Catching up with the infamous Texas Terri

In the spring of 2004, Texas Terri released her second album (and first for TKO) ‘Your Lips…My Ass!’ under the name Texas Terri Bomb! (Her initial full-length, ‘Eat Shit!’, came out in 2000 with her then-band Texas Terri & The Stiff Ones.) Overflowing with sleazy, rebellious, out-of-control punk/rock ‘n’ roll that attains an even higher level of toughness with Texas Terri’s signature gritty and sometimes gruff vocals, ‘Your Lips’ is a feverish and energetic collection of 12 songs – mostly originals either written by TxT (as she shall be called from now on) or co-written with other musicians, but also includes some covers like the unsurpassable, absolutely thrilling rendition of Iggy Pop’s “I Got A Right,” Thin Lizzy’s “The Rocker”, and “Love Hates Me”, which was penned by Nick Cooper and originally performed by his band Marky Ramone And The Speed Kings.

The disc starts out with an original composition, “One Hit Wonder”, which was inspired by VH1’s programming, namely their “Greatest One Hit Wonders” special. “It was so cheesy, and I’m like, ‘I wanna be on THAT show!” she explains. Only time will tell if her wish comes true… “Dirty Action” is a bit more subdued than some of the other fare on the record, but still has an undisputed fierceness to it, while “Oh Yeah!” is bordering on ballad with it’s emphasis on melody and a lighter, less abrasive vocal style from TxT but this sweetness belies the defiant nature of the lyrics, where she sings, “We were afraid of nothin’!/We didn’t care if it was right or wrong.”

Some songs, including “Dream Wrecker”, the, uh, raunchy “Raunch City”, and probably my favorite “To The Top” (a wonderful tough, upbeat rocker) were written with Demon Boy (Don Cilurso), a man with whom TxT collaborated in Texas Terri & The Stiff Ones for a while, and about whom she speaks with much affection. “He was like my Keith Richards for six years,” she reminisces, likening their partnership to the sometimes turbulent, but ever-successful pairing of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards or Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. “There’s always been friction between those people,” she says with a laugh, “I wish we got as famous as them!” Their time writing together sounds to be very prolific, as she describes how he would come up with much of the music and just come up with lyrics based on everyday things TxT would say. “Having a partner like that that actually pays attention to things and really knows you and can just utilize this stuff creatively” is great to have. Meanwhile, TxT would arrange the songs.

Because of this excellent relationship, when the two parted ways (on amicable terms – he does play guitar on quite a few of the tracks on the new record), she found it exceedingly difficult to showcase HER songs to the world. “I had never really exposed what had just come out of me without having that partner in crime,” she concedes, “It was a time in my life where I had just been writing material without my songwriting partner, so it was kinda scary. I felt like I was naked with my clothes on.” In turn, this is an important time in TxT’s career. As she relates, “A lot of evolution has come about. I’m finding my new direction every day. There are so many different directions I could take at this moment. I feel like I’ve jumped off a cliff but I haven’t landed yet.” She was adamant that she wanted to record this transitional phase in her career and she found some top-notch people to collaborate with her.

And as she likes to make things “events,” she went all out while making this record. Though she managed to get some extremely talented, well-known musicians to contribute, including Wayne Kramer, Cherie Currie (The Runaways), Marc Diamond (The Dwarves/Motochrist), Dave Teague (The Dickies), Ryan Roxie (Alice Cooper), among others, she has the nerve to say she wanted to make it an even BIGGER event! THE MAN – Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead was supposed to be on the album, but will most likely be on her next (“He’s all frustrated” he’s not on it, she says, and he tells her, “Promise I’m gonna be on the next one”), as was Slash, but he was just too busy. TxT says it’s still cool “that he was there in spirit,” however.

TxT has some VERY exciting shows coming up during her full-U.S. tour that kicked off July 2nd in L.A., that included some early-July Warped Tour dates in California and a set at the Wasted festival in Morecambe, England (formerly Holidays In The Sun), which included the likes of legendary acts like U.K. Subs, The Partisans, The Damned, G.B.H., and Discharge. Anyway, what makes her stop at The Continental (NYC) so remarkable is that it’s one date where Cheetah Chrome, guitarist for seminal mid- to late-‘70s punk band The Dead Boys, and even earlier, Rocket From The Tombs. Originally from Cleveland, The Dead Boys were a crucial part of the CBGB’s early NYC scene with The Ramones, Blondie, Television, Richard Hell, and the like. He’ll be playing guitar with TxT’s band from August 4th up till the 12th – the day of The Continental show, which in itself is noteworthy, as (though it’s not CBGB’s, it’s still up the block from that club…) this area is where Cheetah and The Dead Boys did most of their damage. The pair are planning on playing mostly TxT material in support of ‘Your Lips…My Ass!’ of course, a couple of Dead Boys songs, Iggy Pop covers, and some “surprises,” as the press release says. Cheetah’s also just released an album this year: Rocket From The Tombs’ latest, ‘Rocket Redux’ on Smog Veil.

In any case, for the whole tour (check for details), which ends August 28th in Santa Monica, she has Ricky Rat of Detroit’s Trash Brats on guitar, Roxy Michaels who’s played with Marky Ramone on bass, and J.L. on drums. And her live show is purported to be just plain wild. She is often compared to such frontpersons as Iggy Pop (she’s been deemed by many “the female Iggy Pop” – though it must be made clear she doesn’t say this of herself: “I’m not THAT fucking arrogant!…I don’t say I’m anybody except Texas Terri,” she avows), Lux Interior, Joan Jett (this from Cherie Currie of The Runaways), Mick Jagger, Stiv Bators (by Cheetah, himself!), Wendy O. Williams (by LEMMY!), and Courtney Love to name a few. TxT explains, “You take all these people and what they really have in common is spontaneity, honesty, and just soul. They give you every bit of their passion and energy when they’re onstage. And that’s pretty much what a TxT show is like.”

She says sometimes people get a bit scared of her because of her intensity. “I guess that’s the dangerous edge people talk about, which I don’t find dangerous at all,” she reflects, “I guess maybe spewing your emotions can feel dangerous.” With an avid love for her fans and her undying desire to make them feel like they’re part of the whole experience, TxT often brings people up onstage and goes out in the audience to watch people sing along. “I just like to make people feel really welcome,” she attests. And though she believes “it’s time that I become HUGE in the underground,” she still feels “the most important thing is that I love my new record and that I get to go out and see my fans that I love so much.”

Interview date: May 1, 2004

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