Interview by Adrian Hextall
When EMI issued ‘Whales and Dolphins’, a greatest-hits collection in 2001, Terrorvision had decided to call it a day. With a farewell tour in the bag, the band’s ‘final’ concert took place at Penningtons nightclub in their hometown of Bradford, on 4 October 2001. That even resulted in a live album, ‘Take the Money & Run – The Final Concert’.
Potentially inspired by KISS and Scorpions, the use of the word ‘final’ was mildly inaccurate and by 2005, the band reformed to play two tours, with their second ‘last ever show’ at Rock In The Castle in Scarborough, Yorkshire, on 17 September 2005, as Special Guests of The Wildhearts.
Since then…. special occasion shows, anniversary events and ‘just for the love of the music’ type shows have seen the band returning in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 which also saw the release of ‘Super Delux’
With fans sated by new material, Terrorvision took some time out before returning to support Thunder in 2016 and then in 2018, the phenomenal ‘Britrock Must Be Destroyed’ tour with Reef, The Wildhearts and Dodgy. That tour seemed to reinvigorate the band once more, with the slice of 90’s rock music proving immensely popular with the crowds nationally and as such, the band continued with a 25th anniversary tour celebrating ‘How to Make Friends and Influence People’ and… surprisingly, new music in 2019 with ‘Our Christmas Song’, the band’s first new music in some 7 years.
With an enthusiastic Tony Wright on the end of the phone, I suggest there’s no such thing as a ‘final’ show because quite simply you can’t keep an old dog down. Tony of course has his typical pragmatic response to the point…
TW: It’s exciting. It’s good to do, it keeps us on our toes. It also takes packing it in to realize it’s what you do, if you know I mean? At the time, it makes sense to stop. When you’ve got a record label and a record deal, when you’re expected to put out 12 Songs a year or whatever it’s like being in a factory. You can’t necessarily turn it out 12 decent songs. You need to have a musical genius for that and I don’t think any of us are you know, we’re not, so it’s better to just, every so often, put out your ten best instead.
When we have stopped, when you get to find a way to stop, then you realize you’re still doing it anyway…. it’s kind of something you recognise that you do, so you start doing it again. When we started, there were more venues for us to play. We were a live band and all the people are coming to see us knew that. We were young, full of energy and it was our job to play the music and make the albums.
But we all end up with the same things like families and baggage and whilst we see number dwindle as people have commitments, we think it’s because people don’t want to hear the music anymore. But it’s because people can’t do it. And then some 25 years later, you realize, those people wanted to come back to gigs because the kids have grown up.
MGM: I can see that and that’s got to be part of the eternal appeal of the band. It’s the fact that those fans that yes, the live numbers dwindled, but they never stop loving your music. So, they’ve stayed with you. They keep playing the music and have done for that intervening 20-odd years.
TW: Yeah, they’re still playing it in the car. I still do it with bands I love. I’ve got Elton John and the Carpenters playing in the car all the time. Elton has a wealth of music that’ll never come out of the car. There’s always something when you’ll say, ‘I don’t know what to listen to’ and I will put an Elton John album on.
MGM: With festivals playing a big part in performing in front of fans, Terrorvision’s live act is expanded by the inclusion of Nick Hughes of the Middlenight Men on trumpet and Liz Mitchell on saxophone.
TW: We do it for special occasions. It’s like when we get to to do a gig, Liz and Nick brings everybody’s together. It’s good fun and you know it’s not like we’re doing it day in day out which makes it all the more enjoyable. We never had proper horns sections as such. It was just because when we started, we did have Enrico Tomasso playing trumpet on ‘Pretend Best Friend’. Then of course we have sax on ‘Perseverance’, but again, it was more a case of , ‘it sounds like it should be there’. With Liz and Nick, they really help fill out the sound of the band live and it works and they make it sound very personal. They also add backing vocals which makes my job very easy indeed [laughs].
TW: We were actually just going to play the same set twice [laughs] but then we just wanted to see what people would have wanted us to play. If we could learn them then that would be great to add in extra songs that we might not have played or played for years.
We’ve got a shed-load of b-sides that we’ve always liked so it’s interesting to see what set of songs we could come up with but we hardly ever play, do we even know them? You panic a little thinking that you’ve got to remember this song but as soon as it starts, you do remember it. Time travel in music is a thing. People say you can’t time travel but you can. Put a record on, shut your eyes and you’ll completely go back in time.
MGM: I’m with you there. I get that when I’m in the audience at the some of the gigs I go to. There’s that moment, when you think it’s never gonna get better than this, you’re lost in the moment.
TW: And then it does because you keep going to other gigs, and you still get that buzz of being in a live environment. I got it a few times. I got it during Guns N Roses in 1988 at Monsters of Rock. I remember being stood next to this guy, 2 rows from the front, he’s smoking a cigar and we’re swaying with the crowd because it was so packed. Then Slash comes forward and starts playing with his foot up on the monitor and I remember thinking just how immense it all was.
MGM: With the appetite for shows, both from the fans and obviously you guys with your festival appearances…. you’re getting together often enough to surely have some thoughts about new music. It’s over ten years since ‘Super Delux’. What about new music?
TW: Well, we’re not looking for and haven’t got a record deal. We haven’t therefore had someone saying we need an album. New music needs inspiration and that doesn’t come from endless touring and recording schedules. But, in the real world when you’re meeting people, having your ears, open and listening to stories and stuff like that, when we get back together we bring that with us and we play things through and some things do work.
So with new music on the horizon from Terrorvision, we have in the meantime, 3 dates to look forward to. These are not ‘final’ shows but instead celebrate the band’s 30th Anniversary.
Support comes from the excellent Bar Stool Preachers and the aforementioned The Middlenight Men, the band Tony sees as one of the bands to watch in the future.
Tickets can be purchased HERE: