Ax Facts and Stats: Drew Copeland of Sister Hazel

Welcome to "Ax Facts & Stats", issue 32 Part 2 of our Sister Hazel focus. In part 2, I am thrilled to bring you Mr. Andrew "Drew" Copeland.

For more than 12 years, Drew's trademark harmonies, Rhythm Guitar skills and songwriting ability have been a vital element behind the success of the adult alternative rock band Sister Hazel, who are best recognized for their sincere, heartfelt music which has sold over two million albums with hits that include: "Life Got In The Way", "All for You", "Happy", "Change Your Mind", "Champagne High" and several other unforgettable tunes. Born and raised in Gainesville, Florida, Drew fondly recalls the role music played in his early childhood, not yet realizing the significance music would ultimately play in his life.

In fact, Drew often claims that he did not pick music. music picked him. In 1991, Drew met and teamed up with guitarist, songwriter and future Sister Hazel frontman Ken Block Shortly Thereafter, Drew and Ken teamed up with bassist Jett Beres, lead guitarist Ryan Newell and drummer Mark Trojanowski to complete the full band arrangement that is currently Sister Hazel. In addition to their constant recording and touring schedule, the band not only make themselves very accessible to their fans, but they also dedicate a great deal of their time and influence to events and organizations they feel strongly about, including Lyrics For Life, an organization Sister Hazel's Ken Block founded, which sponsors charitable events to raise money for and awareness of cancer research.

In August 2004, in addition to the release of Sister Hazel's new "Lift" album, Drew Copeland also releases his first solo effort entitled No Regrets. Drew joined forces with ex-Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Stan Lynch to help produce, as well as add percussion and guitar tracks on this project. Stan also helped put together a team of musicians from Nashville; some Drew had previously worked with, and others that he had heard great things about. "Stan Lynch was a huge factor in me jumping in head first and making this happen," proclaims Drew. Drew was also joined on this album by Sister Hazel bandmates Ken Block and guitarist Ryan Newell on a couple tracks, as well as Drew's good friend Edwin McCain, who took time out of his own hectic schedule to fly in and record the lead vocals on two tracks. No Regrets contains all the same heartfelt songwriting and vocal talent Drew is recognized for, but assures Sister Hazel fans that this solo effort is, by no means, a suggestion of a conclusion to Sister Hazel. Let us now meet Drew Copeland:

My name is: Drew Copeland

My name is: Drew Copeland

My current job is: I consider myself extremely lucky to be a Musician. I really didn't plan on having a career in music. My Family has always been very musical and I've always enjoyed sitting around with my family singing 3 and 4 part harmonies. Do what you love and love what you do.

My hometown: Born in Gainesville, Florida on March 21st 19??. Raised there until I graduated From Gainesville High School. I played football at a junior college in North Carolina for two years. After a few months back in Gainesville I moved to and lived in Hawaii for two years. It wasn't until I moved back to Gainesville that my music career began.

My current album or project is: No Regrets, Lift (Sister Hazel)

My guitar influences growing up were: Growing up I listened to bands such as Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, Rush, The Police. During the last 10 or 15 years I have been influenced by such Artists as James Taylor, The Eagles, and Sting.

The guitars I use are: Takamine Acoustics and Gibson Electrics.

My current rig setup consists of: Gibson ES350t through a Matchless DC 30.

My favorite Ryan Newell solo is: Hard to pick just one but Strange Cup of Tea's solo smokes (this is a follow-up to a Ryan piece he ran earlier)

My favorite SH song is: That's a hard one to answer because each song has a different meaning for me. Obviously the Hazel songs that I've written for the band have more meaning for me than some of the others. Any time you tie in personal experiences the song tends to speak to you more. I guess right now the song is In the Moment.

My Career highlight thus far is: One thing that amazes me up to this point in my career is that for the past 12 years I have been able to pay the bills by doing something I truly love. Writing and playing music.

Other than my guitar, the one piece of my gear that I cannot live without is: It's funny because it's not a piece of equipment that I can't live without it's two that I can't go on with..... my shoes. Superstition can make you do crazy things and for the last 12 years I've consistently played shows in my bare feet. I love the feel of the stage and the vibrations of the music, not to mention it is really comfortable.

If I am only sure of one thing in life, It's: Happiness comes from within. Other people can contribute to your happiness but it's ultimately up to you. Money and Material things cannot and will not make someone happy.... at least not for long.

My Greatest fear is: Looking back at my life and wishing I had done something other than what I'm doing. No Regrets is more than an album title, it's a lifestyle.

The exact moment I knew I would pursue a career in music was: 1995. I was touring with Sister Hazel and I had asked Ken to find someone to replace me because I was graduating from the University of Florida and was going to move on into the business world. Shortly after that a few unforeseen things happened in my personal life and I told Ken I would give it (music) a full year of my full attention. The rest is history.

The one thing most fans don't know About me is: I really battle insecurity. It's not that I don't think that I'm good at what I do but I really don't want to let anyone down. I work hard at living up to what I expect of myself and what others expect of me.

The best advice I could give beginning guitarists: Practice

The CD(s) I'm listening to right now: Sheryl Crow's Greatest hits, Don Henley's Inside Job, John Mayer, Lenny Kravitz, The Counting Crows.

My 3 all-time favorite albums: Sting's Ten Summoner's Tales, James Taylor's Double Live, The Eagles Live I'm a sucker for: Funny Sarcasm Who was one of your favorite artists that you jammed with onstage? Warren Haynes My best gig was: Gator Growl 1997 If I could meet any ONE person living or Dead, he/she would: Jesus Christ. I know that's heavy but we're talking anyone right? Well that's who that would be.

My favorite junk food: Hamburgers

My biggest pet peeve: Dishonesty. Really can't stand it.

The word or catch phrase I say way too often is: "..to be honest", or "honestly..." or "to tell you the truth...."

The hardest part of my job: By far.... being away from my Family. Travel has gotten much harder now that I'm married and have children. I still love what I do but I wish I could bring them all with me.

The first thing I do when I come home from touring is: Throw my laundry everywhere and let my wife know how glad I am to be home.

I knew I hit the "big time": uh, did we hit the big time?

The worst job I ever had: Being a cook at a restaurant in Gainesville, Florida.

Right after this interview I'm going to: Go do sound check

I couldn't imagine being on the road without: My Blanket (very attached, reminds me of home) and my playstation 2 (Tiger Woods Golf).

If I wasn't doing the musician thing, I could really see myself working as: A professional beach bum. Ooo I could be really good at that. Maybe a really bad professional golfer. I could host a fishing show in the Keys, wow the possibilities are endless.

My favorite movie ever: That's a hard one.... I'm really a movie fan so picking one is hard. I guess Fletch would be one of the top.

My mission in life: To live every moment to it's fullest and be to be a worthy husband and father.

My greatest obsession: Golf and fishing

My next major step is: Career-wise is to continue to nurture what I've been blessed with. Keep writing and putting out music that means something to me.

The coolest toy I had growing up was: I was a lucky kid. My parents did an excellent job of taking care of four children. I had many cool toys growing up but for some reason I always remember making forts and stuff out of the boxes that the actual toys came in.

Check out our Website at: www.DrewCopeland.com or SisterHazel.com.

The one musician I would love to work with that I have not yet had the chance would be: James Taylor If I could have three wishes, they would be: For my children grow up in a peaceful world, To be able to handle anything that comes my way with grace and wisdom, To be half as good at raising my kids as my parents were.

When it's all said and done, I want the world to remember me for: I'm not sure I can handle something that deep. I guess I'll just keep trying to live a good life and let the chips fall where they may. Hopefully I'll be remembered for something good and respectful.

There are many more interesting facts in the bio section of the Drew Copeland website at www.DrewCopeland.com. Go check it out!.

Thank you Drew for joining us and we are all looking forward to ten years more years of Sister Hazel! I'm always thrilled to have great musicians join us as we compare notes with other guitarists, musicians and fans alike in "Ax Facts & Stats". I want to invite our visitors to check out Drew and the rest of Sister Hazel at their official website at SisterHazel.com. Also be sure to check back for the next installment of "AX Facts & Stats" coming real soon!

Extreme Guitars is the web home of articles and interviews written by Dave Roberts. All Dave Roberts interviews & articles are available for use or reprint ONLY by Permission. Permission can be obtained by contacting Dave. All materials are Copyright Dave Roberts and Oceanbreeze Ent. All Rights Reserved.

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