They grew up in the small town of Stourbridge in the West Midlands. They met in the early days of secondary school when, by chance they were placed next to each other during a school integration exercise. Not knowing at this stage how big their friendship would become, they awkwardly stumbled upon a common interest in music. At this point their interest was mutual; however their chosen genres were not. Dan was riding along the late nineties wave of American punk with hopes of being the next Blink 182. Pete however had grown up with a passion for a more acoustic style and had begun to pick up his mother’s guitar.
During these early years as friends they would meet on their paper-rounds, discuss their musical interests and suggest artists to each other. It was through this swapping of musical experiences that Pete introduced Dan to an artist that would fix their friendship together. It was the musical work of American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. Instantly Dan found a love for the acoustic vibe that enriches much of Paul Simon’s music. Nearing the end of school life Dan traded in his electric guitar for a second hand and somewhat battered acoustic guitar. It was at this point that Dan and Pete started harmonising for the first time, learning simple acoustic songs by artists of the time like Ocean Colour Scene and Turin Brakes, as well as older classics by The Beatles and The Everly Brothers. However they both new that simply strumming a few chords was not all the acoustic guitar had to offer. Dan’s attention was drawn to Paul Simon’s use of his guitar, and it was inevitable that Dan would slip slide his was into a more intricate style of playing.
At the age of seventeen, midway through college and sitting in a deserted college refectory where the acoustics were perfect, Dan brought to the table a song he had recently learnt to play. It was Bleecker Street from Simon and Garfunkel’s fist album Wednesday Morning 3am. Knowing the song well, Pete was quick to join in with a second vocal part and it was that moment that would mark the beginning of what would eventually become Bookends. Over the following months Dan and Pete started learning more Simon and Garfunkel songs, spending time to ensure their reproduction was as accurate as possible to the real record. At this stage they were playing the songs for their own enjoyment in the company of friends and family. The final push for them to start performing to wider audiences came when Simon and Garfunkel themselves reformed for a tour of the U.S. Having always said they would go and see the due live if they ever performed again, Dan and Pete stayed true to their word and begged and borrowed enough money to fly to New York in the December of 2003 where they saw Simon and Garfunkel perform in Madison Square Garden. A trip that would have seemed well worth the money had Simon and Garfunkel not made the trip back in the opposite direction the following March for a tour of the U.K. However their experience in America had given them a push into wanting to perform live. With this in mind, Dan and Pete called a local music venue in the hope of obtaining a gig. They were offered a fitting slot supporting an Everly Brothers tribute act and were asked what name should be put on the promotional material and tickets. Thinking on their feet so as not to appear unprofessional, they gave the title of the Simon and Garfunkel album The Sounds of Silence, a name they would not perform under for long.
Early in 2008 their lives would take them in very different directions and draw a line under their time as a Simon and Garfunkel tribute. Pete, pursuing his interest in the natural world moved away to university whilst Dan, who had now written an album of his own music began performing around the Midlands as a solo artist. It wasn’t until the summer of 2011 after Dan and Pete met up to see Paul Simon live in Birmingham that their shared passion for the songs of Simon and Garfunkel would be re-ignited. They decided they would re-form their tribute. Wanting to break away from their past attempt as ‘The Sounds of Silence’ they renamed themselves ‘Bookends’ and both had the same vision of the kind of show they wanted to perform. Wigs and fake accents were never what they were about and they wanted to put together a show that would explore the history of Simon and Garfunkel and their music. This led them to create their new show ‘Simon and G arfunkel – Through the Years’.
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