INTERVIEW BY MARKO SYRJALA
Terry Chimes is an English musician, best known as the original drummer for the punk group The Clash. He played with the band originally between 1976 -1977 and again from 1982 to 1983. In 1985, he played with Hanoi Rocks until the band broke. From the ashes rose The Cherry Bombz, which contained Chimes, Andy McCoy, and Nasty Suicide (Hanoi Rocks), singer Anita Chellamah and bassist Timo Caltio, who was later on soon replaced by Dave Tregunna. The band did not last very long, and between 1987- 1988 Chimes played as a touring drummer for Black Sabbath. After Sabbath, Chimes retired from the music scene. Since 1994, he has been a chiropractor in Essex in his clinic, Chimes Chiropractic. In 2013, Chimes released his biography, STRANGE CASE OF DR TERRY AND Mr. CHIMES. In 2015, Chimes is playing the drums again, and he is a band member of The Crunch. The band is just putting the final touches on their second album, called BRAND NEW BRAND. I met a good-humored Terry back in December at his home in Essex, and here are the results of a long and interesting conversation, which went through Terry’s long career and, of course, his current activities and the future. Read on!
CURRENT THINGS AND THE CRUNCH
Metal-Rules.com: Here we are in your beautiful home in London. What’s going on in your life at the moment?
Terry Chimes: I got married six months ago. I then got a dog. Now Rowena is pregnant, my wife, not the dog. So, it’s changing fast. I’ve got one new person living here in six months. That’s what going on. And I’ve got a band, of course, The Crunch. We are doing our second album; we finished it, we are just mixing it now. Unfortunately, I haven’t got anything to show you, to play you. It will be around soon. But I’ll send you one when it’s done, I guess. Yeah, that what’s going on? Life is good; I’m very happy. Still alive.
Metal-Rules.com: It’s not been many years since you decided to return to the music scene.
Terry Chimes: Yeah. Two and a half years ago.
Metal-Rules.com: You stayed away from the music scene for a long time. What made you change your mind, and how do you see it now? Was it the right decision to start play again?
Terry Chimes: Yeah, it was. I knew that straight away. I said; no, no, no to everything for 20 years, and they tricked me these guys because they said they did a book. I don’t know if you know the story. They did a book, “Keep Yourself Alive” about strange musicians. So, I was one of the people they interviewed. And then they said they were launching the book in Stockholm and they were going to have a party and some bands playing; could I come over and just do some interviews and they would fly me up. So, I said no to them, and they said; no, you should go. No offense there, you got to sell us. I said, “I’ll go, I’ll go with you,” and so I went there and did it. They said, “We are here. Can you play a couple of songs? I said; OK. They said; when did you last play? I said, 20 years ago. So, they said; can you still do it? I said; it’s like riding a bike. When they picked up from the airport, they said; we don’t think you can do this. I said; honestly, I’ll be fine. And when we got there, they said do run through a couple of songs. So, we played “one, two, three, four, boof.” We did it, and it was fun. My arms were dropping off because the muscles weren’t used to doing it. The memory was still there. So, it was fine. And then we spent the whole weekend together chatting about all the bands we love and all the bands we hate, and we found we love the same bands and hate the same bands pretty much, which is good. Then we realized we are the basis of the band, so I tried some of Sulo’s songs. I tried so many songs. Said; OK, come over, and we will record a few. So, we recorded, and we really enjoyed doing it, working together. When we get on together, we see things the same way, and that’s the key, I think. Because you are going to do lots of hard work, and if you don’t like each other in the first place you’ve got no chance. You like each other, and you enjoy what you are doing; you can get going. So, I’m on my second album with The Crunch now. So, that’s a world record to me. Doing two albums in one band, “Laughs.” I always move on after one album normally. I think I have had enough of this and go somewhere else.
Metal-Rules.com:I did some background research before this interview and found out that most of your interviews are about The Clash, so I’m trying to do something different this time. As you know, I come from Finland, so it’s obvious to ask about your time with the legendary Finnish hard rock band Hanoi Rocks. Let’s start with a classic question, how did you end up in the band?
Terry Chimes: How I met them, I was working with Johnny Thunders, and they were doing a tour. We were sharing the billing, sharing top billing. Taking turns to play last with Hanoi Rocks, and those events went quite well. And at the end of the evening, whoever was on, I’d get up and play the drums, and Andy get up and play the guitar, and we had a little bit of a jam. Although it was Christmas and Razzle died before Christmas, we quite enjoyed it, as you know, and that shook them up, that really freaks them right out. I heard the news, but I didn’t call them. I just thought it was tragic news.
At the same time, I had to have my wisdom teeth taken out. There was a long waiting list, but I was told I could jump the queue if I were willing to have it done during the Christmas holidays, to which I agreed. So, I was in the hospital, and I got this call from Richard Bishop, who was co-managing Hanoi Rocks saying; because Razzle has died, we have one more show we need to do. Which was that Europe –a-Go-Go, like a European wide festival and there are millions of people watching all over Europe, blah, blah. And we want to do it as a tribute to Razzle. Would you step in and do it? I said; when is it? They said, in five days. I said; OK, I can do that. In five days, I can learn your songs. Send me the tapes I’ll learn, and then I will do it. So, then I went down and had my wisdom teeth taken out, and I woke up from my general anesthetic in a bed and went to the bathroom, and I was thinking; what the hell what happened to me, because I had wisdom teeth removed and when I staggered to the bathroom and I turned the lights on, and as I looked in the mirror and I had never seen it before. It wasn’t me; it was some guy with a great big face. I was like, who the hell are you? And it’s not good, because you expect to see yourself when you look in a mirror. Then I had this crazy headache, aching jaws, just pain. The last thing I wanted to listen to was Hanoi Rocks when I was in that pain. “My God!” And I learned those songs. We went to wherever it was in Helsinki and played the gig. The show was recorded, and we played a set lasting just under an hour, but they couldn’t tell us which two songs would be used in the broadcast. I had learned a lot of songs in a very short space of time, 12 songs, 15 songs, and at least I want to know which one will be broadcast to millions of people. I was told they wouldn’t know until the time came. As it was, I had to make sure that all the songs were learned perfectly, so I got through learning the songs by sheer determination. So, we played all of them and hoped that wherever we played, it was fine, and then nothing came out wrong. You can find those songs on YouTube now. By applying ice packs to my face, I managed to look almost normal on that night, “Laughs.”
Metal-Rules.com: That show in Helsinki was very emotional for the band and the fans, but how was it for you personally?
Terry Chimes: I appreciated it. On one level, I knew, yes, Razzle has died, and everyone is upset, and this is possibly the last Hanoi Rocks gig ever. On the other hand, it didn’t sink in really what’s going on for those guys because that’s a big moment for them. It was big; it was possibly the last gig or depending. We talked about maybe me joining the band and keeping it going; we weren’t sure whether it was going to happen or not. Sami and Andy were both dating the same girl, which is never a good idea in a band, never a good idea. Anyway, that was obviously one of the problems, and there were all sorts of strange vibrations going on between them at the time.
Metal-Rules.com: When you joined the band, did you know about the internal tensions between the band members?
Terry Chimes: Yeah. But it was on the run, quickly. By the way, they are seeing the same girl. What? That was strange. But that meant the band couldn’t carry on with Sami in it, really; that was the problem. The gig didn’t have a problem, but we had to get another bass player beyond the gig. So, changing the drummer and bass player is a big shock. Changing one member of the band is a big enough shock. It is not very good for a band. After the gig, we just sat around and drank and had nice times, and we got along well. I got along very well with Nasty; he’s a very nice guy because we’re just kind of just hanging out together. We tried and tried to do it; we didn’t have the bass player. We couldn’t find the right guy. I did that tour in Poland, did see how it works with Rene Berg. It didn’t work out at all.
Metal-Rules.com: In your opinion, what was the worst thing that happened in Poland with Rene?
Terry Chimes: We are in a nightclub, I notice Nasty screams and run in there, and Rene is on the floor with a guy above him with a knife. I was; what he’s done? There are two sides to every story. I thought at some party; we had many parties, God knows where, and this gorgeous girl walked up to me and said, “Hello there,” I’m so and so. “Hello? How are you?” And we just sat down, OK. We were dancing away. Who is this gorgeous girl? And then suddenly, a fork kind of banged into my foot, but that happens on the dance floor. Then another one, then a big elbow in my back. I’m thinking, what the hell? And it is like eight men thinking; you are not having her, we are going to… Then she ran off and came back and said; I’m sorry, I’ve got to go and rushed off. I don’t know. I thought I was entirely reasonable there, and that’s probably what happened to Rene.
Metal-Rules.com: When was the last time you were in touch with your old Hanoi Rocks colleagues?
Terry Chimes: With Nasty, I had a conversation with him a while back because someone paid us some money. I think I’ll get some money. They need you to sign and say yes, you have been paid.” I said, “Fine,” so we did that. We chatted about old times and what is what. I had a good chat on the phone then. That was a couple of years ago, I think. Andy seems to pop up now and again. He would just pop up at parties. I can’t go to any more parties, but he still goes to them. Mike, I haven’t seen in a long time or Sami.
Metal-Rules.com: You mentioned that you’ve been in contact with Nasty, and that’s great. I see it interesting that you two are now living quite different life compared to the past old times.
Terry Chimes: Yes.
Metal-Rules.com: Since you probably remember very well what Nasty was like at the time, would you ever have imagined that he would become what she is today? He is a trained pharmacist and currently works for a pharmaceutical company in Finland.
Terry Chimes: Nasty was always very reliable. He was always there on time to rehearse. He was the only one on time. He always knew what he was doing. He was always tuned up. He always knew what the songs were. He was always very together. Even though he was always boozed up, he was always together. You’d always think, “Yeah, he could have a conventional career. He could do it.” He was smart and a very likable personality—no egomania, very easy to get on with, nice as a human, nice warm person. You could think he could make a success out of pretty much anything he decided to do.
Metal-Rules.com: Have you ever seen Nasty’s band Cheap’n Nasty?
Terry Chimes: No, I never went to see them. I have never been one to go to gigs. I’d say I was kind of odd, in a way. But I like being on this side of the stage, not the other side. I just never enjoyed watching other people play. I always want to get up and do it myself. It is funny. Some people are really into rock ‘n’ roll. Anything that happens, they are there. I am the opposite. I don’t ever go unless there is a compelling reason.
Metal-Rules.com: Which is the most peculiar memory you have from your time with Hanoi Rocks?
Terry Chimes: The most peculiar memory probably was we were driving across Poland. God only knows where we were. We had a bus with like about 30 people because it was both bands and the road crew. There was a strange man in the Polish crew who didn’t speak any English. He was there to provide pyrotechnics. This was before the tedium of health and safety regulations had reached Poland. His fireworks were homemade. The biggest problem was that he had no idea when these bombs would go off in performance, and every now and then, there would be a huge explosion. We would look over to where the sound had come from, and he would be sitting there with a huge satisfied smile on his face once we were driving across Poland. It’s like after the gig, it’s 02:00 in the morning or whatever it was, and we stopped at a level crossing, and we were advised that we would be waiting here half an hour so those who wanted could stretch their legs. There was a party going on in the garden, with a band playing. Andy and Nasty went to play with the band, and soon we all joined the party. Eventually, the driver gave us a call, and we all got back on the bus, and we drove away. About two hours later, the photographer who was traveling with us, Justin Focus, woke me up and said; you got to believe me, you got to believe. I said; what do you mean believe? What? He said; Nasty is not on the bus. I said he must be. He said; no, I swear…. You’re the only sober person on this bus, so you have to check because I’m sure he’s not here. I checked, and sure enough, Nasty was missing. The driver doesn’t speak English anyway, and we don’t know where we are. So, it was like, My God! What are we going to do? We were only half an hour away from our destination, and turning back was not an option. So, we got to the hotel, I immediately sent a cab back for Nasty, and we just fainted to bed, got really late, like 11:00 A: M. I had some breakfast, came downstairs. I said, what should we do now? About 8 hours later, Nasty appeared, looking somewhat and exhausted, saying; you left me, I was walking, and I couldn’t speak a word, the language. I had wolves howling; I didn’t know where I was. I was like, how is he going to get back? He doesn’t speak a word of Polish. God knows how they found him. They found him going back. And he said, being there for hours, back there for hours, and freezing as well.
Metal-Rules.com: Where did that happen?
Terry Chimes: No, I don’t remember. I must have been somewhere in Poland.
Metal-Rules.com: What is your best memory of your last Hanoi Rocks gig?
Terry Chimes: The last one Mike said; this is the last gig we are going to do with the band, and I want to sing a song called, “Don’t You Ever Leave Me.” I laughed. I thought, well, you got to laugh. What can you say?
Metal-Rules.com: One person whom I would like to ask more about is Rene Berg. It always sounds that no one really liked him, but what did you think about him?
Terry Chimes: I liked him. He was a very likable man in a way. He died of a broken heart because he had this love affair with rock ‘n’ roll. He loved rock ‘n’ roll. He loved the idea of being famous. He loved being in a band. But he just couldn’t make it happen somehow, and it broke his heart, I think. He was funny, a very funny guy. You could have a really fun conversation with him. But when you put some pressure on him, he started acting completely crazy and saying strange things. I remember when we went to Poland. This journalist came straight out, asked questions, and Rene immediately jumped in and took over the interview. I thought, “Rene, don’t do that for your band. Shut your mouth. Shut your mouth and see what everybody else does first.” He would jump in and speak for the band, like, “Oh, don’t do that.” He wasn’t a person you would dislike. He would just do some annoying things because of his nervousness or eagerness to succeed or whatever.
Metal-Rules.com: Why do you think that many people say only negative things about him?
Terry Chimes: Because he was really annoying. He would get into fights with people on the road, which causes bad publicity, saying stupid things in interviews. We put so much stress on him that I think he couldn’t cope. A person that can’t cope with the stress on them is very annoying. You begin to hate them if you’re not careful. That is the way that it works. But we were quite a musical guy. He could sing good backing vocals. He could play, and he was quite good with ideas. He had a nice fit. But I think he probably should have had his own band, I think, doing his own thing.
Metal-Rules.com: Do you know what he did before Hanoi Rocks?
Terry Chimes: He had a band. I can’t remember what it was called, something with flowers… It was called Idle Flowers. I think he died. I don’t know quite what he died from. I think he just got fed up with struggling to get what he couldn’t get.
THE CHERRY BOMBS
Metal-Rules.com: After Hanoi Rocks split up, you formed the Cherry Bombz with Andy and Nasty. How was the transformation, or evolution, process from Hanoi Rocks to Cherry Bombz?
Terry Chimes: We found Anita, and Anita has her wonderful charisma and warmth and enthusiasm. We thought, great, we get her, and we change the character of the band. But when you make a strategic decision to go over there, everyone sits down and makes a good case for It.; so, we kind of justified it that way. We still had the problem with the bass player, so we started with Timo (Caltio), but Timo wasn’t really working out. So, we got Dave Tregunna in. So, it was a difficult transition because we were trying to hang on to the audience. We hung onto a lot of the audience but not all of them. So, money was always a problem. We always ran out of money in that band. We were spending money. We weren’t making it as fast, and Richard Bishop was a genius at releasing the 15th compilation edition in a blue vinyl or whatever it was to keep money coming in. But really, there wasn’t enough money coming in. So, it kind of fell apart for that reason. Their new album didn’t sell enough, didn’t get enough publicity. So that was it.
Metal-Rules.com: Cherry Bombz was put together really fast after the Hanoi thing. Did it happen a little too fast?
Terry Chimes: Like always in rock n roll, instead of taking the time and getting… George Washington said; if you gave me six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe. We didn’t sharpen an axe. It was quick. There wasn’t money, because we were drawing salaries all of us and the money wasn’t coming in. So, it was a bit of panic all the time.
Metal-Rules.com: Overall, Cherry Bombz was a great band, and it had a lot of potentials. Or what do you think about it now afterward?
Terry Chimes: It was a good band with great energy. I remember when we did live gigs like the Marquee Club. I enjoyed and thumbing at the ceiling. It was just great. But we couldn’t seem to translate that to a bigger arena. I don’t know why, but we just couldn’t quite get it right. But I liked the energy; I thought, well, we had a lot of energy. It just was somehow. It needed more time to get to do more songs. Didn’t have the time. So, it was just one of those things. But there are lots of bands like that, they’ve got something, but it just didn’t have time to develop before say; we can’t get more money, and that’s the end of it.
Metal-Rules.com: How much pressure did Cherry Bombz have to succeed because you were a very new band then?
Terry Chimes: Andy, at the time, I think, felt the stress, felt the pressure. Nasty probably decided to drink more at that time. That would be his solution to stress. I think it was always great fun to tour with Nasty.
Terry Chimes: That was a crazy tour. It was like… What do you call it? Bad News or the other one? The crazy film about the band on tour? But anyway, we got there, and these guys said to me that we will take your equipment. We are going to park the lovely van. And then, by the end of the tour, they seized it, they seized the van. It got parking ticket toured away, and they seized it from the parking area and took it away; we got your equipment, and we are not bringing it back until you guys pay x amount of money and all this, and then the management went down there, and they were threatening a punch up. It was just like one of these… It was like the Blues Brothers, like that. It was mad. It’s like I’m living in a mad cartoon world here, and then we were on stage in New York, and then for some reason, Andy and Anita had a punch up on the stage. Billy Idol came to that gig. He came to the gig and then afterward, and he said; why are you having punch ups on stage? And I said to him, and I don’t know really, I don’t know why that happened. It was like, when you dream all sorts of incongruous people come together and don’t make any sense, it was like that.
Metal-Rules.com: Perhaps the most legendary thing that Cherry Bombz ever did was the US tour. What was the worst or the most strange thing that happened on that tour?
Terry Chimes: Where were we? I think we were in Seattle. In Washington, Seattle, I think we were playing. We had a party as always after the gig, there’s a girl, I don’t know who she was, but she was dressed very provocatively—wearing a very short skirt and stuff walking about, making some rounds. Nobody in the band seems particularly interested in her, and nobody in the road crew seems interested. I don’t know who else there is. She was a bit agitated, a bit angry about everything, and I was just, “Oh, just relax.” Anyway, Nasty was seated with me and put out a bottle of vodka, and he took a sip from it, and she said, “That’s mine.” She snatched it out of his hand and drank it. He snatched it back. She slapped his face. He went boom, just punched her, gave her a black eye. It wasn’t that bad…bad enough to be a black eye. Bear in mind. We’re flying somewhere the next morning. I don’t know where we were flying. She went straight downstairs and talked to this guy on the front desk who is always very… This is funny. You see, this is like a movie. All of that part was like a movie. There is a guy at the front desk; he was suffering from his nerves; he was really anxious.” What I’m going to do?” Anyway, she goes down to him and says, “A man has just punched me. I want police here now; call the police now.” The police walk in, four of them, saying, “Who punched this girl?” The tour manager is not here, but the next most sensible person in the room has to sort out the problem when he’s not there. I’m the only sober person from miles around. I said, “I will explain what happened. She attacked him. She slapped him. She’s quite a substantial woman, so he pushed her off, and unfortunately, he whacked her, and she got a black eye. Police said, “That’s a black eye. It’s a punch, not a slap.” I said, “She’s quite substantial, hard to get away, so he just knocked her away.” The guy says, “No, it’s a black eye; you’re all going down to the police station.” Ready to see a judge in the morning to solve this thing,” I was like, “Oh my God, we have a flight like seven o’clock or whatever. Anyway, I went to her, “Would you like to phone anybody to help you?” Come to my room here, and you use my phone.” I took her into the room, and she used my phone, and I was listening in from the other room. She’s on the phone with her dad and her dad, and he’s saying, “I’ve had enough of your stupid games.” “But Daddy, Daddy, they hurt me. Honestly, it wasn’t my fault this time.” This happens every week, apparently. He slammed the phone down and said, “To hell with you. You’re on your own,” sort of thing, or whatever. I came into the room and said, “I’m so sorry this happened to you. I feel sorry.” I was giving her a bit of sympathy, and that made her feel better. I said, “Look, what do you want to do? We can help you. We can get a cab to take you home or whatever.” She went, “I’ve had enough. I want to go home.” I said, “OK.” I went to the policeman and said, “She just wants to go home. Police asked, “Do you want to go home?” “Yes.” “OK, we’ll take you home.” That’s when I said, “Oh…” I’m squashing two hours into two minutes. We got on the plane. We got back to where we were going because we were already in trouble. There was not enough money. There was this problem with that problem. We didn’t need to pay an assault fine in court, missing the flight, and I don’t know what else.
Metal-Rules.com: Well, that was close, but you managed to finish the tour. The band returned to the UK but broke up soon after. What was the final nail in the coffin for the Cherry Bombz?
Terry Chimes: We came back from that tour, and we still were there. We were around. We did some other things, but we tried to crack America in one hit very quickly, and it didn’t work, so we burned out, but we’d spent all our resources on doing that, which a lot of other bands have done, of course. Before going back to England, we had to find the money to put another album together. Then I don’t know. I can’t remember the day it ended. It didn’t suddenly end one day. We didn’t say, “Right, this is it.” It just sort of fizzled away. I think Dave had some other gigs he could do. Andy could do a bit of songwriting and Nasty… He did his Cheap and Nasty, was it, or something like that. I got the job with Black Sabbath, so for me, that was, “OK, I’ll do that.” Richard Bishop still managed me.
Metal-Rules.com: As you said, you quickly found a new job in Black Sabbath. How did that thing happen?
Terry Chimes: Richard Bishop said Black Sabbath needed a drummer, and I said I’d love to do that because I really like that band, and being a drummer in a heavy metal band, you get to do massive solos, massive drum kits, and all sorts of things. So he phoned them up, and they said, “Tell him to learn two or three songs” Well, I actually got the live album and the other albums, and I learned all of them, all the songs on the live album because I think that’s what you have to do. It’s very competitive, very tough, so you’ve got to work harder than everyone else, and you’ve got to be better than anyone else. The funny thing with Black Sabbath was when I first sat down with them, they said, “Now, listen. We haven’t got many rules, but we don’t drink before a show. We do a proper show. We arrive on time. We do it right.” I said, “Oh, thank God! No punch ups on stage, no getting over your head before the gig? Fantastic!” I was what they needed, really, somebody who actually could play to a big audience and not get nervous and not be drunk.
Metal-Rules.com: When you joined the band had just released the album THE ETERNAL IDOL. Eric Singer played drums on the album, so you kind of replaced him in the band. How was the audition, and was Eric present then?
Terry Chimes: It’s funny because I’ve never met Eric, but Dave Spitz was on bass when I auditioned with them, so he’d been working with Eric before, I think. Eric had walked off because he got fed up with, I don’t know what. But we played. We rehearsed, played these Black Sabbath songs, and slowed [making music sounds] at that speed. I’m quite a speedy person, so basically, I thought this was a really slow death.
Metal-Rules.com: How did you like to play the new material, THE ETERNAL IDOL stuff?
Terry Chimes: Eric had done the album, and so we were playing quite a few songs off the album because that was the new album, and I like the way he did it, it was nice, it was good to play because I just listened to what he did, and learned the songs that way. It’s nice and easy to play that stuff.
Metal-Rules.com: Your first shows with Black Sabbath were in South Africa, where you played six sold-out shows in a row. That must have been an interesting place to visit and perform back then?
Terry Chimes: We did Sun City first in South Africa, which is a controversial business. I still think about it today. It is a gamble with racist policies if anyone doesn’t talk to them, doesn’t deal with them, doesn’t go there, you just keep them in that state, you’ve got go there and say this let’s do it this way, you have to go there and mix with that’s just my opinion. But anti-racists, I discovered doing that, are the same as racists. Anti-racist, racist, it’s the same label both of them, and they’re both angry at you, anyone says anything, lots of people get angry… Anti-anything people, if I remember Mother Teresa, she said, “I wouldn’t join an antiwar movement, I’d join a peace movement, not an antiwar movement.” I understood what she meant, and clearly, she, too, had met her share of anti-people.
Metal-Rules.com: How overall was your first show with the band in front of 10 000 people?
Terry Chimes: In fact, when I did my first ever gig with Black Sabbath… that was another ridiculous thing. This is a long story, but I’ve got to tell it long. I was to meet the band downstairs in the hotel lobby for about half an hour. I was prepared, had rehearsed hard, and knew exactly what to do. It seems that there is always some trepidation with the first-ever performance for me. This time the problem was that I had a bridge fitted. When they fit the bridge, I’m very vain, so I said, “Put the bridge in. If I like what it is, then we’ll glue it in temporarily, and whenever I like it, we’ll cement it in the proper place, and that’ll be it.” They glued it in temporarily, and it was fine, and a couple of days I went back, and I told him yes, I was satisfied with it, and he could permanently fix it in my mouth. The problem was that the temporary glue had stuck so hard that it just wouldn’t come out. He pulled and pulled and couldn’t get it out, so he got a little thing and went [sound effects], and he got the thing screwed in [sound effects], and he couldn’t get this damn thing out. After 15 minutes, I’m thinking, “This is driving me mad. I feel like you’re pulling my jaw off.” He said, “Listen, if I can’t get it out with all these tools, it’s never going to come out, so just leave it there.” “Fine.” Thank God for that, so that was it. It’s the night of my first ever gig with Black Sabbath in front of 10,000 people in Sun City, and I’m just getting ready to go downstairs. With about half an hour to spare, I decided to floss my teeth. To my utter horror, the bridge not only came out but bounced on the sink and hit the stone floor, smashing to pieces.
All right, great! My first gig with them, and I’ve got no teeth. I looked at the phone. It’s a posh hotel, and they had a pharmacy banner. I phoned the pharmacist, and I explained what was going on. She said, “Just stay there. I’ll come up.” She comes up, this lovely young lady, comes up with a bag of tricks. She’s, “Right, where’s the victim?” It’s not a metal sort of thing. It’s got a ceramic coating, which is the thing that’s smashed to pieces. She’s, “OK, give me the little pieces.” She glued all the pieces like a jigsaw back on with superglue, and she got some cement in. I put it back in, and that was it. Fantastic! I really could’ve done without, so anyway, I’m late now. I got to go down. Eight o’clock we’re meeting. I get down at quarter past eight, and they’re like, “Where were you?” “It’s only 15 minutes…” Now 15 minutes late with Hanoi Rocks, you’d have been two hours early, but these guys are. “We said we’d meet at eight. It’s quarter past eight.” I said, “I’m sorry. My teeth fell out. I put them back in again, but I’m OK now.” We go to the gig, after all that stress. I am in there. I am playing the full kit. We go on stage, and we start the first one, bang, bah, bah. I am bashing away. I think, “OK, I can hear everything. It is good. Everything is working all right. The audience is there. Everything is fine.
Metal-Rules.com: How many gigs did you play with Black Sabbath?
Terry Chimes: We did that South Africa thing, and that was just like a holiday in the sun, kind of funny. Then we did a tour of Europe, which was mostly Germany, and we did Italy, and we did London, and then it all kind of fell apart again. We had Tony Martin singing. He is a great singer. He’s very sober, very on it, so that was the first time I had the band without heavy drugs or having major ego problems, which was quite a good thing, but the manager was the one with ego from then, so that’s another story, but they were a bit strange.
Metal-Rules.com: When you joined the band the lineup was Tony Iommi, Tony Martin, Dave Spitz, and Geoff Nichols, but there were some changes very soon.
Terry Chimes: Geoff was always in it. He’d been there for years and years. We changed the bass player. Dave walked out after Sun City, so we got Jo Burt, he’s a nice guy, and he played all right.
Metal-Rules.com: Do you have any special memories from the video shooting of “The Shining”?
Terry Chimes: I remember all these gorgeous women in the video, but I was outraged. We never got to meet them because they came in separately and filmed it, and went away, so “I want my money back.”
Metal-Rules.com: How would you describe Tony Iommi as a person?
Terry Chimes: He’s a lot of fun. He’s a great musician, and he’s very dedicated to what he does, but he’s got an enormous sense of fun. Suddenly Tony Iommi turned around to look at me. He is turned to look at me, pulling a ridiculous face and balancing a pink guitar pick on the end of his nose. “What the hell are you doing?” He says to me, “You are the only person who can see this. No one else can see it,” because I was the only person there who saw him there with this stupid thing. I was like, “What is that about?” That was what he was like. There were jokes. He is a practical joker. He loves joking. He once rang me up and told me the new carpet my wife ordered was arriving tomorrow. He said we had bought a new carpet. We hadn’t bought a new carpet. He said, “Oh, no, I already have it. It is paid for and everything. We have got your credit card.” “What are you trying here?” “Laughs”
Metal-Rules.com: Your career with Black Sabbath lasted like one year, right?
Terry Chimes: I always spent a year with every band. I want to say a year. Every band was a year. The Clash just happened to be two separate years.
Metal-Rules.com: Did you ever make any recordings with Black Sabbath?
Terry Chimes: No, not really, because they had trouble with the management. I got paid, mind you. I think I was the only person who did get paid because the PA Company impounded all their gear because we hadn’t been paid, so they impounded it. I think Dave walked off because he hadn’t been paid. But I got paid because my manager, Richard Bishop, is quite good at getting money. He made sure I got paid. I was the only one that was happy. I was fine, but I didn’t get paid for one week. I phoned Bishop. Finally, I said, “I haven’t been paid. Money is not on my account.” “OK,” he said, “leave it to me.” He got on the phone to the tour master, and he said, “Unless you pay him right now, he walks right out the door.” We are going out and playing. He paid for me. This was in Italy. They paid me a million lira, which is about a thousand pounds. He said, “That payment should have gone in.” “Oh, I am a millionaire, at last.”
Metal-Rules.com: When the band goes on tour, a lot of things can always go wrong. Did any strange things happen when you were on tour with Sabbath?
Terry Chimes: There was a really strange show we did in Rome. This is really weird. We were booked to this theater in Rome, and the Pope himself had been hosting an event in that theatre the night before. For some reason, they were unable to remove some of the equipment the Pope had been using in time for us to put our equipment in there. I don’t know what he was doing in there. But they were supposed to get all his gear out so we could get in. Then when we went there in the morning and the gear was still there. They hadn’t pulled out for some reason. I don’t know why. We said, “What are we going to do?” They said, “We’ve got another theater around the corner. We’ll just switch the event to that. It’ll be no problem. It’s not far away.” Great, but they didn’t tell us that the new venue had way fewer seats in it than the first one, and the first one is sold out. This is Italian for you. This couldn’t happen in Germany or probably in Finland, so in the night, when they turn up at the other venue, people are turning up with a ticket saying, “I’ve got a ticket.” “Yes, but we’re sold out, and it’s full up.” It’s just, “But I’ve got a ticket.” “Yes, but it’s full up.” They got pissed off, these fans, and they rioted. They smashed the place up. Someone got shot. They got really angry. It was a big scene. We had two generators outside, one for sound, one for lights, and one of them got smashed up. We were given a stark choice; you can either have a sound or lights but not both. “We can’t have no sound. We’re a band, so let’s have no lights. We did the whole gig with five torches. Five roadies are shining a little torch in each person’s face. Isn’t that a bizarre thing? You’re playing a whole gig. You know the audience is there because you can hear them, but you can’t see anyone. You just see this torchlight in your face. It’s like some weird, arty video, but the audience loved it. I think the audience, somehow, like anything different. They’re all to me, “Never seen it happen before. Never happen again. We’re in a special…” I don’t know; it’s like anything weird happens, audiences love it
Metal-Rules.com: Legend has it that you started to learn about chiropractic during the Black Sabbath tour. Is it true?
Terry Chimes: In Sun City, there is a bowling alley. I threw it down the thing for about three hours. After that, I couldn’t move my arm. I couldn’t get it above there because the shoulder would seize up. I know now, I do it now, I understand something I didn’t know before. He says, “OK, we’ll get a chiropractor here.” I say, “What is he going to do?” He said, “He will fix you.” He came in. He just came around at me. He said, “All right, get on the floor here.” Then crack, crack, crack, crack. I said, “Oh my God, he is breaking my neck.” But now I feel that I can do it. He is brilliant. I was quite impressed by it. I thought that was pretty clever. Without any equipment or anything, he walked in with his bare hands, and he healed me. If I had gone to the GPs, he would have said, “Oh, take pain killers.” That would have done nothing. I would have still been, “Oh, can’t move.” That was pretty impressive. I didn’t rush out then and decided to become a chiropractor. But it was a plant where you have a series of signposts that send you the right way as you look back on your life.
BILLY IDOL AND OTHER STUFF
Metal-Rules.com: Before you joined the Hanoi Rocks, you played for a moment with Billy Idol in his early band Generation X or Gen X, as it was written at the time. How did the two of you learn from each other in the first place?
Terry Chimes: During the punk scene, I knew… what’s his name…My brain is gone. It must be the drug I took when I was 14. “Laughs” I knew the bass player. What’s his name? Tony James. I knew Tony from before the Clash even. We were all trying out different things. I knew him. He was friends with Mick Jones, so he’d pop now and again in the early Clash days. Billy, I’ve known for a long time. I’d seen him from a distance playing with various bands. Then when they had a big bust-up…Billy and Tony split up with their guitar player and drummer, so they needed a guitar player and a drummer. He thought of me. He asked me to come down and chat with him. I chatted to him. Tony, I had always gotten along well with him. Billy was really nice. It was interesting the idea of working with him, so I said,” OK, we’ll try this.” We played a bit, and we got on well, and we just needed to find a guitar player. Finding a guitar player was a nightmare. We auditioned every guitar player in the universe, and we could never find the right person, but that’s one of those things. We knew if we just found the right guitar player, we’d have a great band on our hands, but we never could.
Metal-Rules.com: Gen X released only one album, KISS ME DEADLY, in 1981 before the band split up. You never played with Billy Idol after that?
Terry Chimes: Not really. He went out to America and did the first album, and then on the second album…I think it was the second album, whichever one it was…he phoned me and said, “Will you come out and play some drums?” I went out there, and they had recorded everything but with a drum machine, and we put the drums on after. You can’t really do that. It just doesn’t work. It doesn’t sound right. I tried it. It didn’t sound right. I said, “Look, can’t we just do it again from scratch?” He said, “No, we’ve spent too much money already. We’ve been in the studio for months, and we’ve done all this. We have to…” It’s like, well, the drum machine is the nearest you’re going to get because you lose it. With a human feeling, he’s really good on drums; everyone’s playing with it. But if everyone’s playing with a drum machine, you feel it doesn’t…so it didn’t work out. No, we tried, but it didn’t work out. I said, “Look, if you want to do it, start from scratch, great, I’ll do it with you.” He said, “We can’t do it that way.” That was that.
Metal-Rules.com: We have gone through your past bands, but can also be found such bands that you were invited to join but that never materialized?
Terry Chimes: When I was with Cowboys International, which was before Gen X, I got this phone call from this woman saying, “We’ve got a band. Will you come down? Johnny Thunders recommend us. Come down and try out.” I went down and tried out, and there were three of them and me. Suddenly we did great. They had great songs. The band sounded good. I said, “That’s really good. What’s the situation? You’ve got a record deal?” They said, “No, no record deal yet. Got a manager but no money.” I said, “When you get a record deal, let me know. I’d be interested in it.” They said, “Yes, but we need you to join us to get the record deal.” I said, “I’m already on the salary. I can do it for nothing. I can’t do that. I’ve done that in the past.” They called me a few times. We talked about it, “No, no, it’s…” Anyway, that was the Pretenders. They were at number one in the same year. That was a bit of a silly mistake but win some, lose some. I can’t moan. I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve done a lot of things. You can’t get it right every time, can you?
SOMETHING ABOUT THE CLASH
Metal-Rules.com: I decided not to ask much about The Clash because that’s what everybody else is doing, but I changed my mind. Although Joe Strummer died in 2002, do you see that there’s a chance that someday we’ll hear The Clash songs again performed by the surviving band members?
Terry Chimes: I don’t think so. When Joe died, it was weird because we got this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thing announced, and then Joe was very happy about it. He said, “That’ll be great.” I was surprised by it. “Really? I thought you would be…” You could never tell Joe what he’s like on something. He was a funny guy. Then he died, so we went there without him, and he’d just died when we went there, so it was like, oh, he’d just gone. It hadn’t quite sunk in yet. He’s died. We’re there doing this. They said, “Well, you can play. It’s normally a tradition for the band to play so you can play, and we’ll get someone else, maybe Bruce Springsteen or the guy from Green Day, to sing the songs. “We thought that’s going to be really weird. It’s even weirder than not playing having someone else sing. We just showed a video to the audience, which is the right thing, I think, in hindsight. You can also eat your dinner and drink without worrying about performing “Laughter” That was how it was. I don’t think there’d be any point, really. People love to dig up the past and get it back again, but some things have gone. They’ve changed, and people should just accept it. It was great. Now it’s gone.
Metal-Rules.com: Sometimes, it’s better to keep it that way.
Terry Chimes: I think so. I think everyone’s happy with that. Paul’s playing with, what’s his name, Damon Albarn. At least he was. I don’t know if he still is? Nick is always producing someone or doing something, and I’m doing this in the Crunch. Topper’s not doing anything because he says he hasn’t got the stamina to play anymore, which I find strange because you can get stamina if you go down to the gym. I don’t know. It might be more in the head than the body. I don’t know. But he’s doing something. Phill Jupitus, the comedian, told me the other day that Topper was doing some demonstrations for drums. He’s doing that, so that’s something. But I don’t know what that involves, really, but he’s doing something. If you’ve got music in you, play it. Play it with someone. If you haven’t, don’t, but trying to recreate something that’s gone is a bit pointless. There’d come by money in it. People would offer money for it. But if you went and did a partial band without Joe, I think that would be, that would feel a little bit like letting down the band, the memory of the band, really, and the fans, giving them something that’s not the same. There’s plenty of live albums out there.
Metal-Rules.com:I raise my hat to Robert Plant on this. He has always been of the firm belief that Led Zeppelin simply does not exist without John Bonham, and that is why the band has not returned to the stages.
Terry Chimes: Oh, yes, definitely. The record companies and money people say, “Oh, no, no, we can make money.” They can only see the money, but you satisfy yourself. People like the band. Let them just carry on like it. They’ve got the records. Play the records whenever you like.
THE LAST QUESTION
Metal-Rules.com: The last question goes like this. As we all know, you live in now a very healthy life. You do not drink or smoke; you are a vegetarian and do sport like triathlon. You have not always been a total absolutist by yourself, but still, wasn’t it difficult to work and get along with your former bands and some of their members who were anything but sober people? I mean, how you managed to make it! “Laughs”
Terry Chimes: I love rock ‘n’ roll. I love the madness, the anarchy, the power of it all. I love all that. I’d like to have that without shortening my life by taking those drugs. It is a little bit of an odd thing. The part of me that loves rock ‘n’ roll wants to be in a band. When Black Sabbath was not drinking, not doing any drugs, it lost some of the madness. It was very powerful, but it lost some of its craziness. I quite liked the craziness of it. There is something kind of…
Metal-Rules.com: Do you still think that rock ‘n’ roll is about dangers and spontaneity?
Terry Chimes: Yeah, it’s fun. We were talking about people. It was about to collapse. Every minute it was about to collapse. It was also about doing something great. You know life is full of highs. Some people get high from gambling or dangerous sports. For me, it is crazy bands. A band like The Eagles, I couldn’t stand a band like that. Every note is so predictable what you are going to do. There is no energy in it. It is like “nimby” country music. I couldn’t stand it. I’d rather go and be a bank clerk than do that. “Laughs”