As a young child, Andy began banging pots and pans with wooden spoons in South Bend, Indiana. He and his big brother, John, composed songs in the basement crawlspace, with only the pet gerbils as their audience. During a trip to New Orleans at 13 years old, Andy was so impressed with the rich musical atmosphere of Bourbon Street and a one-man-band street musician playing a set of junk drums that he began taking lessons on an old pieced-together Slingerland. When a neighborhood friend wanted to form a heavy metal group, the band Zarcus was born.
Andy played in a number of bands (Zarcus, Blue Wail, PG-13, and Model Citizens) while studying with Billy “Stix” Nicks, a brilliant instructor in the South Bend area. His musical momentum flourished with the continuous support of his dad, as he performed diverse musical styles including rock, new wave, blues, jazz, Latin, and pop-rock.
After moving to Arizona, Andy began to study at Mesa Community College with Don Bothwell Chris Armstrong, and Mark Austill. He then enrolled in the music program at Arizona State University, where he studied drum set with Rob Schuh (and later Dom Moio) and orchestral percussion with John Pennington. He graduated with a degree in music in 1991.
In 1989 he began teaching drum lessons at Linton-Milano Music in Mesa, Arizona. Inspired by his first wife, Rena, he earned a master’s degree in elementary education in 1995. He continued to freelance around town, while teaching fourth graders for five years at Kyrene de las Brisas Elementary and middle school science for one year at Arizona School for the Arts. Drum teaching and performing have remained a constant in his life for more than 28 years.
Studying drumming has led Andy to connect with numerous mentors such as Grant Wolf, Chuck Marohnic, Jeff Hamilton, Colin Bailey, and Dom Famularo. Thanks to funding from the Arizona Commission on the Arts grant program, for many years, he expanded his training to include one week per year in New York City, studying jazz with John Riley.
Andy released the 2nd edition of a drum instructional book called Drumscapes in 2007. The book received favorable reviews in Modern Drummer, Drumhead, Percussive Notes magazines, and the Drummer Cafe website. He designed Sticky “Notes,” post-it notes with staff paper imprinted on them (these are currently out of production). Andy also created a tool that uses the Rock Band video game to help transform gamers into drummers.
Andy’s has published a number of drum-related articles on magazines and websites, including Modern Drummer Magazine, Drum! Magazine, Percussive Notes, OnlineDrummer, and Drummer Café. Andy forged a publishing deal with Cherry Lane Music Publishing to transform Drumscapes into a book called Drumcraft. It was released in 2013 and became available internationally.
Andy has proceeded to write a number of other instructional packages including Drum Aerobics, Daily Drum Warm-Ups, Drumset for Preschoolers, Funk Up Your Hi-Hat Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, Funk Up Your Snare, Funk Up Your Ride, Funk Up Your Toms, The Jazz Waltz, Play Like Keith Moon, Two Surface Learning, and Creative Boxes. Andy also wrote three illustrated children’s books: People Really Do Trust Ziker, Nobody Sounds Like You (Devan Plays the Drums and Steve Strums His Six-String).
Andy invented two types of music stands for drummers and percussionists: the Manhasset Drummer Stand and the Manhasset Hi-Hat Drummer Stand. The drummer stand is endorsed by icons Tommy Igoe, Peter Erskine, John JR Robinson, and John Riley.
In 2008, Andy established a Preschool Drumset Program at the Barness East Valley Jewish Community Center in Chandler, Arizona, and in 2013, started an electronic drum set lab for third-eighth graders at Self Development Charter School in Mesa, AZ.
Besides working as a free-lance musician, he played in a number of Arizona-based groups including Jumping Genes, Triple Screw Sea Giants, Whole Milk, Phoenix Jazz Workshop, DH4, Chris Champion, the Tommy Eggleston Trio, NuWrld Jazz Project, Stan Sorenson and Jazz Prose, Peter Zale, Avalon, The Pita Jungle Jazz Jam House Band, Monte Procopio, and Jed’s A Millionaire. Andy has also played with many well-known musicians and groups including the Ronettes, the Shirelles, the Drifters, the Tokens, Ike Cole (brother of Nat “King” Cole), and Tony Malaby.
In January 2014, Andy was hired as an associate editor at Drum! magazine in San Jose, CA, which recently has turned into freelancing for the magazine. Andy plays with Santa Cruz rock-reggae-dance-blues cover band Spun, Jed’s A Millionaire (now LA-based), Wunderdust (Bay Area), and Synge (Phoenix). He also teaches drum lessons at The Rhythm Academy Of San Jose, and runs a bucket drumming enrichment program called Bucketeers for students ages two and up.
Andy is available for session work (studio), Skype lessons, clinics, and workshops. Visit Andy on Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, and Facebook. Andy is happily married to Dr. Cindy Ziker and is the proud father of four step-adults and one step-grandson.