Andy Smith and I are sitting in one of the tiny, wooden booths at the independently owned Christopher’s Restaurant in Kettering, Ohio. The cozy restaurant is serving breakfast at the time the two of us agreed upon to meet up. Dayton has some of the greatest breakfast spots around. One of the spots to hit is Christopher’s. The restaurant, which has homey, country-like setting and feel when you enter, caters to all lifestyles with their menu. This morning-Smith and I will be diving into some of the essential staples that make up the best breakfasts-eggs, home fries, and toast. “You ever been here before?,” Smith asked me as I sat down in the booth.
“Yeah. Several times. Love it here,” I answered.
“They have the best breakfast. I’m so ready for it,” Smith says back to me with a confident and determined look on his face.
Smith is about to embark on a trip up north for a small vacation in Michigan. Traverse City to be exact. Smith begins to go in detail on what the weeklong trip is going to be-hiking in the picturesque woodlands, tipping his feet in Lake Michigan, and maybe do some sightseeing in town. The sparkle that is coming through his circular black frames, and lens on his glasses, along with the smirk of his face, tell the tale of an individual who is biting at the bit to go now. It’s obvious by the way he divulges to me the serenity and peace he experiences when he is the forest. The appreciation and self-discovery really become clear when Smith describes the feeling he gets when he is out of the terrain. “It’s so cool. I just go out and just clear the mind,” Smith says. First things first, though, before his trip can begin. He has to take care of a few errands before he heads up.
Smith started to play guitar when he was in school. “I was obsessed with Motown, and Stax,” Smith explained. “I couldn’t get enough of it. Still can’t. Del Shannon, Curtis Mayfield fronting The Impressions. Love it.” In 2010, Smith was at J-Alans and overheard the bartender complaining that a band canceled an upcoming show. Smith interrupted the conversation and mentioned that he could fill in. Smith rounded up some close friends, and Andrew & the Pretty Punchers debuted. The band’s run in town was short-lived, though, in part to everyone’s lives going in different directions.
Soon after Andrew & the Pretty Punchers, Smith began playing drums for Dear Fawn and was the lead vocalist for King Elk. Both bands saw some critical success in the local scene, and also saw people becoming faithful followers. Both bands gave Smith a sense of fun and enjoyment, but in time it started to take a toll. “It just wasn’t fun after a while,” Smith explained. “I was drinking a lot and it was becoming a problem.”
With the out of control behavior, and the band just running its course-King Elk decided to take some time off. “I still love those guys. Always will,” Smith says. “They are simply the best. I just think that we ran our course, and we needed to just shut it down for a little bit.” On top of that-Smith left Dear Fawn because the band wanted to go a different direction.
With King Elk on hiatus, and his departure from Dear Fawn, Smith needed to start something. He was continuing to write songs at a steady pace, and he wanted to put them on tape as quickly as possible. “That’s how I work,” Smith says. Smith started doing some recordings with local musician, and previous band mate from King Elk and Dear Fawn, Kyle Melton at his studio.
At the beginning of the recordings, Smith started to notice that he wanted to add some others to join him and see how the vibe and sound would go. He recruited drummer Elliot Ward, former Andrew & the Pretty Punchers Josh Wickersham, and Melton to play on the project. With the foursome confirmed, they went back to Melton’s studio and started to flesh out some songs that Smith written. The project became Smith’s newest band-Me Time.
This past May, Me Time released an EP with his new band, titled Vol. 1. The five song EP (which can be ordered on http://gasdaddygo.bandcamp.com/) is a lo-fi indie rock beauty that blends Smith’s charming vocals, along with his admiration and infatuation with rich 50s rock and 60s pop. Kent Montgomery (from The New Old Fashioned) sang harmonies, and Derl Robbins (from Motel Beds) mixed and mastered the EP. Tyler Bellinger (from Smith’s previous band King Elk) played some organ and piano on the EP. The finished product is soft and warm, while generating catchy hooks throughout-which is exactly what Smith intends to aim for with his music. “All I want to do is just write catchy songs,” Smith playfully says. “Who doesn’t love catchy songs?”
Our waitress delivers our meals to us, and immediately the aromas and flavors are jumping off the plate. The eggs perfectly cooked flawlessly (over-easy). The home fries have a flawless golden-brown exterior. The bread that came with the dishes we ordered are toasted to perfection. Smith opens up his folded napkin that caressed the silverware. “Looks good, right?,” Smith asked me, with that confident look on his face again.
I couldn’t help but agree with him.