Saying Goodbye To A Childhood Friend

Yesterday, I found out that an old friend of mine had passed away. I discovered this via Facebook and I am still shocked beyond belief. I still do not know what happened, but I do know that Andrew Wells has gone at age 56.

I first met Andy when my family moved to Willerby from West Hull. He lived at 5 Thornwick Ave and I at 1 Thornwick Ave. He was a year older and ahead of me at school, but I recall that we both got acoustic guitars from Christmas – perhaps it was 1972 – maybe 1971. Immediately, we started to ‘jam’ together. Of course, neither of us could play a note on the guitar, but it was fun to imagine that we could. Over the next couple of years, we taught each other how to play. I remember Andy teaching me E form bar chords in my bedroom one afternoon and from there it was only a few weeks before we were bashing out 12-bar blues. We both liked Status Quo and we started to learn some of their songs from the period. We called our first band – Brutus – after his Alsatian dog! The band became Nemo in time….

Sometime a bit later, 3 Thornwick Ave changed hands and we both met Tim who now lived there. Tim is a year younger than me and it took no time at all to convince him to try playing Bass guitar. In fact, I taught him I think. Another buddy at the time, Mike, had a drum kit and soon we had a band. Andy and I progressed to electric guitars and soon we were practicing at the Willerby Conservative hall weekly. There, we annoyed the neighbours bashing out songs like Bye Bye Johnny, Backwater, Just Take Me, Big Fat Mama and more besides. Andy played lead, I was the back up guitar and vocals, Tim on bass, Mike on drums. What a time we had.

I recall the fist gig we played was at Willerby Methodist Church. How nervous we were. Halfway through the first song which was raucous and loud, the vicar pulled the plug on us! The crowd protested however, and we got to finish our short set. We felt like rock stars that night and in a way, we were.

I went to college out of town and lost track a bit of Andy. I saw him at Christmas a couple of years and I knew he was doing some kind of course in Hull and was working at Metalbox but that was about it. So, it was with some surprise in 1988 living in Kingwood outside of Houston, TX, that I got a phone call from him. It turned out he was living in Connecticut and was also in the US. He seemed to be doing pretty well and we made some remarks about meeting up as you do but the next time I saw him was Thornwick Ave when we were both visiting parents. We laughed how we had travelled so many miles to meet! Over the next few years I saw him in Willerby and Beverly and we would catch up a bit and have a beer or so and then I lost track of him again.

Then again, last year out of the blue, he emailed me and we started a new round of catch up conversation. He was living in Nashville and newly married. We hooked up on Linkedin and Facebook and he called me one day. We had a short chat and I told him I would call him back. The funny thing is is that you always think there is plenty of time. A couple of weeks ago, in response to a post on my blog, he had sent me a FB message and I replied briefly. On the 24th April, he passed away. WE never did catch up again properly and I feel as if a piece of my childhood went with him. RIP Andrew David Wells and my heartfelt condolences to his wife and family.

This is for you… I think this is the same tour we went to at Brid Spa..

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