2 Andrews, 1 Rollins. Henry Rollins is starting a new radio show this week.


Without live music. I know it’s been less than a month but it seems like a year, doesn’t it?


Do I need to have one every NOTEWORTHY column? Every other column? Maybe. To say that as precious, vital, inspiring and life-affirming as music is, it’s not life or death. It’s not going hungry, losing your job, losing your home, losing your education, losing your religion, getting really sick, watching good friends and family die a painful demise, and I certainly know that.

But I think we’re all trying to retain as much normalcy in our lives as we can, and this is my way, and maybe yours. Music.

So no live music for possibly many months more. But I’ve always loved talking about it, thinking about it, learning and understanding more, feeling more, and sharing that with others. I hope this column can occasionally bring a smile, even bittersweet, in this constricting/expanding world.

As so much of our normal lives drains away, I think we must continue to feel. There is so much to be in touch with, hidden worlds we are slowly unwrapping. The music of our lives, is the memory of our lives. All of our thoughts and emotions are there, in a song. We still have recordings. Magical recordings. And musicians are more than ever streaming it in real time. It is the worst of times, and the best of times. Listen, and feel the creativity, and the love.


Here’s one I had to watch because my wife told me to. No, seriously, I’m a fairly recent friend of Nick Connolly but he and Diane go way back, to when he used to play keyboards in one of her long ago bands out of Santa Barbara, Big Money. Nick has stayed in music and stayed in Austin, where he’s had a regular Friday night gig there for 12 years.

No more, of course. So Nick went out to his backyard April 1 and played the gig, with lots of New Orleans-style songs, excellent singing and some nice patter, his out-of-sight neighbors cheered from a safe distance, Diane sang along (here in SM) to the songs they used to do together and I enjoyed the entire show. I recommend it. You’ll find it on his FB page, the Nick Connolly in Austin TX. And apparently he dug it so much he did another one three days later, this time, indoors. Maybe the temperature dropped. But I liked the backyard setting.


HENRY ROLLINS’ “COOL QUARANTINE” FEAT. IAN MACKAYE — (Esteemed crate digger and gifted gabber Henry Rollins has just launched a new show on KCRW, free- long-form style, where he will be going through his record collection, sometimes with a guest — in this case Ian MacKaye, co-founder of Dischord Records, former frontman of Fugazi and Minor Threat, and longtime collaborator and friend of Rollins — playing songs and sometimes full albums, sharing stories, memories, etc., maybe not a revolutionary idea, but something fun for music lovers to sink their teeth into during this safer at home period.) — search “KCRW Cool Quarantine” or follow this link to stream the first episode: https://www.kcrw.com/music/shows/music-special/henry-rollins-radio-longform-joy-division-ian-mackaye.

— An aside from Charles: Here are the notes I wrote for a photo I posted on 10/11/14, the night I was king, oh those were the heady days…

“Tonight Derwood Andrews played some mean lap steel at Farmers Market. He used to be known as Bob or Rob Andrews when he helped form Generation X when he was 17. On hand to hear him was someone I’ve been a big admirer of for decades, Mr. Henry Rollins. We chatted about music for a good 20 mins. This has raised my status immensely in the eyes of my two kids, both of whom I introduced to the work of HR and both became big fans on their own. Now I’m off to see an all-female Sabbath cover band, Black Sabbitch. Upon hearing this news my daughter declared, Dad, musically, you rule tonight – you rule Oct. 11.”

Right after that show I was picking her up somewhere and as she got in the car I showed her the photo on my phone, of me smiling between Rollins and the Other Andrews. I wasn’t sure she would recognize Henry. But I will never forget the jaw-drop look on her face. Yep. that’s my girl.


A few years ago I was in the corner of the Townhouse in Venice, on Windward Ave, a former speakeasy dating back more than 100 years, for a friend’s birthday celebration. Unexpectedly, a quartet started playing, old time music, and they were really good. They weren’t even on a stage (though they do have shows in the basement there). After a few numbers four more musicians squeezed in, including some horn players, and then they really soared.

Turns out this was an early appearance of The Dustbowl Revival, and when I found out that’s who I saw, I became a big fan. Mostly through my daughter’s connections, we became friends with their exceptional fiddler Connor Vance and his wife Arianne, a very talented, delightful singer. Connor is a wizard also on mandolin, guitar and who knows what else and is now attempting to conquer the cello.

He decided to leave the band earlier this year, about the time they released their fourth album. He said he wanted to work on raising the level of his various talents, and would challenge himself with a weekly task, which he would stream on social media. He has a Patreon fundraising page, patreon.com/connorvance, to support those efforts and make the creations available to fans.

Connor is a local product of Samohi and UCLA, with deep roots in Santa Monica, where he and Arianne bought a house. They have done a few shows together and when I caught them at McCabe’s I thought, who needs a band? She is a captivating singer and he can play anything, really well.

But now Connor has set himself another challenge. He is helping his bass-playing dad Ron make much-needed face shields for medical workers fighting this pandemic. Looks like they’re working in a studio or garage.

Ron is looking to cover the costs of materials, about $3k, which will create 1500 face shields. “Even $10 or $20 is a huge help,” he said.

Venmo: @ron-vance-6 (last four digits 2062)

Paypal: ronvance1520@yahoo.com

Ron, you raised a great son, someone for Santa Monica to be proud of, not only for talent, but heart.


It starts to really hit home, this horrible, unstoppable plague, when it takes our best.

Tuesday night we lost the great songwriter and performer John Prine, to coronavirus. He was in “that category,” over 65 and weakened by pre-existing conditions of throat and lung cancers, and heart conditions he had survived.

Prine was one of our greatest songwriters ever, period. His insight to the human condition and ability to capture it in a phrase, his melodies, that voice, using just a few words to paint an entire canvas. “Hello in There,” “Sam Stone,” “Donald and Lydia,” “Angel from Montgomery,” “Your Flag Decal” — I love him, but I’m so envious. My entire writing career doesn’t add up to two of his lines.

His duet with the incomparable Iris DeMent on “In Spite of Ourselves” isn’t his most profound song, but it sure is a hoot. https://youtu.be/P8tTwXv4glY.

I hope that angel is taking good care of you now, John.

Charles Andrews has listened to a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 2,000 live shows. He has lived in Santa Monica for 34 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at therealmrmusic@gmail.com

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