Frontman Tony Wright delivers his blow-by-blow account of the reactivated Bradford band’s February-March UK tour supporting new album Super Delux
February 23: Rehearsal room
As we all know, Terrorvision have been doing gigs and playing greatest-hits shows over the last few years. It got to the point where we started to understand what was wrong with Alice and heard that some people said they wanted a new album.
During rehearsals we’d throw in new ideas so we weren’t just going through the motions and keeping the tequilas fresh – it makes me happy but day in day out it also makes me confused.
So after many sessions of “Let’s try this riff,” and “Yeah, I have this poem/lyric that would work,” we found we had a Terrorvision album that was crying out to be made. After a few weeks in DC – Doncaster – we had an album that was screaming to be heard. We rummaged through the back of the wardrobe case and found our old Total Vegas Recordings label was still breathing, so we dusted it off and introduced it to Super Delux.
New album… Let’s get a web site…. Let’s book a tour…. Let’s get the CDs printed up and get them online. That’s where we were last night at rehearsals. Then the folk running the website called to say: “We’ve sold out of the album – we need more.”
For the first time we realised what being rockers and record company executives – lol – was going to mean. Late night calls to the plant to get discs back on the pressing machines and early mornings to check everyone who wanted to hear it was going to get it. Turnarounds and costings? I thought they were a group from the Seventies…
February 24: Newcastle
The bags are packed, the bus is en route, the rider is ordered and the tickets are sold. Tonight we are so ready to get up there and play to them bouncy likeminded folk that it almost hurts. I can’t wait to get on that stage and do what we do, spurred on by the people who love it and proudly in the faces of those who don’t.
Newcastle here we come…
* * * * *
Turned up at a cracking venue on the side of the river in Newcastle. Called the Riverside. I remember the days of the old Riverside: hot, dark, sweaty but absolutely ace food which filled us with the energy to survive. The new venue is, well, all new and very different.
After an hour or so of bumbling about and freeing several lagers from the local pub, we got back in time to see the Gentlemans Pistols rocking out and getting the crowd all warmed up. Cracking band from Leeds so check em’ out – are they retro or is it just tro? You tell me.
Then on with the new pants and maybe a fancy jacket as the intro music started. I forgot my monitors, so the crowd seemed louder than it had been for a long while – but then it has been a long while, hasn’t it?
Gasping for air Cam starts pounding the drums… the guitars and bass grab hold of us… and we enter that state of mind where you want to give everything to the folk who are here to support you. They have to like the new stuff. No – they have to love it, so come on!
The arms in the air get higher and higher and the singing along makes me well up inside. These folk are completely what it is about. They turn up and refuse not to have a great time and take us with them. It’s mutual – but it’s very humbling. They sing, they dance, they bounce and they cheer and all at 110%. I wouldn’t be anywhere tonight rather than here.
With Whales and Dolphins still ringing in our ears we all collapse into the dressing room. Luckily a small bottle of liquid falls over on the table above and trickles into my mouth. The elixir bringing the energy back. After several photos and speaking to those who hung around outside we get back on the bus.
We get a kebab – it’s good to have something stuck to your face when you wake up in the morning – then we close down the A1. I wanted to say drove down the A1, but it was the long way home tonight. Staring out of the front window of the bus thinking, “I want to do that again.
Tomorrow can’t get here soon enough but I will always remember today even when it’s yesterday. Like it is today. Leeds – we are coming to get ya!
February 25: Leeds
Our nearest to home gig, and going by the amount of emails and phone calls looking for tickets, I reckon we could have played George’s Hall. Sold out – so it’s gonna be a hottie.
The Cockpit is one of the best uses for an old railway arch I have ever been to. Every ten minutes a massive heartbeat pumps through the building as the trains rumble over the top… it’s a bit like being in a rock’n'roll womb. Better turn them speakers up to full then to drown that out.
Which is exactly what Jon, our sound guy, did. I stood on top of the bass bins for a while during the gig and could feel the air thumping through me as the speakers pushed out the guitars, bass and drums. Oh, and the feedback – it’s not the best place to stand with a mic. But once the adrenalin gets you, who cares?
Leeds was rocking: from the off the crowd pushed hard. That’s a challenge to anyone on stage, and Terrorvision thrive on that. No security barrier, so quite a few members of the crowd made guest appearances. I’d turn to look at Sarc or Leigh and instead be met by a big grinning bloke drenched in sweat. Under any other circumstance that would be quite scary… but in this place a mutual madness brought us together.
Every so often a drop of cold water (or was it sweat) would hit me as it fell from the ceiling. What doesn’t kill you definitely makes you stronger – the vibe gave us the strength to finish the set then have a massive singalong for Perseverance. You can even hear folk singing along to the new songs above the monitors – makes me wonder if we really wrote them, or just worked out some long-lost covers.
I’m suprised the whole country couldn’t hear the chants of “Yorkshire! Yorkshire!” bellowing from the tunnels.The folk on the 9.30 to London when it rolled above us must have wondered what they were missing.
It’s impossible to put into words how blessed we are to have such loyal and mental fans. They really are the best in the world and have an infection that I catch and want to live with…
So again it ends with us on the floor of the dressing room, trying to find the last gasps of oxygen in the building, and people coming in to see us for hugs. Yeah, I know… hugs.
Well a big hug! to all of them for making the second date on the tour such an event. My fondest memory is of my kids looking at me thinking, “Dads shouldn’t have neck ache from headbanging…” They have a lot to learn.
Cheers, Leeds – I’m so glad you are part of Bradford…
February 26: Norwich
Dancing down the motorway
In the fast lane all the way
See the night turn into day
I was dancing down the motorway
So after pouring the lighting guy (lights out!) from the Leeds venue we set off for Norwich. In my head it’s quiz capital of the UK and sporting ground of Nicholas Parsons. Who, you say? It’s a long story…
The great thing about tour buses is that it’s like being in that kids’ TV programme Mister Benn. You close the door on a tunnel in Leeds and when you open it again it reveals a whole new scenario. This time we exited the tour bus outside the Waterfront in Norwich – looking like Vikings.
It’s been a long time since we last played here and inside the venue is just as I remember, but the area outside, apart from the old Viking boat, is all new and fancy. We get summat to eat in the musicless zone of JD Wetherspoon’s then lie down in the dressing room for an hour or three. Not all of us in a row or owt’ – just me.
The soundcheck is a bit ropey for me after last night. My throat is suffering so I have to drink lots of honey and whisky till gig time. Aw… never mind. The first scream blows the cobwebs out though.
It doesn’t take long for folk to realise that if you’re the one not waving your arms in the air and bouncing like a loon, then it’s thee that looks daft – and if that’s what it takes then so be it. Again the new songs can be heard from the crowd, which makes us proud, and I explain that our sales to date would have seen us chart if it was sold in Tesco: we’d be just in front of Ronan and cauliflower. But we’re not fruit and veg: we are a rock band!
There’s more room on stage and more air in the venue so the pushing continues to shove and the venue is rocking. Cammy pounds the drums like a man possessed, and I found myself staring. Milly bends the mic stand and does some sort of limbo under his keyboard. Leigh causes his part of the stage to move away from the part we’re all on and seems to float off like a rock’n'roll ice floe. Meanwhile Sarc’s playing in a unique tuning of J-U-L-I-A-N, which happens to be the guitar tech’s name. Coincidence, or lager? Either way with a quick turn of the pegs he gets it back with the rest of us.
The pub over the river which doesn’t play music has no option but to shut its doors if it doesn’t want to hear a thronging mass of people singing Middleman which can possibly be heard still echoing today.
An hour and a half later we get back to the dressing room, not really capable of much more than showering then rubbing water around ourselves with some strange towels… That’s enough of that though.
We get back onto the tour bus and with the theme tune to Mister Benn in my head we close the door. Cheers, Norwich! Hope to see you all again soon.
February 27: Nottingham
“Two first class tickets to Dottighab please…”
First off, a massive respect to those folk who we have seen at not just one of the gigs, but here, there and everywhere. We should do a season ticket for you people – how cool are you?
A strange dream happened to me on the way to Nottingham… I’d been kidnapped by the Taliban and was being held along with hundreds of other folk in a beautiful mountain village. A bit like Tourettes, the perch village in France – Shit! Sorry.
Yeah, held in this village without lots of guards because there was no escape so they didn’t need any. I knew it was the Taliban though, because all the pubs had been closed. After realising there was no chance of getting away I started looking for an empty house to spend my time in. That’s where I met Joe Elliott from Def Leppard, another kidnap victim.
I had to tell him that neither of us would be playing Donington this year because we were trapped, so instead we played frisbee between a load of poles on the edge of a cliff. That’s when I discovered the Taliban was actually an old maths teacher from middle school, only she didn’t limp in the dream… Oh how I wished I’d listened.
I know, I know – but that’s how dreams work, right? And if I hadn’t written it down quick it would have just been a worrying thought in the back of my head.
So… we open the Mr Benn bus doors and this time it reveals Rock City, Nottingham. I disembark, this time looking more like a Victorian urchin than a viking, and head off into town to get some grub before soundcheck.
I watch the Gentlemans Pistols again from the side of the stage. It is great to watch other bands – it makes me want to get up and play. The better they get the more I want to get up there. I then watch a bit of YouTube with the bass player Doug on there doing some (as skaters say) sic tricks on his board. This guy is an ace wizard of the plank and wheels, so I’ll be bringing my board to the next stint for some lessons in flip-kicking and how to not cry when I land hard on my arse.
When we hit the stage we have a few issues with the mix and my monitors no longer work. No one’s are working like they were at soundcheck – but this is all stuff I’m sure doesn’t interest the throng in front of us. But there’s no singing tomorrow, so shouting and screaming louder becomes an option.
The crowd react by moshing, which is a first for this tour. I’m aware it isn’t everyone’s cup-of-tea dance. Hope they’re all okay. Al the hands wave from side to side for Oblivion and I notice a new iPhone app which is a lighter movie for slow songs. Nice one!
Sunday Mass rock is over and it’s a too-long trip home to get the voice back and have a bath. I’m ready for a sleep which lasts about 14 hours, and I’m so tired even the Taliban don’t bother me.
Do you know what? As soon as I wake up I can’t wait for Thursday and London. We’re coming to get ya!
March 3: London
Well well well… It’s been a while since we were in the Electric Ballroom. Things look completely different to how we remember them – but that be more of a measure of where we were at last time. The album is still rocking in the Play.com chart at number 4 and we’re buzzing off that. We are buzzing off the crowds too.
It’s London: look at all the people, they are like ants. We go on the tube and everything. Me and Sarc go to Total Rock HQ on Denmark Street. It’s good to see the rockers. Tony Wilson, who used to work with Tommy Vance, shook our hands after we told him how out song Rock Radio was inspired by us getting out mums to record the Friday Rock Show for us when we were young. If you’re a certain age then I’m sure you know.
Back to the gig and soundcheck, where the bus outside has copped a parking ticket! I watch the first support tonight, Zebedy Rays – cracking’ set and I well like ‘em. The Gentlemans Pistols continue in the vein of getting everyone ready to rock… and rock they did.
Big Stage, big crowd, big noise. Excellent! Who could ask for more? I hope the girl who came crashing down into the pit was alright – I saw her come over the top and then drop head first.
Backstage it’s drinks with old friends and a few new ones, then it goes blank till I wake up in the sunshine of Southampton. I’m currently locked out of the Mr Benn magical bus, wondering how I got here. And why am I dressed as a cowboy?
March 4: Southampton
The other day we were in a service station and there were three other tour buses parked beside us. Someone said it was the X-Factor on tour. That’ll why they have killswitches on the outside of buses…
I really believe that if we had more places like the Brook, we wouldn’t have so
much Coldplay, Keane and all that executive company car music, or the X-Factor dross.
We decide to stick a couple of extra tracks in tonight including Run and Hide. The new stuff from the album seems to be being sung louder every night as we’ve been going along, so we thought it would be good to put Run and Hide in.
Leigh and Cam do an interview for a TV fan who’s set up a website. He’s either working hard to get it set up, or he just wants to get backstage – but he’s putting in the time and the miles so I’ll give him a plug: www.counterterrorvision.com.
The gig is hot, but the stage is a lot smaller than the previous ones, so to make sure we don’t fall into the pit we decide it’s best to concentrate. The monitors are great – I love it when you can hear everything and think about what the words are about or how it was when we wrote them. A proper singsong is had.
We head downstairs, which is still full of folk, and had a few or a load of photos taken, signing stuff and feeling like it takes for ever for these newfangled cameras to work. Some people would be quicker drawing us, if you ask me.
Then it’s all aboard the big yellow bus for Manchester. We drive past our home en route and wake up outside the University. I might wait a while before I get off today, though, as I have no idea what state of dress I’ll end up in once I step off…. Maybe a scholar? Suit you, sir!
March 5: Manchester
It’s Saturday night and we’re still riding high in the Play.com charts at number 4. That’s as amazing as the audience response has been. Of course, I’ve read about reviewers who claim they “don’t get it any more” – but when I walk onto the stage and I hear you cheer I think, “Your opinion can’t be wrong.” I sympathise with those who really don’t get it because their ability to let go has got lost. But we’re not a charity, we’re a rock band, and we play to those who do get it.
From the off the Manchester crowd are mad as a box of frogs. “Do you wanna go faster, Manchester?” The answer seems to be, “Yeah, Tone, but can you keep up?” If that’s a thrown-down gauntlet I can’t help but pick it up, put it on and raise a fist in the air.
The crowd sing Middleman like an anthem. They jump higher and higher and wave their hands in the air like they just don’t care – but these are the folk who really care. They care enough to make their own decisions. Not to be swayed by opinions and fashions, they give as much as we give and do it all with passion.
By the end of Perseverance I’m truly in awe of the response we have had. These are the people who keep the country going, the people who keep the rivers flowing, the folk that keep the embers glowing. I even see my kids in the crowd, I wonder if they were singing Friends and Family?
Backstage we catch up with Bruce, who runs the Townsend label and built our website. He’s brought Dan from the Virginmarys. A few friendly faces from Bradford have turned up too – and so for those reasons the riders goes in record time.
March 6: Glasgow
First thing in the morning we’re hauled into Rock Radio. Thank goodness it’s not Phil and Fearn on the telly – not because I look like I’ve been dragged through the Mr. Benn hedge backwards, but because I don’t really like talking about shoes or makeup tips.
The DJ is a full-on DJ, with a DJ voice and a mind that darts from side to side and up and down. Which isn’t what’s needed when you haven’t a clue what is going on. It’s still too early. I struggle to decide which song to have played between Johnny Cash and Slade. Then in one of the side rooms we’re interviewed by a baby for the internet… Really, I can remember that bit and I’m sure it was a baby. I climb back on the bus to fall asleep.
I wake up outside a bar in Glasgow. Cool, but I can’t face another beer or cider, vodka or Jack. Instead I get a Sunday dinner and head back to my bunk – only it’s moved. Our bus has gone, and I’m trying to get my head down on the 20-past-the-hour city circular. That’s why the band and crew look different, and why I laugh when the driver asks me for money. I’ve just assumed the Mr Benn theme was affecting everyone.
Finally another sleep before I head into the gig. The dressing room has flooded but the rider has arrived so I swim across and have a couffieur de la chien (hairdresser of the dog). That perks me up to go to soundcheck. Everyone else has been making noise for 20 minutes already so it’s quick and painless to get the levels right for me.
The Sunday papers are scattered around the room. They’re full of Beady Eye, who have overtaken us in the charts. It might have cost a fortune in PR to do it, but they did it. Just makes me proud that we’re not playing to the easily-led.
After Manchester the sound feels more muffled and I’m aware it might be the same out front. It seems to be bothering folk more than I want it to – I just want to get the party started but the noise is in the way. It’s a good three or four songs before the sound improves, or maybe we improve, or maybe we play the right tune at the right time.
Finally it’s starting to build and the crowd get louder and louder. It blasts the cobwebs out and I realise that tomorrow I have no singing, dancing or shouting to do – so I’m going to bounce my head off. Whales and Dolphins, yeah! The blur of waving hands distorts my vision and I think, “If I’m not you, who the hell am I?”
It’s done. We’re tired and drunk but we head off to a club with Donald, who’s put Terrorvision on since he had his first club in Glasgow, when we had to stand in a line rather than have a big stage and all of it to ourselves. Donald gives us the run of the club including a room to keep a few extra drinks in.
But to tell the truth, I’m there to say thanks to him for putting us on again. I’m too knackered to get up onto one of the dance floors. I can hardly walk to the taxi when I leave but I climb the hill with Cammy and his girlfriend – and a drunk man.
So that’s it, for now anyways. But I have one thing left to admit.
I always ask for Mini Babybels on our rider. Not because I like them, but because once they’re peeled they look just like bars of soap. So, if you couldn’t get a lather when you washed your hands in the venue toilet, and found yourself smelling a little of cheese… that’s what’s made me smile when you see me smiling.
Love you all and thanks.
Tone and the rest of the Terrorvision lads
Terrorvision Super Delux UK tour
24/03 Newcastle Riverside
25/02 Leeds Cockpit
26/02 Norwich Waterfront
27/02 Nottingham Rock City
03/03 London Electric Ballroom
04/03 Southampton Brook
05/03 Manchester Academy
06/03 Glasgow Garage