Terry MacNeil, lead quitar

Born in Wichita, Kansas; began studing piano at 9, clasical guitar at 16, harmonica and bass one year later; composer; poster designer; painter and sculptor in the primitive style.

Biography 1966

Camel Records


Nandi devam

Nandi Devam (formerly Terry MacNeil)


We had just finished our ill-fated second album promo tour. I had broken my left wrist while skating backwards in the parking lot of our hotel and the managers sent us home after a couple attempted performances. Needless to say, spirits weren't too high when we got back to rehearsing and when Peter said, "You can be replaced", I took him up on it.

I had started making signs as a side-line for added income in Hawaii when Peter came over to write songs together. They were mostly posters for hotels, but I kept on doing it after coming back to live in Mill Valley to rehearse for and record our second album. With my left arm in a sling, I made my first wood sign and became "The Signmaker" in Marin County, a business I had for seven years before selling it to my second apprentice and moving to Flushing, New York.

Why would I move to New York? I'll have to back-up to answer that.

After the Camel's whirl-wind success with "Hello, Hello" and the pressures of a relationship competing with the band, I was desperate for peace of mind. My girl-friend-become-wife ("You'll have to marry her if you want to take her on tour!") had tried a free Hatha Yoga class at College of Marin which was the start of a twenty-six year affair with our Guru. We never wanted to have children, but ended up having four lovely daughters. We were creating a new world based on eternal values... quite an attractive goal for a hippie who wanted to make the world a better place. Along the way we changed our names to Hindu names and were encouraged to live near a Hindu temple. At the time, the only real Hindu Temple was in Flushing, New York, so we sold our house and moved there. We were a small community of ten or so families learning the customs of the East and applying them in the West.

I had intended to work for a sign company in New York and learn the right way to make signs, since I had taught myself everything (and still do today), but that was not in the cards. I just wasn't fast enough for New Yorkers so found myself calling the only contact I had... Joe King, the group sales coordinator at "Tavern on the Green", a famous restaurant in New York. I hadn't waited tables for years, but I was happy to have any job at that point. I started as a group sales waiter and ended up almost five years later as a captain in the Crystal Room. Quite a stretch for a California airhead!

After being stabbed in the chest bone by an attempted robber, I decided I had learned enough from the New York experience and decided to move back to the San Francisco Bay Area. Only one problem... computers had taken over the sign trade and there was no money in it. At that point, I hired on as an apprentice to a tile contractor church friend of mine. After nine months working for him I went to work for one of his clients, Joan Brown, a lady artist who was commissioned to make public monuments for shopping malls and other public places. For four and a half years, I was her assistant and used my signmaking ability to cut out tiles in the shape of birds, trees and animals of all sorts, applying them to the faces of obelisks from Texas to India. She died in 1989, installing her last obelisk for her Guru, Sai Baba, in India.

Making the shift from all artwork to residential tile work took a couple years, financial help from my parents and employment from my church contractor friends. "Tile Art" is the name of my new company and I've been a licensed tile contractor for three years now.

We parted ways with our Hindu church when we realized we couldn't be as orthodox as it was becoming, but we learned a tremendous amount from the experience. I have found that "affectionate detachment" is the basis of peace of mind.

Nandi Devam of Tile Art showing iridescent glass, the latest in tile material.

Nandi Devam