Andy Partridge

Andy Partridge

Andrew John Partridge, born 11 November 1953 in Mtarfa, Malta, and known variously as Andy Partridge, Sir John Johns, Melchior, and Animal Jesus, is a founding member, guitarist and chief songwriter of the pop band XTC. He lives in Swindon, Wiltshire, England, where he was raised.

Partridge also serves as XTC's de facto art director. Except for its second album, Go 2, the band's album cover art has been based on his ideas. For example, the back cover of Rag and Bone Buffet: Rare Cuts and Leftovers took shape after Partridge requested "lots of rusty junk" and proceeded to create a mockup of the band members with it. XTC toured heavily throughout the late-1970s through to 1982, when Partridge, suffering from the stresses of the road, severe stagefright, as well as the abrupt end of 13 years of doctor-prescribed Valium addiction (thanks to his wife throwing out his supply), forced the band to stop touring.

In addition to his work with XTC, Partridge has released demos of his songs under his own name in the Fuzzy Warbles album series on his APE House record label. Eight individual volumes of Fuzzy Warbles are now available, as well as the Fuzzy Warbles Collector's Album, which includes a bonus ninth disc Hinges. He has collaborated (as performer, writer or record producer) with numerous recording artists, including Martin Newell (ex-Cleaners from Venus) with whom he recorded and produced an album in 1993 entitled The Greatest Living Englishman released in Japan as a duo album, Peter Blegvad, Harold Budd, Jamie Cullum, Stephen Duffy, Terry Hall, The Heads, Charlotte Hatherley, Robyn Hitchcock, The Residents, and David Yazbek.

Partridge also served initially as the producer for the English band Blur during the recording of Modern Life Is Rubbish. However, he was replaced by Stephen Street at the insistence of their record label, Food. Other collaborations that failed to bear fruit included unused writing contributions for Sophie Ellis Bextor and a proposed writing partnership with Brian Wilson, which never progressed past a telephone enquiry from Wilson's PA. Partridge also wrote four songs for Disney's version of James and the Giant Peach, but was replaced by Randy Newman when he could not get Disney to offer him "an acceptable deal."

In 2004, Partridge contributed the song "I Wonder Why the Wonder Falls" as the theme music to the short-lived TV comedy Wonderfalls. In 2006, a song he and Robyn Hitchcock collaborated on, "Cause It's Love (Saint Parallelogram)," was released on the Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3 album Olé! Tarantula. He has also released music as part of a trio known as Monstrance, made up of him on guitar, Barry Andrews (an early member of XTC) on keyboards, and Martyn Barker on drums. The group has released an album of the same name, as well as a download-only EP known as Fine Wires Humming a New Song. All songs were recorded live in the studio, with no overdubs, and completely improvised.

Partridge has enjoyed periodic popularity as a broadcaster, most notably in the mid-1980s, when he was a regular performer on BBC Radio 1. Most famously, he posed as "Agony Andy," a spoof agony aunt on the Janice Long show, but he also contributed comic items to Saturday Live and Studio B15, and was a regular panelist on both Roundtable and The Great Rock'n'Roll Trivia Quiz. He has also presented the pilot for an ITV children's quiz show, Matchmakers. Partridge made a one-off uncredited appearance in the animated sitcom Family Guy, in the episode titled, "One if by Clam, Two if by Sea" as a British cricket commentator.

Partridge and his ex-wife Marianne have two children: daughter Holly, a guitarist, singer and songwriter for Britpop group The SheBeats, and son Harry. He has been in a long-term relationship with Erica Wexler -- daughter of American screenwriter Norman Wexler -- since his divorce.

Partridge has been cited as an influence by many guitarists, most notably by John Frusciante of The Red Hot Chili Peppers in the 2002 issue of Total Guitar magazine, who cited him as an influence on the sound of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' album By the Way.

Recently, Partidge mixed recordings for the band Captains of Industry. Presently, Partridge is working on a collaborative album with Robyn Hitchcock , a collaborative album with Mike Keneally, and various solo projects. He has been conducting an ongoing series of online interviews about his songs with writer Todd Bernhardt on the XTCfans pages of MySpace, and plans to release a book based on the interviews, featuring additional content and images, in late 2008 or early 2009.

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