She is always a super cool person to be around, and gives the most interesting and intense interviews. As intense as her own live show. We went to see Texas Terri play with the Damned on June 4th at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London and we caught up with her and talked about all kinds of things, from her new record with Kevin K, her solo musical project, her past and current life, a possible written biography, Slash, and even about Lady Gaga.
RACHEL - Hi
It was really nice to spend some time with you and Al after The Damned show. I really enjoyed that.
RACHEL - We enjoyed it very much too! So, how has it been for you the experience of touring with The Damned?
I know loads of bands would kill for the opening slot and it may sound bratty for me to even mention this but as the opening band, it was a little tough at times because people don't usually show up until the middle of the second band and my goal on taking this opportunity was to get more exposure and fans. Of course, this would have been more fruitful had I been the direct support. But, never the less, I was really happy to be on tour and wouldn't have traded the experience for anything (except maybe having the direct support slot, [laughs] I'm grateful to all the people that did show up early and helped us have a really great time!
(It's not as bad as I make it sound, there were lots of people there for us, but not as many as there were for the direct support. I'm just being a "Never Shut Up....Always Want More!" girl, [laughs]
With the help of Captain Sensible who spent time on twitter, etc. telling people to make sure they get there early to see the opening band, things got better and better as the word spread. I am so happy to have had the Captain's help with this. He would also mention Texas Terri Bomb! from the stage and wear my t-shirt on stage at times. Everyone in The Damned treated us with lots of admiration and respect. I love them all as people so very much. And also, seeing The Damned play every night for the 10 shows we did with them was fabulous! Seeing them play at all the different sizes and shapes of venues was so cool. It was wonderful to play really nice venues, everything was professional and these are the type of venues I have always dreamt of playing and I hope to have more opportunities like this in the future.
RACHEL - What has been the best thing of this tour for you?
I have played the smaller clubs for so many years and will continue to play them and I love and appreciate them but as in any pursuit of a dream, I think everyone would like to move up in the world and advance as much as possible to a higher level of success. At least that is what I would like to do. I can only stay at the same plateau for so long before I need another bite of the carrot to keep going. It presents new challenges and gives me the opportunity to learn more about myself and the dream that I am chasing. I love professional people and professional settings. I'm not a kid anymore and I stopped drinking and doing drugs 19 years ago so it's getting a little difficult to always be in a "bar band" setting. I love being a professional entertainer and I really felt like one on this tour. Also, seeing The Damned deliver a great show every night and getting to know them better as people was heavenly.
On the last night of the tour, there were loads of shenanigans. Pinch, the drummer of The Damned, totally terrorized our drummer, Alex. It was crazy! He put flour on Alex's snare so that when he hit it, a cloud of dust flew up. He put golden syrup on Alex's floor tom so that when Alex took a hit there the drum stick would stick. [laughs] He also put flour inside Alex's high hat so when Alex finally used that, there was a big dust cloud that exploded all over Alex. Then during the last song, Pinch and 2 other crew members came out and "tar and feathered" Alex with golden syrup and feathers and they removed most of Alex's drums. Hahahha!
During The Damned's set, we had a few shenanigans of our own. A few signs to stick on The Captain and his amp (for instance, "Wanker", etc.). I went out with some oranges in my shirt as sexy breast additions then passed them over to Chema, the bass player for a little juggling act that proceeded into an orange juice squeezing event on top of Pinch's head by the TxT Bomb band members, etc. The Captain invited me up to sing on their last song "Smash It Up' and that was a blast. The Captain and I mooned the audience as a finale. Good times were had.
RACHEL - What changes have you, your life and your music gone through since the last time we talked, two years ago? How are things evolving in your world?
During all of my studies and research, I also learned a lot about "belief systems" and how as we grow up we have many beliefs installed in us by parents, relatives, teachers, friends, etc. Many of these beliefs block us from living our dreams and passions. It's been quite an eye opener for me to learn about my own negative beliefs that I was taught as I was growing up and do something about them. It's opening me up to a whole new world. I love evolving as a person. It's so much fun and necessary.
I plan on writing a book sometime very soon about my life as an entertainer, living with and overcoming suicidal depression/drug addiction/alcoholism, and about how to get rid of false beliefs that block one from enjoying life and pursuing their dreams fully. Don't worry; it won't be depressing to read. It will be a wild ride full of humour, darkness, and fun.
You may or may not be surprised to read this about me. But I have never been one to hide behind what people consider to be "punk rock". To me "punk rock" is doing, being, and believing whatever you want and living that to the fullest and that's what I am doing and that's what I intend to do until I'm dead and gone.
As far as my music goes, my approach has changed a lot recently. I came to Berlin 3 years ago. I had a band here and did quite a bit of touring the first 2 years. Last year I slowed down a bit but still stayed in the game. For many years now I have worked with many musicians in my band because I just wanted to keep going. Recently, due to a chain of events in the past 6 months, I have decided to not have an official band here in Berlin. I need a break from the responsibility of having an official band. It was becoming mentally exhausting for me and I wasn't having that much fun.
My current approach is to plan tours in different countries and work with musicians from that particular country as my backing band. So far I have done this in the UK (for the tour with The Damned), Sweden, and Finland. I have plans in the works for Italy, France, and Spain. So far this is working quite well for me. I have always been a loner so it's really cool for me to just fly into a particular country, rehearse with the musicians, do the tour, then fly home. It is presenting some great, new challenges for me and I really enjoy this. I love meeting all of these new musicians and playing with them. I have more of a personal experience of the countries this way also. Very enlightening to say the least. And there is less stress for me and more fun.
RACHEL - After all these years, do you still feel the same passion for doing what you do, both in the studio and onstage?
I know I say this all of the time, but I just can't say it enough it seems, that if it were not for the fans, I would have quit a long, long time ago. The fans keep me alive so as long as I have fans, I will be out there touring. I want to thank all of you for your love and support through the years. I honestly mean it when I say, "without you I am nothing".
My favourite parts of being an entertainer are the live shows. It's my heart and soul. I love the passion and connection the fans and I have. As far as the studio goes, it's like pulling teeth to get me to record. I have never liked this part of it. It just creeps me out. I'm more into spontaneity and recording is anything but spontaneous. It has to be planned out. You have to find the right studio, engineer/producer, the right songs, the right musicians. People get their toes stepped on. Egos are flying everywhere. Loads of stress to "get it right" because once you make decisions, they are forever (or so it seems at the time). Then the critics get a hold of it and make their judgements and throw you to the lions.
RACHEL - It's been three years now since you moved to Berlin, are you still happy to be there?
I have found that I miss being in a country where the primary language is English. I have recently fallen in love with London and toy with the idea of perhaps moving there within the next year. We shall see what happens.
One thing I do love about living in Berlin is that so many of my friends' bands from the U.S. play here. They usually do not go to the UK. So I would really miss that.
RACHEL - It is such a different place from LA, do you ever consider going back to live in the
It's kind of funny. I have not been back to the U.S. for 2.5 years. It seems like a foreign country to me now. [laughs] I still love the U.S. but I don't miss all of the gun shots I used to hear in L.A. every night. I think when I go back to the U.S. to visit again, I will check out Hawaii as a possible place to live if I ever move back to the states. I don't know how many more of these European winters I want to endure.
RACHEL - The split record with Kevin K you did recently, tell me, how did that idea come up and what was the best kick you got out of recording this.
It was really fun being in the studio with Kevin K and Ricky Rat. Ricky Rat is from Detroit and had a band called the Trash Brats. Ricky flys out from the U.S. with Kevin K whenever there is a Euro tour. Ricky Rat played guitar on my last U.S. tour in 2006. That's the same tour that Cheetah Chrome from the Dead Boys played guitar in my band for 10 of the dates. It was so cool to have both Ricky and Cheetah playing in my band for that tour. Good times.
Anyway, Kevin K and Ricky Rat are both really funny and fun to be around and so are the 2 French boys that are the rhythm section. The best kick I got out of recording this was the sense of humour and light heartedness in the studio and the camaraderie of old pals doing music together just for the sake of making our mark once again and keeping the old New York sound of rock and roll alive. And the best part for me is that I did not have to organize everything as I do in my own band.
RACHEL - When can we expect a full length album from you and you alone? Feeling inspired to write a whole stack of new songs? What is the plan?
This time around it will be a bit more difficult as I am co-writing with people long distance, sometimes even over the internet. Usually I already have a band that I am working with that helps me get the songs rehearsed and records with me but this time I will write the songs, demo them, decide which musicians to have, and go for it. I'm hoping to have some "special guest" players again as I did on "Your Lips...My Ass!” Captain Sensible offered himself for some guitar action. I was totally jazzed when he told me that so I'm hoping that comes together. And I will have some other surprises that I can't mention at the moment until all is in stone.
I'm hoping to have the songs finished and recorded by winter time of this year if all goes smoothly. I'm actually looking as forward to a new Texas Terri release as my fans are. As the years go by, I feel more and more like a solo artist. I guess in reality I am. It feels weird to say that but I guess it's true. So I suppose my next record will be my solo artist debut so to speak. Pure, raw, uncensored Texas Terri! Yee Fuckin' Haw Y'all!
RACHEL - Is there any chance at all of Demon Boy coming back to make songs with you?
We have also been working together over the internet some. I send him my song ideas, and then he "demonizes" them. It would be much faster and easier if we were in the same room though. He has a very busy schedule these days as he has just graduated as an x-ray technician, MRI, CAT scan guy. Pretty impressive! But there is a possibility that I will fly back to the U.S. to do this next record or get him to record some parts for me by sending him the studio files, etc. and then he can add his part and send the files back. Modern technology is so cool for this.
RACHEL - I read you were interested in recording with Slash Records, tell us about it and how the fans can help you to make this happen.
I am acquainted with Slash and he almost played on my last record. He just couldn't fit it in. At the time he was recording with Ray Charles and getting ready to go to NYC to accept an award for the song Velvet Revolver wrote for The Hulk movie. But I do have a phone message from him stating that he was really sorry that he wasn't able to record with me and that he heard that the record was turning out great. I will put that phone message on my upcoming release. That way I can say Slash is on my record. [laughs] I'm pretty sure he will like the humor.
I would like to work with Slash some day though. I really love him as a person and he would be fun to work with, and such a talent.
RACHEL - What new bands are you into, if any?
RACHEL - Who'd you have liked to be if you'd been born a man?
RACHEL - Please correct me if I'm wrong but, I think I read recently somewhere that you like Lady Gaga. If this is true, why do you like her? Would you have her collaborate with you in a song?
If I were to collaborate with someone on a song, I'd probably want to do it with Peaches, Civet, or Tara from The Duel. I think they are more up my alley. Or I'd love to work with Linda Perry. I know Linda from ages ago. And if I could, I'd love to be on Hell Cat Records.
RACHEL - Thank you
Interview/photos by Rachel 04/06/10