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The Start Point

In the Autumn of 1977, Nigel Smith and Andy Taylor found themselves as two new boys in the sixth form at Budehaven Comprehensive in North Cornwall. Andy was there to make an attempt to secure the O levels he had failed to achieve earlier in the year, Nigel to pursue three A levels.
The pair found they had a mutual interest in music. It was the year that mainstream rock was being elbowed aside by punk. The make-up and melody superseded by studs, safety pins and spit.
Nowhere was this divide more evident than in the sixth form common room where the record player in the corner was in constant use. ELO and Fleetwood Mac vied with the Sex Pistols and Ian Dury. The more ethereal Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa were offerings from the more herbally influenced students.

While Nigel spent time punting along the canal, Andy could usually be found either on the clifftop cricket pitch, or the beach. The latter providing much inspiration for Andy’s first stuttering lyrics.
The pair began their song-writing partnership with Nigel putting to use his piano lessons of five years earlier.

Moving on
With the missing qualifications finally safely under his belt, Andy set out on a quest to become an adult, leaving Nigel with a handful of lyrics to work on. Over the next few years Andy yo-yoed from and to the Cornish coast as he found his way in the work market. It was no coincidence that he found himself back on the beaches, looking at the peaches, at the start of every Summer.
For both though, it was time to grow up. In the early 1980’s, they were both working in London. Nigel up Norf, Andy daan Sarf. Contact between the pair was intermittent. However, on a brief trip to the wildlands of South London, Nigel invested in his first synthesiser from Rock Bottom in Croydon.

In 1986, Nigel found himself working as a civil servant in South Ken. He formed his first band, the Freebies. The band, all colleagues, rehearsed and performed in the massive government building in which they worked. There was no money available, hence the name. A couple of Andy’s early lyrics, ‘Blue Murder’ and ‘Broken hearts and fading flowers’ were given the live treatment.
On the Road

From 1986 Nigel played in a succession of bands. The economy and the onset of the digital age saw him made redundant from his career in printing. This forced a return to the West Country. He found himself designing T shirts in Exeter, and in a band called The Firm (No, not that one). Other bands followed; Star, Stax of Soul, Reflex, Smiler, Split Decision and Station West. Station West called it a day after a final gig at Glastonbury in 2009. Alas, not the festival but a birthday bash at the town hall.

Success with these bands was variable, but they all slaked the thirst of the weekend public and wedding guests for the old favourites, to hear the tunes they all know and love.

Both Nigel and Andy were separately searching for a rare commodity, a quest to find someone who wanted to write and compose original music.
Nigel found it in the form of Jon Downes & the Amphibians from Outer Space; an unruly group of misfits who performed with a versatility and uniqueness, songs with lyrics spawned by an unbounded and feverish imagination.

Meanwhile, Andy formed an alliance with an affable giant call Andy Scripture. Long song-writing sessions fuelled by alcohol produced a number of acoustic originals. One such, ‘If we could believe in magic’ was a serious effort at producing a Eurovision entry. Andy Scripture performed regularly in pubs and clubs and played a few notable charity gigs with stars of stage and screen. Andy Taylor tagged along acting as unofficial roadie, and in the process began to learn a lot about the live music scene.

An accidental Reunion
Years move into decades. At the dawn of the new millennium, Nigel was married and living in South Devon. Andy was approaching the end of his marriage and was now living in Gloucestershire. The good times and bad times of life had provided him with an ever increasing catalogue of lyrics.

Whilst scouring the internet for some holiday accommodation in Devon or Cornwall he found a bed and breakfast, which was Nigel’s former home from the innocent schooldays of over 30 years before. More in hope than expectation he e-mailed and thought little more of it when no reply was received. However, the tentative enquiry had been forwarded to Nigel’s twin sister and a couple of months later Nigel and Andy were back in touch.

In 2008, single again, and wandering like a lost soul, Andy packed all he owned into the car and moved South to live in a tent in a field in South Devon.
Andy and Nigel got together, discussed their ideas and found they both held the desire to create new music. In a barn nearby the first notes were played on a miniature keyboard and Nigel took away the ideas and began composing and recording.

Job insecurity and lack of money meant these recordings were best described as low-tech. A mini Casio keyboard recorded on to an Alba karaoke machine provided courtesy of Andy’s son, Tom.
As the songs developed so did the ability to upgrade. A Tascam 8 track digital recorder was purchased. This was later superseded by a 32 track version and the vast sound bank of a Kurzweil PC3 synthesiser was utilised.

With over fifty songs now recorded, Andy and Nigel set about the task of producing their dream; an album.

With the help of the Plymouth Music Collective and the masterful skills of Andrew ‘Doc’ Colllins, the debut album ‘Sea of Treason’ has arrived. The wonders of Logic Pro and Apple computers combined with the old fashioned approach of the composers, meld beautifully. Its release in October 2016 is the culmination of nearly forty years of friendship and ambition. The stunning artwork by Steve Pawley augmented by the photography of Suzy Pawley complement the imagination and originality of the songs perfectly.

So here we are
As our merry band of die-hard supporters will testify, a second album; Slowboat to Saul appeared in 2019 and now a third; Old and Wise has just been released.

Who knows what the future will bring? Just listen to Dinosaurs for an ominous view of the world in 2023.

Keep listening, keep rocking!