Photo by David Gahr

Photo by David Gahr

Andy Schwartz was born 8/17/1951 in New York City and grew up in suburban Westchester County. He attended his first “rock concert” at age 14, a high school gymnasium extravaganza starring Brooklyn vocal group The Jive Five (featuring the great Eugene Pitt) and the Jagged Edge, a Rolling Stones clone. In his high school years, Andy saw the Doors at the Village Theater; both Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream at Hunter College; the Grateful Dead at the New York State Pavilion of the World’s Fair, and Big Brother & the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin) at opening night of Bill Graham’s Fillmore East.

Andy began writing about pop music circa 1972 as an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota and later wrote a weekly column (“Blues, Rags, and Hollers”) for the alternative weekly Metropolis. He also worked behind the counter of the legendary Minneapolis record shop Oar Folkjokeopus. Soon after returning to New York in 1977, Andy became publisher and editor of New York Rocker, the punk/new wave magazine founded by the late Alan Betrock (1950-2000). Under Andy’s direction, NYR published 44 issues (through December 1982) and became the most widely-read and influential American publication of its kind.

After several years as a freelance writer, publicist, and artist manager, in 1989 Andy was named Director of Editorial Services for Epic Records, a division of Sony Music. In this position, which he held until July 2000, he wrote countless artist biographies, press releases, and executive speeches as well as liner notes for such historically significant reissues as Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble at Carnegie Hall. At Epic, Andy worked with artists ranging from Pearl Jam and Rage Against the Machine to Cyndi Lauper and Celine Dion; the Allman Brothers Band and G. Love & Special Sauce were two of the artists with whom he was most closely associated.

Andy’s association with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame began in 1988; for the induction years 1989-1992, he served as editor of of the program book published for the Hall’s annual induction dinner. Since 1993, he has been a frequent contributor to the program, writing artist biographies and essays on topics in pop music history. From 2001-2004, Andy was a research consultant to the Rock Hall’s Library & Archive project, exploring the files and papers of several veteran music-industry executives. In 2008, he was a major editorial contributor to the permanents exhibits of the Rock Annex in New York.

In December 2007, Greenwood Press published the two-volume reference work ICONS OF ROCK, co-written with Scott Schinder and featuring Andy’s essays on James Brown, Led Zeppelin, and Ray Charles. Among other current projects, Andy is the copywriter for Jazz Standard, one of Manhattan’s top jazz venues, writing artist descriptions for the club’s monthly calendar and its widely distributed brochure.

8 Comments to “About Andy Schwartz”

  1. Don Schanche says:

    Hey Andy —
    You were a couple of years ahead of me at MHS, but we share some memories. Some of my best are of hearing Fluid play in the MHS gym. Wish I’d seen the White Plains show with Buddy Guy.
    Saw your piece on the show after John Sarlo posted it on Facebook.
    Just wanted to let you know I enjoyed it.
    Don Schanche — Atlanta
    (PS — I may be misremembering, but I think you’re the first person I ever heard talking about the Allman Bros. You were excited about Idlewild South, I think. I ended up working for the newspaper in Macon, Ga. for a couple of decades.)

  2. Chris R says:

    Hey Andy, just found an old print issue of NYR with Exene on the cover — the “American Beat” issue — and was glad to stumble upon your blog and read your newer stuff. I was a print subscriber and remember you refunding my subscription payment at that sad instance of publication ceasing. A gentleman and a rocker…

  3. Andy says:

    Thanks for writing, Chris. Always good to hear from anyone from the NYR past to whom we don’t owe money!

  4. Lori Lustica says:

    Dear Andy: Thank you so much for the fantastic tribute you did on Frankie (LaRocka). Reading about his accomplishments brought back many memories. You see, I met Frankie in 1980 and I was to him The St. George Woman (a story in itself). He and I were very good friends since the day we met, and he visited me in Red Bank, NJ quite a number of times. He was the only person in my life who attended my 30th birthday party, my 40th birthday party party and he would have helped me celebrate my 50th…which would have been June 12, 2005…. I did not have a party that year. I will always think of Frankie with great fondness and tremendous love and I will always cherish my memories of him. All of them…. Thank you again. Lori

  5. Andy says:

    Thank you, Lori, for your kind words and warm memories of our dear friend Frankie.

  6. Todd Ellenberg says:

    Hi Andy,

    Stumbled across your great website.

    Do any archives/PDFs/etc exist of the old New York Rocker newspaper? I had stories published in it in the late 1970s — but I lost all my clips thanks to Hurricane Andrew blowing up my house (in Miami) in 1992.


    Todd E

  7. Andy says:

    Sorry, Todd, but there’s no digital and/or online archive of NY Rocker. Thanks for your past contributions!

  8. Hey Andy,

    I was listening to John Waite, which lead me thinking about Frankie Larocca, which led me here. He was such a great guy and a remarkable drummer. There was no attitude ever with Frankie. I will try and get him into my film if there is a fitting segment. He was truly one of a kind…The last time I saw him and we hung a little was in Austin at SXSW in ’95. Take care,

    Billy McCarthy

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