Andy Bell (musician)
|Birth name||Andrew Piran Bell|
|Born||11 August 1970|
Bell formed Ride with Mark Gardener (guitarist), whom he met at Cheney School in Oxford and Laurence Colbert (drummer) and Steve Queralt (bassist), whom he met doing Foundation Studies in Art and Design at Banbury in 1988. While still at Banbury the band produced a tape demo including the tracks "Chelsea Girl" and "Drive Blind". In February 1989, Ride were asked to stand in for a cancelled student union gig at Oxford Polytechnic (now Oxford Brookes University) that brought them to the attention of Alan McGee. After supporting The Soup Dragons in 1989 McGee then signed them to Creation Records. This was a key musical event in Bell's life.
With Ride, Bell released three EPs between January and September 1990, entitled 'Ride', 'Play' and 'Fall'. While the EPs achieved a degree of chart success per release, enough critical praise was received to make Ride the darlings of music journalists. The first two EPs were eventually released together as 'Smile' in 1992, while the 'Fall' EP was later incorporated into CD releases of their debut LP, 'Nowhere', released in October 1990, which was hailed as a critical success, with the media dubbing Ride "the brightest hope" for 1991. On 'Nowhere' (1990) Bell contributed "Seagull", "Kaleidoscope", "In A Different Place", Polar Bear", "Dreams Burn Down", "Paralysed", and "Vapour Trail".
There was a rumour that as part of the Great British Music Weekend concert in early 1991 that Robert Smith (The Cure) refused to appear unless Ride were also in the list of acts playing. Ride did appear along with The Wedding Present, Carter USM and The Cure. Nowhere was followed in March 1992 with Going Blank Again. The twin rhythm guitars of Bell and Gardener, both distorted, both using Wah-wah pedals and both feeding back on each other was seen as the highlight of the album's critical and chart success. On 'Going Blank Again' (1992) Bell contributed "Not Fazed", "Chrome Waves", "Time Of Her Time", "Cool Your Boots" and "Making Judy Smile".
Despite having a solid fanbase and some mainstream success, the lack of a breakthrough contributed to intra-band tension, especially between Gardener and Bell. Their third LP, 'Carnival of Light', was released in 1994, after shoegazing had given way to Britpop. On 'Carnival Of Light', (1994) Bell contributed "Birdman", "Crown Of Creation", "Endless Road", "Magical Spring", "Rolling Thunder" and "I Don’t Know Where It Comes From". The band were joined at Creation Records by Oasis, who shot to fame in 1994 with their debut 'Definitely Maybe'. As label mates, Bell was an early fan of the band and became friendly with the Gallagher brothers.
1995 saw the dissolution of the band while recording their fourth album, 'Tarantula', due to creative and personal tensions between the two guitarists. Bell penned several of the songs for the album, one of which – "Castle on the Hill" – has been interpreted as a lament for the band's situation. Additionally, Bell contributed "Black Nite Crash", "Sunshine / Nowhere To Run", "Dead Man", "Walk On Water", "Mary Anne", "The Dawn Patrol", "Burnin", and "Starlight Motel". Upon release of the album, it was announced that it would be deleted after one week.
Since the break-up, both Bell and Gardener have been more reflective on the reasons why the group disintegrated, with Bell especially admitting his own part in the process.
In 2014 it was announced that Ride had re-formed and tour for eight months throughout in Europe and North America in 2015. This took in two headline shows at Primavera Sound and London’s Field Day. November 2016 brought further news many Ride fans have been anticipating: there would be a new album in 2017. Producer and DJ Erol Alkan broke the news on Twitter that he had been in the studio with the band, with their first album in 20 years released in Summer 2017. 'Weather Diaries', Ride's fifth studio album, was released on 16 June 2017 on Wichita Recordings.
In August 2019, Ride released their sixth studio album, 'This Is Not A Safe Place', which reached number 7 in the UK charts. The release has been supported with a world tour.
Hurricane No. 1
Bell returned in 1997 with Hurricane #1, another Creation signing. Inspired by Oasis, Bell had drafted in a more gutsy singer, Alex Lowe, who would sing the songs Bell wrote for him. The same year, they released their first album, also called 'Hurricane #1'. Their first single, "Step into My World", reached number 29 in the UK charts (a re-mix reached number 19 that year), and other less successful singles "Just Another Illusion" and "Chain Reaction". Their second album, Only the Strongest Will Survive, was released in 1998 and the title track was released as a single reaching number 19. Notably, this album contains the only Hurricane #1 song not written by Bell, "What Do I Know?", which was written by Alex Lowe.
Hurricane No. 1 drew attention for their similarity to Oasis. Bell himself said "Hurricane No. 1 is not so much influenced by Oasis, it's inspired by Oasis". Their albums did not sell well in comparison to Ride. In 1999, it was reported in the music press that Bell would be touring as guitarist with the band Gay Dad. But this never happened because Bell had by that time been asked to join Oasis.
During 1999 with Hurricane #1 on hiatus, Bell moved from Oxford to live with his wife Idha and daughter in Sweden. Bell was invited to join Oasis because they were looking for replacements for founding members Bonehead and Guigsy. At the last minute Bell had to learn to play bass as well as the entire Oasis catalogue before his first Oasis gig.
While with Oasis, Andy Bell regularly made songwriting contributions to the band. On Heathen Chemistry, Bell wrote the song "A Quick Peep". His song "Thank You For the Good Times" was featured as the B-side of "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" from the same album. On Don't Believe The Truth, he wrote "Turn Up the Sun" (which also opened every live show on that Oasis tour) and "Keep the Dream Alive". On Dig Out Your Soul, he wrote "The Nature of Reality".
Noel Gallagher quit Oasis in August 2009, following an argument with his brother. Following the end of Oasis, Bell and the other former members formed Beady Eye. Bell changed from playing bass as he did in Oasis to guitar, his main instrument before joining Oasis, both live and in the studio for the band. Beady Eye's debut album Different Gear, Still Speeding contains four songs written by Bell: "Four Letter Word", "Millionaire", "Kill for a Dream", and "The Beat Goes On". Bell also contributed "World Outside My Room", the B-side of "Four Letter Word".
Bell played guitar and keyboards and provided backing vocals on Beady Eye's second album, 2013's BE. It contained three songs written by Bell: "Face the Crowd", "Soon Come Tomorrow", and "I'm just Saying", and also co-wrote "Flick of the Finger". He also contributed "Dreaming of Some Space" to the B-side of "Second Bite of the Apple". Beady Eye disbanded in October 2014.
In addition to being a songwriter and musician, Bell has for a number of years actively been involved in record production. He receives co-production credit for both albums recorded by Hurricane#1, namely the eponymous 'Hurricane#1' and 'Only The Strongest Will Survive'.
During late 1995, after the sessions for Tarantula were completed but prior to the official announcement of Ride's break-up, Bell undertook production duties on Britpop band The Kynd's debut single "Egotripper", which was released in October 1996.
Bell also undertook production duties for the fifth studio album 'Fear & Love' by Swedish band Weeping Willows, released in 2007. Weeping Willows has always drawn upon early Roy Orbison and The Smiths as their main influences. On 'Fear & Love', Bell brought some English folk music influences, and a some 1960s styled British Invasion sounds. The album was more or less recorded live in the studio, by playing the songs until the band got them right with minimal digital post production. Weeping Willows last two albums relied on a lot of post-production and remix styled studio techniques. Reaching number 2 in the Swedish charts, Scandinavian music critics have given 'Fear & Love' a warm welcome and compared some songs to The Coral, The Verve, Talk Talk and Oasis.
Solo activities and projects
Bell has been good friends with Magnus Carlson, the lead singer in Swedish band, Weeping Willows, and together they have embarked on some musical projects. Bell and Carlsson were resident djs at Swedish club, Bangers 'n' Mash. during the mid-noughties. Bell, also undertakes occasional DJ sets in UK clubs, for example, 'This Feeling' night club night in London. In 2003, Bell collaborated with the Stockholm based Irish-Swedish electronica/acid house duo, DK7, by providing guitar on the tracks "Heart Like a Demon" and "White Shadow" for their 'Disarmed' album. During the autumn of 2006 Carlson and Bell teamed up (with Janne Schaffer) and performed at an event dedicated to the late 1970s singer-songwriter, Ted Gärdestad. In addition to his role as producer, Bell played a number of instruments on eight of the twelve tracks on the 2007 album 'Fear & Love' by Weeping Willows ranging from glockenspiel, piano to guitar. He has also performed solo gigs at smaller Swedish summer festivals including the 2006 'Fest-i-val' in Umeå Sweden
On May 10, 2007, Bell played the bass on Arnold Layne with Pink Floyd regulars David Gilmour, Richard Wright, Nick Mason and Jon Carin at The Madcap’s Last Laugh, a tribute concert to Pink Floyd's recently deceased founding member, Syd Barrett, at Barbican Hall in London.
In July 2007, Bell appeared with friend and former fellow Ride member Mark Gardener onstage with Californian rock band The Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Oxford 'Truck' Music Festival On 19 December 2007, Bell joined Weeping Willows on stage for an event called "An Evening With Weeping Willows at Chinateatern" He lined up with other prominent guests such as The Soundtrack of Our Lives' Martin Hederos, Echo & the Bunnymen vocalist Ian McCulloch and Jens Lekman.
Bell has worked with Swedish band The Most on various recordings and contributed guitars and vocals on the song "Now I Feel" from the EP 'Moderation in Moderation' (a title suggested by Bell).
Bell has on several occasions stated his intention to record and release a solo album in the future. He said, "I will get around to it, it's just waiting for the songs to turn up that suit my voice. I've got one so far, give me about five years and I'll have an album's worth."
During 2008, Bell collaborated with British-American electronica group SPC ECO on the track "Silver Clouds", on which he plays an electronic sitar drone machine and an old custom dulcimer, as well as devising the song's lyrics. The song was made available in 2009 as a bonus track to the Japanese edition of SPC ECO's album 3-D.
2009 saw Andy Bell release his first solo recording under the Grapefruit name, an instrumental track also entitled Grapefruit which he contributed to the One by One: KZK Adidas Originals by Originals compilation album, a Japan only release via Sony Music.
Andy Bell released his first solo single "Plastic Bag" on 23 October 2019 on 7 inch clear vinyl as a subscription for the Sonic Cathedral Singles Club.
"Plastic Bag", and its B-side "The Commune", was reissued digitally on 10 July 2020.
Andy Bell's second solo single, and the first single from his debut solo album, was "Love Comes in Waves" and was released on 11 August 2020.
Scoring and soundtracks
In 2015, Bell scored the short film Midnight of My Life and also did some production work on Dave Galafassi's track "Hello Halo", which was performed by actress Toni Collette for the soundtrack to the romantic comedy film Miss You Already.
Bell was previously married to Swedish singer Idha Övelius. They have two children, a daughter, Leia, and a son, Leon. He currently resides in London and is married to Shiarra since 2010, a label rep from Universal Music.
|The View from Halfway Down|
|2019||"Plastic Bag"||Non-album single|
|2020||"Plastic Bag" (Digital Reissue)|
|"Love Comes in Waves"||The View from Halfway Down|
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-  Archived 27 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
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- "Sony Music Online Japan : コンピレーション : One by One kzk soundtrack from adidas originals by originals". Sonymusic.co.jp. 25 February 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
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- "Plastic Bag - Single by Andy Bell". Apple Music. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
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- Q Magazine, October 2008
- Loughrey-Grant, Taragh (8 March 2011). "Liam Gallagher & Beady Eye Interview". RTÉ TEN's. Archived from the original on 13 March 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
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