Andy Anderson Biography
Andy Anderson real name Neville Anderson is a New Zealand musician and actor born on 18th July 1947 in Naenae, Lower Hutt, New Zealand. He is the lead singer of 1960s Australian band ‘The Missing Links’.
Andy Anderson Career
Andy Anderson has performed in several well-known Australian rock bands of the 1960s until 1965 when he professionally joined the second lineup of famed Sydney garage punk group the Missing Links as lead vocalist, and he performed on the group’s only album.
The ‘Missing Links’ broke up and Andy Anderson moved to Melbourne and joined another radical punk-R&B outfit, Running Jumping Standing Still, which also included lead guitarist Doug Ford, who subsequently joined the Masters Apprentices.
Andy Anderson was well known for his outrageous stage performances but his wild lifestyle at the time took a heavy toll and in late 1966 he was hospitalised after suffering a brain haemorrhage onstage at Melbourne’s Thumpin’ Tum discothèque. After his recovery, Anderson formed two short-lived Melbourne bands, Andy James Asylum, followed by Mother Superior, before moving back to Sydney, where he joined the cast of the Australian production of Hair for a short time during 1970. This was followed by an 18-month stint with Sydney club band Southern Comfort, with co-vocalist Bobbi Marchini.
After moving overseas for some time (reputedly to evade a death threat made by a Sydney underworld figure) Anderson returned to Australia and began performing regularly on Australian TV from the mid-1970s, with appearances in The Sullivans (as Jim Sullivan), Gloss (as Matt Winter), Prisoner (as Rick Manning), Fire (as John Kennedy) and a starring role in the talking-dog sitcom The Bob Morrison Show as Steve Morrison.
Andy Anderson Age
- He was born on 18th July 1947 in Naenae, Lower Hutt, New Zealand ( 70 years as at 2017)
Andy Anderson Movies and TV Shows
- 1976: The Sullivans as Jim Sullivan
- 1983: Roche as Cowboy Trucker
- 1984: Trespasses as Albie Stone
- 1984: Prisoner as Rick Manning
- 1985: Robbery Under Arms as George
- 1986: The Great Bookie Robbery as Tony Loft
- 1987: The Haunting of Barney Palmer as John Palmer
- 1987: Gloss as Matt Winter
- 1989: Il Magistrato as Tony
- 1989: Zilch as Lawyer
- 2000: Neighbours as Mick Scully
- 2004: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid as John Livingston
- 2005: Home and Away as Kevin Baker
- 2005: House of Wax as Sheriff
- 2007: All Saints as Lewid Dowd
- 2011: Swerve as Ambulance Officer
- 2012: The Straits as Vince
- 2013: Packed to the Rafters as Jim Barton
- 2014: Janet King as Anthony Schaeffer
Andy Anderson Awards
- 1982: Logie Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, The Sullivans
- 2000: Australian Film Institute Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Telefeature or Mini-Series, Halifax f.p
- 2012: StarNow Best Actor in a Short Film Award, Terry in Honk If You’re Horny, Sorta Unofficial New Zealand Film Awards.
Andy Anderson Album
In 2017 Andy Anderson released his album ‘Andersongs’. The opening track to the album ‘Hey, I’m Alive’ sums up Anderson’s feelings and insights on reaching the age of 69, despite the earlier excesses of a rock’n’roll lifestyle. It picks up on a theme expressed in a previous release, 2003’s If I’d Known I’d live This Long…
“That’s taken from a quote by American musician Eubie Blake. ‘If I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself’. He died aged 100,” Anderson said.
Andy Anderson suffered his first heart attack on a plane en route to a film gig. He tried to ignore it, but was so disoriented he couldn’t perform and had to check in to a hospital.
“I said, ‘I may be a drama queen, but I think I’ve had a heart attack’. I had, as it turned out.”
The music is not all reflective. Anderson spent time at Parihaka when writing the song Spirit of Parihaka. On June 9, the Government signed a $9 million reconciliation package and apologised for the 1881 sacking of the pacifist settlement. There’s a song about Pike River and even political commentary in a number called Politricks.
Andy Anderson Songs
- Hey I’m Alive
- Spirit of Parihaka
- It’ll All Be Alright (Give It Up)
- All Rise (Phantom’s Song)
- Woke Up
- Pike River Overflow
- Half a Guitar
- Breathe the Mystery
- As the Crow Knows
- The Sky’s the Limit
- We’re All Here
- Henry Lawson’s Cave
- Let Another Cup of Tea Go Cold
- The Moon and I
- Mother (To Ida May)
Andy Anderson Interview
StarNow: Congratulations on winning Best Actor in a Short Film at the Sorta Unofficial New Zealand Film awards – how did it feel when they announced you as the winner?
Andy Anderson: Thank you. The category came up so close to the start of the show I got a shock. I completely forgot to give a hoi to Jim Moriarty and Waka Rowlands, the other nominees. I don’t know what I said, so let me thank all involved now, it’s a privilige and honour to get the nod.
StarNow: What made you choose the role of Terry in Honk If You’re Horny?
Andy Anderson: The director, Joe Lonie chose me. He sent the script and offered the role. As most actors know, a straight out offer is special. He knew what he wanted. I got a good feeling for the script and character and agreed but Joe did the choosing. I saw Clint Eastwood in an interview and he said that as a director he tries to see a potential actor in something rather than do an audition. So Joe’s taking after Clint.
StarNow: Can you tell us about yourself? What made you want to become an actor?
Andy Anderson: How much time have we got? In 1956 when I sat in the theatre and saw that massive wide shot of James Dean as Jett Rink in “Giant” striding across the Texas skyline, measuring out his land, Dimitri Tiomkin’s music thundering out, I thought “This is what I want to do”.
When you’re a 9 year old living in NaeNae that’s a lofty ambition. I don’t know if I wanted to be an actor. It was more that I wanted to be involved in that spectacle; that feeling. To be a part of making people feel as I felt then. I haven’t achieved exactly that – yet – but I have felt that lift, that buzz of being part of a band or film or a play which transported us and hopefully the audience to that magic zone.
I’ve always been an actor. For survival I knew instinctively that going around Lower Hutt saying that I felt scared or troubled would not be wise, so I put on masks and became a character. I did an especially fine impression of being relaxed, confident and unafraid. The act of being tough was tougher to fake; sometimes I’d get splattered but in the main it worked okay. I’ve heard many performers say that they used humour to stay out of scrapes, which was true for me. So, cut to years later and I’m using that same method in ‘real acting’. I’d had some bad experiences with horses as a boy and was scared of them but I had to ride one in Sullivans – across a river! My conscious process was “I’m scared of horses but Jim, my character, was brought up on a farm, he’s ridden all his life, he’s not scared” so that’s how I went into it and wouldn’t you know? The horse responded and across the raging river we went. Same with dancing and other fears. Acting has forced me to step through fears and go for it. Then I found I actually wasn’t afraid. There’s no way to go into a scene which requires heavy emotions or complicated actions thinking “I can’t do this.” The nature of the beast forces us into positivity: “You’re on. The clock is ticking, we’re losing light, do it.“
I do love being on a film set; the process of film making. The cameraderie with cast and crew; the going out in all situations and bringing home the goods, the collaboration. To be in this industry is an incredible privilige. I don’t always see it this way but it’s true.
StarNow: What are some career highlights you have had so far?
Andy Anderson: To win an acting award after all these years is a definite highlight but the main career highlight would have to be having a career at all. I’ve been blessed beyond measure. I stumbled into screen acting because I had to get out of the the pubs and clubs and dives where my bands played. I got to Auckland and thought “Well singing’s out, what do I do for a crust now?” I’d always wanted to do some acting, or maybe radio announcing, or writing. So I sent a letter to the TV and radio stations and got one telegram back to come in and do an audition for a an acid casualty DJ in a new TV series called ‘Radio Waves’. I’d never auditoned before and didn’t have agent, however I had done some in-depth research into acid casualtiness so I went in. Lo and behold the Producer Tom Finlayson said “You’ve got the part, how much do you want?” I said “whatever’s fair”, they stuck me on C grade fees and I was a professional actor. That has always amazed me. I had three ideas of what I wanted to do… I got to do acting, play a radio announcer and write some of my on-air dialogue. Three in one. Spooky
StarNow: What is your next project? Any new films or TV series in the pipeline?
Andy Anderson: An ABC crime family series ‘The Straits’ set in Far North Queensland with Brian Cox and Rena Owen. I’m also currently on air in ‘Packed to the Rafters’. Then another ABC Law series filming Jan and Feb.
StarNow: How do you choose a role? What makes a role standout for you?
Andy Anderson: A standout role is when the script pulls me in and the character talks to some part of me. I don’t know how it works. With ‘The Straits’ I read the first scenes with Brian Cox (The Dog Stairs sequence) and it was brilliant, very funny. I took it on the strength of that. ‘Tracker’ I thought was a strong story and my character Bryce, just leapt out. I could feel him… smell him. I think Bryce and I needed to share a body at the time. He has a place in my heart. With ‘Honk If You’re Horny’, I warmed straight away to Terry, an ageing wanna-be rocker desperate, reduced to driving cabs and needing to create excitement from real or imagined exploits. Embarrassingly pathetic. What’s not to love? On the other hand he’s not going down quietly. He’s a colourful, positive, humourous, heartbroken fella fighting for some kind of meaning and dignity in all the wrong places and ways. A harder role was Sweeney Todd in the musical. I usually have a bit of humour going but Sweeney is a resentful, cannibalistic sociopath whose only kicks and humour come from revenge by cutting up people and putting them into pies. Not a pleasant person to try and bring to life. But Sweeney’s hatred was relentless, there’s no arc to him. He enters bitter and twisted and just gets more so. Hard slog. But then you add Sondheim’s music and another dimension opens up. It was an amazing challenge and I don’t know if I did the role justice but it was a buzz to try.
StarNow: How has the industry changed since your first role in The Sullivans?
Andy Anderson: Less gigs. Crawford’s Productions alone were making ‘The Sullivans’, ‘Skyways’ and ‘Cop Shop’ plus a mini series or two. Then there was ‘Prisoner’, ‘Neighbours’ and a whole lot of other series and films going on – and that was just Mebourne. Other things have changed of course but there was a lot more work then. And a lot less reality TV.
StarNow: Has the drama industry changed all that much?
Andy Anderson: Yeah, but its all storytelling. The bulk of drama TV is still cops, crims, doctors, nurses, lawyers… There’s more gratuitous violence and sex maybe but it comes down to good or bad storytelling eh? There will always be shows which spring forth out if the dross and take things to a new level, ‘West Wing’ did it, ‘Offspring’, ‘Outrageous Fortune’, ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘The Boss’, ‘Boston Legal’, ‘The Street’, ‘Game Of Thrones’, ‘In Treatment’, they crack the mould somehow and come up with something fresh.
StarNow: How does the Australian & New Zealand film Industry compare to the US film industry? Do you have any tips on how to succeed in either of them?
Andy Anderson: I’ve never filmed in the US. I’ve been in a few US movies and series shot in Australasia. One where they tried to make the back blocks of Sydney look like Texas. This part of Texas had Kookaburras laughing in the trees and Kangaroos hopping into shot.
For an actor it’s much the same. Hit your mark; know your lines/accent. Beware of better scene stealers.
StarNow: As an established film & TV actor, what appeals to you most about doing short films?
Andy Anderson: I’ve been spoiled, two of my favourite roles have been in short films Gordon Bennett in Gordon Bennett and ‘Honk If You’re Horny’. Both very twisted individuals…. Maybe one day I’ll get to play someone sane. I’d really have to research that!
StarNow: Do you think short films help to prepare less experienced actors for working on feature film & TV sets?
Andy Anderson: For an actor with an eye on screen performance any film experience is valuable. I had the best training in the world; straight into the deep end with ‘Radio Waves’ and then ‘The Sullivans’. ‘Radio Waves’ was the three camera set up and ‘The Sullivans’ shot interiors in the studio with three video cameras but exteriors were shot on film. So you learned both filming systems and on quick turnaround so you had to know the scripts/story arcs for several episodes at once. We worked fast, guerilla style. Also, at the start of each episode it would show the historical date and during the show there would be radio broadcasts and headlines of what was happening in the War. So we’d often shoot winter scenes in heat waves and summer scenes where we would have to suck Ice so that steam wouldn’t come out of our mouths. Most film sets are usually ‘Bite off more than you can chew and chew like a mother.’ I love it.
StarNow: When you first started out in the business, online casting didn’t exist! Things are changing rapidly for young actors starting out – if an audition website had been around when you were getting started, would you have used it to gain experience?
Andy Anderson: Yes I would, it’s exciting. That is one way the business has changed. A showreel can be sent across the oceans In a heartbeat.
StarNow: Do you have any tips you would give to other aspiring young actors?
Andy Anderson: I didn’t come through a drama school or theatre so I only have how I do it. My experience on working in film/tv is to try to listen to the other actor, find truth in each scene, and know the whole script because most dramas are shot out of sequence so know the arc for the whole story. Also be ready to adjust my vision of the scene. Many times I’ve imagined a sequence strongly one way only to get on set and find the director has a totally different idea as to how it plays. So may the other actors. So I try to stay as pliable as possible.
Here’s something though, I was at an Al Pacino seminar in Sydney and he answered this question something like “If you want to be an actor, hang around where acting is going on, join a theatre group, read the classics, watch good movies, do classes, write a play or film; practice accents. Stay active”. His take was not to sit around waiting to be discovered, stay involved and prepared then when a part comes up we’re ready to rock. He was inspiring.
Truth be known I staggered into this career. My Grandmother, Bessie Anderson was an actor doing plays and on Radio NZ. I’ve always had the feeling she’s looked down and had something to do with me getting involved in this mad game. It’s been a trip. I love being on a film set; the process of film making.
I’ve learned some hard lessons on the way. Fame threw me. I lost myself in it. Hard as I tried not to. So I try to keep fresh that there’s usually over 90 percent of us out of work at any time and that to get a gig is a blessing. To get a short film actor award is another. (And I’m nearly six foot; so the tall film actors must be gigantic!)
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