There’s no doubt about it — Andy Frasco and the U.N. are a party band. With infectious grooves, mellow jams and upbeat lyrics, they’re a group to help you boogie and chase your blues away.
Frasco, still only about half-awake from the night before and maybe a little hungover, laughed over the phone and said, “We’re ‘wrestling rock.’ I crowd surf and get out there. I want to give people an experience. I want to get them off their phones and bring them into the present. I want to get people involved, because that is what music is all about.”
That’s the mission Andy Frasco & the U.N. will be on when they perform Saturday evening during Charleston MainStreet’s annual OctoberWest festival on the city’s West Side.
The feel-good vibe of the band is a contrast to some of the serious things Frasco has been dealing with both privately and in public.
He said he has heavy anxiety, and he’s part of an industry with a long and storied history of mental illness and addiction.
Frasco has had his struggles with cocaine, and just trying to cope with an often romanticized, but usually difficult, lifestyle of constant travel that can grind a person down.
As a way to get people talking more about mental health within the music scene, Frasco started “Andy Frasco’s World Saving Podcast.”
“We’ve had a lot of friends commit suicide and stuff,” he said. “I’ve always been fascinated with mental health. I did the podcast, at first, for musicians to show we’re not alone. We’re all dealing with this. We make people happy every day, but we’re not always happy ourselves.”
Social media affects performers and artists just like it does everybody else. They can be duped by the endless sizzle reels of their peers apparently living better lives, which isn’t necessarily true, but just what’s presented to the world.
“That’s got people all messed up,” Frasco said.
It’s good to talk, and he looked at his podcast as his way to help a little.
The subjects on the podcast can get a little serious, but Frasco said he was excited about the future. The band has had a good year and are booked through 2022. They’re also returning to China over the winter to play another New Year’s show.
“It’s our seventh,” he said. “They sing along to my songs. It’s amazing.”
Frasco said they loved going over and playing there, but they were also looking forward to coming to Charleston. The singer didn’t think the band had ever played here and was excited about the opportunities to try new craft beers, though he has specific tastes.
“Politically, I want to say I love craft beer, but I hate hops,” he laughed. “I’m looking forward to entertaining people, enjoying the local scene and whatever you want me to drink, I’ll drink.”
Andy Frasco & the U.N. take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Music begins at 4:30 with Rasta Rafiki, followed by Wild Adriatic at 5:45.