Andy was such a great friend to me over the years. I met him in the mid ‘90s when I first started selling advertising for the Metropolitan Spirit and we hit it off immediately.
Back then, when we would put ads together, people would have to hand us all their design elements — printed-out logos, pictures, etc. Anyone reading this who ever dealt with Andy in the advertising arena will get a chuckle. Gathering ad copy from Andy was an experience akin to being born, living a full and fruitful life, then slipping into the great beyond.
So it would work thusly: Andy would agree to run an ad. An ad. What followed was hours of meetings, which were basically bullshit sessions where we would make each other laugh until tears would flow. It was an experience. Never in history has someone pained so much over simple sentences. I would peer through the window in his office and look at his young son Drew — still in high school at the time — and say a silent prayer that he would grow up soon and take over this responsibility.
During this time Andy asked me to help with his band, the Robbie Ducey Band. I didn’t know what I was doing: I booked shows, traveled with the band on occasion, but basically just had a great time with a bunch of fun-loving musicians. Andy was such an incredible drummer. I used to bug him to set up his kit at the shop and play, but he was funny about combining his two passions.
Andy helped me with a bike to ride my daughter Jordan on. Some of my very best memories with my baby girl are of us on the canal, her sound asleep with her helmet bump bump bumping the side of her little seat behind me.
I read in Amy Christian’s moving cover story how visits to the bike shop could turn into marathons. Well, that’s being kind. If you went into the shop and Andy pulled away and focused on you, there was no end to the conversation. He was interested in everything — curious about everything — and always a glass-half-empty kind of guy. In a very endearing way.
His shop burned down about a decade ago and I never spoke of it without implicating him in the blaze. When we were talking about some random subject, I would peg the time of our subject to either before or after “you burned the shop down.” Yes, of course it got old. But not to me and he was such a mensch he let me roll with it.
As my life became busier we didn’t see each other as much. But like those friends you have who are a part of your being, I always counted Andy as one of my very best friends. Someone quick to laugh at your funny, give you heartfelt advice or just shoot the breeze.
Andy was a one of kind.