I interviewed Terry Chambers in Swindon in September 2019, for the XTC Convention 2020 Facebook group. All words and images (c) Darryl W. Bullock
Now, I know that the man needs no introduction here, but it’s impossible to frame an interview without an introduction of sorts, so here goes. I was lucky enough to spend an evening recently in a rather nice pub near Swindon with XTC’s former (and only permanent) drummer Terry Chambers and his lovely partner Lynn. We had met briefly before on a couple of occasions (some of you may remember Lynn selling TC&I t-shirts at the live shows last year), but this was the first time that I’d had the opportunity to sit down with them for a proper chat, ostensibly to talk about next year’s convention but – as is often the way – we ended up covering a lot more besides, including his favourite cheese (“Extra mature cheddar from Aldi: I buy it all the time, lots of it!”) and his pet hate, which is “All the rubbish in town. One of the biggest shocks when I came back to the country was how much litter there was around. We should bring back the Keep Britain Tidy campaign... what was wrong with that?”
But, far from being a grumpy old man concerned with litter, he’s a genuine, warm and funny man who is only too happy to talk about his life behind the drumkit. So, as Maria von Trapp would have it, let’s start at the very beginning.
Terry was born on 18 July 1955 in the same nursing home as future XTC guitarist Dave Gregory. The youngest of three children born to Peter and Eileen Chambers, his sights were originally set on a career as a professional football player, but although he had a trial for Swindon Town Football Club, his life soon took another, altogether different direction. Before he had reached his 15th birthday, he had decided that he rather liked the idea of a career in music.
“I wanted to play piano” he says. “But my father said, ‘we can’t afford to have that great lump of furniture in the house’, and that was the end of that! But I still wanted to be part of this. I was in town one day and I saw a drum kit in Kempster’s, and I thought ‘I might be able to find my way around this’, so I plunged in. That was about 1969. Suddenly there was all this great music about, this early rock stuff. The very first Zeppelin album, the first Deep Purple album, Black Sabbath, Cream... those heavier groups. They took a different approach to drums. Prior to that it, other than Dave Clark, the drummer was just the guy at the back in the gang of four; the rest of them were the good looking blokes in the suits with their guitars. It was like that from the Beatles onwards… Herman’s Hermits, the Tremeloes, the Searchers, all of those pop groups… then suddenly all this underground stuff started.
“I suppose it had the same effect on me as punk did when it came about. I jumped on that; I thought, ‘this is really going for it’. This wasn’t the stuff people were playing on Top of the Pops. It was a little more meaningful, to me anyway. This was real, it was raw. they were touring bands on the road, and that’s what triggered it for me. I saved the money up myself: I had a part-time job stacking shelves in the local shop. I was 14 and getting about 15 bob a week [15 shillings, the equivalent of 75p in today’s money] but as a kid you haven’t got a lot to spend money on I suppose. I said to dad, ‘look, I’m thinking about buying this drum kit… can you pick it up for me?’ Anyway, because I’d saved the money up myself he must have thought that there was something in it, and he allowed me to do it. He had no idea that these drums would be crashing and banging and all the rest of it.”
It was certainly a lot noisier than the piano would have been. It was certainly noisy. “I did the old tea towel routine to try and calm the thing down, but I still annoyed the shit out of the neighbours! My next door neighbour was a retired schoolteacher: my mum came home one day and said, ‘I don’t know what’s up with John next door. He’s going up and down the yard out back banging this biscuit tin with a stick!’ I think it was a case of ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’! She said, ‘I think he’s gone mad’, and I said, ‘I’m sorry mum, I didn’t hear a thing’! We had a few problems like that, but my dad wouldn’t take any nonsense off the bloke because we were there first and they moved in afterwards.”
Who were his chief influences? “Mainly English rock drummers, Ian Paice, John Bonham, Brian Downey, Simon Kirke, Bill Bruford… those sorts of guys. that’s what kicked it off initially, but since then I’ve come to appreciate guys like Dave Clark and Ringo, Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa and those sorts of guys. Louie Bellson is another. I didn’t want to listen to them to begin with, I was living my whole rock ‘n’ roll life with the blinkers on. It’s not until later that you think to go back to the guys that your heroes were influenced by. I reckoned that if they were influenced by these people maybe I should start listening to them too, to find out how they got to where they were.
“I can’t really remember the first proper band I saw, but I do remember when I was about 16 and I wanted to get into McIlroys [the Swindon department store had a Ballroom above the shop that doubled as a live gig venue; the Beatles played there in July 1962]. Atomic Rooster were playing and the guy on the door said, ‘you can’t come in here!’ You had to be 18, but there wasn’t a big turnout for this Atomic Rooster show – it was midweek in Swindon, pissing down with rain. We said we’d sit in the back and not do anything, and so they let us come in. Their first single, Tomorrow Night, was in the charts around that time [if Terry’s recollection is correct, that means this took place around February or March 1971]. I didn’t know much about them, but I went anyway.
“I left school and got a job working at a place called Bamberger’s, which was a builder’s merchants –dad said, ‘you’ve got three months to get a job or else!’, so I made sure I had a job, albeit selling paint and wallpaper. There was a guy who used to come in there and buy paint on an industrial scale, and he had a nephew whose dad ran a pub, the Bolingbroke Arms near Hook. He found out that I was playing drums and he said, ‘my nephew plays a bit of guitar. Are you in a band?’ I said ‘no, I’m not’, so he introduced me to Steve Philips, and that was the first guitar player that I ever played with. he had this guy called Brian Mills, who later became a roadie for the Helium Kidz. He was trying to play a bit of bass, but he wasn’t particularly good, but by that time I’d met Colin at a pub we used to frequent, and I said to Philips one day, ‘look I know this bass player. He’s a good guy and he’s got some really good equipment.’ He had a great big WEM stack so you could tell he was serious. You can always tell someone’s intention by the gear they had: if they had shit gear then usually their intentions were not full on, but if you had pretty good gear but were hanging around in rags because that’s where all of your money was going it was a pretty good indication that you were serious about what you were doing.
“So, Philips said, ‘yeah, great. get him to come along.’ My brother used to shuttle us and our gear about in his Mini, to the Bolingbroke pub where we rehearsed; it used to close at 2pm in the afternoon on a Sunday and reopen at 6pm, so we had a four-hour window where the landlord would allow us into the pub, set our stuff up, play like crazy, and that’s when Colin and I got together. Within weeks the landlord, who was also Steve Phillip’s dad, kicked us out having discovered that one Sunday afternoon the three of us had helped ourselves to shots of every spirit on the top shelf! As a result, we then began to rehearse at Hook Village Hall costing one pound sterling for a full Sunday rehearsal. Later Star Park, Helium Kidz, and I think even XTC used the hall for rehearsals.”
The group was having fun, but there was little sign of a financially rewarding career on the horizon. Then a young fellow called Andy Partridge came into the frame. “Colin knew Andy from school and at some point suggested that we give him a go,” Terry recalls. “Steve Philips wanted to do Rolling Stones covers and that sort of thing, but we wanted to do something a bit more experimental, a bit heavier. Partridge had a WEM Copicat, it was all echo-y: he was into effects and was pretty experimental right from the start [the Copicat was an early, tape driven effects unit], and I thought, ‘yeah! This is really happening’.”
But there was a complication. “Andy already had a group. Star Park were a group at that time, and he was sort of courting Colin to try and get him in as their bass player. So, he had Dave Cartner, and Colin said, ‘well, I’ve got this drummer that I’ve been playing with,’ so he dragged me into that. That’s basically how we got together; that group was still known as Star Park for a little while because they had a bit of a name, but it wasn’t long after that we thought we needed a change. The music had changed quite considerably, and we thought we needed to start afresh. The band was called Star Park, but everyone knew them as Partridge’s Mob, and we all wanted to get away from that!” This line up of Star Park played their first gig, supporting Terry’s heroes Thin Lizzy, at Swindon Technical College in May 1973.
Other temporary members would come and go before the nucleus of the band was finally decided upon. “Andy’s girlfriend knew this guy from Purley [near Croydon] – how she knew him I can’t remember – but he was a singer and Andy was a sort of reluctant singer, and he’d be the first to admit that. We were doing some covers at the time in order to get some gigs, but we were shovelling in some of our own stuff as well – Neon Shuffle goes back to those days – but Steve Hutchins wasn’t really delivering the vocals the way Andy wanted them delivered. He was more a traditional-style vocalist, but we were interested in him because he claimed to know Gerry Shepherd, the guitar player in the Glitter Band [Gerry sadly passed away in 2003]. Anyway, we went up there and did some Helium Kidz demos in somebody’s house [Steve Hutchins recalls this as being the home he shared in Wallington with his former bass player, Alan Parkin, in December 1974]. We stayed up there over the weekend and when we went out that night with Hutchins, Gerry Shepherd came into the pub, a girl on either arm. The whole idea of taking on Hutchins was so that we could get this cassette to Gerry Shephard and that the rest would take care of itself. That’s how naïve we were, but whether or not Hutchins ever got that cassette to him we’ll never know.
“On the strength of that we managed to get people like Tony Gordon, an agent-cum-manager in London, to see us. He was reasonably interested in what he’d heard [Gordon and Hutchins were involved in arranging another Helium Kidz demo, for Pye, in 1975], but nothing was being offered to us. In the end I think that Andy decided that Hutchins wasn’t the right fit and so he got Colin to ring him up and sack him! And that was the end of that."
“So, we were back to what we were, and at this point – on the strength of this cassette - we had the opportunity to go and do some demos," Terry says. "I don’t remember getting any gigs on the back of that cassette [Andy recalls at least one show, at the Greyhound in Fulham, around this time; while Hutchins was still with the group he funded a demo that was recorded at a studio near the Greyhound], but we were invited back up to London to do these demos [Colin remembers this as a session for Decca: this would predate the Sun Studios demos by more than two years] but Cartner was forbidden to go by his wife and his mother-in-law because it would jeopardise his job working for the post office. We went and knocked on his door and said, ‘listen Dave. It’s all on tomorrow and we’re all going no matter what the consequences,’ but he said, ‘I can’t go’, so we went up and did this demo as a three-piece. Obviously, Andy couldn’t do both guitar parts, so things fell to bits and that blew it, and Cartner was never forgiven.
“This all took place in three or four years, which is not a long time, but it seems like forever when you’re trying to get a group together.”
It was after Dave Cartner was forcibly evicted from the band that they decided to get in a keyboard player. Enter Jonathan Perkins. “We felt with Cartner gone we should do something different, so how about we get some keyboards? We felt Jon Perkins would take us in a bit of a different direction.” The addition of a keyboard player was accompanied a change of name, to XTC.
The rest of the story is well known to most people reading this. Jon Perkins left the band to concentrate on his own group, Stadium Dogs, and Barry Andrews joined to fill the void. XTC took off and it looked like they were really going places, but tensions partly caused by Barry wanting more of a say in the songwriting process caused him to quit after the release of their second album, Go 2. I wondered if Terry had ever felt any need to contribute any of his own songs to XTC. “Not really, because other than the drums I don’t play an instrument. People like Phil Collins and Don Henley who sing, play piano and play other instruments other than the drums very well really piss me off!”, he laughs. “How dare they! They’re not in the Drummer’s Union as far as I’m concerned, they’re lead instrument imposters! It shouldn’t be allowed!”
It was at this point that guitar virtuoso Dave Gregory joined the band and the classic line-up was completed. Their first chart hit, Life Begins At the Hop, soon followed, and four months later Making Plans For Nigel consolidated their hit-making ability. Things were looking rosy but, as we all know, after three more gruelling years of tour-album-tour to increasing success but little financial gain, Andy’s health brought their ascendant star crashing back down to earth, and the world tour laid on to support the hit album English Settlement and UK Top Ten single Senses Working Overtime was abandoned. “After the tour was cancelled I went straight to Australia,” Terry reveals. Although he returned to Swindon to begin sessions for the follow up to English Settlement, things ground to a sudden and unexpected halt when Terry decided to leave the band.
“I remember we were rehearsing some of those songs, like Ladybird, and I sort of had this rush of blood to the head. I still do believe that those songs weren’t a good enough follow up to the English Settlement album. That’s my opinion. Andy was playing more acoustic guitar, they were going down this more pastoral path, he wanted a change. Each of the records, he wanted to change things a little bit, which is progress I guess but I didn’t think it was right. From Drums and Wires, through Black Sea and English Settlement I thought we were progressing in a good direction.
“We were in a lot of debt as a result of the cancellation of the American tour. We had to pay compensation to the sound company, the lighting company… financially it nearly killed the band.” Finances were always a sore point for XTC: their management deal and record contract far from making them rich kept the band in debt, and the individual members on a wage of just £52 a week each. “I never received any royalties from XTC for 18 years after I left,” Terry reveals. “A lot of that was due to the fact that they had a five-year standoff with Virgin. I never got any money because they never had any money! I had to go out there and do an honest day’s work to keep myself and my family going.
Settling in Australia, Terry tried to keep busy. “I demoed for Icehouse. At that point it was just Iva Davies and perhaps one other guy. They were originally called Flowers and they supported us in Australia, but Iva sacked the rest of the group, which I thought was a bit harsh, and he was doing the demo with [drummer and producer] Keith Forsey, who went on to do Flashdance. I did the original demos for the album that became Primitive Man - Great Southern Land, and all those songs – but in the end they used a drum machine on it! They paid me for the session, picked my brains but then did it all electronically without having me anywhere near the place! But that’s session work I guess.”
Tantalisingly, that means that somewhere out there are demo sessions for that album that feature Terry’s live drumming. “I did one studio album with Dragon, and I was on the whole of their live album. I did part of the Body and the Beat album; I’m in the video for their single, Rain[a Number Two hit in Australia], although I didn’t actually play on that track, but I think I’m on about half of that album. They sacked their drummer and I had about two weeks to learn all the parts, after not having played for 18 months. I was as rusty as shit! I didn’t have a drumkit, I just had a pair of sticks and I learned the whole set playing in the lounge on a couple of pillows! I went down and they still had the drumkit from their original drummer, so that was the first time I’d actually played on a real drumkit with this band: we had two weeks to get ready for a tour and during that time we finished off this album that they’d already started recording.”
He’s not joking. When he moved to Australia he left his drumkit behind. “When I left XTC the drumkit stayed where it was. I think the kit got put into storage and eventually they went to get all of the equipment back, but they didn’t have the money to pay for it, so the guy who owned the storage place took the gear instead! They lost everything apart from their guitars.”
Peculiarly, Terry was in a slightly better position, at least equipment-wise than the rest of the band. “After 1979 I got a deal with [Japanese drum manufacturer] Tama: we went to Japan, and they were kind enough to give me a kit. I must have still had a little bit of clout with them because I got a Tama kit in Australia when I was playing with Dragon too! they had a good manager who used to be able to make things happen, unlike [former XTC manager] Ian Reid! I was going through quite a lot of drumsticks, as you would if you played a lot, and Ian Reid suggested that I glue them back together! That’s how tight he was. He had no idea: some of the things he came out with were unbelievable!”
I asked him if he kept up with his former band after moving and, if so, what did he think about the musicians who temporarily filled his seat? “I spent 34 years in Australia, and I had very little to do with XTC while I was out there. I didn’t have the wherewithal to go out and buy these things and they never sent me any, so I never really heard them until I came back three years ago. I might have heard the odd song - Mayor of Simpleton,Peter Pumpkinhead – somewhere, but I really wasn’t familiar with any of their stuff at all: there was no reason for it.
“I did have a copy of Mummer, which I’m only playing on two songs [Beating of Hearts and Wonderland: Terry also drummed on Toys, issued as one of the B-side tracks to Love On A Farmboy’s Wages and subsequently included on the CD edition] and I thought Peter Phipps did a good job. I wouldn’t have played what he was doing, he’s a jazzier player.”
Phipps, like Shepherd, had also been a member of the Glitter Band, but apparently that tenuous connection was not how he got the job: “He actually got the job because he had played in a group called Random Hold and they supported us on one of the tours [Random Hold played several dates with XTC during the Drums and Wires tour]. He was a good guy and played well, and Dave liked him, so they brought him in to finish the record.”
After more than three decades in Australia, most of it outside of the music industry, Terry found himself back in Britain. It wasn’t long before Colin suggested that the pair, and their partners, go out for a drink. Their friendship had endured, and once he had made the decision to move back to Swindon he quickly renewed contact with the other former members of the group. Things began to happen very quickly after that. “Colin asked me what I was doing, and I told him that I was in limbo,” he admits. “That’s when he told me that he was doing this solo record; he already had a drummer, but one evening when we were out he asked me if I’d be interested in doing it, and it didn’t take me too long to think, ‘you know what? It sounds like a bloody good idea!’ I thought, ‘you’re dead for a long time, and I don’t want to die wondering about it.’ I didn’t want to turn him down and spend the rest of my life thinking, ‘what if…?’ So, when the opportunity came up, I thought I’d jump in, boots and all, and see where it would go.
“We started recording it in Colin’s shed. I had Lee’s [Colin’s son’s] kit, because I had no drumkit here, but it all started from there.”
He’s the first to admit that the interest from fans in all things XTC-related took him by surprise. He is also very moved by how fans think of him as central to the XTC sound and story, despite not being involved in any of their albums after 1983. “I used to speak to Colin and Dave and Andy periodically on the phone, but I never had any idea of what sort of fan base there still was. I thought by that time that Gregsy had left that the whole thing was sort of dead in the water: nobody was coming out with any new stuff – at that point I thought that the thing had gone, that people would naturally keep hold of what they had and move on. To find that people were still interested surprised me immensely!”
Terry and Colin were both surprised by the warmth that met them when they attended the 2017 XTC Convention, and even more so by the demand for Great Aspirations: “We put this thing out there not really knowing how it would go and it was received quite well,” he says, modestly. How soon after recording the EP did the idea of taking it out live come along? “Well, I didn’t see it coming,” Terry admits. “We’d recorded this thing and that was it. I was ready to play but had no idea what might happen next. I think that Colin must have just woken up in the middle of the night and thought, ‘I wonder what it would be like to play all of these songs that have never been played before in a live situation?’ He put it to me, and I said, ‘yeah! If we can get some other people on board then I’ll be in it, but who can we get to play?’ The first person we asked was Dave Gregory, naturally. Obviously we knew that Andy wasn’t into doing the live thing, so he wasn’t even asked, but Dave said he’d be interested in doing it if Andy was involved… but that’s about as close as it got.”
Putting a live band together brought Steve Tilling into the frame, and he and Terry soon became firm friends. Steve quickly deciphered Dave and Andy’s guitar parts and did a magnificent job bringing them to a live audience, but was it hard for Terry to have to learn other people’s drum parts? “Yes, that was very difficult,” he admits. “There were some great players on those records, you know. Dave Mattacks, Prairie Prince, Pat Mastelotto, Chuck Sabo, they’re all great players and some big shoes to fill. Obviously we’re all different, but I just tried to pick as much as I could out of the original songs and do it in my own way. I tried to get them as close to what I felt I could play and customised them a little bit, hopefully to Colin’s satisfaction! I just sort of did my own thing, and in fairness to Steve and Gary I thought that they did a great job as well, especially as they hadn’t played on any of them; at least I was fortunate enough to have played on some of those songs originally! It took me a while to get some of the songs, things like King For A Day, because I’m not a ‘swing’ player; that’s not a thing that comes easily to me at all.”
Rehearsals went well but the duo, and their band, had yet to face a proper audience. A few nights before the Arts Centre shows, Colin and Terry stepped onto the stage at Swindon’s Victoria pub, the first time that the pair of them had faced a live crowd together since 1982. “We did two shows at the Vic: we wanted to have a bit of a workout but didn’t want to put anybody under any extra pressure, so we did those for family and friends really. It was good to have some people stood there: we didn’t charge anything to get in and let the Vic keep the bar… it was a Tuesday and a Wednesday night, when they wouldn’t have had anyone on anyway.”
“I was very surprised at the reaction,” he says when talking about those live shows. “When we started the Arts Centre gigs we initially booked two nights, thinking that’s 500 people assuming that no one turns up twice, which a lot of people did! Originally we were thinking of doing just one show at the Mecca, but Stuart Rowe told us that the Mecca isn’t very good for sound. That’s one of the reasons we picked the Arts Centre, because that was one of the first places we ever played anyway but it was also a better venue to record live – and we didn’t have to put on a massive firework display there to get it to work. We also knew that it wouldn’t be full of teenagers, people wanted a bit of comfort with a bar there and whatever… But we had the two nights then added another two so we had this block of four and that was going to be it then they sold out immediately and so we added two more.”
Most recently he has been in the studio with Stu Rowe, working on the mixing and final track selection for the limited edition TC&I live album Naked Flames. Sadly, because of technical issues -and Steve suffering from laryngitis for the first few nights – the only recording that was serviceable was from the last night of the six shows. “The reason some of the other songs didn’t make it was because there was some interference in there, or feedback or some tuning issues,” Terry explains for those wondering why the whole show could not be put out. “We picked the best songs performance-wise. The problem with mixing a live album is that you don’t have the isolation; if somebody plays a bum note it contaminates everything else. As good as we liked to think we played at those shows, under the microscope when Stuart and I went into the studio to listen to this stuff and isolate each instrument there was always something coming from somewhere else, and often it was a case of ‘we can’t get rid of that’ so those things didn’t get used. We used the best of what we had, and that’s why that running order is the way it is. Most live albums are recorded over three or four nights, but the first four nights were buggered anyway [due to Steve’s loss of voice], so that only left us with two nights really.
“Dave said to me that he’s listened to the CD and commented on how good a job Steve did in authenticating the original sound… and Gregsy’s not played some of those songs live either. It was a challenge, and in fairness to Gary and the others they did a really great job and held it together very well.”
Sadly, shortly after the live shows, Colin decided that he was going to put TC&I on hiatus but, as I had discovered when I recently interviewed Steve Tilling, Terry has plans to work on a new project that will see our favourite powerhouse drummer back on his stool at venues across the UK. “It’s going to happen,” he says firmly. “We had a rehearsal on Tuesday, and we’ve got another next Tuesday, we’re working with two other guys and need to give them time to get their head around some of these songs. We’re working on nearly all of the songs that we did in the TC&I set apart from about six, which we’re going to replace with six of Andy’s songs.
“We haven’t completely finalised the line-up yet, but it’s going to be a four piece outfit. It’s still in the embryonic stage at the moment but we’re looking at some gigs out of town. It looks like most of this will be in the spring, but we want to do maybe half-a-dozen gigs in the lead up to Christmas and see how the thing goes. Hopefully it will be reasonably successful. These things can be a little bit iffy, but if they go well we’ll probably do quite a few more in the spring.
“Steve and I are going to try and keep this thing going, and there’s an open option if ever Colin feels like doing something. I’ve got to keep going; I always wanted to play live, that’s what I enjoy doing, more so than the others. They prefer to record but I want to play live, it’s the whole thing. Songwriters always want to get that song perfected: Andy has said to me on a few occasions that ‘you wouldn’t expect Rembrandt to keep duplicating his paintings around the world’. I understand that: he’s thinking, ‘I’ll do my one masterpiece and move on’, whereas I like to get out there. Dave’s very much like that: he loves to play live.
Was it hard finding other people to join you? “There are a few people that can be relied upon, but there’s others, as there are in every town, who think they’re better than they really are,” Terry says. “There are timewasters, and Swindon is no better or worse than anywhere else. We auditioned some guys from out of town, but I just felt that the distance and the logistics of getting everyone together to rehearse was going to prove troublesome.
“We needed people who had nothing else to do. If they’re holding down another job then that’s another disadvantage,” he explains. “I want to do this, and I want to do it for real. If it’s going to be done then I want to do it properly. If I’m getting people involved to promote and put these gigs on then I want people I can rely on. There are all sorts of things that can go wrong and you’ve got to be confident that the three of four individuals that you’ve got are on the same page, have the same mindset. You’re only as good as your weakest link in any situation.
“I’ve done a lot of stuff in my time and I’ve always gone with my gut: if there’s a shadow of a doubt in something I’m gone, but with Steve I’m absolutely confident that he’s there for the long haul. I want that same feeling from the other guys. It’s a gut thing. Like any relationship you want to be as certain as you possibly can that this is the right one. It’s like a marriage in a sense, in that you’re relying on them.”
Will this new outfit, which Terry sees in some way as similar to bands like Bruce Foxton’s group From The Jam or Brian Downey’s Alive and Dangerous, stick to XTC material? “As it stands at the moment, yes. Mainly because Steve and I know 26 of these songs, and we’re going to put some of Andy’s in, like Mayor of Simpleton, Peter Pumpkinhead, Sgt Rock, This Is Pop, Senses Working Overtime, that sort of thing. We think that will add a little weight to what we’re doing because these are quite popular songs! It will strengthen the set. You have to remember that some of these are covers for me, but there’s going to be a lot that I originally payed on and that’s about the best that I can do.
“Unfortunately, these days, in these sorts of bands there’s only one individual or two at best still involved.” It’s good to hear that both Andy and Colin approve of Terry’s plans and, even if they’re not going to be involved, have given their blessing.
Do you see a point where you and Steve might be writing new material? “That’s where we’re heading,” he admits. “We’re going to do this in the beginning, get the group together then start introducing our own stuff. It’s better than starting on the first rung of the ladder: if we can gain anything by what we achieved last year, then it’s by using that as a platform to launch from. That’s the big picture: Steve’s got some good ideas, and I’m more than happy to incorporate that into what we’re doing together.”
I wondered if having spent so many years apart and having avoided the difficulties that finally split the band had made it easier for Terry to maintain a friendship with all of his former bandmates. “I’ve seen Andy a couple of times recently. We saw him when Todd Bernhardt was over [Terry, Lynn and Todd went to see King Crimson together, which gave Terry the opportunity to meet Oranges and Lemons drummer Pat Mastelotto for the first time]; it was one drunken night in the Tuppenny, and Andy was on magnificent form. He’s one of the funniest human beings I’ve come across in my life.
“There’s something about my relationship with Andy. I’m not a particularly funny sort of guy, although I have my moments, but he seems to be the catalyst that just triggers things off. It was an hilarious night. Recently I was out with Steve and we saw him. It was his son’s birthday and he was out in Old Town – Harry’s birthday is the same day as Colin’s – and we had another riotous few hours. I saw Dave recently too: he came ‘round because I had a record that needed to be signed by everybody [a 12” copy of Senses Working Overtime, to be presented to Swindon Town Football Club, who have recently taken to playing the song every time Swindon score a goal]. I’ve been in touch with Andy and I’ll see him to get it signed later.”