As I was editing this interview I was trying my best to think of a right smart arse intro but then as I was listening to 'Your Lips...My Ass!' I thought fuck it, this lady doesn't need a fancy or smart Alec intro, she shouldn't really need much of an introduction at all, yet the music business being the way it is she's not a household name. But there you go, them is the breaks.....unless of course you're clued up and or read Über Röck of course because we always bring you the music that matters.
Having recently released a split album with the fantastic Kevin K and done some dates on the last Damned tour, I thought it was time to get the lowdown from the lady herself and introduce to Über Röckers some real punk rock, choc full of attitude and great tunes. Ladies and gents, boys and girls, let me introduce Texas Terri.....
Firstly, how did you get into this crazy business in the first place?
I suppose I was born with the need and a passion to entertain. It's been like this since I was a kid. I often wonder if I would have been a world famous tap dancer if my mother had not yanked me out of tap dance class. Guess I'll never know. I really had a passion for tap dancing as a kid and plenty of energy for it.
Was there much encouragement at home or were you encouraged to get a 'Proper job'?
No encouragement at home whatsoever. My father wanted me to go to college and be a business woman. Well, looks like I ended up being a business woman anyway since I run the business and have always run the business of the bands I've been in. Nobody else in the band was capable of or didn't want to do it. There really aren't many musicians that want this part of the job of being in a band. And I'm not saying that I'm that capable myself but I have the natural instinct for business and somebody has to do it. I don't think I'm that good at it or I would be further down the road with my musical success.
My parents eventually became more supportive and even came out to see my shows when I'd come through to play in Austin. That's back when I was doing the good ole rock & roll shirtless with tape on nipples days. They grinned and bared it.
What were you like as a child growing up?
A loner. Always loved being in my own world. My own world was safe and fun. Nobody could touch me. I am the same today. I was a very hyper-active kid, full of mischief and curiosity. I was a "tom boy". I loved to play sports, collect bugs, all the things boys liked to do. I never liked to wear dresses or dress up unless it was for a dance recital, play, Halloween or something like that. I still don't. The only reason I even put on makeup today is if I have a show or a part in a movie or something like that and that's only because it's part of the showbiz game. I remember how my heart was broken at 12 years old when I had to go from elementary school to junior high school. I was shattered because I felt thrown into a world that was not me. I had to wear dresses, pantyhose, makeup, it became the time to grow up and become part of society and people were judged on their "popularity". I totally hated those years. It felt like a non-stop masquerade of terror to me. So I did the best thing I could, I started drinking and doing drugs. It was the only way I could stand being alive. Hmmm, I wonder if most people felt this way about that time of their lives? Could this be? I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Did you find it easy as a woman putting a band together in the punk rock scene?
To be honest, I should have done it a long time before I did. I was just too fucked up on alcohol and drugs to see how many people were trying to encourage me to be in a band. Finally, a guitar player friend just put together a band and asked me to be the singer. I was really insecure back in those days and had no confidence in myself whatsoever. Scared shitless but I did it anyway. That was way way back in the early punk rock days in Austin, Texas where I grew up.
When I moved to L.A. I dabbled in a couple of bands but nothing seemed to work out. Once again, due to my being so fucked up on alcohol and drugs. My life was unmanageable and so was I. But finally, I got something going with a band called The Killer Crows. I just ran across some old pictures of me with this band. Perhaps I should do a myspace page or something with them. And we did record some stuff in the studio that was never released. I'm so bad at even updating the TxT Bomb sites with pictures and stuff so I don't know how long it will take me to get The Killer Crow stuff posted, hahhahha! But it would be cool to put stuff up for people to see.
I don't think this is what you were really asking in your question, so I will get back to that. Hmmm, I can't remember if it was easy putting together a band because of being a woman. I don't know. It seems guys have more of a "boy's club" and bond naturally and they get together and hang out and do things together, like start bands. I think that has changed a lot since I was growing up. I think girls probably do the same more often these days which is a really cool thing.
You now live in Europe - was that a big decision for you to move?
Oh, hell yeah it was a big decision. I hate moving and I hate paperwork (especially the official kind).
After touring Europe a couple of times, I really got fascinated with the different cultures of each country and I wanted to expose myself to it for more of a long term thing. So many cool things to experience and learn. And yes, it was a huge decision for me to make as I would have to deal with getting a visa to live and work in the country I chose to live in (which at the moment is Germany, although I would now love to move to London, more paperwork, arrrrgh!) and the language difference was/is difficult.
I don't think I would have moved had I not been stagnating in L.A. as I love the city of L.A. so very much. I spent over 25 years there. Although I was very sad to leave L.A. and my life and friends there, I knew I needed to make a change. The stars and the planets were lined up for me to move to Europe, so I just went for it. I didn't want to chicken out and then later wonder what it would have been like. No regrets. Take the plunge, and I did.
It's been a very interesting experience to say the least.
What would you say are the main differences between living and working in Europe to the States?
Well, first of all, I can work in the United States doing whatever I want whenever I want with no questions asked. Here I am limited to music and acting at the moment. I do live in Berlin so not knowing the language is not helping. I do get the occasional acting job when they need American English speaking people and extra work every once in a while.
In the U.S., I was in the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) which is the actors' union. So even doing extra work on films, ads, tv, videos paid me a shit load of money and it was totally fun. Here in Berlin, the pay is not so good and when you go into overtime they actually pay you less per hour for each overtime hour. Man, somebody needs to do something about that. I would happily get involved to change that but the Berlin extras are too afraid of getting blackballed from the work roster. Sign of the times.
Man, so many things are different over here. I grew up in the land of convenience and great service. For instance, I had to wait for over a month to get my phone and internet service here in Berlin. In the U.S. it would be done within a couple of days. So many stores and markets are open 24/7 in the U.S. You get very spoiled living there and you find out just exactly how spoiled you are when you live in Europe, hahhaha! It's been a big adjustment for me and to be honest, my world has become very small here in Berlin. That's another reason I need to get to a city like London. From what I've experienced so far on my visits there, it has more to offer for what I am looking for in my life. It's the land of the "shakers and the movers" and the primary language is my primary language, which is....English! I don't mean to put Berlin down by any means. It's a great city but limiting for what I need to get done with my life. But I'm enjoying it as much as possible while I'm here and I am grateful to all the friends I have here and to have the opportunity to live here in the first place. It's just been a little more difficult than I had expected it to be. But all is good!
I do not miss the gunshots I would hear on a daily basis living in L.A. and having to worry about all the motherfuckers on the street and if they were gonna fuck with you. Here in Berlin I can walk home by myself at all hours of the night and feel safe. Although I still keep my guard up a bit, no city is fool proof.
One thing I have really noticed about the difference is people in Europe actually know how to relax. I have no idea how to relax and enjoy it. In the U.S., we are brought up to always be achieving something, always be in a hurry, at least I was. I get uptight over the silliest things. I have a hard time just sitting back and enjoying life. Maybe it will rub off on me some day. At least I'm hoping so.
Do you have a favourite piece of music you've written? If I was to play your songs to someone what would be the best place to start?
My most favourite is 'Oh Yeah!' - It's about life being easy and fun and no one being able to touch that. I don't think I will ever get tired of doing that song. About the second question, I think I'd just start with 'One Hit Wonder', 'Never Shut Up', 'Dream Wrecker', and 'Oh Yeah' from the 'Your Lips...My Ass!' cd/lp.
You've been lucky enough to work with some cool musicians, who was the easiest to work with and why? Is there anyone you'd love to sit down and write a song with?
I would say the easiest people to work with in the studio were Ryan Roxie (ex-Alice Cooper) and Cherie Currie (The Runaways). They are both total pros and are both amazingly talented, positive people and a joy to be around. Those are the first two I could think of off the top of my head. I'm sure there are more.
I think I would like to sit down and write a song with Joan Jett, Cheetah Chrome, Sami Yaffa, Captain Sensible, Charlie Harper, TV Smith, Tara Rez, JJ Burnell, Pete Shelley, Sal Jenco and on and on.
You're playing the Rebellion festival and you just did some dates with The Damned - why haven't people in the UK seen as much of you as our European counterparts?
Well, that's hard to say. Many factors I suppose. We had a nice little run scheduled for a couple of years back and then things fell through. It's more difficult for me to put things together because of expenses, work permit for me, etc. The "perks" that bands get in mainland Europe are not readily available sometimes for the UK shows. For instance, food, drinks, hotels. But it's the same in the U.S. That's why most bands prefer to tour mainland Europe.
It seems to work better for me to just fly over and grab musicians out of the UK like I did for The Damned shows so I hope to be doing more of that. That was a lot of fun and I absolutely adore the musicians I worked with for that tour. The bass player, Chema (who also plays in Short Bus Window Lickers, fill in for UK Subs, etc.) and the guitar player, AC (Dragster) will be playing with me for Rebellion this year. Will be really great to see them again. The TxT drummer from Berlin, Marina Maniac will be flying over so it should be a really great combination of players.
What are you working on at the moment? Any more film work in the pipeline?
At the moment, I'm writing songs and gathering material for my next record and wondering who, where, when, and how I'm gonna get this thing together to record. I'm really not the best at organizing all of this stuff. I don't think I've fully recovered from recording my last record and that was 7 years ago. I wish I could just sleep through this part of being in a band and wake up and the record is finished. I'm trying to change my perspective on recording so I can enjoy the process...someday. I'm more of a live entertainment type of creature.
No movie work at the moment.
I thought the last album with Kevin K was superb and some of the best work by either of you - is this an avenue you'll explore further? Kevin is a prolific worker - is his method contagious and how does it differ to how you work?
Well, thanks for that. I have to give Kevin K all the credit for putting together that recording project and he did an amazing job. It was really cool to finally get to work together as he had been talking with me about it for quite a few years. I would love to do something else with Kevin K down the line.
Kevin K is a songwriting machine. I am not. Kevin K loves to record. I do not. Kevin K is the energizer bunny. I'm slow as molasses.
I used to be more of a "go getter" until I got a major case of burn out and mental exhaustion a few years back and just never fully recovered from that. It's really put a damper on my moving forward. But I keep pushing ahead as best as I can and I'm having fun again because of projects like the one with Kevin K.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
Since I'm working on new TxT songs right now, I'm listening to all sorts of songs, studying song structure, chord structure, etc. Today I listened to Roky Ericson, The Stitches, The Briefs, Iggy, Wire and Dead Boys.
You've been described as a cross between Iggy, Lux and Wendy O Williams - that's some pretty decent people to get compared to but how would you describe yourself?
I couldn't be happier about the people I get compared to. I love them all and I feel very fortunate that people compare me to singers that I totally look up to and respect.
But this is how I would describe myself: I am the girl who fell to earth. A total alien on a planet I do not understand. A totally misunderstood free spirit. Invisible to the naked eye. A cave woman with no concept of how society works.
Does it piss you off when people just describe you as the woman who performs semi naked but for some duct tape yet no mention of the music or the performance?
Man, that was so long ago, the TxT duct tape thing. I can't believe you remember that. Cool. You know, I just can't pay attention to what people say about me anymore. I just do my music and try to have a good time and hang out with the people and fans that love me. I don't really need the rest. I'm just trying to enjoy my life without hurting anyone intentionally.
Not everyone is going to like what I do but those of them that do like it, I salute you. Without you I am nothing.
Much love and respect to you for doing this interview with me....and to the readers and fans everywhere.