andy qunta

HIGHLIGHTS BEYOND THE LOUNGEROOM
1960s - Andy and brother, Tony, complete 10 years classical training on piano and violin. Meanwhile, they teach themselves to play guitar, drums, bass, and harmonica, inspired by the bands of the time - including Cliff Richard and The Shadows, The Who and, of course - Jimi Hendrix. Later influences included Genesis, Yes, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, and Queen.

1970s - formed band Factory, based in Hastings, England, with Andy on electric 12-string guitar, keyboards and vocals, Tony Qunta on lead guitar, electric violin and vocals. Laurie Cooksey on drums and vocals, and Jaffa Peckham on bass guitar and vocals, (later replaced by Steve Kinch who went on to join Manfred Mann's Earth Band). Factory had consistently good reviews and a great reputation for their live show. Their original songs had many influences including The Who, Prog Rock, Irish Jigs, etc., Factory played all over UK, Germany and Holland. The Who's Roger Daltrey, who lived nearby, produced several demos for Factory in his home studio, engineered by John Jansen (Jimi Hendrix, Cutting Crew). Daltrey also came to some of the band's local gigs, once accompanied by Hendrix's drummer, Mitch Mitchell! After Factory folded, Tony, Andy and Steve formed Prog Rock band, Head On, with drummer, Steve Demetri, later replaced by Mark Thirsk. Despite the support of Ken Hensley of Uriah Heep, and a Bronze Records A&R man, punk was in full force, so nobody wanted Prog Rock!

1979-1980 - Andy moonlights with Jim Jim & The Jims, a funtime "covers" band formed by guitarist Ray Fenwick (Spencer Davis Group, Ian Gillan Band), also featuring singer Pete Prescott (later in Forcefield, with Ray and drummer Cozy Powell). Andy also does keyboard sessions on several Ray Fenwick projects, including Jo Jo Laine (wife of Wings' Denny), and a band called Sundance, featuring Mary Hopkin, Mike Hurst (Springfields, Cat Stevens) and Mike d'Albuquerque (ELO).

1980-81 - An occasional guest with the Jims was sax player Wesley Magoogan, who had just played on the soundtrack for "Breaking Glass", starring singer/ actress Hazel O'Connor. Through Wesley, Andy ends up joining the Hazel O'Connor Band. On Andy’s recommendation, bassist Steve Kinch also joins the band. UK Top Ten hits "Eighth Day", "Will You" and "D-Days". Toured UK, Europe and USA (with XTC). Albums "Sons & Lovers", produced by Nigel Gray (Police), and Cover Plus, produced by Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T Rex).

Late ‘81 - toured with Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, and recorded a single, "I Can’t Even Touch You", produced by Midge Ure of Ultravox.



1982 - Toured and recorded with The Members, Pauline Black (Selecter), and the Black Theatre Group (with drummer Chris Blackwell, later with Plant/Page, and bassist Leo Williams, later with Big Audio Dynamite).

Jammed with Fleetwood Mac founder, Peter Green, and on another occasion, with Alvin Lee (Ten Years After).

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band record Andy’s song "Tribal Statistics" for their album "Somewhere in Africa", and it is released as a single at the same time.

September ‘82 - Following several industry recommendations, Andy joins Australian band Icehouse, along with bassist Guy Pratt (later with Pink Floyd). Toured Australia and New Zealand. Album, "Primitive Man", has multi-platinum success. While in Auckland, New Zealand, Andy is introduced to Manfred Mann’s Earth Band singer, Chris Thompson, for the first time. Andy resists the temptation to faint in the presence of one of his heroes. Chris tells Andy "Somewhere in Africa" is already #8 in the German album charts, and suggests they get together and write songs. (2 years later that happens!)

1983 - Icehouse single "Hey Little Girl", already huge down under, hits Top Ten in UK and Europe. Tours and TV to promote it. Following Icehouse’s festival tour in Europe, on a bill with Crosby, Stills and Nash, and Robert Palmer, David Bowie requests Icehouse to support him in Europe on the Serious Moonlight tour. Audiences in cities like Rotterdam, Edinburgh and Milton Keynes in England average 50-75,000 a night. Thompson Twins also on the bill.

1984 - Andy again joins up with Cockney Rebel guitarist, Rick Driscoll, on a tour of Poland, (then a Communist country), with band Classix Nouveaux.

Icehouse release album "Sidewalk", featuring hits including "Don’t Believe Anymore". and tour Australia, New Zealand, UK and Europe, twice each, to promote it. The year ends with gigs in Japan.

1985 - Andy signs a worldwide publishing contract as a songwriter, with Rondor Music.

Andy tours Poland again with Classix Nouveaux, one of the most popular bands in Poland at the time - superstars!

Andy takes Manfred’s place on keyboards at the Earth Band auditions for a new bass player. Andy’s friend Steve Kinch again gets the gig, and is still doing it to this day!

Icehouse record album "Measure For Measure" in London, half of it produced by Rhett Davies (Roxy Music, Brian Ferry), and half by David Lord (Peter Gabriel). Eno does a guest spot a couple of tracks.

December ‘85 - Andy and Chris Thompson, along with singer Maggie Ryder (Eurythmics) and lyricist Keith Reid (Procul Harum/Whiter Shade of Pale) write "You’re the Voice", inspired by the Christmas vibe of harmony among people.

1986 - Icehouse release "Measure For Measure" album. Singles "Baby, You’re So Strange", and "Mr Big" hit the charts in Australia and New Zealand. "No Promises" and "Cross The Border" create enough of a stir in the US that the band do a coast to coast tour there in the summer. "Cross The Border" is used in an episode of Miami Vice.

John Waite ("Missing You") records Andy and Chris’s song "Take Me Home".

October ‘86- John Farnham, (Little River Band) releases his version of You're The Voice, the first single from his album, Whispering Jack. It went to #1 and stayed there 7 weeks. The album itself was #1 for 25 weeks, the highest selling album of the decade. (As of 2006, was 24 times platinum). You're The Voice also hits the Top Ten all over the world, (except in the US, where the track was re-mixed!), and was #1 in many countries.

Icehouse leader Iva Davies invites Andy to write with him, and "Crazy" is born.


 1987 - Icehouse record the album "Man of Colours" in Sydney, with producer David Lord. "Crazy" is chosen as the first single, and reaches #4 in Australia. Follow up single "Electric Blue", co-written by long-time Icehouse fan John Oates (Hall & Oates), goes all the way to #1. John Oates joins Andy on background vocals. "Man of Colours" straight to #1 in Australia and stays there four months. (It was the highest selling album by an Australian band in Australia - John Farnham’s "Whispering Jack", featuring "You’re The Voice", was the only Australian album to sell more!)

"You’re The Voice" wins an APRA (Australian Grammy) for Highest Selling Single of the Year, and the Whispering Jack album wins two more.

October ‘87 - Icehouse tour the US, supporting The Cars. "Crazy" reaches #14 on the Billboard chart, followed by "Electric Blue" which peaks at #7. Icehouse appear on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Andy and Icehouse sax player Simon Lloyd guest on Lovelines radio show on KROQ in Los Angeles, giving advice to the lovelorn (they must be desperate!). Mr T (The "A-Team" TV show) is also on the show (of course!). He refers to Andy as the "Brother From Down Under"!

1988 - Icehouse play at the Australian Royal Bicentennial Concert at the request of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, who are apparently fans of the band.

Icehouse win 2 APRA awards, for best album and highest selling album. Awards presented by Cliff Richard and Brian Ferry.

Icehouse play live concert in Melbourne, simulcast nationwide on TV. More touring in New Zealand, USA and Europe. Final show of 13-month "Man Of Colours" World Tour in Brisbane, Australia, in front of 50,000 at the World Expo.

Oct-Dec ‘88 - Andy records solo album in Los Angeles. "Legend In A Loungeroom" features Tony Qunta, Jeff Skunk Baxter (Doobie Bros, Steely Dan), Guy Pratt (Icehouse, Pink Floyd), Scott Page (Pink Floyd, Supertramp), Steve Milbacher, Paulinho da Costa (Madonna, Sting), Tim Pierce (Meatloaf, Crowded House), & Denny Fongheiser (Tracy Chapman, Heart).

1989 - "Legend In A Loungeroom" completed. Video for first single, "Thing About You" shot in Sydney and Melbourne. "Thing About You" getting massive airplay in Australia before legal wrangles with Executive Producers cause project to be shelved. Andy relocates to Los Angeles.

1990 - "Legend In A Loungeroom" released in Europe on German label, without the artist’s knowledge!

1991 - Andy concentrates on songwriting with partner, Jane Wareing, while legal problems being resolved. Heart release two versions of "You’re The Voice", one live and one studio.

1992 - Andy switches from Rondor Music, London, and signs with Polygram Music in L.A. - writing songs for other artists.

1993 - Andy spends time with baby daughter, Alex, and does not pass Go for quite some time!

2000 - After a period of relative inactivity, Andy writes the score for the movie "Last Chance"’ starring Todd Bridges (Diff'rent Strokes). It features a song co-written and sung by Chris Thompson, who had by now relocated to California.

At the Troubadour in L.A., Andy does a guest spot on backing vocals with the SAS Band, which includes Queen musicians, Spike Edney and Jamie Moses, and also features singers Paul Young, Fish (Marillion), and Chris Thompson, plus legendary guitarist Steve Lukather (Toto).

2001 - Now single again, Andy joins Deep Purple tribute band, Made In Japan.

In October, Chris Thompson asks Andy to help him put a band together for a charity show in San Diego for the Red Cross, in the wake of 9/11. They find drummer Jerry Blaze, and at the last minute the promoter suggests bassist Ken Dow. The gig is a big success.

2002 - The Chris Thompson Band gets together on a more permanent basis, with Ken’s brother, Kevin, taking over on drums.

Andy gets the opportunity to write with Grammy-nominated songwriter Harriet Schock (Helen Reddy’s "Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady"). Like Andy, Harriet had previously written a song for Manfred Mann’s Earth Band ("Hollywood Town").

After doing a number of international radio interviews in connection with the release of the newly remastered Icehouse catalogue, Andy has his own show on Radio Darmstadt in Germany, in which host Mark Stehle interviews Andy about his career, and plays songs he has written or performed on.

October 2002 - The Chris Thompson Band are the support act for Brian May and Roger Taylor from Queen, at the Hollywood Walk of Fame gig, and, as usual, Chris sings some lead vocals for them also.

By the end of the year, Andy is gigging and recording with a third band - the Smog Bros, led by guitarist Matt Mitchell (Gene Loves Jezebel).

2003 - Andy’s brother Tony, visiting from England, guests with the Chris Thompson Band, the first time the brothers Qunta had played together since the recording of Legend in a Loungeroom, 14 years before! The same night, sax player, Eric Marienthal (star of the Wave jazz radio station and Chick Corea band) jams with the band.

Andy moonlights with another Deep Purple band - Fireball, and next day fills in at short notice with Queen tribute band Sheer Heart Attack, (with guest vocalist Chris Thompson - again!). Later in the year, Andy makes a guest appearance with Zep tribute - Led Zepagain.

Andy collaborates with Chris on a song for Chris’s upcoming concept album, "Rediscovery", which he is working on with Norwegian guitarist, Mads Eriksen (another guest musician at a CT Band gig earlier in the year).

Andy continued with regular gigs with the previously mentioned bands, including a memorable show with the Chris Thompson Band for Eric Marienthal's charity organization, High Hopes, (in aid of victims of traumatic head injuries). Pat and Debbie Boone were also there, as was original Righteous Brother, Bobby Hatfield!

2004 - Deep Purple tribute, Made In Japan split up, but Andy continued to gig with the CT Band. Highlight of the year was playing at the party to launch Queen's We Will Rock You musical in Las Vegas! The CT Band, including Eric Marienthal (Chick Corea's Elektric Band), played first, followed by an all-star, indeed, all-legend band, including Brian May & Roger Taylor of Queen, Steve Lukather of Toto, Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple, Meatloaf, Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme, & Ken and Kevin Dow of the CT Band! Great night!
 
Late in the year, Andy formed the Andy Q Band, to promote his remastered and repackaged 1989 solo album, "Legend In The Lounge Room". The band featured Made In Japan drummer, Frankie Munoz, guitarist-turned-bassist Matt Zavadil, and Smog Bros guitarist Matt Mitchell (Vin Amorando from Queen tribute,Under Pressure, later took his place). For the first gig, at Paladino's, best rock club in L.A., Andy's brother, Tony, flew over from England to do a guest appearance! What a guy!
 
By mid-2005 the Andy Q Band tour was over, the last gig being Andy & Teresa's wedding reception! The Chris Thompson Band also ceased regular gigs, as Ken & Kevin moved to New York as part of the Broadway show "Jersey Boys", which they had been in since it's inception at the La Jolla Playhouse. The show went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical! They are still doing it now! Congrats, boys! About this time, Chris himself moved back to Europe.
 
Also in 2005, Andy, Matt Z and Frankie from the AQ Band formed a Foreigner tribute band, Jukebox Heroes, with bassist Bob Bingham, sax player/vocalist Lindy Bingham and three successive lead singers, beginning with Jon Corman, and ending 2 years later with Olin Monty! Mostly a lot of fun!
 
Around this time, veteran New York theatre writer/director, Anthony Di Pietro, now in L.A. writing film scripts, asked Andy to collaborate with him on a stage musical! Anthony would write the book and direct, Andy would write the music, and they would both write the lyrics.
 
2006 - As well as playing with Jukebox Heroes, Andy got stuck into composing for the stage musical, which was to be an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's story, The Man Who Would Be King, which had also been a major movie in the '70's, starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine. For Andy it was quite a challenge, as the story takes place in 1880's British India, the main characters being of Scottish and Irish descent, and the action moves to a small country near Afghanistan. Musically, it had to vary from Victorian era British military styles, Gaelic, Indian and Asian too. Anyway, by the end of the year, Act One was ready enough to do a staged reading, with songs, at the theatre at Park La Brea in L.A. It was a full house, and the audience were asked to fill out a questionnaire, to gauge their opinion on a variety of topics. Based on this, the next few months were spent making changes to the story, script and songs, before moving on to Act Two, which is still in progress!
 
In the summer, original Chris Thompson Band played a reunion gig in New York, at a charity concert organized by a theatrical organization. Many of the stars of the Broadway shows, including "Jersey Boys" of course, and "Tommy", which also began at La Jolla. Great to see former Monkees member Micky Dolenz there too!
 
However, the highlight of 2006 was that August when Icehouse were inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame (Australian Recording Industry Association)! Band leader Iva Davies was there at the ceremony to accept the award, but he made sure that the former band members were included, so very impressive engraved gold statuettes were received by all concerned! Thanks, ARIA! Thanks, Iva!
 
2007 - Jukebox Heroes finally ran out of coins! There was a short lived attempt to reform as a Journey tribute band, but it didn't work out. Apart from a couple of gigs with Chris Thompson, Andy mostly wrote and re-wrote songs and music for the musical!

2008 - Lindy Bingham and her husband, bassist Bob Bingham, invited Andy to play Hammond Organ and Piano on Lindy's solo CD, Make Me An Offer, which was being recorded in the studio at the Fender Museum in Corona. Andy continues to gig with Lindy's band, as well as working on the musical.
 
Andy's friend, and former Icehouse band-mate, Guy Pratt published a book - "My Bass and Other Animals", describing in hilarious detail his experiences with Icehouse, Pink Floyd, Madonna, Robert Palmer and many more! Andy is mentioned several times in the book, and is credited for helping Guy remember some of the funny stories!
 
Also in 2008, David Archuleta, eventual runner-up on American Idol, sings "You're The Voice" on US TV's highest-rated show, resulting in a huge amont of renewed interest in the song.
 
2009 - "You're The Voice" again making the news, as Coldplay and John Farnham, singer of the original hit version, team up to perfom it at the Sound Relief concert in Sydney. Coldplay  say they listened to the song when they were growing up, and remembered it as "huge" and "everywhere"! They have been playing bits of it on their current tour, and said when they "play the smallest snippet of it, the whole audience goes wild"!

2010 -  After a few months playing with a Tina Turner tribute band, The Proud Mary's (what a name! - my idea btw!), Rob, the guitarist, recommended me to join him in the Midnight Blues Band, a rockin' blues band! Andy starts gigging with them, as well as the Lindy Bingham Band. Still working on the musical of course!

2011 - Still working with those 2 bands, Andy also moonlights with John Wicks & The Records and others. Also working on some instrumental pieces, many of them in the "trance" vein. Hope to have enough for a CD before too long. I started doing them because Teresa wanted some background music for the video slideshows she puts together for her photography, and then found I just like doing them! Still working on the musical!

2012 - Gigging with Midnight Blues Band and Springsteen Tribute Band, Boss in the USA, and a guest appearance with John Wicks and the Records.

2013 - Joined fabulous Foreigner Tribute Band, Double Vision, playing gigs all over California and Arizona. Filled in with Deep Purple Tribute, Deep in Purple several times. Still playing with Midnight Blues Band and Boss in the USA.

2014 - Double Vision still going strong, many guest appearances with Journey Tribute Band, Open Arms. An exciting development - the original members of Factory decided to organize a reunion gig, and are currently in rehearsal... stay tuned!





Andy Qunta © 2003 - 2016