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 Recordings'.

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 wounds!

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.