Terry Friend-My Solo Endeavours.
Having been part of the local music
scene in Letchworth for the previous two years, I
recruited some of the contacts that I had made and
as 'Terry Friend and Friends' we recorded my debut
solo album 'Come the Day' in Piper studios in Luton
in the summer of 1977. I released it on the 'Tramp'
label. Having heavily relied on Rob for the tunes
for the last seven years, recording my own material
was just the confidence boosting experience that I
needed at this fledgling stage of my career. For I
had no doubt at all in my own mind, that concentrating
and developing my song writing skills was what I wanted
to do for the rest of my life.
Whilst my friends and I were putting
the finishing touches to my rather 'easy listening'
type debut folk album, the Punk explosion had erupted.
So, seeing an opportunity to enhance the label I decided
to release a single by local punks, The Bleach Boys,
whose bass player just happened to be Chris Sutoris.
Their single did rather well and the band went on
to release other successful discs on other labels.
And today, like me, they are still flying the flag!
As Tramp had been a partnership, and I was now working
on my own, it was definitely time to break from the
past. So I formed my own label, 'Paw Records'. The
big burning question was who to put out on it. It
was a toss up between local bands The Bees or The
Varicose Veins. In the end I decided to go with the
band whose material appealed to my musical tastes
the most. With the benefit of hindsight I made a very
poor choice. I chose The Bees, and almost as soon
as their single was released, they broke up and went
their separate ways leaving me with a lot of singles
that I could not sell, typical local band syndrome!
I lost rather a lot of money. The Varicose Veins,
on the other hand, changed their name to Orange Disaster
and later to Perfect Disaster and went on to achieve
fame and fortune.
By now I had my own band, New Morning, which I had
formed with a work mate, Colin Johnson. On bass was
Nick Bliss and his mate Nick on drums. We did rather
well I thought, equally as well as my Stonefield Tramp
days. Disaster struck when Nick the bass player left
to go to College or University. We failed to find
a replacement for him and soon it was just me and
Colin. We carried on flying the flag as a duo for
a while but it wasn't really what we wanted. In the
end we called it a day.
I was also a married man with a young
daughter. Yes, I had taken the plunge and family life
on a council estate loomed large. What, might you
ask, is wrong with family life on a council estate.
Do you want the list! Having left my flat in the town,
I'd also lost the means to rehearse the band. Yet
another nail in the coffin of New Morning. I'm not
exactly saying that would be song writers and musicians
should not get married, but in my own personal experience,
did that situation do my creative output any good.
Regretfully I have to say that it did not! So........all
you would be Beatles and Bob Dylan's out there......
You have been warned!
Meanwhile, in between changing nappies
and loosing sleep, I still managed to find the time
to carry on writing. I came across a chap called Dave
Simpson who had a studio in Stevenage called 'The
Crypt', and as the name suggests, was in the basement
of a church. We'd worked together earlier in 1981
and recorded five songs. Now (1983) we got together
again and put together an albums worth of new songs
which I called 'Lazy River'. I even had local celebrity
John Slaughter, a well known Blues player, come in
and lay down a guitar track on the Albums title track.
Being somewhat broke, the lot of the recently married
parent! I simply could not afford to issue vinyl albums
as before, so opted instead for the cheaper option
of Cassettes. They sold out very quickly, and in 1985,
to celebrate the birth of my second daughter, Sarah.
I recorded my last album with Dave called 'Follow
The Dots'. I took the title from a drawing book belonging
to my eldest daughter, Fiona. I also incorporated
in the sleeve design, the first drawing that she had
ever done on her own. Again it had to be a small run
of Cassettes. I also changed the label to 'New Morning
Being stuck in the middle of an eighteen
year long reign of terror by the Tories, things on
all fronts in my life just seemed to be getting worse,
or hopeless, with the ability to change ones options
almost non existent. I now entered my 'lost weekend'
phase. I had lost the inspiration to write, and without
that it all seemed so pointless. This unhappy situation
would last for an incredible seven years. Things had
definitely reached an all time low for me. Although
I suppose something positive would emerge from this
creative void, I took up writing books, and completed
two Biographies, one on my childhood and one on my
former Military life. It did help to heal the creative
In 1996, I turned to my friend Colin
from my New Morning band, and re-recruited him and
we hired a studio in Luton, as it happens, the cheapest
one we could find. I'm married with two kids remember!
We spent a very pleasant and rewarding two years recording
seventeen of the songs from my back catalogue that
I had never previously done anything with. The recording
process took us two years because of the financial
situation. I was as hard up as a church mouse and
it took me a month or so to be able to save enough
money to spend a day in the studio. Eventually the
deed was done. The resulting album was to be my first
C.D. It was called 'Whispers in the Wind' by 'New
Morning'. I was joined by my daughter Sarah on one
of the tracks where she did backing vocals, also I
used one of her early oil paintings for the cover
and I think it worked very well. Although pleased
with the song content I regret to say that the recording
lacked the strong, guiding hand of a good producer/
engineer. I'm afraid this sort of thing always happens
when you 'Go cheap'. Therefore I had produced a flawed
album. And I can only apologise for that and make
sure that I never make that mistake again. Nevertheless
I'm glad that Colin, Charlie and I, rolled up our
sleeves and got on with the job. It is, engineering
skills apart, a good example of the type of material
that I write, and besides, If I hadn't have recorded
it, those songs might have been lost for ever,
In 1998 with all the other chaos going
on in my life I had, what I think had been brewing
for a good couple of years, a complete nervous breakdown.
I'm not proud of it, but it happened, and it's a fact
of my life that it happened. Usually you come through
these things weaker or stronger. It took some time,
but I think I came through stronger. I expect you
are wondering why I ever bothered to mention it at
all! It's all rather simple really. In the midst of
the torment, heart break, and feelings of utter helplessness,
and the darkest of the demons, something rather wonderful
happened. I started to write again.