New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media

Big News! Emily Mann to retire as McCarter Theatre's Artistic Director following 2019-2020 season
Click here for the story!

Andrew Holtz Has Something To Say

By Gary Wien

Andrew Holtz has been running all of his life. The former Christian Brothers Academy track star earned a scholarship at Fordham University. After graduation, he ran through a series of accounting jobs until he finally was at a top New York city firm. And once he got there, he decide to run one more time - back to his dream of being a musician. His debut CD, "Leaving New York", will be released this month with release parties at the Sidehatch Bar in Asbury Park on May 18th and the Bitter End in New York City on May 22nd.

"The title track has the undertones of a love song, but it really is about me saying I've got to leave New York and come back home and put my life together as a musician rather than the life I had built for myself in the city as an accountant," explained Andrew Holtz. "I needed to come back here to concentrate on music and leave all those things that were pressuring me to not to do music. Just come back home and clear my head."

Growing up, Andrew was in hardcore bands, heavy metal bands, and even emo and punk bands, but he began getting serious about his own sound when he got to college. It was there that he began listening to more and more types of music and he found that he was always attracted to the great pop rock songwriting that featured a big hook coming up. He lists groups like the Gin Blossoms, Goo Goo Dolls, and Counting Crows as examples.

His first record is a pure pop rock record that doesn't try to be anything else. It was recorded by The Churchills, a group of musicians and producers who just might be the local leading authorities on how to create a great pop rock sound. Ron Haney of The Churchills even liked the music so much he joined up as a member of Holtz, the new band created by Andrew.

"I'm not somebody who likes to write in metaphors and stuff," he said. "I write very literal lyrics that I think people can relate to. I spent a lot of time writing and rewriting and paying close attention to make sure every song is a story and that people are going to be able to get it off of the bat.

"The record has 12 songs including those in your face uptempo rock songs in the vain of Butch Walker or Gin Blossoms and it has some acoustic based ballads that stretch it from the Goo Goo Dolls to John Mayer. The thing that really sets it apart is the production. I went into the studio with The Churchills and we recorded it. That's why I'm just calling it Holtz instead of Andrew Holtz. Even though it is still like a solo project, in a way it's like a solo project with the heart of a band."

"Leaving New York" contains songs about love, losing love, and moving on in your life. Holtz describes it as the "daily struggles you go through with yourself about following your heart or following your head." In the end, he says it's all about taking chances.

Holtz says he's confident that if the music can just get out to enough people that it's going to catch on. Right now, he actually draws more to a show in New York City than he does in his backyard. It's something that he hopes will begin to change with this year's Wave Gathering festival where he'll be performing with his band one day and performing solo acoustic on another.

"The Wave Gathering is what it's about to be part of this music scene down here," he said. "People will be out and watching and listening to the music and even if they come in for just a couple of songs and then move to the next venue it's cool. It's impossible to see all of the bands you want anyway. It's going to be awesome to be able to do that and then do it again at the Bitter End."

For the last few years, Holtz struggled with where he fit in with the Asbury Park music scene. In a state where indie bands and emo bands seem to be getting all of the attention, a guy writing pop songs doesn't stand out very well.

"I don't know if I'm taking it too personally but I always feel kind of ousted by some of the other bands in the area because I am that pop rock guy," explained Holtz. "I'm not like those too cool for school indie guys; that's never been me. I'm not concerned about that stuff. I like the big hooks rather than really clever lyrics. I like everything to be out in the open and accessible to anybody that wants to listen to it. I kind of see myself as trying to stick up for the the pop rock guys who sometimes get labeled as sell outs."

Holtz grew up in the Middletown area and has always been good at three things: numbers, track and music. Nowadays he leaves the numbers up to his manager to focus on the music, but he still loves getting out for a run each day. Although his days of doing the decathlon may be in the past.

"Running is my addiction," he says. "It's my cocaine. I usually get out to do at least 5 miles a day."

During the recording of "Leaving New York", Holtz said that both he and Ron Haney would take breaks and go run along the boardwalk and finish with a jump in the ocean even up until Christmas when the water was about 30 degrees! He might be one of the first local rockers to join the polar bear club if he keeps that up. But the race is just beginning for Holtz and the finish line is looking sweeter than ever.

Catch him at the Wave Festival on May 18th & 20th and at the Bitter End on May 8th and 22nd. For more information visit

For more by this author, click here

Light of Day's Main Event To Be Broadcast Live at McLoone's Supper Club
(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- If you couldn't get tickets for the fabled "main event" of the 2019 Light of Day Winterfest, you have another chance see the show.  For the first time in the 19-year history of the festival, the "main event", the star-studded “Bob’s Birthday Bash” on January 19th (a show that has long sold out), will be broadcast live via fiber optic cable at McLoone's Supper Club in Asbury Park.
Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts To Hold Winter Open House On January 27
(BERKELEY HEIGHTS) -- Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts (WIPA) will host a Winter Open House on Sunday, January 27 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm. The free event is open to the public and will be held at the Performing Arts School (PAS) located at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights.
Billy Idol and Steve Stevens To Perform At Count Basie Center For The Arts
(RED BANK, NJ) -- Billy Idol and Steve Stevens, one of rock’s most iconic and enduring duos, will hit the road this March for their first ever tour performing as a duo: Turned On, Tuned In and Unplugged. The Billy Idol/Steve Stevens tour comes to The Count Basie Center for the Arts on Thursday, April 4th.
McDonald's Gospelfest To Celebrate The Life of Aretha Franklin With Return to Prudential Center
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The 37th Annual McDonald’s Gospelfest returns to the Prudential Center on Saturday, May 11 for the gospel event of the year. This year's event will honor and celebrate the life and legacy of the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin with an All-Star cast. The 5:00pm to 7:00pm portion of the evening will feature a rising stars competition for all ages and cultures in categories including Soloists, Choirs, Praise Dancers, Singing Groups, Gospel Comedians, Gospel Poets and Gospel Rappers. The gospel concert, beginning at 7:00pm, will feature some of the most renowned gospel artists in music history with the goal of spreading love, peace and joy to all races, nationalities and beliefs.
Bickford Theatre Presents Herb Gardner's Groundhog Jam
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- The great Groundhog Jam has a long history of prying jazz fans out of their warm burrows and into the chill of February weather in order to welcome the advent of spring.  The Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum continues a tradition of hosting this event on Monday, February 4 at 7:30pm. Herb Gardner, who plays both trombone and piano, is assembling a stellar group of musicians from the New York, New Jersey, and New England areas including: Fred Vigorito on cornet, Joe Licari on clarinet, James Chirilloon guitar, Mike Weatherly on bass and Robbie Scott on drums.  Daughters Abbie and Sarah Gardner will be handling the vocals and guitar.

Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes At Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme
This coming Sunday, January 20, Scott Wolfson and his band will be serving up their unique blend of Americana at the Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme series at Investors Bank Theater in Succasunna, New Jersey. The band – Scott Wolfson and Other Heroes – formed in Jersey City in 2011, and, even though the members have migrated in various directions since then, they still consider themselves to be a Jersey City band.
"He Totally Wowed Us!" John Oates LIVE! at SOPAC
It’s brisk for an evening walk on South Orange Ave. in South Orange, NJ, this Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 evening, but it’s a good road to follow as it leads us directly to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) for a special performance by singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Oates and his backup group, The Good Road Band.
“Tons of Fun!” The Glenn Miller Orchestra LIVE! at the Grunin Center
Although Friday, December 21, 2018 is the shortest day of the year, the audience of big band music lovers here at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts is hoping for a long evening of classic swing and holiday tunes performed by the incomparable Glenn Miller Orchestra!
Mike Davis and The New Wonders
Mike Davis traces his love for the trumpet back to a Disney movie. He grew up in a musical family, with both his parents playing strings in the Seattle Symphony. But Davis wanted an instrument of his own. Then, at age 9, he saw “The Aristocats,” the animated film about a bunch of French felines — including a group of jazz-playing alley cats.
Ana Gasteyer's "Holiday Tipple" LIVE! at the Grunin Center
The Grunin Center stage in Toms River, NJ is set this Saturday, December 15, 2018 with drums, a grand piano, a guitar, an acoustic bass, and various microphones for vocals. A stool and several microphone stands are bedazzled with colorful garlands of shiny red, gold, and green, and wrapped gifts are strewn on stage among the instruments. Projected white snowflakes adorn the walls, and Christmas music plays as patrons enter the theater to put everyone in the mood for tonight’s holiday show — Ana Gastayer’s Holiday Tipple!

Event calendar
Thursday, Jan 17, 2019


Open Mic Night! @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 7:30pm


"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm


AMERICAN GIRL LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

View all events

New Jersey Stage © 2019 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 |

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.