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Andrew Thiessen: The Dr. BLT Rock n Role Model Interview
Hosted by psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr BLT
I've always adhered to this unwritten rule never to interview relatives because of the obvious temptation to be biased in the way I might ask the questions, or in the way I interpret the results. So, in this case, I'll let the results speak for themselves, and I'll just let the proud uncle unabashedly emerge.
My nephew is a rising star in his home country of Slovakia. His name is Andrew Thiessen. (myspace.com/outlineslovakia myspace.com/ajtakband) He's becoming a rock 'n' role model for Christ that we can all look up to. We rarely have an opportunity to sit down and chat, but recently, that happened in my parents' living room in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Feel free to listen in on our conversation.
Dr. BLT: What are the names of some of the bands you have worked with, as either an official member, or as a guest artist?
Thiessen: Ajtak, Treti Den, Outline.
Dr. BLT: How did you get started in music?
Thiessen: I've always liked playing music... even when I didn't know how...but the first band I joined was Ajtak.
Dr. BLT: What has been your greatest accomplishment as a musician?
Thiessen: I consider every event that I could play as an accomplishment..it's been awesome! But some examples would be.. Coca Cola Pop Star, Lumen fest, and Campfest.
Dr. BLT: What are some of your influences?
Thiessen: Well, Uncle Bruce, I've been influenced by all kinds of music: Audio Adrenaline, The Elms, Coldplay, Mutemath, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, just to name a few.
Dr. BLT: What is your favorite artist of the Bakersfield sound era, and why?
Thiessen: Merle Haggard was and is, a great poet of country music. I understand he's in the hospital and has undergone major surgery recently to remove a cancerous tumor, so we want to keep him in our thoughts and prayers.
Also, Buck Owens is one of my favorites, if not, my very favorite. He wasn't afraid to take risks with his music He wasn't afraid to make himself vulnerable, and to create a sound that was different from anything that was out there. He's big in Slovakia, let me tell you, and I mean big, as is the Bakersfield Sound.
Dr. BLT: What do you think the chances are of the Bakersfield sound being re-born, or revived, in some of the modern artists that have their roots in that early sound?
Thiessen: I think the chances are pretty good, especially if the elderly artists express a willingness to work with the younger artists, and the younger artists appreciate what they have to offer and are willing to learn from them, and to be inspired by them.
Dr. BLT: What is it that you share in common with artists like Don Rich, Merle Haggard, Lloyd Reading, Sonny Langley, Buck Owens, Red Simpson, generally associated with the Bakersfield sound?
Thiessen: Like Buck, I like to take chances with my music and I don't care if other people don't like it, we do what comes from my heart.
Dr. BLT: How would you describe your personality compared to the personalities of other band members you have worked with?
Thiessen: I just go with the flow. We all have very different personalities, but we share a passion for music and for Christ, who delivers us and sets us free.
Dr. BLT: How do band members handle conflict?
Thiessen: As a rule, we handle it very well... the bands that I've played with are very up front with their opinions. We are all great friends!
Dr. BLT: What are some early experiences that shape your sound and your lyrics?
Thiessen: There are too many to share in the short time we have for this interview. The many places we have visited and the many trials and tribulations, as well as the joys we have shared have given me some great memories and have helped to shape our sound. Our exposure to those who have gone before us, including the bands I've mentioned, have helped shape our sound and our lyrics. More than anything, we all grew up following Christ, and that has profoundly shaped our sound and our lyrics.
Dr. BLT: What is happening right now that is influencing your sound and your lyrics?
Thiessen: The world needs hope! There's a right way and a wrong way to travel through life on... we have to choose!
Dr. BLT: What short-term and long-term goals have you established for yourself, as a musician?
Thiessen: I want to impact Eastern Europe through music and worship... be a light everywhere I play!
Dr. BLT: What would you tell other artists who look up to you, as far as how to make it as a new artist and how to break into the music scene?
Thiessen: Work hard... be open towards criticism... have a goal, have a dream!
Dr. BLT: How do folks stay connected with you and the bands you've been working with, how do they hear your music, and how can they see your performance as a contestant, and the music video you were in with the band?