Travellin’ Light

Andrew Drury
Answers 20 Questions About Life on the Road

Andrew Drury                                         ©2015 Patricia Lay-Dorsey

Brooklyn-based drummer and composer Andrew Drury sustains a demanding schedule balanced between performance and education. In addition to leading and collaborating in numerous ensembles, he also works as a freelance educator, teaching percussion workshops across North and Central America in varied settings, including prisons, schools, theaters, Indian reservations, homeless shelters and museums.

Originally from Seattle, Drury studied with Ed Blackwell, Bill Barron and Bill Lowe while at Wesleyan University in the ‘80s, and has performed with a variety of musicians since then. In addition to playing with artists like Ras Moshe, Steve Swell, and Jack Wright, his most frequent collaborations include regular sideman work with violinist Jason Kao Hwang and memberships in Totem> (with guitarist Bruce Eisenbeil and bassist Tom Blancarte), 10^32K (with trombonist Kuumba Frank Lacy and bassist Kevin Ray), and KJOSA (with vocalist/laptop artist Kyoko Kitamura; flutist Jane Rigler; violinist Hwang; multi-reedist Oscar Noriega; and bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck.

He also performs unaccompanied; his Earth Solos project is an ongoing series of outdoor, site-specific drum set improvisations, while his electro-acoustic sound collages of field recordings and percussion samples have accompanied dances by Heather Kravas and Sheri Cohen. He has been featured on over two dozen recordings, with his latest releases as a leader issued on his own Soup and Sound imprint: The Drum, an extended technique exploration of the bass drum; and Content Provider, the debut of his newest ensemble, a unique quartet featuring alto saxophonist Briggan Krauss, tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, and guitarist Brandon Seabrook.

For further information on Andrew Drury, visit:

* * * *

What is the most difficult airline to deal with in terms of instruments and equipment?

I tend to avoid this problem. I travel with a stick bag, a few bells, a dustpan, the drum heads I need, cymbals if necessary ... nothing fragile or too valuable.


Which airline has the worst economy seating and food?

So many choices these days, I can’t single one out.


Which airport is craziest for making connecting flights?



What is the most important thing you ever forgot to pack?

So far I’ve been lucky.

What is your worst lost baggage story?

Again I’ve been lucky. The worst was during a 20 hour day of flying and buses (Orkneys to Aberdeen to London to Copenhagen to Odense) my bags were lost at Heathrow and I found myself in northern Denmark without a change of clothes for about four days until they were delivered.


What country hassles musicians the most at customs and passport checks?



Which city has the worst cab drivers?

I find some of the volunteer drivers at festivals the worst.


What is the best hotel that a presenter has provided for you?

Riga, Latvia – after a door gig at a café we had very low expectations but the promoter got US embassy funding for lodging in a sumptuous downtown hotel. The breakfast buffet had acres of smoked fish ...


Do you travel with a laptop or a PDA? If so, how many times a day do you check your e-mail?

Laptop. Frequency depends on the tour. I check for a connection as often as possible in venues, hotels.


Do you listen to music on the road? If so, what device do you use?

Yes – my favorite is still my CD player.


Do you do your own laundry on the road?

Of course – in hotel bathrooms, at friends’ houses, wherever possible.


What is your most nightmarish sound check to date?

So many ... To choose one, a sound guy a festival (city will remain nameless) spent over an hour setting up an elaborate feedback chamber. Our time wasted we had him turn all the stage monitors off and went to dinner. Part of the deal was that he would record the gig too and of course when we got the recording a week or two later it amounted to two hours of hiss. And of course it was one of my best performances.


What is the scariest food that has been laid out for you backstage?

More disappointing than scary so far – bags of chips, rubbery veggies, and no coffee in a room that’s a little cold.


What are your three favorite venues?

Fortunately again it’s hard to single out just one ... Soup & Sound (house concert series I started in Brooklyn), Canterbury House (Ann Arbor), Tonic & Roulette (NYC), The Glass Slipper (Vancouver), Pardon To Tu (Warsaw), Metelkova (Ljubljana), the gallery inside Montepulciano’s medieval wall.


Which cities have the best restaurants for late after-gig meals?

Cities in Northern Italy and France.


Which cities have the best after-hours sessions?

I’m too exhausted to go to sessions when I’m travelling.


What is the best city that closes down too early?

Bergen, Norway.


What is the best locale to have a day off?

Anywhere with good walking and starts with “V” – Venice, Vancouver ...


What is your cure for jet lag?



What is your best tip for the novice?

Drink lots of water, eat healthy, and take advantage of down time in hotel rooms to chill and practice.

> back to contents