing was also attended by guys who went on to play with Joan Jett, Pat Benetar, The Plasmatics and The Fleshtones so it was definitely rock and roll high school.
Is it true that you originally wanted to be a rock journalist rather than a musician?
Andy: Yeah, I loved music and just wanted to be involved with it in any way possible. As a teenager it seemed easier to start my fanzine the Teenage Wasteland Gazette than to become a rock star.
Punk Globe: Can you tell us about The Teenage Wasteland Gazette?
Andy: You know back in the early 1970's rock writing was actually a respectable profession. There were brilliant writers like Richard Meltzer, Nick Tosches, Lester Bangs and Greil Marcus. Today, rock writing is the bottom of the food chain but as a kid I read these guys and enjoyed the intellectual, sociological and humorous take they had rock and roll. I thought I'd give it a shot.... but mostly to get free records. So while I was in college I started the Teenage Wasteland Gazette. I was able to wrangle contributions from great writers like Richard Meltzer, Nick Tosches and Lester Bangs because they appreciated that I wasn't trying to be Rolling Stone junior. It was all very tongue in cheek with articles about fake bands, concerts that never happened, drinking and general mayhem. The closest comparison today would be the Onion. It really became the launching pad for The Dictators
Punk Globe Was it Lester who got you writing for Creem Magazine?
Andy: True, Lester liked the Teenage Wasteland Gazeete and offered me gigs writing for Creem.
Punk Globe: Did you do Interviews , Article or Reviews?
Andy: I did record reviews and some interviews. I did a good one with Leslie West called " I Got My Best Blow Job in High School", their title not mine....but remember my sinister purpose was always to get free records.
Punk Globe: Can you tell us about the work that you are most proud of?
Andy: Generally speaking I get my greatest satisfaction from songwriting. It's all about communication and songs touch people because individuals can interpret lyrics in a personal way. So I'm always flattered when somebody records one of my tunes whether they are a bunch of kids pressing their own CD or somebody well-known..... I'd say my greatest honor was to work closely with Joey Ramone for so many years. I'll always miss him. .... and of course I'm proud that people still care about the work I did with The Dictators. It's a kick when people who were born long after our first record was released tell me they love the band
Punk Globe: Would you care to explain Adny Shernoff?
Andy: It's a silly story.....I was registering for a class at college when this woman asked me how spell my name, meaning my last name of course, i joked A-d-n-y... my friends laughed so i decided to keep it as a way of getting attention. Unfortunately I screwed up. To be successful In show business you're supposed to change your last name not your first name!
What was you first instrument?
Andy: When I was a kid my parents made me take clarinet lessons which I hated. However we had a piano in our living room and when they saw me banging on it they had me take piano lessons from this guy Arnold Friedman who became the focus of a movie called "Capturing The Friedmans." He was the center of a pedophile, child pornography scandal in New York in the 80's....Great movie, rent it if you can.
Punk Globe: Had you been in any bands prior to The Dictators?
Andy: No, my first band was the Dictators
Punk Globe: You were one of the founding members and the main songwriter for The Dictators... You wrote some great music. Tell us about the early days in the band?
Andy: Those were wonderful, innocent, carefree times. Ross, Scott and I lived in a huge farmhouse in upstate New York playing music all day and night. There was no CBGB's, no Ramones no MTV. The idea of an actual career as a musician was pretty far fetched back then so it's truly amazing that I am still making music. The New York Dolls were the kings.... or maybe the queens of the New York rock scene. Most of the other New York bands were pale imitations of them without a shred of their style or talent. We kinda knew we didn't look good in platforms and spandex so we stuck to the same jeans, sneakers and leather jackets that we wore off stage. This is a year before The Ramones started up. The only place to play was The Coventry in Queens.... At the time CBGB's was just a bar for Bowery bums and Max's wouldn't let you play without a record deal.
Punk Globe: I know that after The Dictators disbanded you went on to play with Wild Kingdom.. In fact White Trash Debutantes played at The Ritz with Wild Kingdom.. It was for Joey Ramones "Circus Of The Perverse" .. Tell us about Wild Kingdom?
Andy: We formed Wild Kingdom in the late 80's, I got inspired after hearing all those "speed metal" bands like Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax. After the 70's punk rock was pretty much relegated to the trash pile of history. These bands revived the spirit of punk by playing with even more speed and ferocity. Wild Kingdom was the first record I made that had any mainstream radio acceptance.... even MTV played the video. I used Andy Wallace to mix that record just before he broke huge with Nirvana
'Circus of the Perverse' was probably the best party Joey ever threw. There is a film of the concert stored somewhere. You performed, as well as Lemmy, Debbie Harry and Wild Kingdom..... and Joey put together a punk supergroup to back him up that night of featuring me, Cheetah Chrome, Markie Ramone, Richie Stotts and Daniel Rey.
Punk Globe: You also played on Joey Ramone's solo LP "Don't Worry About Me" . How was that?
Andy: Melancholy....Joey had the heart and the soul of an artist and was a versatile vocalist. Unfortunately he was ailing when we were recording the record so his energy to record was intermittent. The ironic tragedy is he was slowly getting better, feeling well enough to play 2 shows in late 2000 before he fell and broke his hip which led to his death. He was able to finish the recording so all that was needed was the final mix after he passed away.
Punk Globe: You also have produced alot of bands including "Sibling Rivalry" with Joey and his brother Mickey Leigh? Who else have you worked with?
Andy: Yeah that "Sibling Rivalry" was an attempt to get Joey and his brother on good terms again......I've worked with a diverse group of artists like Walter Lure and The Waldos, Degeneration, Untamed Youth is one of my favorites. I even did a session with Guided By Voices. I've worked with a ton of bands in Europe and I've had songs recorded by Dion, Turbonegro, The Hellacopters, Mary Weiss and of course, The Ramones
Punk Globe: Is it true that your music has been used on the soundtracks for various TV Shows and Movies.?
Oh yeah... they used the Dictators version of California Sun to promote the 2010 Major League Baseball All Star Game last summer. I've also had songs in movies like Kindergarten Cop, Boys Don't Cry, Freaky Friday and a bunch of smaller films.
Can you tell us about "When Giants Walked The Earth"?
Andy: It is a solo spoken word/acoustic act I put together to perform my songs and tell stories about the old days. I was never on stage alone with my acoustic before so it was a scary challenge but ended up very rewarding. I played about 40 shows in 2010 but had to stop to have an operation on my hand for "trigger finger", cool name right?.... it's a condition that affects the tendons which made it difficult to play guitar so I had no choice but to let them slice my hand open. It took a few months but I'm almost 100% recovered from it.
Punk Globe: Do you have any website addresses that you would like to share with the readers to find out more about what you are doing?
Absolutely....please visit AndyShernoff.com
, join my mailing list and send me some feedback or like the Andy Shernoff Appreciation Society on Facebook
Punk Globe: Thanks so much for the interview... Andy I could go on and on with the questions. What is in the future for you in 2011? Any parting words for Punk Globe readers?
Andy: Believe it or not but 2011 should be my most productive year ever. I am working on recording all my new tunes including an animated video for one of them. I will do more solo shows, more production projects like Daddy Longlegs and I will continue writing songs for artists like Carla Rhodes and The Dahlmanns......Everyday I make music is a good day!!
Punk Globe would like to thank Andy for taking time doing this interview... Just a few weeks prior to the interview Andy's Mother passed away. We here at Punk Globe would like to extend our condolences to Andy....
Thank you so much for all that you do.......