Terry to Terry (The Master and The Facsimile) A personal view from behind the drums As an introduction, in my best Michael Caine impersonation… My name.... is Terry Arnett. I have been a drummer for 35 years, but would not consider myself as a professional – more “I like to play” (as Wayne’s World’s Garth Algar would say). I have played in many genres of music, with many bands. One of my current bands is a tribute to the great British institution of a band called XTC. They’re called Fossil Fools, and have been around since 2010. The band consists of: Ed Percival on vocals and guitars, Dan Farmer on vocals, guitars Matt Bell on bass and backing vocals (Updated 2021 - Jake Crawford on guitars and backing vocals since 2019) And yours truly on drums and backing vocals. Because of this, I have tried to emulate the parts played by all the various drummers that have sat on the drum stool within the band. But, it’s the original drummer of that band, Terry Chambers that I love to try to copy. When approached to directly ask Terry C some questions, I jumped at the chance. Here now follows some questions that I hope have not been asked before! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- TA: I have a confession from the start Terry… You, along with Stewart Copeland, were the reason I picked up a pair of sticks. One of the first patterns I tried to learn was “Making Plans For Nigel”, because it sounded so different to a lot of other drummers at that time. I had not got into bands like Devo at this point, as I was still finding my feet in a musical sense. I would like to ask you this: TA: What bands were you listening to at the time and who was a major influence that got you to want to play the drums? TC: Major influences at the time and in no particular order: 60’s and 70’s drummers such as; Simon Kirke, Ian Paice, Bill Bruford, Alan White, Brian Downey, Carmen Appice, Bill Ward, Russell Hunter, Ted McKenna, John Bonham, Mick Avery, Steve Broughton, Cozy Powell, Dave Clark, Don Brewer, Ollie Olsen Ollie Olsen - needs a special mention as he donated time to improve my stage presence and taught me to twiddle sticks in the dressing room of the Greyhound Pub, Fulham Palace Road, London back in the mid 70’s, so thanks to him! Also a mention to Terry Rowe and Terry Alderton (ironic) who were local drummers who inspired me to give it a go. TA: Now we have established a base, as a young drummer at the time, and before Star Park, did you play for any other bands? TC: No other bands. My first musical experience was with a guy called Steve Phillips (guitar) and Brian Mills (“Sllim”) on bass for two get-togethers at which point it became clear to me that we needed a bass player! I suggested to Phillips a character I knew through local drinking establishments. A certain Colin Moulding. TA: Looking back at XTC’s recorded video archive, did you prefer those larger sizes kits (like the Rogers/Premier kits you had in the earlier days) or the more refined Tama kits in the day? And, what made you choose Tama and Paiste back in 1979/1980? TC: At the age of 14 I purchased a Broadway kit on which I learnt to play albeit on my own, listening to records. I felt the need to upgrade the kit as it was a bit of relic, which to this day, I regret. (By the way, the Broadway kit was purchased from Kempsters Music shop (thanks Jeff) at the princely sum of £30 which did the job to a point.) However, moving on, I purchased a Pearl kit from Holmes Music Swindon. After the Pearl kit, I purchased a Premier kit. PS: I’ve never owned a Rogers kit – Anything you have seen would have been hired for a mime on TV. As for Tama, I was fortunate enough to do a tour of Japan at which point the band were doing fairly well. I was invited to tour the factory and as a result, became endorsed by Tama. They were quite innovative and pushing hard into the rock market and electronic devices such as the Snyper were created by them and that’s really the connection between myself and Stewart Copeland as he is also endorsed as regards Tama. Ironically, we toured together with the same coloured kit, although different sizes and set up but both using the Snyper trigger. TA: Do you still prefer Paiste cymbals, or does branding really matter to you at all? Do you have a preference as to the make of drum heads? Are (or were) you influenced by the drummers you aspired to? TC: Paiste cymbals mainly in the early years (due to cost) but now mainly Zildjian and Paiste. I do feel that quality counts. With regard to drum heads, I would say yes, I do have a preference of drum heads and I use Remo, Ambassador, Emperor, and still providing a fat sound on old drums although I am using Power Stroke 3 on some snares. TA: What sizes drumsticks did you use back in the day (I saw in the Dragon live show you roughing up your sticks with the saw on a Swiss Army knife prior to the filmed gig) and what sticks are you using now? TC: I have basically used 5B sticks all the time, some nylon tipped. At this point, my preferred stick is Promark, although it is a cost thing and Vic Firth are also very good. As for roughing up sticks, just a means to make them less slippery but that does come at a cost when your hands are a little tender as you get blisters and that’s not so good! TA: On a fairly technical note, did you influence Stewart Copeland in using the Tama Snyper drum synth, as I could see both of you using some form of electronics from 1980? TC: I don’t think Stewart or myself were aware that either of us used a Tama Synper. It was a device Tama provided as part of their service in the early stages of drum triggers. Both of us probably used that technology as a work in progress. (Perhaps he better than me!). TA: Now to take you into the studio of old… out of John Leckie, Steve Lillywhite and Hugh Padgham, amongst others, who was your personal favourite engineer or producer to work with? TC: Very difficult to say. I had a very enjoyable time on the first two albums with John Leckie – a learning curve for both band and producer. White Music was the first album he actually produced. Because both those albums didn’t sell particularly well it was deemed perhaps that we should try another producer hence Steve Lillywhite came to mind as I personally liked his work with Ultravox and he agreed to do the next album (Drums and Wires). As it happened, the resident engineer at the Manor was Hugh Padgham so the team came together by chance as opposed to selection and the rest is history. TA: Taking that one step further… where, in your opinion, was the best place for the recording of your drums? TC: The Townhouse TA: On another technical note… do you have any particular tuning techniques for your drums? TC: I never really bothered with tuning in the early days. The drums were only tuned to sound good in the studio (in or out of tune). Now I am taking a little bit more care over it. TA: Could you play a double bass drum or twin pedal setup? Have you ever tried in the studio? TC: I dabble in double but really its just the single pedal. TA: Your timekeeping is so rock solid. Your relentless (more like “take no prisoners”!) patterns of the likes of “Complicated Game”, “Nigel” and Travels in Nihilon” as examples (the latter of which is one of my personal favourites) show an amazing meter. I have to ask this… I know other members of the band have said not... but did you ever use a click track or metronome at all in the studio? (I want to hear it from the horse's mouth, as it were 🙂 ) TC: I have never used a metronome but I do recall playing and making my own click track for Melt the guns (ES LP). The job of a drummer IS to keep time. He is the keeper of time within a band or all is lost. TA: What do you think of people like me who are trying to emulate you? (… and I emphasise the word “trying”, and I hope you take this as the highest compliment to, what I consider to be, one of the best drummers of the era in the UK.) TC: Take a look at my bank account and see whether you feel this is the direction in which you want to go - I’ve always done it for love! TA: And finally… What advice would you give to any budding drummer trying to find his or her feet in today's “dog-eat-dog” climate? TC: Learn your rudiments, practice every spare moment you have. You now have the advantage of YouTube to see all the great players in all types of music - look, listen and learn but ultimately, be yourself. Cheers Terry! TC
Introvertigo: No, thanks, Mare--I don't smoke.
Oct 13, 2021 21:34:13 GMT
donavan: I think she meant toes. 🐫
Oct 13, 2021 23:19:12 GMT
Mare: I meant camel or dromedary.
Oct 17, 2021 0:06:43 GMT
donavan: OK, don't take the hump.
Oct 17, 2021 2:03:04 GMT
Mare: Have a Day, everyone! <3
Oct 17, 2021 15:57:09 GMT
donavan: Happy Monday ! 🙃
Oct 18, 2021 12:08:42 GMT
Mare: I have always said things other people only thought...I got laughter and me, too! as reward. Sometimes, though, I felt regret about what I had brought to the surface. Is that my lot in life-to be an instigator?
Oct 21, 2021 17:17:07 GMT