James Ford, featured as the drummer on four CDs by the British avant-garde rock group Simian, came from pretty much a normal classic rock background, attending Manchester University with several of his eventual bandmates. Not to be confused with a large cast of other musicians with the same name who might just as likely pick the same records, Ford has indicated in band profiles that sides such as the single of "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles' White Album were of extreme importance. From this background, Ford has taken over the drum chair in a band whose stylistic references include much more obscure experimental rock units that toiled away concurrent to the previously mentioned '60s superstars, including Silver Apples and the United States of America.
The music of Simian, also featuring guitarist and vocalist Simon Lord and vocalist and keyboardist James "Jas" Shaw, has also been compared to contemporary rock acts such as the Beta Band. The development of the group's music, particularly Ford's approach to the drums within the context of the group sound, can be best described as the acquisition of various levels of funk. The members of Simian progressed in said direction chiefly out of a reaction to finally getting to play for live audiences as opposed to holing up in the experimental electronic laboratory.