I’ve been a huge fan of Simon and Garfunkel since my early teens. I grew up with the music of Paul Simon, my Dad would play “Graceland” in the car on sunny family holidays to Cornwall. But it wasn’t until I was about 13 or 14 that I dug out my Dad’s old record collection and “discovered” Simon & Garfunkel. It was like finding treasure, playing those albums (my Dad had every single one from Wednesday Morning 3am to Bridge Over Troubled Water) was an incredible feeling, each song would just blow me away and spark a passion that would eventually lead me to take up a career based solely around their music; a tribute band touring the world playing homage to those incredible songs and the men who created them.
Many people ask us after our shows how it all came about, we briefly mention in our shows how we met in school and became friends but are reluctant to talk too much about ourselves in a show which is meant to be about Simon and Garfunkel, our audiences are often left wanting to delve deeper into our history. So I thought would be a good idea for our first blog to wind everything back and tell our own story from the beginning.
We first met in the first year of secondary school, by chance we sat next to each other in the same tutor group. We weren’t in any of the same classes so would only meet twice a day for registration, once in the morning and once after lunch, our real friendship grew outside of school. Again by chance, our evening paper round routes crossed paths and we would stop to talk, sometimes for up to an hour resulting in residents newspapers being delivered late, which got us inevitable complaints. We would talk mainly about music, Dan was just starting to learn to play the guitar and I had begun to discover music both old and new, The Beatles, Ocean Colour Scene, Coldplay and of course Simon and Garfunkel.
Over the next five years our friendship grew but it wasn’t until we left school and attended the same college that we started to hang out more regularly. By this time Dan had honed his guitar skills by learning the fingerpicking style of Paul Simon and I, encouraged by my older brothers who were both keen musicians, had learnt to harmonise with them. Dan and myself would often skip classes to learn songs of our favourite artists. We would go to the empty refectory where the bare walls would create a natural reverb for our voices. I can still remember Dan’s old songbook with handwritten lyrics and chords which at the time was his musical bible. All of the songs we played at that time were by current artists, but one evening after college in my bedroom, Dan began playing a new song he’d been learning; “Bleecker Street”. I can remember thinking how Dan had so meticulously learnt to play it and how it sounded identical to the album track. I immediately began singing the harmony and as we sang those first lines “Fogs rolling in of the east river bank, Like a shroud it covers Bleecker Street” we fell about laughing because of how much we sounded Simon and Garfunkel.
I have no real answer as to why we sounded so much like Simon & Garfunkel, perhaps our voices blended as well as theirs did or maybe we mimicked the perfect diction that Simon and Garfunkel so skilfully achieved, or maybe it was both. Either way we impressed ourselves so much that we rushed downstairs to sing our newly learnt song to my Mum and Dad. Other Simon and Garfunkel songs quickly followed like “The Boxer” and “The Sound Of Silence” but for us it was the lesser known early folk songs that we enjoyed learning most. “A Poem On The Underground Wall” was another song that had us falling about in fits of laughter, we often struggled to even complete a song because of this.
Those fun early days of learning those songs at sixteen years of age would remain as just that, for fun. We managed a handfu