With the tragic passing of Andy Race - enigmatic frontman, vocalist, songwriter, producer, guitarist, friend and inspiration to all those who knew him, we are pleased to be able to put out two previously un-released collections of work under the name The Indigo Rising - the last project that we as a band and Andy ever worked on...
For Andy, music was the most important thing in his life and it remained so right until the end, he put his entire being into making it and his long history in music is testament to his extraordinary talent. From early beginnings in Blackpool, initially playing blues covers but quickly progressing to rock and writing his own songs, his band, If 6 were 9, played to ever larger audiences and gained popularity. His close friend and co-singer in the band struggled with alcoholism and eventually the band split and Andy moved to London to pursue his music career.
He quickly met Tony and formed what would become a life-long partnership. Andy auditioned to play in his band, not only did he get the gig but also quickly became the lead song-writer and driving force behind it. Several name changes later and changes in personnel saw him join forces with two other life-long friends Brian and Cheeks. Under the names Machismo and The Sonic Junkies they made a name for themselves, often featuring in the national music press and gaining industry attention.
Several managers came and went, one managed to book them a gig playing at half time in the ring of a bare knuckle boxing match for London underworld gangsters! They offer to get them a record deal and happily signed a publicity photo of themselves headed 'The Complaints Department' but the band who were terrified kindly turned down their offer.
This was followed by photoshoots in Wormwood Scrubs, which had to be abandoned due to the in-mates becoming to agitated and threatening a riot! Then they recorded for Sony at the famous Strong Room studios, played prestigious gigs around the country and abroad but somehow, never quite hit the big time - there was always something that just didn't quite work out. This time the A&R man at Sony could only sign one band, them or one other - in the end he decided on the other band and that band were called The Darkness!
With a few personnel changes and another name change to Bloom the story continued with Andy taking on Rich as a new guitarist. Full of pioneering spirit, Andy proceeded to record and produce an entire album which went on to create a real stir on MySpace, which was then at its peak. The first single from the Album - Shoulder To Cry On received critical success, gained millions of plays on MySpace and thousands of new followers. Followed up by Voices this saw the band propelled into the limelight with promoters in Italy and Holland also releasing the album. One gig in London caught the attention of Steve Norman - sax player for Spandau Ballet who invited the band to his studio to work with him.
The Album, All That Is, achieved gold sales in Italy and after a few tours, TV and radio appearance, interest was building in several territories. The band were working on their next album Puzzles and Progress and industry professionals from many countries were wanting to get involved.
Sadly, this part of the story ends in a similar vein, due to a few separate incidents that were to change the bands fortunes. First, after a promising start in the UK, the albums' distributor, Pinnacle, went into receivership and the band not only lost the distribution deal but also had to buy their albums back! Then the promotor in Italy ran off with all the money made in that territory, funds which were meant to launch the next album. Disillusioned, the band never released Puzzles and Progress and spent the next roughly 10 years doing solo projects and more acoustic work but always remained close friends and frequently came back together to collaborate and play.
Andy continued with a solo project under the name Jackson Nova and received an invitation to play at Canada's North by North East festival, which he did with Rich and delivered a number of spine-tingling, stripped back acoustic sets that really showcased the power and the emotion in his voice. The album, A Constant State of Change, was a touching collection of songs both new and old delivered in a direct and personal way, as Andy found his voice in this new direction. A few successful gigs at renowned acoustic venues such as The Bedford in Balham, saw invitations to record at Peter Gabriels Real World Studio's and gained industry interest from Rolling Stone's producer Chris Kimsey.
Andy then buried himself in the studio again, for what transpired to be one last time. He wanted to create an album with atmosphere, passion and soul that whilst being stripped back and laid bare had an emotional content that was more than the sum of its parts. He threw himself into this project, much as he did with everything in life but with an intensity that is hard to convey. He spent literally months, writing, recording, and mixing. He later said that when delivering the vocals he was often literally in tears - he put everything into it. This last album was called Harmonic Sun and it is devastatingly brilliant.
With the band now officially back together Andy wanted a name change to reflect the new direction and to cut through more than Bloom. He decided upon The Indigo Rising and it stuck. With the addition of keyboards provided by Connor, a new release and come back gigs were being planned. There was also renewed industry interest to release a single and moves were being made to re-record and release this when the final devastating hammer blow struck - Andy was diagnosed with cancer.
The phrase he fought a brave battle is often used with cancer but I have never known someone to fight a braver one. He never once admitted defeat, he was always going to beat it and he fought it on his terms to the last. He remained totally dedicated to music. His last desire in music was to release the two, until now un-release albums - Puzzles and Progress and Harmonic Sun. Both are incredible pieces of work and show the range, song-writing ability and power of his voice. Sadly, he didn't live to see this happen, another not quite in the story but his music lives on and it stands up on it's own. These two new pieces of work are now available under the name The Indigo Rising and hopefully the story will not end here.
The Indigo Rising is the story of a true rock star who honed his art the hard way, the story of a man who gave his life to his passion but never quite found the success that always seemed to be beckoning. It is the story of perseverance through life's adversities and determination to over-come but most of all it is the story of Andy Race, his life, his passion and his music.
Whilst he remains largely unknown, these releases are real hidden musical gems to discover. There is so much life and soul in his music, nothing fake or engineered or synthesised. It needs to live on and it should do - share it - tell people about it, pass it on and Andy will live on through his music.