Andy Grammer stopped by to talk with Damon backstage at All-Star Christmas. They chatted all about Andy’s history as a street performer, and the difference between performing solo or with his band.

Less than two years ago, Andy Grammer was a “busker”– or a street performer– in California. “You’re basically begging people to stop and give you some money,” he recalled. Damon’s fiancee used to hang out in the same neighborhood where Andy performed, right by Barney’s Beanery in Santa Monica.  She avoided the street performers, as many tended to be aggressive, but Andy always opted for a more passive approach.

“I never would ask [for money],” he recalled. “Some people make you feel bad about it. They’d finish a song and say ‘Please, this is my only form of income, it’s either this or drugs.’ I never took it that far.” Aside from that, advertising still counts, too– even for street performers. “A good sign gets something,” Andy quipped.

Even as a major pop rock artist, Andy is still proud of his homegrown roots, and his old stomping grounds. “As far as acoustic guys go, I feel like I have some street cred,” he joked.  Andy’s high energy performance has made him a household name in a very short amount of time– even scoring him the title “artist to watch” by Billboard magazine– and he’ll be bringing that same sense of fun and excitement to the All-Star Christmas, which will be a reunion for him and Train, who toured this Summer.

“I was on tour with them all Summer… [they were] just God-awful,” he chided. All joking aside, Andy’s tour with Train was a great experience for the singer, and he thinks they’re great guys. He was even impressed with the band’s families, especially Pat Monahan’s kid, Rock. “He’s the sweetest,” he said of Monohan’s son.

Andy will be performing solo at All-Star Christmas, with no band to back him up, which brings him back to his roots once again. “You gotta go out there an just fight the crowd on your own,” he said. “I love it.” Performing alone is a great experience for Andy, but he loves working with his band as well.

“I can’t tell which one I like more at this point,” he admitted. “When you play with your band, you can take it farther and get louder, and it’s awesome. When you play by yourself– there’s nothing like you and an audience, and you can win or lose.”

The singer joked may even go back to his busker days tonight, leaving his guitar case open on the end of the stage to make a little change. “There’s a lot of people here, and I don’t have to get their attention,” he gagged. “They’re already there when I come out.”


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