He loved the relaxed atmosphere of San Francisco in the early 60s, and spent many hours taking long walks through the city. One day while walking down Page Street and admiring a huge Victorian on the corner, he heard guitar music coming from an upper floor window. With a love for music and a sense of adventure, Sam boldly walked into the house to investigate. It was here that he met Peter Albin and the seed for Big Brother was planted.
Sam Houston Andrew III was born December 18, 1941 in Taft, California. As the son of a military father he moved a great deal as a child. Sam developed a love for music a very early age. By the time he was fifteen, living in Okinawa, he already had his own band called the "Cool Notes".
Sams early influences were Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and Little Richard. He also listened to a lot a black delta blues. Not only did Sam have his own band at age fifteen, but he also had his own weekly TV show, an Okinawan version of American Bandstand.
Shortly after Sam graduated from high school his father was transferred to Hamilton Air Force Base north of San Rafael, California. It was during this period that Sam started attending classes at the University of San Francisco and got involved in the San Francisco folk music scene of the early 60s. But it wasnt until he returned from a two-year stay in Paris that he met Peter Albin at 1090 Page Street.
As Big Brother began to jell, Sam brought many songs into the band. He has been a prolific songwriter all of his life, penning his first tune at the age of six. Of his early compositions, "Call on Me" and "Combination of the Two" have been two of Big Brothers most enduring classic tracks and are still concert favorites today. Sam continues today in his original role as musical director of the band.
Sam and original band mate James Gurley have produced some of the greatest psychedelic guitar solos of all time. In February of 1997, Guitar Player magazine listed Sam and James work on "Summertime" as one of the top ten Psychedelic solos in music history.
In December of 1968 Sam along with Janis Joplin left Big Brother and the Holding Company to form the Kozmic Blues Band. After about nine months and one album, "I Got Dem Ol Kozmic Blues Again Mama!", Sam returned to Big Brother.
After Big Brothers stopped performing in 1972, Sam moved to New York where he studied harmony and counterpoint at the New School for Social Research and composition at Mannes School of Music. During this period he also scored several films in the US and Canada as well as writing two string quartets and a symphony. Sam remained in the east for eight years before returning to San Francisco where he began playing clarinet and saxophone.
Since Big Brother reunited in 1987, Sam has provided a wonderful variety of fresh new songs to the band. A sensitive and thoughtful man, his personality is reflected in the lyrics of his beautiful ballads. When Big Brother is not on the road, Sam pursues his solo project, The Sam Andrew Band.
Whether with the Sam Andrew Band or with Big Brother, Sam is a pure delight to see in concert. Not only is he a fabulous performer, he is also one of the most gracious, humble and kind human beings you will ever meet. One does not quickly forget an encounter with Sam Houston Andrew III.