You may have seen Jared Andrews in a number of places around Fort Wayne. Maybe he took your cover at The Brass Rail. Or perhaps you saw him behind-the-scenes working at Shigs In Pit at some point. Maybe you saw him hanging out with the members of Let's Comedy. Most likely though, you've seen him onstage either by himself, with his rock band The Meat Flowers, his quirky pop band Microwave Miracles or perhaps you caught his first performance with his new band, Trophy Club, on March 25.
Either way, you're likely to recognize his long hair, thick glasses and his distinguishable voice, a voice that stands out from other area performers.
Born in Muncie, Andrews moved with his parents to Hillsdale, Michigan then finally to Fort Wayne in 1993 when he was six. At the age of 12, Andrews started his first band, The Scoogins, who performed the Pixies' "Where is My Mind" at his eighth-grade lock-in.
"I wore one of those 90s work shirts with the animal print collars," he remembered. "My mom and I used iron-on letters to spell out "I Want My MTV" across the front. That was my first live performance."
Around this time Andrews began writing songs with lyrics. Later in high school, he began making and recording music via four-track home recordings.
"I would hand them out to friends in between classes," he said.
These recordings consisted mostly of analog keyboards and a microphone and led to the formation of local legends Elephants in Mud, who just played their first show in years at The Brass Rail in December of last year.
Elephants in Mud began with Andrews, a friend and a drum machine that helped him upgrade to eight-track recordings and do live show. It also helped him learn how to be in a band.
These days Andrews is involved in many musical endeavors. With the help of various members - including Jon Ross and Dan Obergfell - Andrews plays in The Meat Flowers, a fairly straightforward rock n' roll/power pop band. If you've never seen them play, stop by the Rail sometime. They play there so often it's almost maddening.
"The Brass Rail is hands down the best venue to play: best staff, best crowd, best place to be creative," said Andrews.
You can find The Meat Flowers' name below many touring bands on gig posters for The Rail, many of them drawn by Andrews himself.
The Meat Flowers are the type of band that would fit right in as a "bar band" just about anywhere, but difference is in the feel of this bar band. They don't just do cover after cover and pander to the crowd; they make each show special. It helps that the music is fairly versatile; Andrews can often be found playing shows solo and acoustically, giving a more easygoing ambiance to a performance. Add in Ross and Obergfell, and the show can range from your standard stand-and-play show, to the band letting loose with its fair share of instruments and people flying around.
"I write the songs usually at home on an acoustic guitar, then I'll bring them to the band and we'll flesh them out, get all the parts dialed in," said Andrews about The Meat Flowers writing process. Some Meat Flowers songs sound like Deer Tick with a slight country drawl and bluesy guitars blanketed in springy reverb. Others sound like honest rock n' roll stylized to feel familiar and unique at the same time.
Another project, Microwave Miracles, in which he is paired up with Dani House, is a little more out of the ordinary for Andrews. The duo emits 80s-style, keyboard-driven pop music. House and Andrews switch off vocal duties, overlapping occasionally. Instead of a gritty guitar, both House and Andrews adopt keyboards and play a variety of styles to lay the groundwork for their pop melodies.
Microwave Miracles are decidedly more upbeat than Andrews' other projects; drum machines and synthesized instruments like steel drums help the sometimes-sinister lyrics have a positive bed to lie on. This helps to deliver lines like "The world is a trash can" a little more easily while still getting the point across.
Seemingly unstoppable, Andrews has embarked on yet another music venture called Trophy Club which features members of Void Reunion, Big Money & The Spare Change and The Snarks. Supported by Lorde Fredd33 and Sankofa, Andrews had this to say about Trophy Club's debut: "The first show was great! It was one of the best feelings I've ever had on stage."
While Trophy Club are still in their infancy, you could describe their music as "lazy rock" (think Mac Demarco meets Diamond Rugs). Keeping Andrews' signature tone but adding a little more shimmer to the sound, Trophy Club keep the feel of a band like The Meat Flowers, but mix it up enough to keep things interesting. With the input of the other members, it will be interesting to see where Trophy Club goes from here.
If you talk to Andrews you're sure to notice his wit. When asked what Trophy Club sound like, he said, "The feeling of the 1996 Chicago Bulls set to music."
Andrews' humor fits right in with the rest of the crew from Let's Comedy. You can sometimes find him opening up for comedians on random weekday nights.
"I am the Paul Schaffer to their David Letterman, the Kevin Eubanks to their Jay Leno. Let's Comedy is doing something very special, and anytime I get a chance to work with them on anything, it's a golden feeling."
Andrews proves himself as a staple of the area's music scene night after night on the stages around downtown (and afar while touring) and there's no doubt that Andrews has the skills to keep up with his current rate of output. It's up to the city at large to keep supporting someone who seemingly can't be stopped.
You can listen to The Meat Flowers and Microwave Miracles at bandcamp.com, and you can find information about Trophy Club on their Facebook page.