‘We are Terrorvision, and we are from Bradford’. These are the words spoken by Tony Wright, lead vocalist of Terrorvision on each of the many, many times I have seen this band. Originally formed in 1987 with a ridiculous name I will not mention, they became Terrorvision in 1991, releasing 6 studio albums over an 18 year period.
Terrorvision, from Bradford, are, perhaps, the most fun you will ever see live. With increasingly hazy memories, I believe that I have only seen 1 band more often than I’ve seen Terrorvision. I remember seeing them on the 2nd stage at the Monsters of Rock festival, Donington, in 1994. This was not long after seeing their video for ‘Oblivion’, and to be fair, they created a life-long fan, albeit one that drifted away in a similar manner to themselves.
I have stories that will remain untold, I own a signed drumstick and a personal live video recorded on my mobile phone and a small, unimpressive secret!
In short, I love Terrorvision!
Please welcome Retrospective #7, Terrorvision.
Album Retrospective – Terrorvision.
Terrorvision’s debut album, Formaldehyde, was released in May 1993. Well, it was unless you are one of the lucky few to own the original ‘Total Vegas’ version that was released in late December 2002, but I don’t own that version so we shall move on.
I was late to Formaldehyde, having discovered the band on their sophomore album, but I quickly snaffled up this CD and immediately fell in love with the rough and ready charm of these Northern upstarts (Although I’m a proud Scotsman, I’d been living in the south of England for a few years – this allows me to use the term ‘Northern’ in a familiar sense).‘My House’ was apparently the first single to indicate the band’s class, but I must admit to it passing me by. Fortunately, upon purchase of the album. I immediately identified with the track and have loved singing it along with the band on numerous occasions. Other tracks like, ‘American TV’ and, ‘Jason’ offer the merest glimpse of what the band were capable of. It was a very solid, if not spectacular, debut album that hinted at their potential. 7/10
This potential was immediately realised in their 2nd album, an album that is in my top 10 albums of all time, ‘How to Make Friends and Influence People’. Released in 1994, my first ever memories of Terrorvison are, once again, from the Monsters of Rock festival. I was utterly aware of Terrorvision, you couldn’t miss them. The single. ‘Obvilion’, was absolutely everywhere. Where bands such as The Almighty and Little Angels fought for airplay, Terrorvision released a, nothing-short-of-perfect, rock song that invaded the charts, with the video of the boy performing in the sea. Our Bradford-based Supermen had arrived.
It wasn’t just the one single though. Every single song on the album is a banger. ‘Alice, What’s the Matter is a sing-a-long live classic, utterly immense. Although not a single, ‘Discotheque Wreck’ should be the soundtrack to anyone who dances like myself. However, I can neither mash potato nor do the twist. Other fantastic tracks are ‘Pretend Best Friend’ and ‘Some People Say’. This is a perfect 90’s Britrock album, and I detest the name ‘Britrock’. 10/10
March 1996 saw the release of the band’s third album, ‘Regular Urban Survivors’, and my recollection at the time was how awesome it was. Four singles were released from the album, with ‘Perseverance’ doing particularly well in the charts. For weeks, all you heard was people singing, ‘whales and dolphins, whales and dolphins, yeah!’ I also got the chance to see them on tour around this time, still owning the gig t-shirt, with my best pal. Terrorvision were very high in my favourite bands list. They were flying.
I was then absolutely staggered when I listened to the album as part of this retrospective. From being one of their best albums, in my mind, it became an ‘Ok’ album and the singles that were released from the album were actually the best songs, with the others not hitting the expected high levels at all. I can’t put my finger on the reasons for the downturn of ‘Regular Urban Survivors’, I even question if my view of the album in the 90’s was through rose tinted glasses. 7/10
What isn’t a surprise is that I still adore the 4th album, ‘Shaving Peaches’. Released in October 1998, I bought this immediately, even though I was a poor student at the time. The album features two of my favourite Terrorvision songs, namely ‘III Wishes’ and ‘Josephine’. Full of trademark humour these tracks start the album off with a BANG! Jump forward 21 years, at the Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow, I was stood at the very front of the crowd at this amphitheatre style venue. Singing away with unfettered abandon, taking too many photos, Tony Wright stepped down to the front of the stage and grabbed my camera, then proceed to film himself and the band singing the aforementioned, ‘Josephine’. As a man in my mid 40’s, I was absolutely beside myself and it is one of my most treasured gig memories. The actual day itself is my favourite gig going experience of all time…. more of that in a future retrospective perhaps….
Those who know Terrorvision, will know that something is missing from my memories of ‘Shaving Peaches’. This is on purpose, as I get really pissed off when I speak with people who say they have never heard of the band, only for them to know the song, ‘Tequila’. The ‘Mint Royale’ remix of the song sent the band into the stratosphere for a while. By far their biggest selling single, it is also one of my least favourite Terrorvision songs. For the record, ‘Tequila’ does not make me happy! It just gets me really drunk! However, there was one massive bonus that came about off the back of this song. Terrorvision were named as the band who were going to play at the Summer Ball at my University!
In 1999, I was in my final year at University. It was a strange time, happy to finish my degree, but having to move away from my friends in Leicester was upsetting. The Summer Ball was the big goodbye for us all, and the fact that one of my favourite bands of all time were the ‘house band’ was absolutely immense. I cannot put my excitement in words.
The whole event was a drunken blur. I met the band wandering about the site before the gig and got the chance to speak to them, essentially berating my friend Ian for having the temerity to ask one of the band, who he was! Angrily, I introduced Shutty to Ian, like he was an old pal, then introduced the rest of the guys. This was pre-mobile phone days, but I got a really cool picture with me, complete with my Tuxedo, and the band – alas this is missing, presumed forever.
The gig itself was brilliant, if not a little bit strange. For a start, we were all in formal dress, Tuxedo’s, Kilts and Ball Gowns were the norm. Also, it wasn’t a group of fans at a gig. It was a bunch of drunken students with a ‘house’ band. I was potentially the biggest fan there. It was also rather easy to get to the front of the crowd, which I did! I also worked with the Stewards at University, and so I knew them all. This allowed me to plonk my bottle of Red wine (I said we were drunken students) stage side of the barrier and then proceed to go mental during their set. It was brilliant.
After the gig, Shutty came down from the stage and threw a drum stick to me, only for some wee git to reach across my chest and grab it before I could! I was raging, but not as raging as Shutty who glared at the drum stick grabber before proceeding to place the 2nd drumstick in may sweaty hands. I still have this drum stick and the fantastic memories of this once in a lifetime gig!
Rubbish secret time – I can admit to the band that I was in their tour bus, by myself, at this gig. I wish I could say that I did more than just sit in a seat, but I didn’t. I was too respectful and sometimes wish I had taken a poo in their toilet! 10/10
2001 saw the release of the 5th album, ‘Good to Go’ and, if truth be told, I was utterly underwhelmed by the lead single, ‘D’ya wanna go faster’. This actually set the tone for my enjoyment of the album, that is, I never really bought into the sound the band were trying to create. Yes, there are a few decent moments, but to me, ‘Good to Go’ sounds like a band who were, and I have no regrets in using this phrase, good to go. Indeed, it was later that year that Terrorvision played their first ever ‘final concert’. Luckily, our Northern Supermen have never stuck to that statement. 6/10
Then…. in 2011, and seemingly from out of nowhere, an announcement came that there was to be a new album! “Ya beauty”, I thought, “Have they still got the juice?” ‘Super Delux’ was released later that year, and I was slightly apprehensive about listening to it. Those who have read previous retrospectives will know that my musical taste moved into the more extreme side of metal, and Terrorvision may be many things, none of which could be called ‘extreme’.
My fears were unfounded. Whilst not ground-breaking, ‘Super Delux’ is like a big welcoming hug from an old friend. It is pure Terrorvision, meaning it makes you feel good when you listen to it and it is enjoyable. 7/10
Terrorvision are a band that have given me so much joy over the years. The fact we can still go and see them live every now and again is something that fans like myself appreciate more than the band will know. They are genuinely one of the best live bands I have ever had the joy of watching, with a set list spread across a mere 6 albums that other bands will never be able to match.
- How to Make Friends and Influence People
- Shaving Peaches
- Regular Urban Survivors
- Super Delux
- Good to Go
- Find out more – Seek out their Live albums/DVD’s
- Off the beaten track – Check out Laika Dog to see Tony Wright’s versatility.
2 responses to “Restrospective #7 – Terrorvision”
Good retro, old chap. I must also give them a listen. You put 2003 for formaldehyde by the way. Sent from my Galaxy
Aaah – Fixed it… I read this through numerous times and still missed that bad boy