By Blake Garris
|A Rocket to the Moon|
Although it was 2009 when they released their Fueled By Ramen debut full length “On Your Side,” A Rocket To The Moon haven’t been resting on their laurels. Between tours with 3OH!3, Boys Like Girls, Cobra Starship, Mayday Parade, Motion City Soundtrack and even Hanson, they had time to put out an EP of stripped tracks with a cover of Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ thrown in entitled “The Rainy Day Sessions.” While on a much-deserved hiatus prior to another tour with Never Shout Never, as well as studio time for a follow-up record, we got the opportunity to speak with drummer Andrew Cook. He talked to us about what’s been going on recently with the band, his love of Marvel movies and Gambit, and how he has the first 125 issues of X-FORCE.
Marvel.com: Are you the comic book fan in the band?
Andrew Cook: Compared to the other guys in the band, I’m definitely the biggest comic book guy. I read comics growing up. I still have my comic books; which isn’t [a] super vast [collection] but I have a good chunk of them.
Marvel.com: Any specific comics you remember reading from back then?
Andrew Cook: Yeah, my favorite comics were X-FORCE; I’ve always been a huge X-Men fan. When I was little my best friend Nick and I--he actually was more of a comic book guy than I am--but he and I have always been into X-Men our whole lives and we used to watch the animated cartoon in the mornings all the time. And we would save them on VHS and everything like that. And that’s how I got into that. And then through X-Men, got into a little X-FACTOR and X-FORCE. And I don’t know why, I just took a liking to X-FORCE. I collected those. I have the first 125 issues of X-FORCE without missing one, which I’m still kind of stoked about that I have in my collection.
I read some AVENGERS back in the day, some SPIDER-MAN; stuff like that. My uncle Matt actually had a nice comic collection from when he was a kid in the ‘60s and he had some really early issues of HULK and IRON MAN, the first 12 issues of NOVA, stuff like that. So I read some of his stuff, which obviously looks a lot different than the stuff that I read when I was a kid in the ‘90s. But that’s basically what I was into.
Marvel.com: Any specific characters from those runs that you liked more than others?
Andrew Cook: Yeah, definitely; there’s a few that stand out. Whenever anybody asks me what my favorite super hero is I always say Gambit from X-Men. I’ve been fond of him since I was a kid. I liked his kind of Creole swagger thing that he had; he always seemed super cool. I like some stuff from X-Force a lot. I’ve got a bunch of action figures too, like X-Men, X-Force and stuff still tucked away in my attic. I also really like Havoc. He was one that I always found particularly interesting.
I mean Cable was introduced in X-Force, which I thought was awesome. I think the first issue of X-Force was Cable’s first appearance, which I have a couple copies of. [It was actually NEW MUTANTS #87, the pre-cursor to X-FORCE, but that’s close enough. –Ed.] I always liked that character too.
Marvel.com: Do you have any illustrators or writers that you remember liking?
Andrew Cook: Not particularly from back in the day, but I’m definitely into Joss Whedon in terms of present day. One of my Kung Fu instructors is actually way into comics and he kind of got me back into it again by lending me some books; DARK AVENGERS and stuff like that, ASTONISHING X-MEN.
Marvel.com: I hear you’re into the movies as well.
Andrew Cook: Yeah, yeah, I love comic book movies.
Marvel.com: Any specific Marvel ones you like more than others?
|Captain America: The First Avenger Blu-ray|
Andrew Cook: Definitely. Actually I love the new X-Men movie, “First Class.” I would say that’s probably my favorite of the four. Let’s see, “Spider-Man 2” I think was pretty exceptional. I really enjoyed the “Captain America” movie; “Iron Man” also was awesome because I love Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau the director. So those are definitely my favorites.
Yeah, I’m a fan of pretty much all of them. There are some that I didn’t particularly enjoy, but there are bound to be a few misses in there.
Marvel.com: What made you like the new “X-Men” over the others?
|X-Men: First Class Blu-ray|
Andrew Cook: I thought it was great how they showed a particular take on the evolution of X-Men and how it got started, you know because you never really see that. And I’m definitely a sucker for the development of seeing Charles and Erik as young guys and seeing how they planted the seeds that would later on sprout and how they would become the characters that they were—[how] the average comic book fan knows them to be, and develop their idiosyncrasies and whatnot. And you kind of see their true nature forming throughout the story; it’s cool. I was definitely curious as I was watching the movie if they were going to touch on the paralysis thing. I still can’t decide if I think they should have laid it throughout but I thought it was cool how they showed that happening and how it creates the ultimate divide. But yeah, I’d say that’s probably why I’d I like that movie the most.
Marvel.com: What’d you think of Havok in that film?
Andrew Cook: I was stoked to see Havok. I was actually really bummed about Gambit being in the Wolverine movie. I would say that was like my least favorite of the X-Men trilogy. I’d always hoped that they would make Gambit a more significant part of like a real X-Men movie. And I don’t know, that was just a huge letdown being that he was my favorite character for so long.
Marvel.com: Are you looking forward to any upcoming Marvel films?
|Marvel's The Avengers poster|
Andrew Cook: I’m super excited for “Marvel’s The Avengers.” I stayed to the end of “Captain America: The First Avenger” to watch the little teaser. It’s gonna be cool to see how that plays out. The [“Amazing Spider-Man”] is gonna be pretty cool. I like Andrew Garfield; I think he’ll do a good job. I was never really crazy about Tobey Maguire to begin with; I just don’t really like him as an actor. So that was like one thing that always made it hard for me to enjoy the other Spider-Man movies. And after I saw the third one I was just like really turned off and hoping that they wouldn’t make another one. But I think the reboot is gonna be something that will get people excited about it again. I like Emma Stone a lot too; I think she’ll do a good job. So it’ll be a cool way to expose the story to a younger generation of kids.
Marvel.com: I found out on the Internet that you paint.
Andrew Cook: Yeah, most of the style of painting I do is kind of stencil work. I do paint a little by hand as well, but not as much as I’d like to. When I was little I used to draw more than I would paint. I wanted to go to art school for a long time before music took over. And basically the way I started drawing and doing figure drawing is I would just take pages from comic books and try to redraw them. I would just look at them and redraw characters. One of the first really cool bigger pictures I ever did was I drew a picture of Cable the way he appears in the first X-FORCE issue. My mom had that framed for a long time. It was one of my favorite drawings that I did when I was like maybe 12 years old or something. But yeah, I’ve always just been really into comic book art. I think it’s amazing.
Marvel.com: So do you do any graffiti?
|A Rocket to the Moon's 'On Your Side' album art|
Andrew Cook: Yeah, I don’t go out and paint as much as I would like to. But I do like to put up my pieces in public, and given the opportunity sometimes I’ll take a small one on tour and throw it up on an alley near a venue or something. I definitely don’t do like tagging graffiti where I just scribble a funny name on something and deface property. When I do graffiti I like it to enhance wherever I’m putting it rather than take away from the natural beauty of the spot. So I do it occasionally, but selectively, when I’m on tour. I don’t want to get caught and have to get bailed out of jail for the next show, you know? [laughs] I don’t think Josh (Terry, Manager) would enjoy that phone call at 1 a.m.
Marvel.com: Are you into any other quote, unquote geek stuff?
Andrew Cook: Um yeah, when I was younger I played Magic [The Gathering] a lot. I was way, way into it. My two best friends Nick, Dan and I played all the time. And I had a deck for just about every color. I had a pretty sweet White Griffin deck that I used to use a lot and a Black and Red Dragon deck that I was pretty stoked on. I still have all my Magic cards too. They’re tucked away upstairs. My best friend sold all of his for like a couple hundred bucks when he was in school and I think I’m just going to hang on to mine indefinitely and see what happens with them cause they could be absolutely worthless when I’m older, [but] they could be worth something, too. But yeah, that’s the other thing that I was into that would define me as a geek or a nerd.
Marvel.com: What do you do to pass time on the road?
|A Rocket to the Moon|
Andrew Cook: Well I read a lot of books and watch a lot of movies. It’s easier to watch movies now that we’ve upgraded to being on a bus and we watch a lot of movies together. And I’m actually really into film and writing. Besides music, the thing that I want to pursue with my life is screenwriting so I watch a lot of stuff on Netflix like movies or TV shows, just to kind of learn the craft. It’s also very enjoyable so it’s not really a hardship or anything. But I’d that and reading books is a big part of the way I spend my time. I’m not much of a viewer, but I’m a huge soccer fan; it’s my favorite sport so I play a lot of FIFA. That’s another thing that takes up a good amount of time on the road.
Marvel.com: Any movies or TV shows you want to recommend to people?
Andrew Cook: Yeah, actually just before you called I just finished the very last episode of “Twin Peaks.” I would highly recommend that to people. It’s obviously quirky and weird—being [by David] Lynch--but I really enjoyed it. I’d say my other current favorite TV show is “Modern Family.” And movies, I would recommend “Midnight In Paris” for movies that are out now; a Woody Allen film, it’s great. And a couple of my other favorites of all time are “Adaptation” and “Amelie.”
Marvel.com: Well tell me about A Rocket to the Moon’s semi-recent EP that came out.
|A Rocket to the Moon's 'The Rainy Day Sessions' album art|
Andrew Cook: Yeah, I guess it’s somewhat recent. We did this thing called “The Rainy Day Sessions.” It seems like it was a while ago now, I don’t know. It had to be at least like a year ago. We basically just reworked four of our songs and made them more stripped down acoustic funky versions and we worked with these two girls called The Lovell Sisters who changed their name to Larkin Poe. And they sat around with us and jammed on the songs. We recorded them live in the room in Atlanta and we covered “Single Ladies” by Beyonce as well. It was a cool experience. I mean it doesn’t quite sound like our real record but it was something we wanted to do and experiment with and be creative. And we’ve always had good songs that can be translated into lots of different styles of music and still hold up; and that’s kind of what we were trying to prove. That’s not just our songs, but the Beyonce song as well.
Marvel.com: Can you describe your full length and A Rocket To The Moon for people who haven’t heard about you?
Andrew Cook: Yeah, I always, when people ask me for a quick explanation I say it’s generally pretty upbeat catchy pop rock with some hints of pop country in there. That’s basically how I’d describe it.
Marvel.com: What’s next?
Andrew Cook: Well we do a fall tour with Never Shout Never and then we go right in the studio after that to make the follow-up full length to “On Your Side.”
Marvel.com: Anything you can tell us about the new record?
|A Rocket to the Moon|
Andrew Cook: Yeah, the writing is underway. We’ve got I’d say about 15 song ideas right now that are really exciting and Nick (Santino) and Justin (Richards) have been writing a ton. And we’re getting together soon for the full band to start hashing some things out. I’m really excited about the songs. I think there’s a couple of singles in there already and some cool lyrics that people are really gonna relate to and I think our fans are going to be real stoked when they hear it.
Marvel.com: Is it kind of in the same vein as the last record?
Andrew Cook: Yeah, I think so. I think it even strays a little farther toward the pop country side with some of the songs. I think we’re leaving behind a couple elements of the music that we think are a little overplayed and don’t really define what we want to do as a band and [we’re] kind of embracing some new things. But overall it’s just the same band. It’s just a natural progression so I hope that our fans are going to be down to go with us and hopefully they’ll be excited about the music.
A Rocket To The Moon begins their tour with Never Shout Never in Denver on September 22. For more information, visit http://www.arockettothemoon.net. You can also follow @andrewtothemoon and @ARTTM on Twitter.