Talking beef with Andrew Bond, singer-songwriter

‘‘Ideas occur to me everywhere: while shopping, at night, on the road‘‘

Andrew Bond is also on familiar terms with beef cattle at his second home in the north of England. (Photo: provided)

You have become one of the best known and most successful singer-songwriters in Switzerland. How did you get the idea for the CD ‘‘Alli mached Mischt‘‘?

Music and song have always been very important in my life. As I didn’t have any songs for everyday situations with my children, I just went ahead and composed them. Then I noticed that in kindergartens and primary schools – my wife is a primary school teacher – songs on themes are in great demand. The theme of the farm was a natural choice. In my wife’s class the children still talk about the best tractors, and whether cows should have horns or not. And personally the theme is close to my heart.

In what way is it close to your heart?

As a child I had rabbits, planted trees and since then I have always felt comfortable on my Swiss grandfather’s small ‘Heimetli, where I now live. At first^, I wanted to become a farmer, and later to study agronomy. Although things turned out differently,  my love of nature has remained and is still with me today. 

Do you relate to cows?

I like to smell them  (laughs). Here, where I live, there are plenty of cows all around. I really like that. But I would not trust myself to keep cows - I’m too busy for that. 

«Alli mached Mischt» - Andrew with his band. (Photo: Jörg Rüdiger)

Do you keep other animals?

Yes, we have sheep and chickens. Plus a very large garden, where I grow various vegetables and herbs. Before, I had bees and ducks. So I have my own little farm. 

Where do you find the inspiration for your songs?

Everywhere. The ideas come to me while shopping, at night, on the road. Often, it’s plays on words that lead to funny lyrics as  with ‘Rindviecher‘,  ‘alli Mischt mached’ or ‘Sauguet’, where the sow really feels like a sow.

Which cows were you thinking about when wrote the song ‘Rindviecher‘?

I was probably imagining the typical brown cows in the Swiss Alps that I got to know as a child. We often came to Switzerland for our summer holidays and did a lot of hiking. 

As a child, Andrew Bond really liked the bells in front of the mountain hut in Rosenlaui. No wonder he wrote a song on this piece of Swiss culture: "Glogge, Treichle, Schelle".  (Source: Songbook «Alli mached Mischt»)

You have twice given a children’s concert at a pasture festival on the Pfannenstiel, the forerunner of the  beef.ch events. What especially stands out in your memory?

The food in the Hiltl gastro tent! For a vegetarian like me, of course it’s great - particularly at an event that actually focuses much more on meat.

You are a vegetarian and yet you played at our event? I think that’s great!

Yes, I think it‘s important to keep our ‘adult problems‘ away from the children and just be open to them  and live openness.  I find that Suckler Cow Switzerland and the Beef Event are doing good things. The pasture festival and the Discovery Trail are cool ways to teach children about agriculture and the production of local quality products. I’m happy to support this. Besides, I also buy and cook meat, because my wife and kids are not vegetarians. Even when I’m invited out and there’s only meat on the menu, I eat it.

What kind of meat dishes do you like to cook?

Our children are grown up now and no longer live with us. We used to buy a quarter of beef from our neighbour then cook all the cuts one by one. One of the favourites was always ‘‘Ghackets with small macaroni and apple sauce‘‘, also because of the fine apple sauce, which we make from our own apples.

And what’s your favourite dish?

I love salad buffets and tasty cheese. And all kinds of cakes and pastries.

(Photo: Christoph Kaminski)
(Photo: Christoph Kaminski)

Andrew Bond, aged 56: childhood in DR Congo, northern England and since the age of 12 at the family home in Wädenswil ZH. Intensive youth work, youth centre management, theology studies, 17 years as an upper-school teacher of religion and music.

From songs that Andrew Bond wrote for his own children came the bestseller ‘‘Zimetschtern han i gern‘‘ and since then dozens of albums, books, teaching aids, musicals and much more. Since 2003, he has worked full-time as a writer of children’s songs and musicals, author and publisher.

Andrew Bond is married with two grown children.