Artist Q&A

@JamminJavaMei's Q&A With The Cowards Choir


We really like what we've heard of Andy Zipf's new band, The Cowards Choir. Andy has been on the DC scene for a while now and even used to work at Jammin Java back in the day! The Cowards Choir is here Tuesday playing a sold out show with Run River North! Mei caught up with the band for this Q&A.  

Where and when was your first show?


My first show was as third grade fledgling magician in Waukegan, IL. Some kids and I put on a talent show in our living room. My trick bombed and I barely held back tears. The next day, our neighbor brought me a magic book. She was very sweet. That was my last magical performance.

Our first show as The Cowards Choir was August 10 at IOTA. A week later we played Jammin Java. :)

What band/artist would you consider to be your main influence?

Andy: This is always a tough question. If I had to narrow it down to one main influence, I'd say Arcade Fire, Daniel Lanois, Wilco and Paul Simon. My wife is a hair stylist and she had a walk in once that claimed he was a musician. She asked him this same question, and he said, "I don't really listen to music. I listen to the wind in the trees." I wish that was my answer. It's so weird and bad its good.

What is one of your most memorable or off-the-wall touring experiences?


In October, we played this great outdoor venue in Asheville, NC right next to the French Broad River. There were bonfires and some kind of rave was going on in a field next to the stage. Also, there was an excellent pho food truck parked next to the place. During our set, this dude from the field gathering walked right up front. It looked like he was getting ready to make some kind of request. Instead, he blurted out in a joyful slur, "You guys have fuckin' awesome dynamics!" We still get a kick out of that.


I was touring South Africa in a former band and we had what might be considered a pleasant evening were it not for the fact that we were in the middle of nowhere in the desert.  We were scheduled to play a venue that had a patio due to the fact that a bomb blew up one portion of the building. It was a large warehouse type structure where they had built a stage, bar, and dance floor in one of the only rooms with all the walls and a ceiling intact.  Keep in mind my former band was a punk band.  The person on stage was spinning old disco LP’s and adding his own sound effects with a keyboard while everyone danced in a very traditional way e.g. holding hands while the other hand was on their partner’s hip or lower back.  Long story short we did not end up playing that evening.  There were some concerns for our safety, I believe.  So after we were dropped off at our home for the night we decided to walk a mile back to town to see what we could get into.  We were deep in the desert and the sky above as we walked was pretty close to life changing.  We found a bar in town and went inside.  Upon walking in it was exactly like the movies.  Everyone stared at us in silence.  We, how can I put this tactfully, didn’t fit in at all.  So I did what I had to do, I walked over to the bar and ordered a drink.  The bar must have been an old theater because they had a large loge over where everyone was sitting.  We were informed that it was okay for us to drink there but it might be better for us to sit in the loge and let someone bring us our drinks.  So we sat there and watched elderly men do karaoke to Elton John, Madonna, Janet Jackson, etc.  I sat there trying to absorb how very normal the night was on one hand and how incredibly bizarre it was on the other.

Favorite Food:

Andy: A giant breakfast around noon after a long drive through the night

Adam: I love food from Mexico on down through South America.  I love the variety of spices and simplicity in some of the meals.

Favorite Drink:

Andy: Whiskey

Adam: My favorite drink is probably strong dark coffee with honey and skim milk with a little bourbon in it.

Cat person or Dog person?


I wish I had a picture of the two dogs I grew up with: Jacob, an English sheepdog/German shepherd and Tyler, a golden retriever. My neighbors now foster labradors, so every once and a while I can go over to pet them for my dog fix. I used to not like cats, but I've learned to love them. I have a few friends that have both. I love animals in general.

Adam: I am a dog person. Thank goodness there’s no hyphen there. I love dogs, but I don’t think I’d like to be a dog-person.

If you were to have a film/movie based on your career, which actors or band would you select to portray yourself?

Andy: Since summer camp in middle school, I've been told I look like Eric Stolz, so I guess him.

Adam: For an actor I would say Audrey Tautou, just so I could finally meet her. …and it could be like that whole Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan thing…

Ryan: Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth, in his acting debut!

What two words would best describe your music?

Andy: Unified front.

Ryan: Harmony and energy.