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Terrorvision - the Band
Eh, we're Terrorvision from Bradford.
Bradford, North Yorkshire, England, to be precise. Taking their name from a 1960s horror film, they are, with the occasional dance re-mix, a heavy rock/indie/pop/metal band. Being a great live act, they make regular appearances at festivals, and seem to spend most of their time touring. They have won a number of awards, particularly for best band in Kerrang!, and have a bit of a reputation of getting very drunk and losing the aforementioned awards. Their second album, How to Make Friends and Influence People, and third, Regular Urban Survivors, have both gone double gold. Apart from singing with Terrorvision, Tony Wright, has made six appearances (so far), on the TV show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and has also (at time of writing) auditioned to host another TV show, the Millennium Tube.
For dedicated fans and up to date information, Terrorvision.com is always helpful.
So far they have released:
How Terrorvision Got Together
Terrorvision began life in Keighley, Yorkshire, as a band called Masquerade. It was Shutty (real name David Ian Shuttleworth), a fan of AC/DC, Black Sabbath and Motorhead, and who had bought his first drum kit by washing cars on Saturday mornings to earn the money, that wanted to get a band together. He managed to get Leigh Marklew, a guitarist and Kiss fan, and two other school friends from the Greenhead Grammar School to join him. It was some time in 1984 that Masquerade performed their first gig, which happened in the sixth form common room.
Besides rehearsing, not a lot really happened; Shutty and his family moved to Bradford, where he started work as a printer, while Leigh went off to art college. They then changed the band's name a number of times, which included names like Strutter and Vietnamese Babies, and they met up each week to practice where they played songs by Joan Jett and the Ramones.
Meanwhile, Mark Yates, a guitarist from when he was around 11 years old, had played guitar in a couple of bands, one of which, Brute Force, nearly burnt down the school when they set alight to a stage prop. He also played in another band called Electric Nosebleeds. It was at art collage where Mark met up with Leigh, and became part of his/their band. Leigh moved over to play bass which left Mark to play guitar. However, they still needed a vocalist and so they advertised in Kerrang! - a British rock magazine - which turned out to be entirely fruitless.
At 15, Tony Wright had sung in a band called Subject, but never considered singing as a career and in fact he went through a few jobs and a few dole queues before becoming the band's vocalist which happened one night in 1986.
What actually happened occurred in a rock pub, the Wheatsheaf, in Bradford. This is where Mark had been DJing. Tony had found out that they were looking for a vocalist and after some persuasion he got an audition with them, which consisted of Tony not actually singing but instead watching the band play and Leigh sing 'Teenage Kicks', by the Undertones. Despite not singing himself, Tony made it into the band.
How Terrorvision Got Signed
Changing their name again to Spoilt Bratz, the renamed band made their debut at a friend's party at the Videotech in Huddersfield. During 1987, they played a few more small gigs around the area, and a year later, taking the music more seriously, they recorded two demos, Spoilt Bratz, and Gasoline and Suicide. These both failed to get them noticed.
So, they booked the Slaughterhouse Studios in Driffield, East Yorkshire, and in June 1989 they recorded a third demo, Be My Guest; a more polished demo than the previous two. It was this demo that caught the attention of Al Rhodes, at the time a writer for Kerrang!. Al Rhodes tried to sign them to his own label, Major Records, firstly for a five-album deal, then three, then just a 12" single, but they rejected all his offers. However, he was so sure of the band's talent that he closed his Major Records label in favour of becoming their manager.
Now having a manager and three demos under their belt, the Spoilt Bratz continued in their quest for success, they rehearsed three to four times a week, and changed their name to Terrorvision after a 1960's horror movie of the same name, in which aliens come down through a man's TV set and eat his family. The band simply wanted to sound more modern.
The first gig they did as Terrorvision, happened at the Players Snooker Club in Wakefield, with an audience of about 18 people. The next day they did another gig at the Marquee in London, in which they supported American band, Slaughter.
Chrysalis had organised the Marquee show and Al Rhodes managed to get Chrysalis to pay for another demo tape, Prime Time TV, which was also recorded at the Slaughterhouse Studios in August 1990. Although the tape was more promising, Chrysalis decided not to sign Terrorvision.
Another year and another demo, in March 1991, at the Woodland Studios in Castleford. Called Pump Action Sunshine, it contained an original version of 'My House', later to become their first single. Al Rhodes distributed this tape to the record companies which included EMI. Nick Mander working for EMI at the time, remembered the now Terrorvision, from when they had supported an EMI band, The Beyond, from two years previous. Not liking their music much himself, he was nevertheless impressed with the band so he decided to gave them the chance to demonstrate their talent to head, Nick Gatfield. Unfortunately, Gatfield wasn't so taken with the band. Fortunately, his girlfriend was, and EMI financed a final demo tape, which was recorded in the summer of 1991. By October 1991 Terrorvision were signed to EMI.
Rise to Fame
Although they were signed to EMI, it was through their own label, Total Vegas Recordings, that they would release their records, and in fact, on which all their releases to date have been recorded.
Terrorvision's debut release was the Thrive EP, in February 1992. It reached number 100 in the charts and was deleted a week later. The release was promoted by a tour of the UK supporting Zodiac Mindwarp and Claytown Troupe, and they also played a one-off London gig with L7.
In June that year they started to record their first album, in Bradford, and their first single, 'My House', was released with the B-side, 'Coming Up', the first of several B-side covers. December 1992 brought with it Terrorvision's first album, Formaldehyde, the name itself being a poisonous liquid used to preserve dead animals. The band offered fans the chance to get in free at their gigs if they dressed up as the cactus logo used on their Total Vegas Recordings label.
During 1993, Terrorvision supported the Ramones to promote the album and headlined their first UK tour supported by Die Cheerleader. A second single, 'Problem Solved', was released in April. The band toured around Europe supporting Motorhead, and Formaldehyde was officially released in May, reaching number 75 in the UK album charts. They also embarked on a nine-date UK club tour.
Joe Elliott from Def Leppard was so impressed with the Formaldehyde album that he asked them to open his own group's gig. So, in June, a day after the release of their third single, 'American TV', they opened for Def Leppard at the Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield in front of 30 to 40,000 people - their biggest show to date. The bill also included Thunder and Ugly Kid Joe.
The gig Terrorvision did at the Don Valley Stadium was apparently released as an live album, but was made to look like a bootleg. Only 100 were ever made making it a very rare pressing and it was released by Total Vegas Recordings. It contains live versions of the following:
Whether or not this is actually true, the tracks did turn up as B-sides to the 'New Policy One' single in October.
Terrorvision did another tour UK tour, supported by Kerosene, and 'My House' was re-released in December 1993 with a 3D stereogram cover. It became Terrorvision's first Top 40 hit in January 1994.
Also, in December 1993 they went to New York and took just 17 days record their second album, How to Make Friends and Influence People, where they used Pixies producer Gil Norton.
They then flew to Los Angeles to shoot the videos for the next two singles they would release, the first of which, Oblivion, came out in March 1994 and Terrorvision made their first appearance on Top of the Pops, while the album, was released a month later.
Another UK Tour came in April/May; this time they were supported by Mutha's Day Out, The Wishplants and Valve. In June, Terrorvision appeared on the new second stage at the Donington Monsters of Rock festival where the Terrorvision T-shirt was the most popular item that weekend. Also appearing were The Wildhearts and Headswim. They won a Kerrang! award for Best New British Band, and the single, 'Middleman', came out.
Also during 1994, Terrorvision made an appearance at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party. And, in addition to Skin and Thunder, they were some of the people who played at the Night of 1000 Guitars, which celebrated of 100 years of Gibson guitars. 'Pretend Best Friend', the third single from How to Make Friends and Influence People, was released in August and they also made an appearance at the Reading festival.
The 'Alice what's the Matter?' single was released in October, while a UK tour supported by Die Toten Hosen and Baby Chaos, was also happening. They then switched places by supporting Die Toten Hosen and Therapy?, for a tour of Europe.
January 1995 and Terrorvision were named Best Band by Kerrang!, the first British band to achieve this since Iron Maiden in the mid-1980s. They also came top as Best British Band in RAW, Best Single for 'Alice What's the Matter?' in Kerrang! and Tony Wright was Tastiest Geezer also in Kerrang!. How to Make Friends and Influence People, came second in the Best Album poll in RAW and Kerrang!. They also came third in Kerrang!'s Best Gig/Tour category.
Another top 30 single came in March as a re-recorded version of 'Some People Say'. On its release, Terrorvision made a fourth appearance on Top of the Pops, appeared at festivals (including T In The Park, Phoenix) and supported REM at Huddersfield Macalpine Stadium, where they were delighted to see Michael Stipe singing along to their tunes at the side of the stage.
In April, Terrorvision brought out their first video, Fired up and Lairy This was made up of some of the videos of the singles, live performances and some linking material. In May, the band went on a short UK tour, with support from EMF and Joyrider. The band then went into the studio to begin recording their third album, Regular Urban Survivors.
In September 1995, they recorded and contributed a song, 'Tom Petty Loves Verucca Salt', for the War Child compilation charity album, Help. The album was recorded and despatched to record shops in six days, and other contributors included Oasis, Blur, Manic Street Preachers, Radiohead, the Stone Roses and a whole lot more. Terrorvision's song later reappeared as a re-mixed B-side.
For Christmas 1995, Terrorvision were supposed to turn the Christmas lights on in their home town of Bradford, but were replaced in favour of Emmerdale soap star Stan Richards.
Terrorvision's Continued Success
1996 started off for Terrorvision with a gig at the London Astoria, support coming from Honeycrack, Cecil and Pusherman. Later, in February, they did another one-off gig, in Harrogate, and the week after, the first single from their third album came out, entitled 'Perseverance'; it reached number five in the charts.
The album, Regular Urban Survivors, with its cover paying homage to James Bond, was released in March where it made the top ten. They did a 17-date sell-out tour of the UK during March and April, with support from American band Love Nut.
The single, 'Celebrity Hit List', came out in April and reached number 20. They then went on a tour of Europe although this was cut short when Tony jumped over a high wall and broke both his ankles.
'Bad Actress' was released in July and got to number ten. Terrorvision then picked up their third Kerrang! award for the second year in succession and brought Lionel Blair along for the occasion. They played several festival dates, including Reading and Phoenix, where their tour bus accidentally ran over a sleeping concert goer.
Supporting Def Leppard for a European tour in October/November 1996, and a seven-date headline tour of the UK followed in December. The year was ended by the release of the single, 'Easy'.
Tony became a father for the first time in early 1997, and the band made several festival appearances, Glastonbury and Reading, to name but two. They also recorded the David Bowie song 'Moonage Daydream' for a tribute album which was released in aid of the Tibetan cause. Other than this, it was a fairly quite year for Terrorvision.
1998 was spent working on the new album Shaving Peaches. For this album they worked with Edwyn Collins, Utah Saints, Pat Grogan (who produced their Formaldehyde album) and John Cornfield of Supergrass. The first single from the album, 'Josephine', was released in September and the album several weeks later in October and which was accompanied by a sell-out UK tour.
Of the Shaving Peaches album the critics said:
January 1999 and the Mint Royale Shot remix of 'Tequila' is released as a single. The song itself was inspired after Tony nearly broke his legs trying to steal the H from Madrid's Hard Rock Café while under the influence of tequila. Regardless of him being in plaster, the band continued to play live.
Radio 1 DJ Zoe Ball loved the remix of 'Tequila' so much that she played it extensively on her show, which helped it reach number two in the charts, only being denied the number 1 slot by 'Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)', by The Offspring. The band played a short tour with girls in the audience invited onstage every night to provide backing vocals for the song.
With the success of 'Tequila', the album was re-issued to include the Mint Royale Shot version of it, and May 1999 saw the release of the single 'III Wishes'. Rumours of a 'Best Of' compilation surfaced, but nothing ever came of it.
Strangely enough with their increasing success and their highest achieving single to date, Terrorvision were dropped by EMI, which probably made them the biggest unsigned group to play at the Reading and Leeds festivals.
That year they also headlined the Kerrang! stage at the Big Day Out, at the Milton Keynes Bowl, in which they got into a dressing room brawl with Queens of the Stone Age. They all appeared on stage dressed as four Evil Knievels. Terrorvision received a fourth Kerrang! award, this time for Best Single.
The year 2000 started off with Terrorvision playing several low-key shows in March, as well as trying for a new record deal which wasn't an easy thing:
We spoke to people who outrightly admitted that they didn't sign rock bands; they were only signing boy bands or pop bands, and music came second, as far as I'm concerned, to them.
Despite this attitude from the record companies, in May they announced a new deal for Terrorvision and Total Vegas Recordings with Papillon.
They played several shows and festivals over the summer, and began to write songs for their fifth album, the first on the Papillon label. For Good To Go they were due to record with Brad Wood in Chicago. However, they met Neil McLellan and decided to do one track with him, 'D'Ya Wanna Go Faster'They were so impressed with the track that they abandoned the idea of going to Chicago at all and did the whole album with Neil McLellan, which happened during October and November 2000.
Tony talking about Terrorvision's attitude for the Good to Go album:
We said 'this guitar needs to be in your face', and of course Lee said 'this bass needs to be in your face.' I'd go, 'hang on a minute, there's singing here as well'. And Shutty would go, 'well I'm not being leftout'.
A 29-date, UK tour, took them up to the end of the year and Tony made a sixth appearance on the Never Mind The Buzzcocks TV show.
On 15 January, 2001, Terrorvision's two-year absence from the charts ended with the single, 'D'Ya Wanna Go Faster', reaching the top 20, making it their 13th top 30 hit. It was accompanied by five more shows, and the Good to Go album was released on the 5 February, 2001.
In addition to releasing the new album and subsequent singles, they have been touring around the UK, and as Tony Wright puts it:
.... renewing our faith in live music and confirming our belief in rock and roll.
Their next single (at the time of writing) is due to be 'Fists of Fury', accompanied with a video which parodies Mandonna's 'Don't Tell Me'.
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