Gaston County’s Andy Fenstermaker, known as “ Andy the Door Bum,” played noisy punk rock before his friends encouraged him to take his barreling baritone and lyrical poetry acoustic. The neo-folk punk approach worked. Fenstermaker, who turns 28 this month, has led the band that bears his nickname for seven years, has traveled the world playing music and recently released his fourth album.
Courtney Devores, Correspondent
Q. What was it like going from punk to acoustic?
The challenge with acoustic music is people can talk over you. You can use it to your advantage too. They can pigeonhole you when you look like I do and you get up with an acoustic guitar. I’m aggressive with my delivery and I say things that are provocative. At first it was as struggle . Maybe I’m more focused on lyrics now because I know it’s more noticeable.
Q. What’s your writing process?
Most just kind of pop in my head. The melody is there. I have to figure it out on a guitar. Lots of times it’s whole songs and I’ll just start humming something. I’ll follow it and it’ll go from the beginning of a song to the end of one. I write them down real quick and they’re there in their entirety. Sometimes I work more on them. There’s definitely still a lot of thought that goes into it. I feel lucky. Ideas just come to me.
Q. Did you write poetry before music?
Before I could write my grandmother would write them down for me. I have a handful that she saved. The lyrical side (of songwriting) progressed first and further than the musical side. I have a lot more years of experience in that. I think that’s my strong point. On the newest record that’s more of the focus.
Q. How do you compare your new album, “The Man Killed the Bird,” to your previous work?
The material is lyrically the best thing I’ve done. It’s more toned down musically. It’s darker. As a whole it’s more personal and cohesive. It was me exploring and searching, asking myself questions and trying to answer them.
Q. Has traveling influenced your writing?
It changed my life. When I graduated from high school I’d only been here and to Pennsylvania. Now I’ve visited 46 states and 15 countries. Every minute is something new. (Material) starts coming to me after I’ve been home for a couple of weeks.