Drew and the Medicinal Pen is an evoking, bedroom-pop band from Brooklyn, NY. Drew Henkels creates songs, music films, and illustrated dreams set to music by bassist Anna Morsett, violinist Missy Liu, and drummer Zach Arlan. Drew and the band kindly joined Artist Spotlight to discuss their music and their Spencer Bell Legacy shows to promote adrenal cancer research.
What is the greatest inspiration for your songs?
The types of things that keep me awake all night or make me sleep all day. And stuff I hear on the radio that I like enough to regurgitate or dislike enough to start a campaign against.
Do you have a favorite song you have recorded or a song that is particularly dear to your heart?
OxyCotton Clouds, about one of my best friends I lost to heroin. It tells the story in a way I've never been able to in conversation.
What is your all-time favorite song (by another artist)?
96 Tears by "? and the Mysterians". He insists he's been abducted by a UFO. Also lately I've had the first few lines of Dinu Lipatti's Bones by The Mountain Goats trapped in my head like it still just doesn't wanna go away, which is just fine with me cause I really love that song too.
Is there any artist you dream of performing with someday?
Yeah, all of my friends on the same stage some day in what I can only fantasize to be a MEGA BAND. And that would be our name. It would include, but not be limited to, members of: Manson Family Picnic, Endless Mike and the Beagle Club, Ugh God, Power Animal, Br'er, The Fools, The Eskalators.
What message would you like your music to convey to the listener?
Listen to "Sleepy Don't Cry" from our new record Heavy Head
That one pretty much covers it.
Name five adjectives that describe your music.
Animal, Microphone, Guitar Strings, Neck, Face.
Name five performers who have influenced you most as an artist.
Jesse Michaels, Roy Orbison, Jeff Mangum, Brent Green, Mike/Matt Miller
Can you tell us more about the charities you support?
I support the efforts of Artists for a Cure for Cancer Now and specifically the Spencer Bell Legacy project full-heartedly. I've met both of Spencer's parents, and through our violinist Missy, have come to know his music. I feel a hard-to-place camaraderie, I feel like I'm just getting to know and respect him as a songwriter, butI'll never get to meet him. He's already gone. I feel robbed in a way. That's why I'm trying to help fill in the gap. That's what I hope to be doing for myself and everyone working hard for ASCCN next fundraiser.
Which performance do you consider the highlight of your career, thus far?
This one, this interview performance, at this very moment, DONE! I'm checkin out and goin to bed, what a fulfilling career it's been.
What projects will you be working on this year? Any plans to tour?
Awe man I was just ready to go to bed! ok ok, to tell you the truth, we've got lots of stuff coming up. But SHHHH don't talk about it because it will just get me excited and keep me up. but that's alright, I'm already up so here's a fragmented preview: "INFLATABLES" (trash bag creatures built on fans), New Films, Dream Logs compiled into a color booklet, show at the MOMA (Collaborations with filmmaker Brent Green), Show in Texas, Homemade Music Video Festival 2010.
DREW'S ADVICE FOR ASPIRING YOUNG ARTISTS:
My advice is to keeeeeep writing. just keep at it, keep goin and goin. You are going to think your stuff sucks for the first few years at least, and possibly a percentage of the time after that, but you CAN'T dwell on that. You just keep going and learn to trust that it's something you love and it will come through, it's worth the time. You're building yourself a tool that you'll always be able to fall back on no matter what.
As far as the business end of it goes, I've got one simple piece of advice: NEVER PAY for anything! never pay to play a show, have a song on radio or internet radio, never pay to have someone "represent" you, never pay. It's almost always a scam when people ask you to pay them for you playing music, it should be the other way around, and if you keep at it long enough it will be that way. GOOD LUCK!
Thanks to Drew and the band for sharing their time and talent. Check out their pop/folk albums Heavy Head and dream, dream, fail, repeat.
For more information about Spencer Bell Legacy, please visit http://spencerbellmemorial.ning.com/