Derby Graduation – July 2019 – Honorand Andy Sneap

Derby Graduation – July 2019 – Honorand Andy Sneap

November 11, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


PRO CHANCELLOR AND CHAIRMAN: I now have great
pleasure in inviting Professor Judith Lamie, Pro Vice-Chancellor External Affairs, to give
the commendation for the conferment of the honorary degree Master of the University to
Andy Sneap. PROFESSOR JUDITH LAMIE: Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor,
honoured guests and graduands, it gives me great pleasure to be presenting today Andy
Sneap, for the award of Honorary Master of the University. Andy was born in Belper, Derbyshire.
He first made a name for himself as a musician in various rock bands, but it is as a music
producer that he has carved out his incredibly successful international career. Andy got
his first guitar and amplifier from his parents at the age of 12 and started learning guitar
with Dave Halliday, founding member of local heavy metal band Hell. Halliday had a huge
influence on Andy growing up, leaving him the rights to his songs and equipment in his
will following his death in 1987. Andy formed his first thrash metal band at the age of
15 and over the next few years Nottingham-based band Sabbat began to attract attention. The
band were offered a recording contract in 1987 but had to wait until Andy turned 18
before they could sign. The following year Sabbat released their first album. Andy created
three more albums with Sabbat before they split in 1991. After their breakup, he built
Backstage Recording Studios so that he could make demos and record local bands. His expertise
in the studio as engineer, mixer and producer soon attracted the attention of established
metal acts. Andy went on to become one of the most active and successful music producers
in the metal music genre, working with bands such as Accept, Saxon, Opeth, Exodus, Megadeth,
Testament and Judas Priest. Andy splits his time between his recording studios in Belper
and a host of international facilities, particularly in Nashville and San Francisco. Over the past
25 years, Andy has produced well over 100 albums from international artists, bringing
many of them here to Derbyshire. He was awarded a Swedish Grammi in 2002 and his work was
nominated for a US Grammy in 2005. He has also been voted thirteenth in the Ultimate
Guitar Top Producers of all time. Andy has just returned from the US performing with
Judas Priest on their latest world tour. After producing the band’s latest studio album
Firepower in 2017, he was asked to help out on stage when the group’s long time guitarist
Glenn Tipton had to retire from the live arena. Andy is a rare breed in the music industry:
talented, successful yet generous to a fault. He is approachable and always takes the time
to talk to his admirers, giving them encouragement and advice. He has developed an enviable international
reputation but despite this is fiercely proud of his Derbyshire roots. In amongst his hectic
working schedule each year he generously gives time for our BSc Music Production students
to visit his studio and share some of his wisdom and expertise. Indeed, he has been generous enough to be here with us today on a special day for him. The celebration of his 50th birthday. [APPLAUSE] He is truly an inspirational role model. Chancellor, in
recognition of his contribution to the local and international rock music industry, we
are delighted to award Andy Sneap the honorary degree of Master of the University. [APPLAUSE] ANDY SNEAP: Hello. This is all a bit unexpected. I’m possibly the worst advocate for further
education you could have picked to be honest. I went to Swanwick Hall School, just up the
A38, way back 30 something years ago. Music back then was not seen as a viable career.
It certainly wasn’t taken seriously at that school. In fact, a music lesson consisted
of one acoustic guitar, a recorder, set of triangles and a violin lesson for anyone showing
the slightest bit of interest. When I was 15 in my last year of school, we were ordered
to do a week’s worth of work experience. My teacher singled me out, had me stand in front
of the whole class and asked me what I wanted to do when I left school, to which I replied
“become a heavy metal guitar player”. As you can imagine chaos ensued and once the laughter
had died down, she announced there was a placement for me at the famous Meat Company, which was
the slaughterhouse directly across from the school where every morning we could hear the
pigs reaching their final destination. I walked out the class and I never looked back – I
never actually went back to school and did any exams. I’ve been vegetarian most of my
adult life and as for the guitar playing, it worked out ok. I think it’s safe to say
dreams were not encouraged at Swanwick Hall. When John Crosley and Duncan Werner approached
me about working with Derby University the idea was to allow students a better insight
on recording at an international level. It struck me how time had moved on for the better
and I was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm and the knowledge the newer generation of
students had gained by their time at Derby. The approach by the staff seemed very refreshing,
encouraging and extremely forward-thinking. This whole event, as I said, is somewhat unexpected
yet it’s very flattering and I look forward to continued working collaborations with the
University in the near future. I’d also like to say good luck to the budding recording
engineers and record producers here today about to take on the outside world. It’s not
easy, it’s taken me over 30 years to be where I am today with a lot of hard work and dedication.
My advice to you would be; be positive, be polite, believe in yourself, put the effort
in and you will see the rewards come back. I would like to thank my parents for encouraging
me to follow my dreams, even if you didn’t understand them, and it’s really great to
see Derby University doing the same for the students here today.
So, thank you very much, it’s an honour to be honoured. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] PRO CHANCELLOR AND CHAIRMAN: Thank you Andy
and as you can see we’ve had a bit of a rock and roll flavour to this ceremony today. Some
great words of wisdom I think from Andy in terms of how you achieve your ambitions in
life – some great achievements I think and thank you once again Andy for all the work
that you do for the University. It is much appreciated. [APPLAUSE]