Terrorvision went from a debut gig in a Wakefield snooker club to Top Of The Pops in what seemed like double-quick time. Was it as meteoric as it sounds?
Money: Tony Wright
Terrorvision's wasteful ways.
It wasn’t like that. There were a lot of small gigs and wasted trips to London when A&R men failed to turn up, but thanks largely to the efforts of our manager Al Rhodes, eventually a bidding war broke out.
You signed to EMI but via your own label, Total Vegas. Was it a good deal?
It was a great deal. When one label becomes interested, the others all follow suit: “If they’re offering this, we’ll give you this and this.” They gave us sixty thousand pounds, which paid everybody a wage for a year, and we went on tour forever.
You recorded your debut album, How To Make Friends And Influence People, in New York. Was that a culture shock?
You can hear the excitement in the music, but we felt more at home than you’d think. People would ask what Bradford was like and you’d tell them to imagine Texas but in Britain. We stayed at the Chelsea Hotel. You’d turn off the light and hear the footsteps of the cockroaches, in between screams and gunshots.
Presumably you have considerable first-hand experience of the wastefulness of the music business.
It was ridiculous. We knew that very few bands make a lot of money but that if we played our cards right, we could spend a lot – and it wasn’t ours. We’d say: “We want to make a video,” and they’d say fine and suggest doing it in Spain, then you’d push your luck and say it had to be done in Los Angeles. We’d be out there for two weeks and say: “Shall we just stay... and make another video?” And that’s what we did. One of the most ridiculous things we did was fly out to Los Angeles to mime on Radio 1’s Christmas party. I sang but the other lads mimed. Those were the times.
You must have made some money. Did it change you?
Maybe a little, but getting that kind of brass just makes you want more. I’ve had money, I’ve lived a comfortable life and I’ve lost it all, but it’s all about the songs that are still there in my head.
Now that the band are semi-retired, you gig when you feel like it and music becomes a hobby?
Not really. I’ve got an art studio. I haven’t really worked since I told my boss that I was going to go away and rock’n’roll back in 1994. But I’ve brought up two kids and my passion for making music, with Terrorvision and alone, doesn’t go away.