The First XTC 'Net Interview

by John Nicholls

I visited Dave [Gregory] last week, took a few beers round, and we ended up talking for FOUR hours which probably sets some sort of interview record, never mind 'Net record!

I asked him all the Q's sent to me, and I will be transcribing them when I have time at work. I'll transcribe them verbatim, without any journalistic attempt to clean up what was by all accounts a chatty conversation. So please excuse any disjointed flow - it's quite an education to sit here listening to the tapes (4 hours, ohmigod) and realise how a conversation rambles and goes off at tangents. I've removed some of the tangents for brevity.

I'll pick questions at random from those I asked, starting with those below.

Gene Yoon: I know that there has been no XTC song penned by you personally, although I'm sure you leave your mark with guitar solos and arrangements and the like. Does that mean you don't compose anything at all? Or if so, why hasn't the group done any of them? Have you ever tried songwriting?

DG: The old chestnut - have you ever written any songs, and if not, why not? The way see it is this - if God had meant me to be a songwriter he'd have given me some ideas, or some song titles, or something to say, you know. So I'm just the guitar player in the band, who happens to play piano and keyboards, and can just about sing. Years ago, before I joined the band I used to write songs, I used to think I could write songs. But when you have someone of Andy Partridge's skill writing lots of songs, I mean it's not that he occasionally tosses off a song, he's always writing songs, there's never a shortage of songs, one's incentive is diminished somewhat. I don't consider myself a songwriter, there's no real need.

If you think of the history of the band, both last two fourth members of the band left when they started writing songs - Barry Andrews and Jonny Perkins. Their days were numbered from that point onwards...


Pop Music is full of people who think they can write songs. This is a bee in my bonnet, y'know back in the Sixties there were a few SONGWRITERS, and you could list them, great songwriters who wrote songs. They didn't perform and similarly bands tended to do songs that were written by these established writers. The Beatles changed all that, then everybody thought they could be the next Beatles. Now there's the same percentage of good songwriters around, but a million more groups thinking they can write songs and it pisses me off...

JP: It's a bit arrogant really..

DG: Exactly. And you can't blame them for having a go, and if it's in you that there's something you want to say that badly then nothing's going to stop you saying it.

JP: It's almost as though your abilities must be somehow limited by not being a songwriter. Which is obviously crap.

DG: Yeah, there is that sort of thing. If you're in a band and you play drums, drummers are all right because they're drummers - it's rare you find a drummer who's a songwriter, but no-one ever takes shots at the drummer for not writing songs - he's the drummer, he's got a role to play. But if you're holding a guitar - well, uh, let's hear one of your songs then!

John Wilkens: Has Andy ever pondred writing music for the stage? "Wrapped in Grey" sounds very theatrical. Any XTC "rock operas" in the future?

DG: The simple answer is yes, he has thought about it. When we were touring he asked me "How do you fancy helping me write this musical then Greggsy? How do you fancy getting involved? I've got this hankering to do a stage show for something", "Oh, have you? Along what lines, pray?" "I really fancy the Napoleonic Wars" "Oh yeah? Well, we've got Chess, we've got Evita, Starlight Express, why not the Napoleonic Wars? What were you thinking of calling it?" "I was thinking of calling it Nap".

So yes, he was serious for ten minutes about that. And when we were doing the Dukes project, there was some talk about doing a followup to Psonic Psunspot, doing the Dukes concept album, which of course was the one area of psychedelic pop we hadn't coverd, and that was going to be called the Great Royal Jelly Hoax. That might have developed into a stage show, but it was just pie in the sky really, no-one was going to finance an Andy Partridge musical, I think he was probably thinking more in terms of doing a Tommy style album, more along those lines, just an experiment and if it fired anyone's imagination then so much the better if he could get some funding for it. But I don't know how serious he was, or if he was just winding me up or what, but it would make a good subject for a musical.

JP: The Napoleonic Wars...

DG: Yes, but you have to understand Andy's reading matter, I mean the stuff he takes into the toilet with him, anyone else would take the Sun, or the Adver Weekend Suppplement, but not Andy, he'll take in The Art Of Siege Warfare in The Middle Ages.

JP: And be in there for hours...

DG: Oh yeah! He never goes in without a book to read, and it's always something about Medieval History or the English Civil War, or the Duke of Marlborough.

CVreeken: On the BBC CD that just came out, Drums & Wireless, the sound is very clean and "produced" sounding. Just how were these performances done? Did you use any overdubs or pre-recorded drums, or did you just go into a room and play? Did you use a click-track? Was it being broadcast as you were playing, or was there post-production before it aired? Hope that's not too many nosey questions, but I am a musician (a dabbler) and am curious about this kind of thing.

JP: Where was it recorded, by the way? Was it Maida Vale?

DG: Yes, with the exception of the '89 Oranges And Lemons things, they were all done at BBC Maida Vale. You have to remember we were a fully touring unit at that point, we were working all year round, touring, rehearsing whatever so it was literally a question of dropping into the studio and cutting it all live, there were no click-tracks, it went straight down to an 8-track facility at the BBC at that time, and it would be mixed down to stereo at a later time. Not by us - we would go in, cut the tracks, leave. We didn't cut the vocals live, we cut them to a guide vocal, the real vocals would be over-dubbed when we got the track right, there were certainly never more than one or two takes ever. And then when we did the last session in 89, that was done at Wessex studios because the Maida Vale studios were being gutted, they were knocking the two little studios into one big one, so we had to go to Wessex. Because we didn't have a drummer at that time - oh, actually there was some stuff from '84 that we didn't have a drummer either, Andy programmed the drums - so basically Andy and Colin had gone to the States to do some promotional work for O&L, I stayed home and programmed the drums to 6 track for their return, and did as much keyboard programming as I could, then we went into Wessex and cut the tracks to the drum tracks that I programmed in their absence.

And that was the sessions documented in the book where I had an accident on the motorway where the car was smashed up and a lot of equipment was damaged...

JP: Sorry, I don't remember that in the book...

DG: I think it is, maybe it's just mentioned in a one-liner but I'm sure he mentioned it. Yes that was a pain in the arse...

JP: I saw XTC three times, saw them at Liverpool Rotters..

DG: What were you doing there? I was at Liverpool Rotters.

JP: I remember you'd just come back from America, would that have been 78?

DG: It would have been the night John Lennon died - the day after.

JP: At the time I would have been more excited about seeing XTC...

DG: Well, it was December 9th 1980. I can remember getting up in the morning to drive to Liverpool. We'd just come back from the States, we had four days off, anmd we knew we were playing Liverpool on December 9th. Turned on Simon Bates as I was getting my breakfast ready, he was talking about John Lennon, "Yes well John Lennon's been shot" and I thought "My God! Someone's shot John Lennon! Is he alright?". Then it became obvious, no he's dead and I just couldn't believe it. John Lennon, dead, no no it's impossible, he CAN'T be dead.

JP: I can't remember, you must have mentioned that. You must have mentioned it in the concert.

DG: No, we didn't make any mention of it at all, all we did was we tagged onto the end of "Towers Of London" a bit of the Beatles song "Rain", and just played the last couple of choruses of "Rain" because it was in the same key and of a similar rhythm. We didn't rehearse it very well, but that was the only gesture we made.

CVreeken: I'm sure others are asking, but when is the new album due? Have you finished recording? If you had to compare it to a previous album, what would it be?

DG: Well, Andy has written and demo'ed some wonderful new songs which will not disappoint anybody and it's a little bit - no I shouldn't say too much about it at this stage. I'm rather disappointed in the interest shown in us by these record companies who we sent these demos to - they 've been very indifferent about the whole thing. There are 3 companies who are currently very interested in signing us but no money has been mentioned at this point, and I should hasten to add that people are asking about the situation with Virgin Records, and it's regrettable but the reason we're leaving them is because of money. It's got to the stage now where it's down to money, because there's only so much underhand treatment you can take when you know your worth. You know exactly how many records youre selling, how much money everybody's making off it and how little is finding it's way back to the band. So for the first time in our lives were now coming the breadhead, saying enough is enough - pay us.

JP: But so are Virgin Records...

DG: Oh yeah! Good god...

JP: There's been a big change there in the last 10 years

DG: Exactly

JP: The ravens have left the tower...

DG: Well, yes. I don't see a bright future for Virgin I have to say, because the company we signed to doesn't exist any more, that died when Branson left, probably died before he left when he started buying airlines and stuff.

Anyway we're now hoping to find a record company that will pay us a decent royalty. And while the new songs that Andy's written, there's nothing thats going to make the Top 40, its really really some of his best music ever, really really good. That's what's really great about the guy, so many writers either get tired of doing it or they burn themselves out or they run out of inspiration, or they just follow the old tried-and-tested "do-a-cover" route, or they join forces with other writers, and do a package. Andy just keeps writing these excellent songs, it keeps getting better and better and I'm always really excited when he calls up and says "Gregs I've got another demo for you, come and listen to this" because I know he's always got something really interesting to listen to.

So if I was to describe the direction of the new album I'd say it was a cross between Skylarking and ... Skylarking and Oranges and Lemons. I think if you were to ... it would probably fit ... from that kind of period of our development, but it would definitely have a much more English ... like an English version of a bastard son of Skylarking and Oranges and Lemons. There. Can't say it much more plainly, can you?

Gene Yoon: How has one (i.e., you and Colin) dealt with the famously temperamental and stubborn nature of Andy Partridge? Are all of you best friends, more like family, simply partners in your trade, or all three?

DG: Kind of combination of all three. None of us have a lot of close friends ... we are each other's best friends really, we're obviously a working partnership as well.

JP: Do you see each other a lot socially?

DG: Not that much. We probably see each other more than we see any other of our friends, outside the family, but after you've been together for as long as we have you run out of things to say to each other at times, it's like a marriage. And we have been together a long time, I mean I've been in the band 16 years. We understand each other, we come to accept each other's faults and foibles, it's a good relationship, it's a happy band basically. There aren't too many frayed egos any more, most of them have repaired over the years.

JP: What about the first bit, how do you and Colin deal with the famously temperamental and stubborn nature of Andy Partridge?

DG: Well he's our mate and we've just got used to it you know. Although Colin didn't deal with it at the time of Skylarking, he'd had enough and he wanted out because he'd just had enough of Andy always being on his back and getting his way all the time.

When we're in the studio, if it is geting a bit tense, then you just disappear for an afternoon, let them work on something else, you come back the next day it's as though nothing has happened. There are times when you have to walk away from situations if it's getting a bit too stressful.

Gene Yoon: XTC may not go on forever, though many would shudder at the thought of an end. What do you foresee the three of you doing after all has been said and done?

DG: Parking rental cars. I think I've got a pretty good future in it. I don't know, because I've always been aware of the possibility, and I've racked my brains trying to think of something. What could I do when this all finishes? I mean, the thing to do of course is to try and make enough money while the band's together that you don't have to work again, but that looks a little unlikely at this stage.

JP: I don't believe a musician would ever be happy like that. I mean someone in another job... I'd love to make enough money in my job that I could do other things, but music is a bit different.

DG: Yeah, it is.

JP: You'd never stop playing your guitar.

DG: I don't think so, no. I can't imagine I ever would, but to do it professionally you have to have some artistic collateral, like songs. It's all very well for me to sit in here and play guitar or go upstairs and make little tracks for my own amusement on my 8-track, but you've go to get some money from somewhere, so the day will come when I have to look around and say "Its time to go back to work". Unless I'm lucky enough to be offered a gig in somebody else's band.

JP: You've done a lot of collaborations in the last few years.

DG: Yeah, well just odds and ends. Arranging - occasionally I get offered a string arrangement. "1000 Umbrellas" on Skylarking, I got a lot work out of that, it's something I enjoy doing. But of course it's not something I'd always want to do, it's nice to do twice a year just to ring the changes. And if anyone wants me to play guitar with them, if they pay me my usual fee I'll be more than happy to oblige!

JP: It's a strange question really. I often wonder, where do old musicians go?

DG: Well, the fact is they go back to normal life and they have to make ends meet as best they can. Some of them are really successful in other areas, they start their own businesses in plumbing or central heating or whatever it is, it's like footballers...

JP: I was just thinking of Don Rogers. [NB: Old Swindon Town FC hero who opened his own sports store!]

DG: I don't think musicians are always the best... they're not very together people you know, they're always a bit... there's something lacking in their makeup that means they're not very good at working, and they have to accept menial... they probably drive minicabs or become postmen or something.

JP: Or park rental cars. Steve Warren's gone one better hasn't he - does he still work for Mitsubishi in Cirencester?

DG: Yes, he's doing very well actually, he was chief buyer last time I saw him. But he's been very unwell, I haven't seen him for a while.

jsender: What are the three syllables shouted at the beginning of (and during) "Sgt. Rock"? Are they words?

DG: Rock, Rock and Rock. Those are the words!

jsender: IMHO Nonsuch contains XTC's most glorious tracks! Why are there so many superbly delicate melodies and arrangements? Pre-formed ideas brought to sessions? Collective mood at rehearsal or recording? Maturity?

DG: All three. That's a kind of rhetorical question, can't really answer that.

JP: Interesting that this person sees particularly delicate melodies in this, and you say it's the one that you most enjoyed recording.

DG: Yeah, pretty much, it's one of my favourites, definitely. I was very very pleased with it when it came out, and I thought it was really worthwhile, a worthwhile record. There's something in there for everybody, we did the best we could do and there's not too much in there I'm ashamed of. And yet no bastard bought it! Every time I hear _The Disappointed_ on the radio I think "Yeah! That's a hit record! Oh, no, it's not, it's not, nobody bought it! It's rubbish!"

jsender: Who are your favourite composers, songwriters and musicians?

DG: I had to write these down because people always ask me this question and I can never remember, I always think "Oh why didn't I mention so-and-so", so I scribbled these down. My favourite composers - Bacharach and David, Lennon and McCartney, the young Ray Davies, Lee Mavers, Tom Petty, Becker and Fagin...

JP: Lee Mavers? Sorry to interrupt..

DG: From the La's. Really really great songs, what a great album that was.

JP: You said you personally never feel happy with stuff that you record here, you edit yourself out of stuff. The La's came to mind. Because he never... his quote about the first album is "It's shit. There's not a good song on it". For me it's absolutely superb.

DG: Me too.

JP: Just a tragic shame that nothing else happened with the Las, although I've been hearing rumours recently that they're not ... dormant.

DG: No, they have been recording. No, he split the band up and he's doing a solo thing, and he's been recording tracks but when it will see the light of day I don't know. You know it was a terrible shame Steve Lillywhite took such a kicking over it, because really he rescued it, and like you say it's a superb record. I've been waiting for the follow-up for so long and I've given up on ever hearing anything as good again.

JP: Sorry, I interrupted you...

DG: Songwriters - Aimee Mann, great songwriter; Polly Harvey, she's very good, she's definitely got a style; Todd Rundgren, a superb all round master musician; Tom Petty, his last album was my favourite album of all last year. Martin Carthy the folk singer, he's not a songwriter but he's just a great stylist, he really personifies the best of English folk music, a great guitarist and singer. And then there's just a number of guitar players I admire. I've been working with this guy called Lyle Workman who played guitar on Todd Rundgren's last tour and was a member of a group called Bourgeois Tag. Again, another guy who was a big fan of ours and I had no idea was interested, but he's a great guitar player and we've been working on a little bit of... he's been recording an album at home of instrumental stuff, he doesn't really have a deal, he's just struggling to face... it's very difficult for him to get his music released and broadcast. And this guy Jon Brion, he works with Aimee Mann, he was her producer. He plays most of the instruments on her records and is just the most frightening musician I've ever worked with, a real multi-talented genius musician. He's a very modest and humble guy, and he probably doesn't have the wherewithal to make it himself but in the right circumstances with Aimee - you really should hear the Whatever album which was her last album from '93 which they worked on together. It's a fine fine bunch of songs, there's not a duff track on it.

With regard to guitar players, there are any number because I'm influenced by everything I hear, there are just so many great guitar players around, in the past and the present. Mostly Americans. I don't think England has thrown up any really gifted guitarists since the early seventies. I'd be hard pushed to think of one who's done something significant. Oh, and another guy I think is really good is Sting, someone else who's been slagged off rotten for being a "pop star". Again people can't see the wood for the trees, they have this pre-conceived notion of him as this arrogant pillock. Which is probably what he is as well, but he's a great songwriter and a really good musician and I think he should be recognised as such. I think Sting is cool. I really loved that last album of his,

JP: I'm not really familiar with any of the albums, all I know are the singles. Sometimes I think they've been unbelievably trite bollocks and some have been superb and very imaginative.

DG: Yes, the last two singles I haven't cared for at all.

JP: Did Andy produce a "pre-mix" of Parklife?

DG: Not Parklife, no, it was Modern Life Is Rubbish, he started work on 2 or 3 tracks and they didn't like what he was doing so they sacked him. But they did go on to use his ideas. Apparently, Albarn is a huge XTC fan, and he kept on calling Andy, or someone from their management kept calling and said "Please work with this band, they're dying to meet you and they really want to work with you", and he kept saying "No, I havent got the time, I don't want to do it", he didn't think the songs were very good, and they kept on ringing him up and eventually he said, "Oh well, how much are you going to pay me then, how much are you paying and can I work with Phil Thornalley", this engineer. And after a long series of negotiations that went on for about 6 months, he reluctantly agreed to go and work on these tracks, none of which he considered terribly good songs. After about a week in the studio then, things obviously weren't going right and they gave him the push and carried on working with the enignneer. And then when the album came out, he noticed that although he hadn't been credited with producing any of it they'd rooked most of the ideas he gave them.

JP: What songs?

DG: I can't remember.

JP: I'd love to hear those mixes. Did it go as far as mixes?

DG: Oh yeah, Andy's got some at home

JP: I'd written down some questions of my own, that were less musically inclined, and one that I wanted to ask was who do you think are the natural successors of XTC, who do you think carries on the same kind of ... Englishness? For me personally, I see a lot of XTC echoes in Blur.

DG: Yes, well thats good because I heard the album and I immediately took to it, and thought "This guy's a Ray Davies for his own generation", I thought he was that good, and basically that's all WE'RE doing, treading in the footsteps of Ray Davies and the Beatles, we're just following the examples that they set us. And a lot of other stuff besides that. If you asked Andy, his strongest songwriting influences are going to be John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ray Davies.

And there are other people like Paul Weller who always claims to be from that same school but I don't think he pulls it off, he hasn't got the talent to pull it off whereas I think that Albarn, Blur, have. But you know they haven't got a good word to say about Andy now which I think is very bad of them. Because not only do they not... when they sacked him, when they decided they didn't want to work with him anymore, they wouldn't go upfront and say, "Look Andy this isn't working out, we don't really agree with what you want to do to these songs, can't we try something else?". It was just like "Don't bother turning up tomorrow," or it was relayed through someone else, and then he reads in the gossip pages of the New Musical Express, they're slagging him off to the fucking press, and they haven't even spoken to him, and he was very hurt over that, so the next thing he did was ring up their record company and say "Give me my money now, I'm not mixing these tracks, you can fuck off and mix them with somebody else, just pay me". And it ended on a very sour note.

JP: What a shame. Kids today eh?

DG: It IS a shame, because they are undoubtably of the right school, they're thinking along the right lines and that Parklife album is very good, I was very impressed with it.

jsender: Who are your favourite non-musical artists?

JP: A great question...

DG: Ha! Too bad I haven't got an answer! Because it's difficult for me to relate to anything outside music, y'know it like people say to me "What do you do for fun?" or "What do you do in your spare time?" and I think "Yeah, what do I do? I play my guitar. Oh, OUTSIDE of music". I dont know, I watch telly...

JP: What TV do you enjoy?

DG: See all that? [Pointing to set of shelves with about 200 videos]. Mostly it's music actually, but there are a few movies there, some comedy series. Most of the stuff I taped I haven't watched since I taped it, I've just kept it there for posterity. There's some great musical history in there, some stuff from _The Tube_ from the early and mid-80s, some very obscure videos... And a lot of comedy, I like comedy, thats my thing. I like... I get the strangest looks.. I love Married With Children, the American sitcom. Which I've never met an American... whenever I mention it to my American friends they go "Oh, my god!".

JP: Popular over here...

DG: They have no sense of irony, they can't see that the whole thing is a sendup of its own audience and that's what's funny about it. I think it's the funniest thing, I sit here roaring with laughter. But I only know one American who likes it.

JP: Is there any else on TV that you love to watch?

DG: Yeah, I'm a soap fiend, I watch Coronation Street and Brookside regularly and then there are thing like Fantasy Football League which I never miss, although I hate football, I've never been a football fan but I can see the funny side of it and so can those guys, its really funny, I do think they've got the right attitude to it. Occasionally there will be a drama series that I will follow religiously, I liked The Singing Detective and most of the Dennis Potter things have been really good. And... what else have I been collecting? Deputy Dawg! They've been showing some old Deputy Dawg, there was one tonight and I've been filling up a tape.

That's what I remember - when we first got TV in '67 that was on and I really used to love it. Any cartoons with character voices, it was the voices that got me more than the animation or the drawings. If they had silly voices that was good enough and I just loved those stoopid Southern accent the Deputy Dawg guys had.

So you can see I'm literary pauper...

JP: Do you go to the movies much?

DG: No, never. I wait until they come on TV. I make a note of when they come out, because I read magazines religiously, Q and MOJO keep me informed basically and I read them from cover to cover whether they interest me or not. I like to be kept up to date on what's going on, so I make a mental note of new filns that are coming out and wait until they come on TV.

JP: What was the last one that you really enjoyed?

DG: The last one that I really enjoyed was Oliver Stone's JFK, and Barton Fink, which I thought was a brilliantly made film, and was one of those films that leaves you thinking, you know, and yet to watch it, to watch the detail of the photography and the way it was produced, I thought it was very entertaining. I was put onto it by Mike Keneally, this Zappa guitar player I was telling you about earlier, he's a huge huge fan of the Coen brothers and he's now insisting that I check out The Hudsucker Proxy. Which I will when it comes on television!

Every Oliver Stone film I've ever seen has been very very good. But he obviously works with a huge budget so he'd have a job making a bad film.


I'm very conscious of being a couch ptoato, I feel that every minute sat watching television is a minute when I could have been doing something useful, even though it's probably the best education I'm ever likely to get. I never think of it from that point of view, I see it as a waste of time.

JP: The strange demon that is television...

m. mccormick: For me, there has been a musical hole in the band ever since Terry flew south and was never replaced by a permanent drummer. Worse yet, I now hear Andy saying he wants to de-emphasize drums even more on your next album. Is there any hope for a drummer in XTC ever again? Or does the future instead look Wires and Drumless? Doesn't anyone in the band miss having a "real drummer"?

DG: It wasn't Terry's departure that created a hole, it was the fact that we stopped touring and functioning as a band, and like I said before I've no complaint about any of the drummers we've used, I don't think there's a percussive "hole". Possibly Mummer is a little "drum light" because we decided to tip everything on its head and go completely in the opposite direction to the way English Settlement had gone. Since Terry had left we thought well, let's really change then, let's do everything differently. That record really has a percussive de-emphasis, let's say. But I don't think you could accuse any of the tracks on Nonsuch as being flawed in the drum department at all, even Skylarking, they were all great drummers. It's just that some of the songs Andy wrote - one was "Knights in Shining Karma", the other was "Easter Theatre", and another called "River of Orchids", none of them had drums on them.

JP: This is from the new album?

DG: Yeah, so it was just sort of "I'm using pizzicato strings, I'm using acoustic guitars, and stuff like this so there's no need for any drums at the moment", but he's since written some new things that do have drums on them. The demos he's done, most of the tracks do have drums. I don't think there's any chance we'll do a completely drum-less record. It would be the commercial kiss of death if we did, anyway.

What I miss really is the fact we're not really a band, we're this msuic-making unit that goes into the studio once every couple of years and makes a record, record the songs. And if that's as good as it gets then fair enough, I'm happy with that, it could be a lot better, but it could be worse. Now, you see, we haven't got a record deal.

JP: Oh yeah! Tell us a bit about that.

DG: Well, to clear up any misunderstanding we haven't been dropped by Virgin, we decided to leave the company because they've been behaving - well in our view - dishonourably and it's become a point of principle now. We could have carried on making records under the existing terms of our contract, but we were so frustrated with our lot that we've decided enough is enough and we've decided to try our luck elsewhere. "Irreconcilable differences" are the reason that we've left Virgin.

It looked for a time early last year that they were going to help us out and improve the terms of our deal, but then George Michael lost his case and they just lost all interest in dealing with us from that point on. I think every record company in the country was shitting themselves as to the outcome of that case and wondering how they were going to re-jig everybodies contract if he won his case, which is why Virgin appeared to be co-operating. But it didn't come through, and we are now officially off the label. We are now looking for another benefactor, we've taken on a manager to help us around some of the more tricky areas, a guy called Paul Bailey who's managing Echobelly at the moment, he did a couple of tours with us in the 80s so he's not an unknown factor.

[We started talking about Terry Chambers]

JP: There was a picture of him in Chalkhills looking very tanned.

Dg: And very chunky as well. He turned into this little block of muscle. And went a bit grey, but he's basically the same.

JP: Did he make a lot of money out of Dragon?

DG: No. He toured with them for a couple of years. I don't actually know how much money he made, I didn't ask him! The band weren't together for very long, you know, I think he was only with them for about 18 months.

JP: I'd love to know a little more about that ..

DG: Well he was torn - he'd fallen in love with this girl and wanted to marry her, originally they were going to live in England. So they bought this tiny little house on a new development out in Stratton, which she didn't like at all. Not surprisingly, because in Australia cramped living conditions are not a normal fact of life. So when Andy wigged out in 82 and decided he wasn't going to tour anymore Terry said "That's it, I'm off". So he went back to Australia and married the girl who was by now pregnant.

JP: Not even taking the drums, which seems strange for a musician. Because he was really into the drums..

DG: Well, I think he found another priority. This happens a lot, particularly where women are involved, because a lot of guys are just in bands to attract women, and once they've found the woman they want to be with, that's the job done.

JP: Is he still with Donna?

DG: Oh yes, they've got three kids.

JP: Well, fair play to him.

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Copyright © JP Nicholls, 1995