The Silly Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Silly Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Silly Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

SUBSCRIBE TO THE OBSERVER'S WEEKLY NEWSLETTER:

No Brakes, All Gas: Andy Frasco & The U.N.

The multigenre rock band from Los Angeles wowed audiences with their triumphant show at the Brooklyn Bowl
Lead+singer+Andy+Frasco+has+been+touring+all+over+the+country+since+he+was+19+years+old+and+worked+for+major+labels+during+his+teenage+years.
ABBY GRUNZINGER
Lead singer Andy Frasco has been touring all over the country since he was 19 years old and worked for major labels during his teenage years.

Just five minutes into our interview and a few days ahead of his band’s Oct. 14 show at the Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, the titular frontman, Andy Frasco, of Andy Frasco & The U.N. mused “What is art?” For the leader of a band with as notoriously rowdy of a reputation as his, the average listener might be surprised by such deep introspection.

“You’re writing art for you,” he continued. “You’re trying to express those feelings that are inside of you. I think first-hand is you write the art that’ll help you get through therapy, you know?”

Andy Frasco & The U.N., an American indie-rock band from Los Angeles, took their most recent New York City show to the Brooklyn Bowl’s bowling-plus-food-plus-live-music venue with a robust atmosphere and an exceptional staff. The gorgeous rustic decor, the disco ball on the ceiling and the background noise of toppling bowling pins provided the perfect backdrop for an incredible night, welcoming the audience as the opening band emerged to warm up the crowd.

Cool Cool Cool, a funk/house/R&B group, celebrated their final night on tour with Frasco. They wowed with impressive vocals, a lively horns section and an upbeat rhythm that instantly energized the audience.

Afterward, the lights went down, and Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5” blasted through the speakers as Andy Frasco & The U.N. took the stage. This choice of introduction song is certainly no coincidence, as it alludes to Frasco’s experience with the less-than-glamorous aspects of the industry. 

“The music stuff’s fun and easy,” he said, adding that the hard part of his day is waking up at 7 a.m. and driving the van from venue to venue.

Frasco is familiar with hustling through this industry. As a teenager, he had jobs at major labels like Drive-Thru Records and was booking shows for bands such as Hellogoodbye, Something Corporate and New Found Glory. 

According to Frasco, these experiences taught him important lessons, including how to budget for and reduce tour expenses as much as possible. He cited learning how to run your own social media and designing your own album cover art to cut costs.

“I just took all that knowledge and said, screw it. I’m going to do it for me,” Frasco said.

Since 2007 — when he was just 19 years old — Frasco has been doing just that. He has spent the last 15 years touring with a diverse range of musicians from all over the country and world (hence the U.N. in “Andy Frasco & The U.N.”), playing 250 shows a year on a nonstop journey of exceptionally hard work.

The band’s exuberance the moment they stepped on stage masked sweat and tears. No one could have guessed that they were playing their ninth show in their eighth city in the span of just 11 days.

“We never take it for granted,” Frasco said. “We’re never gonna phone it in. We’re always gonna bring it. Even if there’s 10 people or 10,000.”

With little formal introduction — merely a “hello, Brooklyn!” — the band dove straight into the music for the approximately 800 people in attendance. Frasco opened the night with “Love All of Me,” a jubilant, resounding track off of their August 2023 release and sixth studio album, “L’Optimist.”

The band’s new album is perhaps Frasco’s best so far. Its 10 tracks cover a variety of genres, spanning from funk to folk to pop but generally landing within the realm of indie-alternative rock. Though each song has its own unique message, “L’Optimist” is a beautifully coherent album, with every track manifesting the message of positivity that Frasco spreads. 

“You Do You,” the second track off of the album, combines a driving rhythm with carefree lyrics to create an upbeat tune about self-acceptance. “Iowa Moon,” on the other hand, is an easygoing folksy love song, yet it still promotes the same idea of self-love.

“This whole record was all about just changing your perspective on how you approach life,” Frasco said. 

He said that the album clicked with him not just as a songwriter and musician, but as a listener too. 

“I am really proud of all these songs,” he admitted. “This is the first record where I can still listen to these songs and not get sick of them.”

As a massive fan of “L’Optimist,” I was delighted to hear “Love All of Me” as the concert’s opening song, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thrilled to hear what came next: a 2016 Andy Frasco & The U.N. classic called “Mature As Fuck.”

“Mature As Fuck” — a boisterous, rowdy ode to life on the road — has become a staple in the band’s set and serves as a reminder that Andy Frasco & The U.N. have not lost the rambunctious energy for which they are notorious. A line in this song’s pre-chorus declares “it’s a regular day, but to you it might be insane,” another reminder that being in a band is anything but ordinary.

A night at a Frasco concert is certainly far from any other regular day, or any other regular concert, for that matter. The band’s variety of performance antics infuses a stellar musical display with belly-laugh-inducing fun. 

For example, The U.N. routinely switches instruments in the middle of songs. Guitarist Shawn Eckels and drummer Andee Avila also maintain a recurring bit where they play the same guitar at the same time, with Eckels strumming the strings while Avila forms chords on the fretboard.

The band never fails to disappoint with their cover choices as well; the Brooklyn audience heard everything from Queen to Cheap Trick to AC/DC to Talking Heads.

With all of this said, the highlight of the show is sure to be hearing Frasco’s powerful lyrics and diverse musical stylings in a live setting. It’s a space where you can hear the unwavering passion in his voice or see him get caught up in the moment — head back and eyes closed — as the band performs a brilliant, anthemic unreleased song marked only on the setlist as “Used to Be.”

Perhaps the most emotional moment of the show was when Frasco performed “Somedays,” a heartfelt and reassuring number dedicated to his mom. Frasco’s mother is in the midst of a battle with leukemia, and he has sung “Somedays” in dedication to her, every single night of his recent tour.

“This is what I believe in: the power of putting good vibes into the air,” he said. “Now, her kidneys are getting better … That’s why I’ll always keep preaching optimism even through dark times.”

Ironically, the optimism, confidence and self-love which Frasco promotes is the very thing that fulfills those needs in himself. “Once I see people start really loving themselves again, and seeing that I’m one of the — that me and my band are the reasons that people are becoming free inside their own body. I think that’s what keeps me going.”

I concluded our interview with a question that Frasco ends all the interviews on his podcast with: “What do you want to be remembered by?”

“Oh, man,” he began, taking a thoughtful pause as he considered the question that he’s asked hundreds of podcast guests. It’s a tough one. “I want to be remembered by someone who cared for other people. Someone who dedicated his life just to make sure people felt good in their skin.”

And, as someone who just attended her sixth Andy Frasco & The U.N. show in three years, I can confidently tell you Frasco does just that.



Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
ABBY GRUNZINGER, Fun & Games Editor
Abby Grunzinger (she/her), FCLC ʼ25, is the fun & games editor at The Observer. She is currently majoring in film and television and double minoring in visual arts and English. This is her first year with The Observer, and she’s looking forward to a fantastic year of fun (and games!). If she’s not at The Observer, she’s probably crocheting, trying to finish a screenplay or — most likely — frequenting the AMC Lincoln Square 13 movie theater with her friends.

Comments (0)

The Observer reserves the right to remove any comments that contain any of the following: threats or harassment, hateful language and/or slurs, spam (including advertisements unrelated to the topic of a given post), and incoherent phrasing. See the Community Guidelines page under the About tab for more information. Please allow up to a few days for submitted comments to be approved.
All The Observer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *