By Salman Haqqi
It’s 1984 and Andrew Light is watching in awe as his hero, Alex Van Halen, pounds those thunderous drums in true Alex fashion. 11 years later, Andy finds himself in Los Angeles playing with rock bands Lightning Floyd and Tequila Slam Dance. A thousand clubs and several California tours later, Floyd and Dance disbands and San Diego rocker, Nicky Walker invites Andy to be on her album “Her Sins”, which spun a single released on a compilation album with the likes of Ani D’Franco and the Indigo Girls. Andy’s story sounds typical of every kid who’s ever banged on pots and pans in their mother’s kitchen with one small exception. Andrew Light was diagnosed as a young child with Blue Baby Syndrome, Heart Disease, and a life expectancy of six months.
In 2001, Andy was informed that his heart was failing, he had blood clots in his left leg and he had to be put on the heart transplant list at Loma Linda Medical Center in Southern California. Most would find it difficult do anything hooked up top an oxygen tanks much less play drums on stage but Light did it until he simply couldn’t anymore and was hospitalized due to his heart working at around 12% capacity. Good news soon came that he had a donor for his heart but the news was short-lived when he found that the heart also came with lungs and a lady needed both. His new heart had to wait.
Not one to indulge in self-pity, Andy remained optimistic and miraculously, a week later, July 13, 2003, another heart was donated and Andrew had a successful heart transplant.
Only 10 days after his operation, Light was on a mission to get back behind the drums. Reuniting one year later with Walker, Andy and bassist Etienne deBruin formed Dropjoy. Albums and EP’s followed and Dropjoy’s latest endeavor, their EP “Hungry” produced by Light himself is to be released in October.
In the summer of 2008, Andrew signed an endorsement deal with Page Drums out of San Diego, making him the first heart transplant patient to ever receive a drum endorsement.
Jeffrey Hudson of Page Drums says of Andy; “What drew us to Andy wasn’t simply his medical condition or the fact that Andy is quite a great rock drummer… but his enthusiasm for the drums and for life.”
Andy takes massive amounts of pills just to keep his body from rejecting his heart, and endures most of his days in physical pain without any complaints. He is the most gracious, humble person and has thanked Page repeatedly for signing him. “We have been allowed to experience the amazing spirit of a man who truly knows the important things in life,” Hudson said.
In September, Andy was in the hospital due to water build-up around his major organs. Because of his heart condition and medications required, his immune system has weakened and even the slightest cold can cause problems. But, in true Andy spirit, he said he had to be out by the weekend… he had a gig to play!