Drummer Andy Ward (Epsom, England, 1952) has played in many bands, including those of Stoffer Blegvad, Jeremy Harrington, Viv McAuliffe) mid-1980’s, Skaboosh! (1987-88), Mark Hewins' FF, (1990) Going Going (1990), Caravan Of Dreams (1991-94), Mirage (1994) Bevis Frond, (1994-2002) Yukio Yung, (Terry Burrows, 1995-1999) Steve Adams Band (2002).
From his schooldays, Andy’s sole ambition was to play the drums. Having seen Frankie Fox-Wilson playing his kit at school with fellow pupil Eddie Offord on guitar (who later went on to become Yes’ producer) Andy assembled his own kit at home from biscuit tins with lorry tyre inner tubes stretched over them. Although not particularly known as a musical breeding ground the school (The City of London Freemen’s School in Ashtead, Surrey) did yield another famous musician: John Mellor who was later better known as Joe Strummer.
Andy’s long-suffering parents bought Andy his first proper kit and it was not long before he was playing it professionally. At age 15 he met Geoff McCelland who had recently been ousted from the fledgling John’s Children by a young Marc Bolan. Together they formed Misty Romance (ahh!). Doug Ferguson was the bass player.
Misty Romance disintegrated and Doug moved to Guildford where he met Andy Latimer. Ferguson and Latimer formed the Brew and invited Andy to join. Brew gigged around the South of England and when Doug left the country temporarily Andy answered an ad. in the Melody Maker for a blues band requiring a drummer. He was now 16 years old. The band - called Shades - was legendary blues singer Champion Jack Dupree’s backing band and Andy’s first taste of stadium rock was in Germany when Champion Jack Dupree played a three-day rock and blues festival at the Gruggehalle in Essen. They played between Deep Purple and Pink Floyd but their brand of blues did not go down well with the audience.
Back in blighty Andy and Andy Latimer re-united and, with an American bass player called Paul St.George, recorded an album of early Latimer compositions: Abraham, for a German record company. This album has never seen the light of day.
On 15th January 1969, drummer Andy Ward joined The Brew, embryonic origin of Camel, at the tender age of 14. Ward replaced previous sticksman Alan Butcher and so the heart of Camel had begun to take shape.
Andy Ward stayed until January 1983. Camel had used different guest drummer for the recording of "The Single Factor" in 1982, including Simon Phillips (The Who, Jeff Beck, Toto), Dave Mattacks (Fairport Convention) and Graham Jarvis (Cliff Richard).
Ward was unable to appear on the album and hoping to keep the matter private, Camel naively included a simple footnote in the liner notes that Andy Ward did not appear due to an injury to his hand.
Then, as 1983 dawned, the inevitable came to be. Unable to stop abusing alcohol, Ward could not continue with Camel. Nearly 13 years to the day he had joined Camel, Andy Ward formally left the band never to perform with them again. Andy Ward was followed up by Paul Burgess.
It was through his Canterbury connections that Andy met London boys Nick Saloman and Adrian Shaw, the Bevis Frond. It was love at first sight. Andy played many tours and festivals with the mighty Frond in the UK, Europe and the US as well as appearing on a number of albums.
By 1998, however, the bipolar disease was again getting to Andy. He had not yet been diagnosed but it was clear to all that there was something very wrong. Even heavy-drinking drummers don’t go quite that loopy.
After a few sessions with the wrong psychiatrist Andy finally found the right one who correctly diagnosed his illness and started him on the right medication. He also put him in The Priory for a few weeks and so started the long haul to recovery.
With the illness now under control Andy is free to concentrate on what he really wants out of life. Although he would love to tour, the simple truth is that he cannot. Touring is gruelling for anyone – too much uncertainty, too little security, lack of sleep and irregular eating patterns are difficult to bear. For anyone with manic depression it adds up to another bout in the madhouse, so, those spectacular performances from Andy will be few and far between and limited to just a few select concerts.
If the road is too undisciplined for Andy’s health, the studio is his ideal environment. Born to play the drums, Andy is never far from a set of sticks. In early 2003 he reunited again with Camel’s precursor band, Brew and, he, Andy Latimer and Doug Ferguson recorded an album of completely new material which will be released in early 2004.
From 1994 - 200 Andy Ward has been part of Bevis Frond's live line-up, alongside -psychedelic renaissance man and band leader Nick Salomon, and ex-Hawkwind bassist Adrian Shaw.