Andrews was born in Fulham, West London in 1959. He started learning to play the guitar at 10 years of age. On leaving school at 16, he spent a year as an assistant gardener at Kensington Palace.
In late 1976 Andrews was playing lead guitar with an amateur rocker band entitled Paradox. Whilst performing at a gig at the Fulham Arts Centre he was talent-spotted by the punk-rocker Billy Idol, who was at that time looking for a guitar player to complete the line-up of a new band that he had just formed that would be named Generation X. Andrews was recruited to become its lead guitarist, in the process freeing Idol from the band's guitar role which he held at that moment to become its frontman/singer.
The band subsequently signed a recording contract with Chrysalis Records, and released its first single, Your Generation, in September 1977, which went to #36 in the United Kingdom's Singles Chart. Andrews remained with the band through their first two long-player albums, the self-titled Generation X (1978), which reached #29 in the U.K. Albums Chart, followed by Valley of the Dolls (1979).
After two propitious opening years, with a hectic touring schedule and several record releases increasingly impacting the charts, the release of the Valley of the Dolls long-player at the start of 1979, although being marked simultaneously by their highest chart hit with the single King Rocker achieving #11 in the U.K. Singles Chart, initiated the beginning of a deterioration in the success of the band's commercial output, and differences began to surface within it between Andrews and Billy Idol and the bass player Tony James as to its future musical direction. The disagreement about direction was augmented by Idol and James' refusal to allow Andrews to contribute to their song-writing partnership, and an increasing personal antipathy that had developed between Andrews and Idol. In May 1979 Andrews warned them that he was increasingly feeling like leaving Generation X, which was avoided by focusing on the band's first international tour in Japan mid-year, but on returning to England, during the recording sessions for the band's abortive third long-player (which would be released retrospectively 20 years later under the title Sweet Revenge) internal disputes came to a head, and Andrews quit the band just before Christmas. He would be joined by the band's drummer Mark Laff a month later, who Idol and James asked to leave over another disagreement.
In mid-1980 Andrews and Laff formed the Indie Rock band Empire along with bassist Simon Bernal. Empire released a song called Hot Seat as a single and one commercially unsuccessful long-player entitled Expensive Sound. The trio undertook four gigs, before Bernal left. After replacements and more gigs, Laff decided to quit Empire on 9 February 1983 frustrated at the lack of commercial success, and Andrews renamed the act New Empire with Babel Wallace becoming the singer, Mike Gregovich on bass and Crispin Taylor on drums as Laff's replacement. This line-up released only a white label 12" ("Inside You"), but toured in U.K. (supporting artists like John Miles and Roman Holliday), and later toured in Spain, where the band enjoyed a degree of success. Dissatisfied with the band's new musical direction, and the adverse financial issues related to touring, Andrews disbanded New Empire in early 1984.
Despite its lack of commercial success Empire is considered as an influential post-punk band in the development of the Emo music genre.
In 1986 Andrews established the English "Beatbox Rock'n'Roll" band Westworld. With the singer Elizabeth Westwood they had an early success with their debut single Sonic Boom Boy, which reached #11 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1987, and which was subsequently commercially used as backing music track by Sony for one of its television product advertising campaigns. Between 1987-1992 the band released several singles and three long-players via a recording contract, mainly with R.C.A..
Andrews continued to work with Elizabeth Westwood as singer and went on to form the band Moondogg with the sound artist Martin Lee Stephenson in 1994.
In 1998, Andrews and former Supernaut/Twenty Flight Rockers vocalist Gary Twinn formed an alternative country band, Speedtwinn along with Mario Barmosca and Dale S. Daniel. They released an album in 2003, California, right after Derwood had left the band.
On 20 September 1993 Andrews performed in a late 1970's Generation X line-up reunion at the Astoria Theatre in London's West End during the England leg of Billy Idol's No Religion tour.
In 2006, Andrews and Laff re-recorded the Empire single Hot Seat to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the release of Expensive Sound. It was released on the Expansive Sound Volume II compilation. In 2011, Andrews reformed Empire again with vocalist Babel Wallace and drummer Jerry Judd for the recording of a song called Bed Head, appearing on Wallace's solo compilation Good Things Can Happen.
In 1980, before forming Empire, Bob Andrews and Mark Laff recorded on the first Jimmy Pursey solo record, Imagination Camouflage. Andrews has acted as a session guitarist guitar for many bands and performers, including Swamp Dogg, who he has been musically influenced by.
In 2007 he released Tone Poet his first solo release. He also completed an autobiography, entitled Loud Guitarist.
In 2010, he recorded Cover Yer Arse, a compilation of cover songs of his favorite artists.
In 2013 he released a downloadable song "Sleeping Beauty."from Tone Poet Vol. I.
In 2014, he recorded another album entitled Tone Poet, Vol. II. In May/June 2015 he toured the UK and Ireland in support of Tone Poet Vol. II, with Sean and Zander as co headliners. He also put out the song "Winter Pt 1," which was part of an unreleased album called Mojave Full Circle. In Jan 2016 Derwood released Tone Poet Vol. 3.
Andrews' song back-catalogue has been covered a diverse ranges of bands, including the U.S. Bombs and the L.A. Guns.
Andrews relocated from England to Cave Creek, Arizona, United States of America in 1992. He subsequently moved to Los Angeles, where he dropped out of professional music for a period and worked as a motorcycle courier in the late 1990's, during which time he married Stephanie in Hollywood. In the early 2000's he moved to California's High Desert region.Generation X
1978 – Generation X (Chrysalis Records) UK No. 29
1979 – Valley of the Dolls (Chrysalis Records) UK No. 51
1979 – Sweet Revenge (unreleased until 1998, reissued in 2003 as second disc for the Generation Xbox-set).
2004 – K.M.D. – Sweet Revenge Xtra (Revel Yell Music) (Featuring bonus tracks.)
Generation X Compilations
1985 – The Best of Generation X (Chrysalis Records)
1990 – The Idol Generation (Castle Communications) (Australia only.)
1991 – Perfect Hits 1975–81 (Chrysalis Records)
1999 – Live at the Paris Theatre '78 & '81 (EMI Records) (Reissued (and edited) in 2002 as One Hundred Punks – BBC Live in Concert.)
2002 – Radio 1 Sessions (Strange Fruit Records)
2003 – Anthology (EMI Records)
2003 – Live at Sheffield (Empty Records)
1981 – Expensive Sound (Dinosaur Discs) (American reissue in 1986 by Highway 61 Records).
2003 – Expensive Sound (Poorly Packaged Products Records) (Also featuring 7 previously unreleased songs and 4 live cuts).
2009/2012 – Volume II – Expansive Sound (Poorly Packaged Products Records) (the never issued before New Empire tracks, plus covers and live cuts from 1983–84).
2012 – Babel Wallace solo compilation Good Things Can Happen (Poorly Packaged Products Records) (Featuring 3 New Empire tracks and the reunion song "Bed Head").
1987 – Where the Action Is (RCA Records) UK No. 49
1987 – Rockulator (RCA Records) (US release of Where the Action Is with different track listing and artwork and some new mixes).
1988 – Beatbox Rock 'N' Roll (RCA Records) (not released in the UK).
1991 – Movers and Shakers (MCA Records) (not released in the UK).
1997 – Beatbox Rock 'N' Roll (Camden Records) (Compilation album, not to be confused with the same-titled second album).
1996 – Fat Lot of Good (Better Records)
2001 – God's Wallop (D.O.R.)
2004 – All the Love in the World (Rubbercheese Music)
2003 – California (Orange Recordings)
2007 – Tone Poet, Vol. 1 (Rubbercheese Music) (Digital download only.)
2010 – Cover Yer Arse (Main Man Records)
2014 – Tone Poet, Vol. 2 (Rubbercheese Music)
2016 – Tone Poet, Vol. 3 (Rubbercheese Music) (Digital download only.)