Andy Stochansky The Exclaim! Questionnaire

Andy Stochanksy is a Toronto-based singer-songwriter and former drummer for Ani Difranco. His third album, 5 Star Motel, will be released on BMG on August 20.

Current fixations:
Music: Harry Nilsson (Nilsson Schmilsson), (International) Noise Conspiracy, Rolling Stones (Some Girls), Belle and Sebastian. Books: White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Painter: Angela Grossman (Canada).

Mind-altering work of art:
There is a house in Toronto, in the Bloor/Christie area that you kind of have to see to believe. Every square inch of this place is covered in thousands of these wooden spools that the owner has glued or nailed on. It is one of the most beautiful and strange things I have ever seen. I've tried waiting around to see if I could meet the owner, but no luck yet.

Most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
Latin Playboys with Lisa Germano opening at Lee’s Palace, Toronto. There was this magic in the air that you can't really describe. Everything was perfect! My mind was blown for about three days. NoMeansNo in Tokyo Japan. Obviously I'm not sure if it was being in Tokyo or the fact that NoMeansNo were so good I was speechless, but I kind of have a hunch it was a mix of both.

What has been your career high and low?
Low: Playing to four people at University of Calgary and two of them leaving.
High: Playing what I thought was the most "nothing” gig to complete strangers in L.A., having the crowd freak out and being asked to sign to RCA within months.

What should everyone shut up about?
Reality TV.

I would drop everything to play a benefit for:
Other musicians.

What trait do you like and dislike most about yourself?
Like: I always open doors for people.
Dislike: my insecurity about my music.

What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
A racist joke.

When I think of Canada I think:
Of that warm feeling you get when the national anthem comes on TV at two a.m. and seeing the same video clip that goes with it (Inuit, Mounties. winning the silver medal in the ‘76 Montreal Games etc.) since I was a kid.

What is your vital daily ritual?
Writing. I have to at least try and do it every day.

How do you spoil yourself?
Spending any time of day or hour with my fiancee.

What was your most memorable day job?
Camp counsellor for emotionally challenged kids for five years. It was amazing.

If I wasn’t playing music I would be:
The guy who runs the swan ride on Centre Island.

What is your greatest fear?
Jail. Being confined. I even hate being stuck in traffic jams.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
The power to freeze time.

What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
A high IQ and self-assuredness.

Music and sex: Is there a difference? Why?
Yes, because I don't like music while driving.

Strangest brush with celebrity:
I had Susan Sarandon once put her hand on mine and tell me that I inspired her. My friends are sick of this story.

Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
Jesus. I would serve him bread and wine and say... "Ok, do that trick, c'mon c'mon.”

What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
Calling her.