BY Amanda Connelly | April 12 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

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‘There’s a little bit of my Faith in every song’: the rock band frontman making music inspired by a Catholic Faith

The frontman of alt-rock band Overhaul tells Amanda Connelly how Adoration and a Catholic Faith inspired his songwriting

There’s a saying that ‘nothing in this world is so much like prayer as music is.’ An interesting thought, and perhaps surprising when we consider today’s celebrity music culture.

In many music videos we see and the lyrics we hear, a sense of Faith and God seem to be missing.

And yet many of the greatest musicians of all time attributed their success to their own personal faith, including contemporary stars such as Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar and Keith Urban.

Andy Gallagher, a musician with the band Overhaul, says his Catholic Faith has been a constant in his songwriting since the band formed in the late 1990s.

 

Devout in his Faith

Andy, who is from Los Angeles but now lives in the Clyde island of Millport, said: “My Faith is very important to me, inside of music and outside of music.

“I’ve always been Catholic. I’m absolutely blessed and honoured to be an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion—it’s an honour which I never expected to be given to me, but 10 years ago it was.

“Catholicism has just always been there for me, and I think subconsciously it goes into my writing whether I mean it or not.

“There’s always stuff in there that’s about Faith, or about God, or about ‘God, help me out’ or ‘God, thank you.’ It’s always been there—from my first song up to this.”

 

Christian-rock

Andy’s Faith permeates his lyrics, though he says Overhaul as a band are not explicitly Christian or Christian-oriented.

However, he says his Faith is always there in his lyrics and so the songs are in a sense Christian rock.

“Whether you want to call it Christian rock, whether you want to say that I’m not too sure, but it’s sort of always there,” he explained.

It is this Christian essence in Andy’s life that he feels distinguishes Overhaul.

“I think that’s what kind of sets us apart from modern bands right now, which are all about kind of ‘do what you want to do,’ ‘do what feels right,’” he said.

“Unfortunately within the music industry there’s a lot of drug culture which is very big.

“None of us do drugs, none of us are kind of womanising and stuff like that, we don’t believe in all that type of thing.

“We like a rum after a show, that’s about it—that’s as crazy as we get! I wouldn’t say we were a Christian band, but I think fundamentally we are.”

 

‘Never been an issue’

Although a practising Catholic, Andy notes that Kenny Johnson, the band’s base guitarist is agnostic.

“It’s never been an issue,” Andy said.

He added that Kenny brings his own ‘worldly’ aspect to the band, ‘which plays beautifully because it’s just that merge of honest realism and it’s the way the world is right now.’

“It would be fantastic if it was all Catholic; it would be fantastic if we all got together,” he added. “But this thing, it works.”

 

A ‘strong rawness’

Overhaul have been described as an alt-rock group, something Andy feels is a good way of describing their sound.

“Sometimes we’ll have that soft, Neil Young quiet moment, then we have that loud Nirvana moment,” he said. “It’s a good way of pigeonholing us if you want to do that.”

Overhaul’s latest EP has a ‘strong rawness’ and an honesty about it, drawing on ‘a lot of emotion, a lot of angst, a lot of feeling.’

“We don’t like over-processing audio and making it sound pretty,” Andy said.

“The beauty about that is we did this album ourselves. We didn’t bring other people in. What you hear there is how we want to be able to sound.

“Collectively, that was what was in our heads from the beginning, it’s just taken 21 years to get it sounding like that.”

 

Adoration

Despite a number of stand-out tracks on the EP, one that is particularly striking is It Feels Like We’re The Only Ones Left on Earth.

At first hearing, it might read as a devotional love song, an ode to the love of your life. In a sense, it is, but in a perhaps more surprising and unexpected way.

Andy spoke of attending an overnight Adoration with his wife at the Benedictine Monastery in Largs, which inspired the song.

“It had such a profound impact on me, just being that kind of one-to-one with God,” he said.

“There was a warmth and glow to it that I’d never experienced before. To try and explain it to somebody, it’s almost impossible.

“It’s something that somebody has to experience themselves. Just to experience it is beauty beyond belief.

“It’s always been there, it’s kind of in my heart. I always thought I want to write something that comes close to this feeling, but the whole thing about that song was that a lot of people have the wrong views of what the song is about, they hear a lot of different things that are in there.

“When I tell them ‘well it’s actually much more deeper than that; it’s about Adoration, it’s about you yourself sitting with God and just being in His presence,’ not a lot of people get that, but at the same time a lot of people are blown away by it. That one experience is what made me want to do that.

“It made me want to, as a songwriter, how can I express this feeling so others can experience it? It was hard, it’s taken a few years to do it, and well thank God I did.”

 

Meaning behind the music

At recent gigs, Andy noted people were asking what the meaning was behind his songs.

“They seem to think it’s about something, about kind of a love relationship, which I suppose it is. But it’s not what people think,” he said.

“When you explain they finally get it. I’ve actually had somebody come back to me and say ‘I didn’t know what Adoration was, but I Googled it, and that’s absolutely amazing.’

“So I suppose in a sense it’s getting the word out there and getting people to look up what Adoration is. Who knows what God will do with that.”

 

Gift from God

Andy suggested giving praise to God can be difficult in the industry. He said: “Sometimes I do feel, when it comes to saying thank you to God, people within the music industry are reluctant to do that—especially in my genre, it’s very difficult.

“Everybody wants the party lifestyle, but once that ends, what’s there? To me, it’s always God.”

Over the past 25 years, he has noted a thread running through his music, his Faith.

“At the end of the day it’s a gift from God that He gave me, and it’s one of these things that’s been there all the time and I suppose a little bit of elements of my Faith in every song,” he said.

 

Best friends

Andy noted that his favourite thing about performing and writing with Overhaul is the opportunity to work with his two best friends, Kenny and drummer John Malone.

“There’s something great that happens. I mean I’ve worked with so many people; I’ve worked with great stars, great songwriters and all that,” he said.

“But when I work with Kenny and John, something happens, something kind of merges. The only way I can describe it is it’s like an explosion onstage, feeling the energy, the excitement, and fun come through.

“Before it was very much ‘this is a job, I’ve got to do my job right, I’ve got to play this correctly, no messing up here.’

“Now, when Kenny, John and I are onstage, there’s an understanding we’re here to have fun. We’re there to perform and enjoy it, and that really transcends to the crowd.”

For a free digital download of Overhaul song ‘It Feels Like We’re The Only Ones Left on Earth’, exclusive to SCO readers, visit: www.overhaulmusic.com/SCO2019

 

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