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‘Deadliest Catch’ Skipper Andy Hillstrand Visits the Factory, Shares Stories & Songs

Andy Hillstrand, co-captain and deckboss of the crab fishing boat the Time Bandit from the popular Discovery Channel program Deadliest Catch, dropped by the Taylor complex on Tuesday for a tour with his wife Sabrina. Hillstrand, who owns an 810ce he says he loves, was initially drawn to Taylor after seeing an online video of Bob Taylor talking about guitar making. During his visit, Hillstrand shared some colorful tales, including a funny account of the dramatic demise of his first guitar, an Esteban, which he used to defend himself in an altercation with another fisherman. He also recounted the perils of battling six-story waves, on-the-job sleep deprivation (his record is 80 hours) and other treacherous working conditions that keep Deadliest Catch viewers on the edge of their seats each week.

While making the rounds at the factory, Hillstrand had a chance to spend time with Bob Taylor, who happens to be a longtime fan of the show. The two chatted at length, during which Hillstrand assured Bob that the seventh season, which premiered on April 12, will feature plenty of harrowing drama, not to mention some blood and broken bones. He also promised an epic prank at some point along the way.

Hillstrand also played a pair of tunes he wrote following the death of another skipper on the show, Captain Phil Harris (the Cornelia Marie), whose passing factored heavily into the drama at the end of last season. Hillstrand downplayed his singing and songwriting skills, but says that after Harris’s death on the show, he woke up with the lyrics already formed in his head, and the rest of the songs came quickly. “Ode to Phil” is a poignant ballad that pays tribute to his friend, while the bluesy tune “A Fisherman’s Life” is a heartfelt homage to his seafaring trade. Taylor’s Andy Powers sat in and played some tasty fills, prompting Hillstrand to half-jokingly try to recruit him as his lead guitarist.

Besides his 810ce, Hillstrand has a pair of 812ce models on order, which he was planning to take on a string of “Captains Tour” live events he’s doing starting in May with his brother, Time Bandit co-captain Johnathan, along with Captain Sig Hansen of the boat the Northwestern. The shows will mix firsthand storytelling, previously unseen video footage, Hillstrand’s songs, and an audience Q&A.

Deadliest Catch airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.

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