Rochdale, where he was born in 1959, triggered in Andy a curiosity he has never lost. Musically, his horizons were opened up by an early obsession with Bob Dylan. Tracing Dylan's influences led Andy towards folk, blues, country, soul and gospel.
He went to Leeds University, partly to study politics in the half-hope of becoming a journalist, but chiefly because the student union at Leeds put on the biggest college concerts in the country.
In his second year he seized power of the job of Entertainments Secretary in a bloodless coup and ran the concerts for two and a half years. His line-ups were a who's-who of early 80s music - concerts by The Clash, Elvis Costello and Black Uhuru, among others, were regular occurences. Naturally, he failed his degree.