When Elvis Costello’s drummer wants to play one of your songs, you know you’ve achieved your goal as a songwriter. Local rock’n’roll soul her vocalist and extraordinaire Andrea Gillis took that honor last month.
“It’s all hazy and I still can’t believe it,” Gillis said. We met when I met Pete Thomas of What he heard was Gillis’ “Last Shot,” which she co-wrote with guitarist Eric Salt and described it as “swampy rocker.”
The next single for local Red on Red label, Gillis brought her band (which also includes drummer Eric Anderson and guitarists Melissa Gibbs and Mike Oram) to Atwoods on Saturday. when she performed live.
That’s not the only recent brush with which Gillis has achieved stardom. Last year she fell in love with “I Don’t Need You No More” (Deep Her Cut from J. Geils Band’s second her album) and she and her Valauskas are writers for her Geils Band. We asked members Peter Wolf and Seth Justman for permission to record. that. Not only did they approve, but Wolfe thoroughly praised it, comparing her to her late girlfriend Etta James and saying she kicked it high and shook her house.
“When I read that, it drove me crazy,” she says. “I happened to hear this song on the radio, Little Stephen’s underground channel, and I told Ed I had to do it because it’s great. It’s more raw than the J. Geils version. No, but I wanted it to be more raw, like[ingenious garage rock band]Sonics, and in the end, I wanted to keep the songs as real as they did, but make the songs more of our own. And I think we’ve done a pretty good job of taking a little bit of both.”
Gillis has been a local mover and shaker for over 20 years, having booked Somerville’s now legendary Abbey Lounge in the early 2000s. But she doesn’t miss those days too much. “One of the differences is that more and more venues are now able to play two sets of music. It seems there is, and I think Abby is involved, so things are different now, but I think they’re about as good.
If raw rock and soul isn’t your thing, you might like the gig Gillis is doing this month. During her year in shutdown, she and her husband Marc Pinanski streamed her show weekly as her Devotion, performing cover songs that ranged from romantic to silly (or both). played. They were timing the start and end of the run on their wedding anniversary, but they’re set to revive it live on Jan. 27 at The Lizard’s lounge.
“I can promise you a double shot of Christopher Cross and a double shot of Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis,” she said. Since we were doing a theme, one couple sent us a toast background.”
But is it easy to do these songs with a straight face?
“I laugh all the way through them. I don’t know about Mark because I don’t know how seriously he takes it. But I love parts of that too — I mean, ‘Ride Like the Wind.’ Can you relate? Absolutely not. But do you like the Michael McDonald part? Of course there was a lot of debate about who could sing. ”