Interview with Tony Wright (Terrorvision)

You’ll be starting your acoustic tour with Ricky Warwick from Thin Lizzy soon. Are you looking forward to heading out on the road again?

I’m really looking forward to it to tell you the truth. I love doing what I do and it wasn’t going to happen with the full band so I rang round and tested the water. Different people have different commitments now so I asked if they minded if I went out and did some acoustic gigs and they were fine.

Who’s idea was it to do a tour like this?

I needed to get out and do what I love doing so it was my idea initially. I share an agent with Ricky and I said that I wanted to do these acoustic gigs. My agent said I’d be doing little pubs but that didn’t matter to me, I’d still do it if 10 people or 10,000 people came out. That acceptance of what you’ve done and turning up to hear you play just humbles me. When it was suggested to do some shows with Ricky it just felt like such a good opportunity for me.

You’ll be playing in Newcastle on 20th July. You must have played up here many times?

I have played in Newcastle many times over the years especially at the Riverside in the early days. You always got a really nice chilli from there. I’ve always enjoyed playing in Newcastle. We started out playing at the Riverside and have fond memories of playing in there with sweat dripping from the ceiling played and the people just love their music up there. I love coming back to Newcastle to play. I’ve had lots of good times in Newcastle.

What’s the plan for the night? Will you each be playing your own set separately or will you be on stage together?

We’ll be playing our own sets but who knows what will happen as the tour goes on. You’ll have to wait and see. We may have a few tins together and work something out to see if there’s anything we can do together. We have an hour each and I’ll be playing stuff by Terrorvision and Laika Dog, my other band. I’ll also be doing some songs that I have written but haven’t used yet but which work acoustically.

How have you arranged the songs for the acoustic format?

I don’t see the point of going out and playing the songs the same but just not plugged in. I’ve tried really hard to strip everything down like you would a car then build them back up again in a totally different way and take them off road.

Were there any songs that you tried that just didn’t work acoustically?

Bad Actress or Some People Say didn’t really work when we tried them out.

How did you tend to write as a band? Did you build things up initially from a basic riff or did you start off with lyrics or a melody first?

I think that the words are really important although I do admit that I’ve written some pretty dodgy stuff over the years. It has to be fun for me though. I like to be able to say something but I also realise the importance of just letting go and having fun. When you do songs acoustically it’s kind of strange that the songs seem to write themselves. I always say that the songs are just floating around above us all and it’s whoever gets tapped on the shoulder and asked “will you sing me please?” that can do it. I’ve just taken those songs and they’ve reshown themselves to me. People will hopefully recognise the melodies.

Did you think that Terrorvision were always just a little different to everyone else back when you started?

I didn’t want to be in one of those numerous other bands that were around at the time we started Terrorvision. I just wanted to rail against all that. There were loads of bands that sounded like a poor man’s version of Bad Company or Free. They didn’t seem to realise that Paul Kossoff died when he was 15 years younger than half of these bands and they didn’t even have the decency to move on . How many times do you want to hear a new version of the Small Faces? I just wanted to do something that wasn’t copying the past and I think we managed to do something fresh with Terrorvison. There’s nothing worse than hearing a band from deepest Yorkshire using fake American accents. We just didn’t want to do that, we wanted to be genuine and do something that we loved. Back in the day it was the American bands that put on Brummie accents as that was the birthplace of Heavy Metal. I’m just waiting for the day that Axl Rose walks on stage and says “Aye up!!”

You’re also going to be joined by Milly from Terrorvision too. Is he going to be doubling up on guitar or will be adding a keyboard or two?

I’m taking Milly for someone to blame for any bad bits!! We’re just debating at the moment whether to do it all on acoustics or bring a piano along with us. There’s a couple of songs that would have another edge with a piano in there. Milly was actually a piano player before he was a guitarist. The only thing with a piano is that you can’t put it on your back like you can with a guitar. Milly is a talented musician so he can cover up the parts I miss.

You and Ricky were contemporaries of the early 1990’s Rock scene. You with Terrorvison and Ricky with The Almighty. Can you remember when you first met Ricky?

I think it was at a Kerrang awards ceremony of something although I don’t really remember. I mustn’t have been sick of him though as he still talks to me.

Did you get the chance to see Ricky with Thin Lizzy?

I’ve just seen him with the Black Star Riders, which is Thin Lizzy with their new name, at Download. It was pouring down. He’s great Ricky. What a job to take on being the frontman in Thin Lizzy. When Ricky was in The Almighty I could always see the Thin Lizzy influences in him then. He wears his heart on his sleeve like that. I would imagine that for him to be asked to be the singer in Thin Lizzy not only would he say he’d love to do it but he’d also say he’d be the best singer Thin Lizzy could have without Phil Lynott being there. He brings that enthusiasm to the table.

“Tequila” was a huge hit for you in 1999. Did the success of that song surprise you?

Not really as Radio 1 played it a lot and got behind it and that was such a big help but I think if we’d had that support for other Terrorvision songs they’d have been hits too. We had much better songs than “Tequila”. It sounds like the sort of thing that gets on Radio 1 and Radio 1 plays the sort of stuff that gets into the charts. We actually had a dozen hits without radio support so it makes you wonder how we would have done if the radio had got behind us like they did with “Tequila”. It seemed as though the only Rock bands Radio 1 would play were The Stereophonics, Feeder and The Manics. It seems as though it was the Welsh Rock show or something!! Other than “Tequila” Radio 1 never played us, I don’t know why. Maybe they just didn’t know how to Rock. They just went with safe Rock.

How did you follow up that success?

Any record company worth their salt would have turned that Number 2 single into album sales. Instead, the second single to come out, “Three Wishes” was advertised but you couldn’t get it in the shops which is ridiculous. When people say “Tequila” was a bit of luck, it wasn’t. It was 15 years of hard graft and given to a numpty at the label who couldn’t even get the follow up single into the shops and we lost all that momentum because of that but then again, I’m still making records and performing and where are EMI these days?

Did you feel like you’d finally arrived when you appeared on Top of the Pops the first time?

Of course. It was such an important institution for a musician to appear on. We appeared about a dozen times over the years. It was good times. We met some great people like Neneh Cherry and Radiohead and people like that.

You also got to present the show too. Did you enjoy that?

That’s right. It was great to do that. Everything But The Girl were on and a video with Celine Dion. Oh yes, Boyzone too. I remember saying strap on your helmets and enter the Boyzone. The one with the piercings looked over at me and gave me the dirtiest look and then it turned to a big smile as he got the joke. He did that thing that boy bands do; he nodded and punched his chest a couple of times. It was a lot of fun presenting that.

The band called it a day a couple of years later. Why did you decide to end the band at that point?

We were sort of told to write an album and being in a Rock band, being told to do something the chances are we’re going to tell you where to stick it. I just don’t think we had an album to write and things weren’t as rosy as they could have been. I think it had run its course by then.

You have reformed on and off though over the years. It seems as though you just can’t stay away from each other?

We started talking and we thought it would be a good idea to do a Greatest Hits tour to see how it went. We started messing about with new ideas and we ended up writing a new album in about three days. It was just meant to be. We didn’t do it because we wanted to lean on a bar and say that we were in a band. We did it because we had these songs that we wanted to write and put out on a record. We felt that we still had something interesting to say with our music.

What are your long term plans? Will Lakia Dog and Terrorvision be running together or are you looking at some new projects?

I’ll play with anyone that wants to go out and play music. If Terrorvision call up and ask if I want to tour in November, I’ll say yes straight away. I’ve had a call from a lad who’s asked if I’d like to do a project so if there’s a time I’m not doing Terrorvision, Laika Dog or this Acoustic TV tour then I’d like to do that. As long as I’m playing I’ll be happy.

Once the tour with Ricky is over, what have you got lined up next?

I’ll see how it goes with Ricky. Hopefully people will get it and we’ll be able to take it to a few more places this year, maybe somewhere warm in the winter. Maybe we can get chased through the streets of Rome like The Beatles.

Tony Wright and Ricky Warwick’s Acoustic UK Tour starts on 11th July in Exeter and ends on 27th July in Nottingham.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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