SR: Andy, I read in the local Chronicle that you share a birthday with Keith Richards, have you ever met him ?
AM: Sadly no, I have never got the call. I have met some big names, but I’ve never been a name dropper mainly because when I did meet anyone significant there wasn’t much to say about it afterwards….except when I met Stan Bowles. We played in a Soccer 6 tournament at the Phoenix Festival back in ’96 and our teams met in the quarter-finals. I had been up for two days solid so I wasn’t in the best form to face one of my early idols !
The game was quite pacey and I remember a few goals had been scored for both sides. Yes, it’s a bit vague. Well, I suddenly got the ball in loads of space with just the goalie to beat. Then, in the middle of pulling the trigger – from nowhere – completely unexpectedly – the ground became the sky as my legs, and the ball, were swiped away from underneath me. A blinding tackle from the man himself ! Yes, I was a little peeved by it at the time, but then I saw who did it, I was as happy as if I was playing for his side. To this day – great tackle Stan !
SR: The name change coincides with your arrival, had you been in a band prior to that Andy ?
AM: You are talking about Nige and Maths previous band Purple ? We’re now in 1990, it’s becoming a bit like Doctor Who ! No, I hadn’t been in another band before we formed Dodgy as the three of us. I think Purple was more of a learning curve for the lads. A good reason to get away from Birmingham ! Any tunes that came out of Purple are safely lost somewhere down the back seat of an old Cortina Mark 1, with all due respect.
SR: You once supported ‘The Who’. I’m a big fan, how did that come about ?
AM: I’m a big fan also. I remember we were on tour, well, we were always out on the road in those days and we knew that ‘The Who’ were playing at the Manchester Arena. So our manager gave them a call. He got through to Harvey Goldsmith and asked if we could get tickets to come and watch. Harvey said: “Better still, why don’t you come and play ?” And before he even put the phone down we were already standing there ready to go on stage ! It was fantastic. Our show was to an audience still finding their seats, but we didn’t care. We got to meet them too. We were not disappointed, we were in awe. We did have ‘The Kids Are Alright’ in the set list, but bottled out at the last minute. I suppose we didn’t want people to think that they’d got there too late as they queued to get in !
SR: You played in Bosnia a couple of times in the 90’s, that must of been quite an experience.
AM: Yes it was. Not often you see a recent war zone. And it really surprised us. The devastation and hardship these people endured was in stark contrast to our binges back home and on tour, quite a humbling experience. We were invited to come and play at Knebworth with Oasis, but turned it down to go to Bosnia. I think that we came away as better people having chosen Bosnia, poorer in pocket, but richer in heart. In some small way we helped lift the gloom and then found out how the folk there manage to turn things around through their strength of character and belief. Proud people.
SR: What would you say were your main musical influences, what sort of music did you grow up listening to ?
AM: I grew up surrounded by my sisters. The radio was always on, with a lot of activity around the house. Their musical tastes certainly laid down the biscuit crumb base to my cheese cake….mmm, there must be a better cake analogy, how about trifle ? They were the soggy biscuit….no not working !
I like today’s music. I can’t be alarmed at the change of styles over the years. Music is a swinger, it goes places, re-invents itself. I like Rock, Indie Rock, some Folk, New Wave, Old Wave, Wave Hello Goodbye Wave. Pink Floyd started me off, Dave Gilmore’s solos. I felt compelled to ask for a guitar at Christmas then, the wish was granted and I began mastering it to get as close to that sound as possible. Then it continued….Ritchie Blackmore, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton and not least, Jimmy Page.
The latter started a massive obsession with Led Zeppelin which lasted from 16 to 21 or 22 when I joined Dodgy and heard Sly Stone and ‘The Who’. But by then I had gone through the entire collection of Led Zeppelin. It was the only thing I played and I bet it drove my brothers and sisters mad ! Learning the recorded solo’s, then the live solo’s. I have a very good ear for picking things up and where a chord is played, the sound of it resonating. I can tell whether it is a G, D or E or a toaster being hit with a badger.
SR: I see that you’re doing the Bush Hall in the Uxbridge Road. Great venue, I went to see Georgie Fame there last year. Have you played there before or anywhere else in the Bush Andy ?
AM: It will be the first time I have played there. I have played the big one round the corner – the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. We played there at the end of our reunion/honeymoon tour. The after-show was epic !!! Noel Gallagher was holding court in our dressing room, talking about blow jobs and Rock ‘n’ Roll. The night felt like the 70’s TV show, ‘This is Your Life’. Friends were appearing from 15 years previous, overwhelming. I’m expecting the Bush Hall show to be similar apart from the after-show. We’ve only got an hour and it’s the size of a living room. Bah !
SR: Many families, including mine, moved up the Western Avenue beyond Gypsy Corner to Greenford, Northolt etc in the 50’s/60’s. Did you grow up in Perivale and did any of your family have any connection originally with West London?
AM: I was born in the Maternity Hospital in Perivale, but grew up in Northolt on the Racecourse Estate and schooled at Northolt High. My parents also moved from Ealing and Hanwell. My Mum grew up in Islington and her Dad was an Arsenal supporter. But they eventually moved to Hanwell and in Ealing where my Uncle George Bone still runs his tattoo parlour. My Dad grew up in Southall with his Sister Jean so I have roots in Ealing, Uxbridge Road, Southall and Islington. I loved meeting the characters from the Islington side of the family, very quick witted, a lot of laughter and amusing stories. The ‘Bones’ were well known for that,
SR: So apart from the Islington connection, any R’s fans in the family ?
AM: My Brothers and my eldest Sister, Teresa. She opened the door to football, though she admits that she used to support our rivals Chelsea !!! It was an ex-boyfriend that was a Chelsea fan I think. Though for some reason she decided to swap. Maybe QPR were doing better then or maybe it wasn’t so far to travel ? My Brothers take a bit of an interest, but I can’t remember the last time I spoke to them ! Typical lads ! Oh yes, I remember too that she introduced me to my first pint of Guinness before we headed off to a match.
SR: What do you recall of your first match ?
AM: It’s vague, but I think we played someone like Preston North End, way back, early 80’s. Don’t ask me to remember anything more, though I do seem to remember us winning that match and being surprised to see how big the players’ thighs were. And also the atmosphere in a stadium like Loftus Road which had only ever been imagined in my head in the living room kicking a rolled-up sock around.
SR: Do you have any all-time Rangers heroes Andy ?
AM: Yes, I have already mentioned Stan Bowles, but equally I would add Gerry Francis, Trevor Sinclair and Terry Venables in charge of our promotion year to the First Division. They are all heroes to me and anyone who plays for my beloved R’s.
SR: With Dodgy reforming, do you still manage to get to many games ?
AM: We usually have a gig on Saturdays when Rangers are at home so my visits are sporadic at best. I feel very guilty, but I realised when I was 16 and attending games that blinking every time we got the ball made no difference to the outcome of the match. So I guess we found another way of winning.
SR: Is it true that the re-union tour was delayed because you fell out of bed and chipped a bone in your arm ?
AM: Yes it’s true. It was the night before the start of our re-union tour, out of a loft bed I had made. I’ve never fallen out of bed before – once or twice for a laugh, but not while I was fast asleep. It’s very much like being smashed in the face very hard with a floor ! My left arm took quite a knock that wasn’t felt until I tried to get up feeling completely dazed. Not something I want to do again so I’ve gone back to a normal bed until I can get one filled with water.
SR: Being an R’s fans has usually been a roller coaster ride. What memories stand out for you ?
AM: Not many I’m afraid. Dodgy have almost mirrored Rangers’ fortunes. You know, slipping out of view for a few years. We’ve both done a lot of soul searching. We’ve both known better times. I just hope they can stay in the top flight and get some legs on, same with the band !
SR: Glen Matlock, Mick Jones, Pete Doherty and two of the members of Brother are well known R’s fans. Various other musicians have come and gone. Phil Collins now seems to support everyone and I don’t know whether Bruce Welch still has the faith ? The composer Michael Nyman is a Rangers fan of course, have you come across any others in the business ?
AM: No I haven’t, none that you haven’t mentioned already. Not to worry, I’ll spread the word and hopefully we’ll have an orchestra full of them !
SR: Rumour has it that you’re also a big Motor Racing fan ?
AM: Yes, I’m quite keen on it. I’ve followed it since I was little, back when we had drivers like Alain Prost, Gilles Villeneuve, Alan Jones, Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna racing head-to-head. Epic races like the 1979 Grand Prix at Dijon where Gilles Villeneuve in an underpowered Ferrari, battled with Rene Arnoux in his Renault turbo for 2nd place in the closing laps of the race. A mammoth struggle where they swap places at 150mph through high speed corners, sometimes side by side. A little bit different from today where safety and technology has compromised the sport. But I still love it and this year there are six world champions on the grid, so I can’t wait for it to get going.
I’m also fully aware of the link to QPR. At the time I thought ‘this is great’ but that soon wore off when I noticed how badly Briatore and Ecclestone were handling things. There didn’t seem to be enough movement in buying players or appointing good managers. It was a toy for them, though I’m much happier now that Tony Fernandes has bought them out. Future looks bright, if, that is, we survive this season. Come On the R’s !!!
SR: Why have Stansted Airport and circus animals been mentioned to me ?
AM: The boys were tickled by a recent Q & A I did for a local Shepherd’s Bush paper where I finished it off by saying at the show there would be the usual elephants balancing on beach balls, dolphins in tuxedos, lions jumping from post to post, but I don’t know why the flea circus never got in ?
And also that I often fly to Austria to see my missus so Stansted is a second home, almost, a couple of times a month. Mainly to Vienna, lovely place, friendly people and you can still smoke in a bar.
SR: The release of ‘Stand Upright In A Cool Place’ was your first studio album in a very long time. How long did it take to record ?
AM: It took 5 weeks or recording over 2 months, in between gigs and other work commitments. But some of the material was recorded 6 months before and we just came back and added to them or changed bits either by tightening up the arrangement or honing in on the parts that had started to take form. Then the pace of ideas appearing quickens and you start to see more clearly where things can go, what will work and what will not. And this time around we were so much more open to each other’s ideas. Out went our own personal ego’s and in came a universal oneness of being an ego ! Oh, what a bunch of hippies….Folkers more like !!!
SR: Fulham coming up on Saturday, three points really are a must. Will you get to the match or are you on the road again ?
AM: No, I’ll be driving up to Leeds for a gig with the lads, but I’ll be tuning in on the radio. We have to win, hey, no pressure !!! I wish the team and everyone at Loftus Road the best of luck.
SR: Andy, many thanks for taking the time to do this interview for the Indy R’s. Good luck with the Album, the gig at the Bush Hall and all the best for the future.