Andy McKee, was born in Topeka,Kansas,USA, in 1979.
Well, Andy “You're not in Kansas anymore!”
AM is amongst the elite of world class fingerstyle acoustic players,
and with good reason because this man is a monster player.
He's in the same league as acoustic players like Don Ross,Michael Hedges,
Preston Reed,Antoine Dufour,etc...some of these artists we're also his label mates
on his former Candy Rat Records Label.Andy has also been influenced by
the great rock players Steve Lukather and Eric Johnston,and the
fantastic jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, as well as Tommy Emmanuel,
and Joe Satriani.
If you have never heard Andy and his solo acoustic guitar version of
the “Toto” song “Africa” or “Drifting” where he uses all parts of his right hand,
thumbs,palms,fingers, and fist to play percussive effects on the guitar
body you're in for a treat.
He gets all sorts of simulated drum sounds on the acoustic guitar body.
It sounds like bongo drums,snare drum rimshots,etc...you have to hear it
to believe it and it also sounds like 3 guys playing the guitar at once. And I
think Andy's YouTube “Africa” got someting like 9,000,000 hits...yeah
you heard it right 9 million.
The Andy McKee guitar style involves sometimes playing over the top of the
guitar with his left fretting hand, and also using the left hand for pull-offs,
and hammer-ons,and also percussive effects on the guitar body. And he
also uses altered tunings,and sometimes uses a guitar capo.
Andy will also use his right hand for percussive effects on the guitar body,
and also for slap harmonics,and for playing melodies along the lines
of Van Halen but different by still keeping in the context of the AM style.
AM has become a YouTube media darling with one of his original
songs called “Drifting” getting 38,000,000 hits. Wow...that's more times
than Sarah Palin has said she's not running for President of the USA.
Another fact about AM is that when he started playing guitar
he was a metal head...no not a mental head. He was a fan of
Metallica and Iron Maiden. Thank God he came to his senses...just joking!
Andy is still a fan.
For you guitarists out there that are really into this type of style and
want to learn more. I do believe there are Andy McKee guitar tabs,CD's,
sheet music,and Instructional video's available on his website.
As far as Andy McKee guitars and what he personally plays. He uses
Avalon Guitars,Ron Spillers Harp Guitars,Greenfield G4,GB,and HG1 .2
AM composes mostly original guitar music. His 1st album was
“Nocturne” released in 2001 which was the same year he finished in 3rd
place in “The National Fingerstyle Guitar Competition” in Winfield,Kansas.
He sometimes does covers of songs by rock bands such as his version
of “Tears For Fears,” “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.”
Which is on Andy's 2010 “Joyland” CD. And contrary to popular belief
on a Andy McKee tour he sometimes does play guitar conventionally.
And AM also has a good sense of sarcastic humor. When he was commenting
on Bit Torrent and Free File Sharing Websites about his music being pirated
and downloaded for free. He said something to the effect of...”Thanks
a lot, it's not like I have to make a living or anything like that by playing
music...and I don't have millions of dollars like Metallica,or 100's of thousands
of dollars...at this rate I'm going to wind up having to work at K-mart.
But hey...if Andy McKee did work at K-mart he'd definitely be the
best guitar player in the store.
Since AM has become famous he's made appearances on national TV
shows. He also played guitar on a song on Josh Groban's 2007 Christmas
Album “Noel.” And he contributed to jazz guitarist Lee Ritenour's CD
“6 String Theory” which also featured other great guitarists like Mike Stern,
Steve Lukather,Neal Schon,Slash, and others.
To end this discussion about Andy McKee off, there's a guitar
instructional video on how to play “Africa” by “Toto,” but its
not the AM version because I'm playing it on electric guitar.