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Matt Andes (Guitar, Vocals)

Matt Andes grew up in Chatsworth, Ca. and along with his older brother Mark, and Mark's best friend Jay Ferguson, attended Chatsworth High School. His career in music began when Mark and Jay persuaded him to form a garage band with the two of them, Mike Fondelier and Denny Bruce, and then enter a local "Battle Of The Bands" Contest , which they overwhelmingly managed to win! As a spoof of the 60's, the band was named "The Matt Andes Twist Combo" for the contest, but the guys later settled on "Western Union".

After that, Jay and Mark ended up joining Spirit and Matt spent the summer in South Dakota, as a beekeeper's assistant. From there, it was on to the prestigious Chouinard Art Institute so that Matt could hone his considerably creative talent in another direction - painting. During this time, Barry Hansen, a longtime friend with a well known alter ego named Dr. Demento, introduced Mark , Matt and Jay to John Fahey, and John liked one of Matt's paintings so very much that he traded some of his previous recordings that he had there at the house for it! The three subsequently ended up backing John on two tracks on his album "The Yellow Princess". Matt still stayed at Chouinard for a few years pursuing his course of study as an artist until Jay and Mark came back along again and talked him into joining the new group that they were currently forming. Several names were kicked around and rejected, such as: "The Gorgeous Superbs" , "The Ones Considered", "Curly's Girls" and "New Shoes". If you haven't realized it already, this is the band that ended up finally being named after the Chuck Berry song about a meddlesome monkey that craftily escapes a pursuing lion - none other than "Jo Jo Gunne!" Matt stayed on for three out of four of Jo Jo Gunne's albums. One of his most memorable times was when they were touring with Sly and The Family Stone and Sly's guitarist was unavailable at show time. They came back to the dressing room asking to borrow a guitar - and the guitarist, too! Matt played that night with Sly And The Family Stone onstage! After leaving Jo Jo Gunne, Matt began to travel. He first went to Mexico, and helped his dad Keith guide a small boat back from the Sea Of Cortez in a harrowing journey. Next was a trip to South Africa with John Locke, playing with Albert Hammond, then on tour to Europe with Mark joining them, and he then lived for several months on the Caribbean island of Montserrat, still hanging out with John. In 1976, Matt played on the Spirit album "Farther Along", and did some limited shows with them. In 1981, Matt again played with singer/songwriter Albert Hammond. Several years later, he and Mark teamed up once again and performed with Gene Clark and the Firebyrds, on offshoot band of The Byrds. Next, taking another break from his musical life, Matt chose to live in Playa Del Rey, Ca. and worked refurbishing boats, making wooden furniture,and concentrated once again on his painting. He also did some session work on an album with Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits, David Briggs and also on old pal Randy California's album Euro-American. He also got married, became a father of a daughter and son, then divorced, and life continued pretty much in the same vein for awhile. Next, he joined Mark and Todd Smallwood in a band called Little Brother. Matt and Tom wrote a haunting melody called "Into The Blue" that is a tribute to Randy California, and was sung at Randy's memorial service. Matt's now grown daughter Rachel, also performed with this group. A several year stint with country folk singer Eliza Gilkyson in the late '90's gave Matt some more work, including several albums and some more touring. In 2002, Matt played with '"one of the best guitar players, ever!"', Andrew Hardin. He's really proud of having been chosen to work on Andrew's CD "Just Like This Train." And now, he's back once again with Jo Jo Gunne, and couldn't be happier. When the recording of the new CD was finished, he flew back to the serenity of the Texas Hill Country ranch that he shares with his lady, where he tends to the land and all that live and grow there - tame and wild, flora and fauna. Matt's main hobby is building and flying remote controlled airplanes, and he still creates all kinds of art.

Bio courtesy of Matt Andes & Leigh Crutchfield


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