|Genres||New wave, rock, pop|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, songwriter, musician|
|Associated acts||TV Eye|
Andy's career started in 1976, singing and playing in the band TV Eye, followed by Duran Duran, The Xpertz and World Service. He has played concerts supporting The Clash, U2, Culture Club, Duran Duran, Burning Spear and Gregory Isaacs, also producing and writing albums with Asian artists Nusrat Ali Fateh Khan and DCS.
In 1976, Andy Wickett, Eamon Duffy and Dave Kusworth left Moseley Art School in Birmingham and formed TV Eye, a band named after an Iggy and the Stooges song. Performing as the singer in his first band, Andy's music and flamboyant dress sense was influenced by the New York Dolls.
TV Eye started to hang around the Birmingham punk scene, at nightclubs including Barbarella's, Rebbecca's and Romulus. The band for a period were the darlings of the local music scene in Birmingham and influenced other local bands such as Duran Duran.
In the future months Andy, Dave and new guitarist Paul Adams moved into a house in the industrial part of Digbeth, Birmingham on a street called Cheapside. They cut a single called "Stevie's Radio Station" but didn't release it because they felt the drums were too fast. This song would eventually form Duran Duran's "Rio", when its familiar E-B-D-A chord progression was used for the chorus and was mated to verses matching the distinctive chords and tempo of the early Duran Duran song "See Me Repeat Me".
“The original members of Duran Duran were big fans of TV Eye, and Nick Rhodes used to go and watch the band rehearse, taking his tape recorder with him. They became friends at this point. Later Andy left TV Eye and Duran Duran's vocalist Stephen Duffy took his place. Andy was then enlisted to front Duran Duran by Nick Rhodes and John Taylor in 1979.
TV Eye were:
- Andy Wickett
- Eamon Duffy
- Dave Kusworth
During the late 1970s, Andy rehearsed with Duran Duran and Vision Collision in his room at Cheapside, Birmingham, whilst Stephen Duffy's band "The Hawks rehearsed downstairs in the veranda. Nick Rhodes described Andy's singing as "having a little bit of Iggy Pop in him".
At rehearsals Andy would perform "Stevie's Radio Station" with Duran Duran, which was their favorite TV Eye song. The band continued to use the song after Andy had left, changing the name "Stevie" to "Rio".
"Girls on Film":
Andy worked the night shift at the nearby Cadburys chocolate factory in Bournville, Birmingham, where he would read books and write songs to kill time working on the conveyor belt, watching chocolates go by. When he wasn't working during the day he would try out his new ideas with Duran Duran. One night he wrote the melody to "Girls on Film". Whilst he sang a lyric from his notebook "girls in film they look better, girls in film always smile". John Taylor suggested that he change it to girls 'on' film. Andy told Nick Rhodes to introduce the song by playing the melody on his string machine and the song was born. They recorded the song along with: "See Me Repeat Me", "Reincarnation", and "Working the Steel" as part of their first demo, the 1979 Demo at Bob Lamb's studio (home of the band UB40) in Moseley, Birmingham. Nick Rhodes's father took Nick and John Taylor to see the London record companies. Andy phoned Nick from the factory and was overjoyed to hear that EMI and A&M loved his voice and would sign the band if they could produce more songs like Girls on Film.
However Andy left the band for personal reasons to join the local reggae outfit The Xpertz, asking for payment relating to the song and was offered £600 on condition that he signed a waiver. His solicitor advised him to sign the waver as it could be used as evidence that he had been involved in writing their songs. Andy signed the document collecting £600 in £50 notes, buying a keyboard with the payment, but later found that his solicitor no longer thought that he could fight a case for royalties against EMI in court.
Before going their separate ways, Duran Duran still needed Andy’s help: managers Paul and Michael Berrow would pay £10 for him to give Simon singing lessons. He would give him 20 minute sessions, getting him to sing "Girls on Film".
Duran Duran were:
The Xpertz built up a large following in the early eighties and were among the first bands to merge electronica and dub. They played many high profile gigs supported The Clash, U2, Burning Spear, Culture Club, Orange Juice and Gregory Issacs on his British tour. They attracted interest from major record companies and their single "My Valentine" became record of the week on the John Peel BBC Radio 1 show.
The Xpertz were:
- Ron Cook - vocals, percussion
- Andy Wickett - keyboard, harmonica, percussion
- Aleem Panwar - bass
- Paul Horton - guitar
- Randolph Jordan - drums
In 1988, Andy was approached by local session musicians to record at the BBC, this resulted in the formation of his band World Service. They were the first British band to tour North Africa and the Sahara regions picking up music and cultural influences on the way. They toured with Duran Duran in the 1990s, after meeting them back stage at Duran's N.I.A. concert in Birmingham, UK.
World Service were:
- Andy Wickett - vocals, guitar, harmonica
- Roger Cornforth - bass
- Nils Hagstrom - bass
- Clive Parry - bass
- Bill Coleman - drums
- Trevor Cornforth - drums
- Neil Harris - drums
- John Cummins - drums
- Jamie Little - drums
- Gilly Greiner - drums
- Steve Harper - guitar
- Bingo - keyboards
Andy Wickett has recently formed a new band called Mau61 which has performed in local clubs and pubs in the past six months. The band toured Germany and USA in spring 2012. If you want to know more please don't hesitate to visit www.mau61.com