INTERVIEW: Combichrist’s Frontman Andy LaPlegua

Combichrist's frontman Andy LaPlegua performs at The Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan on Friday, May 31, 2019. Photo by Mike Shaler.

BY MIKE SHALER | Go Venue Magazine

On May 31, 2019, Go Venue Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with Combichrist’s front man Andy LaPlegua.  Andy wasn’t feeling the greatest as he was under the weather but he took the time to chat with me and I am grateful for that.  We talked about several things Combichrist and I even asked Andy what his favorite dinosaur is but his answer sounded like a dirty sex toy, so I’ll dive into the rest of the talk.

Go Venue: How is the tour going?

Andy: The tour is going great, we’ve got a few more shows to go then we’re off for a couple weeks then we’re back on tour over in Europe, South America and Russia and then it’ll be Christmas.  Everybody is getting along, if there’s someone that isn’t behaving, they get fired.  But we’re all like a family and having a great time.

Go Venue: Tell us about the new band members.

Andy:  Well, we’ve got Dane White on drums.  Joe Letz was our previous drummer and he was this big character; I wasn’t looking to replace that. So, when I saw Dane performing like a machine, I knew he was the one.  We also have Will Spodnick on stand-up percussion, who was Joe Letz’ drum tech for years.  So, Will has been part of the Combichrist family for a while which made his transition natural.

Go Venue: Have the new members influenced or changed the sound of the band?

Andy:  No, these guys came in after the new album was done.  I continue to make the albums entirely on my own.  When I go into the studio, I don’t want to have discussions from other members about what if we did the song this way?  I have my mind set on what I want and I go in and produce it.

Go Venue:  June 7th the new album One Fire will be released, tell us what we can expect from it.

Andy:  I wanted this album to encapsulate my work from previous albums, rather it’s light moments or heavy emotions with lyrics that are tangible to whatever the listener interprets them to be.  If this was my last album, I would be happy with this. 

Go Venue:  What is your attitude towards making music videos?

Andy:  Music videos are fun; I wish we could make more of them.  Bands aren’t obligated by record labels to make music videos anymore.  But I enjoy bringing the visual element to my songs, I like the artistic extension that music videos offer.

Go Venue:  What motivates your creativity?

Andy:  Everyday life, rather it be a good day or bad day, a movie or songs.  I enjoy country music, blues, Frank Sinatra, I try to avoid listening to music similar to what I make so as not to be subconsciously influenced.

Go Venue:  What do you love most about touring?

Andy:  I love seeing the fans and performing the shows. 

Go Venue:  What do you miss most while on tour?

Andy:  I miss being home and my lady, I live in Tennessee and we have 3 dogs, 15 chickens and a few horses, and I feel bad because my woman has to take care of all of them when I am away. 

Go Venue:  How has social media impacted your band?

Andy:  It forces bands to grow up and mature faster.  You can’t be fake when there’s that direct line of communication.  But it’s also a great platform for raising awareness like depression.  I want people to know that I am here to listen.  We as a society should pay more attention not so much to say, a girl with a missing hand, yeah that’s sad but when someone is trying to seek help when they mention being depressed and no one will listen or gets the brush off or is told it’s all in their head, then that is a problem.  People who are fighting mental illness and depression need to be heard and offering your support to be there and listen so they know they are not alone can help tremendously.  And it’s not always the most vocal ones who need the help, keep an eye out for the quiet ones, they tend to be the most likely ones in need. 

Go Venue’s photographer Mike Shaler and Combichrist’s lead vocalist Andy Laplegua at The Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan on Friday, May 31, 2019.

 This is Mike Shaler for Go Venue Magazine, I want to again thank Andy for talking with me, he is one heck of a nice guy.  And thanks to Eric 13 for making this interview happen.  Be sure to catch Combichrist in concert and check out their latest album One Fire, what I’ve heard on it so far is awesome.  Rock on, Combichrist.

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