This guy is a serious music geek who began collecting at a very young age. Beginning with his mother’s old LPs, 45s and a portable plastic record player (the GE model with the orange pop-up 45 adapter spindle, seen below)
Andy’s love of listening can be traced back to the early-to-mid 1970’s. Mom had Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, The Beatles and even a couple of obscure Phil Harris “sides” that were hilarious. Dad had boxes of 7″ reel-to-reel tapes that he had recorded while stationed overseas in Vietnam. Creedence Clearwater Revival, early Bee Gees and Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass were to be found in this collection, not to mention drummer Sandy Nelson. The Spike Jones records came from his grandfather. All of it was absorbed by the youngster’s unbiased ears; he had a voracious appetite for new sounds. Using a Dual turntable and a vacuum-tube-powered Akai M7 reel-to-reel tape deck (also seen below) he discovered ways to record music and play it back in the order he wanted years before iPod playlists. These were the beginnings of what was to become a lifelong passion.
In the spring of 1981 Andy informally began his disc jockey career by volunteering to provide music for his 6th grade end-of-year dance at the Pleasant Valley Elementary School in South Windsor, Connecticut. This was to be a special treat for the graduating students who were to move on to the middle school the following year because it was the first time the school had ever tried/allowed anything like this. Pizza and subs were provided that day instead of the normal drab cafeteria fare. He was allowed to set up his home stereo (featuring a Craig H240 8-track cartridge player and fully-automatic Dual 2000 turntable with all four speeds: 16, 33, 45 & 78 RPM) and spin some tunes for fellow classmates in the school gymnasium.
Popular selections at the time included “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC and “One Way Or Another” by Blondie, not to mention anything by Pat Benatar. The K-Tel collections “Hitline” and “Sound Waves” were also sources of material, along with many 45s purchased with allowance money. Andy distinctly remembers having to play “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang (on the blue De-Lite label) TWICE because his buddy Mike’s mother loved it so much. Little did he know that song would become a wedding staple for years to come! (He still has the 45. Go figure.) Even for a mid-day gymnasium party people danced, made requests and had a pretty good time.
He was bitten by the bug. The rest, as they say, is history.
Ten years later Andy began his professional mobile DJ career with his “apprentice” work with Salt City Entertainment in Syracuse, New York. Under the guidance of Jay Goldberg he learned the ropes and figured out what it really means to be Master of Ceremonies at a formal event. From the smallest banquet halls to grand ballrooms, he gained valuable experience working with photographers and banquet staff as well as brides, grooms and their families. It was during this time that he learned how to run a smooth show.
While performing at dozens of weddings in the area the budding DJ also found club work at Tucker’s, a notorious (now-defunct) oldies bar in the heart of downtown Syracuse. While spinning everything from funk and disco to sing-along oldies (pre-karaoke, friends) and lost new wave classics (mostly on vinyl 45s), he honed his talent for reading the vibe of the crowd and responding to their energy by playing just the right mix of tunes to keep the place hopping. The girls dancing precariously on the bar and and lines down the block waiting to get in were indicators of a successful night.
Life happens and along with that comes change. 1996 brought Andy to the capital of New York where he began spinning tunes for C&A Entertainment. He got to know the region and many of the area’s finest hotels and banquet rooms. Continuing to build his list of references over the next five years throughout the Saratoga region especially, he decided that it was time to begin a business venture of his own.
Advantage Sound was officially born in the spring of 2001 with the mission of providing the highest quality mobile music service available at a reasonable price. After doing things “someone else’s way” for a while and making the obligatory mistakes during the learning process Andy now could do things his own way…the right way. NO inflatable instruments. NO enforced line dancing. NO obnoxious announcer voice making tasteless remarks. Just great high-quality music facilitated by an emcee with a personal touch with a party attitude.
Fall of 2011 brought more major life changes with a move from New York to California. While having to pull up roots, both with DJ clients and the bands he was performing with, the move West was a good one and led to many other artistic opportunities and new friends. Despite the beautiful weather and wonderful experiences, a combination of factors caused a final move to Colorado in late 2013. Andy has re-established Advantage Sound in the Denver metro area and has performed at dozens of events throughout the state over the past couple of years. In January 2016 he’ll be participating as a vendor at the very first Cannabis Wedding Expo in at the Point Gallery in Denver.