Andy tells all about Ricky Gervais' Cemetery Junction
by Jenny Minard
BBC Berkshire Reporter
Andy Lewis appears in the Ricky Gervais film Cemetery Junction
It is from the cinema to the stage for trumpet player Andy Lewis after appearing in Cemetery Junction with Ricky Gervais.
And now he will bring his style of jazz and blues to Reading - where comedian Ricky was born.
Freelance singer and musician Andy was approached by an agent and said it was something he could not turn down.
"I was out in Greece doing a festival when I had a call from an agent who said he put me forward for the film.
"It sounded like a fun project to be involved in. Previously I had done work on films and had done soundtracks but this one was actually having a part in it.
"Being a massive Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant fan, it was too good an opportunity to turn down.
"So I sort of managed to re-jig a gig and jump on a flight back to England. The day later I was in the studio with Ricky and Stephen having a lovely time, getting very hot a sweaty in the middle of summer. It was lots of fun."
I started getting some session work and got the bug to follow that line of work and see where it took me.
Andy had been singing and playing trumpet for years and when he was at school he did music, English and history A Levels.
"I was going to read English," he says. "I then decided at the last minute to do a year course at the Academy of Contemporary Music. While I was there I met some really interesting people. I met a producer called Rupert Christie who has worked on lots of films and with the likes of Lou Reed, Westlife and Coldplay.
"I started getting some session work and got the bug to follow that line of work and see where it took me.
"I decided to push the academic stuff to one side and follow the musical dream. Ten years later I'm still doing it and very much enjoying it."
Andy who is originally from Birmingham works on various projects including films and albums.
"It ranges from studio work for other artists," he says. "And I have just finished doing some work for the Fisherman Friends who have just been signed to [record label] Universal and are Cornish sea shanty singing fishermen.
"I've done some pop stuff and eclectic stuff in studio, and I do a lot of live work both as a singer and a trumpet player in and around London. Like most musicians I keep it as varied as possible and do lots of interesting and fun stuff."
With Andy's career it is certainly a case of not what you know, but who you know.
"I did some stuff for Vanessa Mae and met some people through that. I did a film off the back of that - just did the soundtrack and then I did a Warner Brothers thing again with Rupert Christie."
Gervais talks about inspiration
And in terms of Cemetery Junction, the comedy-drama film written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, Andy says it was a dream to work on.
"It was amazing. I have worked with people in the past that had a lot of profile and you don't really know what to expect.
"You hope that if you're into their music or what they do that they are going to be the sort of people you would like to hang out with.
"We got there the first day and we had to get dressed up in 70s gear. They were wondering about, came over and had a bit of a chat. They then came over to check everything was alright with us and then two days in they had given us their green room.
"Ricky was just really down to earth, they were really sound people. They came across as two people who were having the best time and were in a position where they couldn't believe people were paying them lots of money to do something they loved.
"There were times where they were apologetic that they had to kick us out of their green room because Radio 1 was coming in to interview them about the film."
It was little bit surreal, it wasn't your average gig but it was lots of fun.
Musician Andy Lewis
Laugh a minute
And hardly surprisingly, Andy says it was a laugh a minute while filming.
"They were really, really funny and throughout filming there were loads of moments where they had to cut filming in the middle of it because Ricky would just start laughing.
"Jonathon Ross walked in one day and they were just all giggling throughout this important scene in the club - a fight scene. There were a lot of exasperated hot, sweaty dancers and actors just about to finish the take, and then there would be this squawking laughter. It was Ricky Gervais crumpled in a heap after sharing a joke with either Stephen or Jonathon Ross. It was lots of fun."
Not only did Andy play trumpet in the film but he also acted the part.
"It was a bit bizarre," he says. "You are playing and have to make it as authentic as possible, but at the same time you are very aware you are dressed up in very tight 70s gear.
"There are people wearing wigs and it was just a bit of an off one, it was a first, so I imagined I was dressed in something similar to what my old man used to wear in his heyday.
"Because it was so hot in the studio every time there was a cut, we had to cool down. So I kept on putting my head in front of this massive fan that was only allowed to be put on when they stopped shooting.
"Half way through shooting the producer had to cut the scene and came over and gave me a bit of talking down because my wig had gone all out of shape.
"I had to get the wig technician to pin it back to where it should be," Andy laughs.
"It was little bit surreal, it wasn't your average gig but it was lots of fun."
Despite mingling with the stars, Andy is trying to keep his feet on the ground.
"It is quite a humbling experience when you talk to the rest of guys who have immense CVs and they are struggling away to get work in.
"It is just really interesting. You've just got to know your place and know that you're fortunate to get a place in a film - which personally I would definitely go and watch.
"I loved things like extras and the office, and all the podcasts they do.
"I was slightly in awe of being in the presence of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, so it was slightly different from doing a normal studio session because these guys are directors and actors.
"You just have to enjoy it and make the most of it, and if it never happens again then I had a lovely time doing it."
Andy hasn't seen the film yet but his friends have been inspired to tell him what they think.
"I've been in the studio all week and been getting texts from friends basically ripping it out of me for looking ridiculous in this film.
"I booked in to see it with a few mates and very much looking forward to seeing it. I've seen a couple of the trailers and as I said I've been told in no uncertain terms I look ridiculous - I am looking forward to seeing how stupid I look and watching what sounds like a good film."
The Andy Lewis Trio play Old Orleans, The Oracle in Reading on Tuesday, 20 April 7pm.
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