Shred Lords: Andi the Wicked
Written by Brett Kihlmire
Shred Lords are guitarists with incredible skills on the instrument. They are players with a bright future ahead of them and the determination to make it big one day. Our newest addition to the Hall of Shred Lords is German shredder, Andi the Wicked.
Born Andreas Dötsch, Andi the Wicked hails from Koblenz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany and is the former lead guitarist of power metal band, The Wicked Chambers, and the multi-instrumentalist of his solo project, Andi the Wicked. So where did it all begin?
“I think it was 1998. I started playing acoustic guitar in school. We´ve been a group of 4 students and we were taught by a teacher. We played Songs like the drunken Sailor or whiskey in the jar. It was much too easy for me because I started playing piano when I was seven years old, so I had no problems to transfer things from the piano to the guitar,” Andi explains regarding his discovery of the guitar. “I never stopped playing since this time!”
Around the same time that he discovered the guitar, Andi discovered the music he could have a real passion for – heavy metal.
“It was in the late 90’s and I was 14 or 15 years old. A close friend of mine, which my parents tried to keep out of our house – they really didn’t like him — had a videocassette with a recording of a MTV show from 1992 moderated by Vanessa Warwick. It was a report on the Monsters of Rock Festival in Donnington with live videos from AC/DC´s ’For those about to Rock,’ Iron Maiden’s ‘Fear of the Dark,’ ‘Guns´n Roses’ ‘Paradise City’ and many other bands like the Wildhearts, Extreme, and Metallica,” Andi recalls. “I watched that cassette for hours and hours and the clip from ‘Fear of the Dark’ really moved me!”
Diving head first into heavy metal, Andi hasn’t looked back, though he has a special taste for the “old stuff” and a particular dislike for modern styles such as a metalcore and nu metal, which he says lacks the “real spirit of metal.”
Seemingly unable to put the guitar down, Andi knew that this was the key to his happiness. His first guitar was a 1960’s model guitar with a” nice sunburst finish” and nylon strings that he found in his grandmother’s flat.
“I think the strings on this instrument were never replaced, so I bought some new ones and friend of mine changed them for me,” Andi says of his first guitar. “Few month later I got another nylon string guitar for my birthday, so the old one is back in the flat. She didn’t sound quite well. I think it was a very cheap one.”
Thanks to learning piano at an early age, Andi was able to learn the instrument relatively quickly, but has consistently refused lessons.
“Most of my skills on the guitar are self-taught. I never wanted to get taught on guitar. I play what I feel and don’t want to be a prisoner of scales,” Andi explains. “It was more exciting for me to do it by my own.”
Joining his first band at 17 when his friend’s band was in need of a guitarist, Andi joined the skate punk band and had possibly one of the most memorable first shows in the history of rock music.
“After 10 minutes they kicked us out because the singer was so drunk that he kicked the bass player into the crowd and started destroying the drum kit!”
Sticking with the band for a few more gigs, Andi eventually formed a metal band, but his first breakout band, The Wicked Chambers, didn’t form until 2004. In the meantime and well after forming The Wicked Chambers, he busied himself with developing his style, which he refers to as “easy listening instrumental metal.”
“I play a lot with pinch harmonics and sweeps, but if you treat your guitar like a lady that needs it hard in bed you can feel how the tones flow through your body and that influences your playing!” Andi jokes, but in all seriousness, “I don’t use particular scales. I have only one scale and that covers 22 frets and six strings. No rules, no restrictions! That’s my trademark!”
Forming the power metal act, The Wicked Chambers, in 2004, Andi and his compatriots released their first album, When Age Has No Name, in 2006. A year later they would release their only follow up, Dirty Rules of Lies.
And though he stayed with the band until 2017, Andi started his namesake solo project in 2011. He would go on to release the project’s debut extended play, Freaks on Frets, in 2014.
Though just four instrumental tracks coming in under 25 minutes, the extended play hit its mark with reviewers and metal fans, earning him high scores and much praise.
“It´s simply straight and easy listening instrumental heavy metal. The voice is replaced by a nut shaking guitar sound!” Andi says in response to the warm response to his solo project. “It is a production that doesn’t need a singer because my guitar is doing the job! It is NOT a fuckin’ look at me and my skills production! Every song is different and many listening sessions will not make you bored.”
Through his lengthy career as a guitarist, Andi has played many stages including Musikmesse Frankfurt, which earned him endorsements from Cast Amplification and Shark Guitars, played with numerous bands, and was featured on several albums as a guest guitarist. His proudest achievement was laying down a solo on Steel Preacher’s Devilution album and performing it live at the album release show. And though he’s had many accomplishments in his career, he says nothing can top having a fan come up after a show and telling him “hey man, that was great!”
Completely dedicated to his solo project for the foreseeable future, Andi plans to hit the studio in late summer 2017. The next release, entitled Freaks on Frets II, will stick to the instrumental formula that Andi has become known for.
In addition to a new record on the horizon, Andi plans to hit the road and play shows. His touring season will begin with an appearance at the “A Chance for Metal” festival in his native Germany. After that, Andi plans to play as many small festivals and club shows as he can.
“I think the most of them will be surprised to see something new. When I play live the fans get high quality instrumental metal and a fantastic lightshow with a burning wall of Marshalls, naked skin and fire!” Andi says of his stunning live show. “It is funny, but I don’t do that to earn big money. I do it for the fans and most of my salary floats to the show!”
Living on the philosophy of never forgetting the people who support him, Andi always makes a point to have a beer with his fans after every show, so to hear their praise and criticism.
“That’s the only way to improve the show if it is necessary!” Andi says, but also believes that other keys to success are to be unique, break the rules, and believe in oneself.