When realtor David Andrews answers his phone these days, chances are the person calling wants to talk about buying or selling residential real estate. But it wasn't so terribly long ago that the voice on the other end might be that of a booking agent, a journalist or an label representative courting Andrews' band.
For a long time, those phone calls were a big part of Andrews' life. As a founding member of the popular Portland-based band Calobo, Andrews spent over a decade playing guitar, but also overseeing the business side of running a successful band. A head for business and a heart for performing have taken the engaging but serious guy down a few different paths. An upcoming live show and DVD recording at Visual Arts Collective with several musical guests has Andrews once again shifting gears.
Andrews grew up on Orcas Island, one of the isles that make up the San Juan island group off the coast of Washington and began his relationship with music at an early age. He took guitar and even alto sax lessons, and he loved the drums. The problem was, he couldn't write songs on drums.
"I wasn't familiar enough with Phil Collins or Don Henley at the time to know you could [be a drummer and a songwriter]," he said. "I had to play something melodically oriented."
Between the piano and the guitar, Andrews had 20 songs written by the time he was a senior in high school. And though a career in music was a realistic possibility, he was, oddly enough, drawn to a career in law enforcement.
"FBI, CIA ... it was a race between music and law," Andrews said. "But music kept winning that internal battle. It just seemed more natural." At Portland's Lewis and Clark college, the first hints of what would become Calobo and its 11-year run began.
In 1990, with a $3,000 loan from his father, Andrews and childhood friend Caleb Klauder (from Caleb plus Andrews' nickname Hobo came Calobo) started Padre Productions in Portland. The company grew to five full-time employees housed in a riverfront office. Padre Productions branched out and began signing other bands as well, under the label Siren Music. The company offered health insurance and other employee benefits and soon had 20 bands on the roster.
For 11 years, Calobo was more than a band, it was a thriving business. But in 2001, the steady flow of money started slowing to a trickle and, combined with the band members' personal lives—mortgages, marriages and children—life on the road no longer held much appeal. Near the end, everyone had an opinion on where the band should go.
"Our democracy was our demise," Andrews said.
Andrews decided to pursue a career in law enforcement. For a year and a half he was deputy sheriff of San Juan County in Washington State. But it wasn't long before music called him back, and Andrews was back out on the road.
By 2004, Andrews had just finished eight months recording his fourth solo release, Everything to Lose, in Nashville and was driving back to Portland.
"I stopped at the Koffee Klatsch [in Boise] for breakfast and saw Steve Fulton (who I'd known back when I was in Calobo and he was in Hoi Polloi). He had a new record out at the time, so we swapped records. I'd always had an affinity for Boise and, within a year, I moved here."
True to form, it wasn't long before Andrews had delved back into the business world, obtaining his realtor 's license and his current designation as Certified Negotiations Expert with Windermere Capital Group, Inc.
But he also formed the David Andrews Band—which features him on piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, rhodes piano and vocals—and, with some new material that he describes has a "roots rock, Americana, soulful" sound, and several musical guests, he's having a big two-night show. Joining him will be bandmates Steve Fulton (Hammond B3, electric guitar, piano and vocals) Jake Ransom (bass and vocals), Christine Thomas (vocals) and Chad Waite (drums).
At this juncture in his life, rather than pit the two sides of himself against one another, Andrews has managed to find a happy middle ground where both his pragmatic side and his idealistic side can co-exist.
Andrews' guests include Kent Persons on saxophone; vocalist/guitarist Rebecca Scott (who will also open the show); vocalists Deb Sager and Keith Anderson; Stephen Matthie on cello, Darkwood Consorts Jen Drake on viola; electric guitarist Al Toribio; and Darin Stubs on trumpet. The show is open to all ages. April 25 and 26, 8 p.m., $15, VAC, 3638 Osage St., Garden City, 208-424-8297.