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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Berlin-Terri-Nunn-Interview-2016

 

BERLIN - TERRI NUNN INTERVIEW

TERRI TALKS TO THE ROCKPIT ABOUT THE 'TOTALLY 80'S TOUR' AND THE SONG THAT SPLIT THE BAND

FEBRUARY 2016

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For many Berlin will always be that band who produced that one killer song then disappeared from view, fans of the band will course know there’s a whole lot more to them than ‘Take My Breath Away’ and a whole lot more memorable music.


Later this year they play in Australia for the first time since the early eighties – venturing Downunder just the once and even before they had that mega hit! There’s clearly a lot of catching up to do, maybe we could get away with just asking one cheeky question?


Did we mention it was a wet early morning in the West of Australia?

Terri:  Hello Mark.


Mark: Hi Terri. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to the Rockpit today.


Terri: My pleasure. I just heard from a previous journalist that it’s five in the morning there or something!


Mark: It is here in the West yes!


Terri: Why do they do this so early I’m so sorry!


Mark: It’s no problem at all it gets me out of bed to see this end of the day for a change! It’s the first time I think that Berlin have been down in Australia since 1984 (I can’t resist asking that one question) – What’s been happening in the last 30 years?
Terri: (laughs!) Oh my God that is quite a question to start with Mark (still laughing)… Let me I see! I grew up, I had a kid, I got married a couple of times, my that’s a while. Quite a bit has happened in that time. I broke up with Berlin, I got back together with Berlin, yeah, and it’s been a ride! Hasn’t it?


Mark: It has been quite a ride, and let’s look at the years in between visits, but first ‘Totally 80’s’ is what you’re coming over for , it’s one of those co-package tours that you are co-headlining with another 80’s favourite Martika. Let’s go back to that first time you were over, do you have any memories from that time? Do you remember where you played, what you got up to?

Terri: Yes, I remember the climate is very similar to where I’m from, it was very warm and dry and sunny, so I loved that. The men were hot and I noticed that the women were especially strong, we’d just come over from Japan and at the time the men there were a little chauvinistic and women were walking behind them, and hiding their smiles behind their hands, which was strange coming from America. But in Australia the men were just as strong but the women were also very strong. It just struck me – like how were the women dealing with these guys, as the men were very manly men. I just wondered how they all got along, how is it now?    

Mark: It’s interesting to see change through time; I think Australia has changed a lot in that time we’re kind of like the rest of the world now, though sometimes we feel like we’re ten years behind everywhere else. But the manly man still exists though these days political correctness has rounded a few edges I guess.

Mark: It’s always interesting to hear from a band that people associate with a particular period in time and see what they’ve been up to since then, you’ve had three albums out in the 2000’s, most recently ‘Animal’ which I guess is quite electronic and very danceable, I hope you will get a chance to play some newer songs and bring us up to date?

Terri: Yes we will, we get to do both this time.

Mark: Taking it all the way back to the early years of the band, what were the eighties like in LA for a band like Berlin? Was it a fertile scene for your style of music?

Terri: It was actually great because the club scene was very different to what it is today where it’s ‘pay to play’, now it’s very difficult to actually play in clubs and if you do you have to pay to do it. In those days it wasn’t that easy to get into clubs but you didn’t have to pay to do it, but we made our way into the clubs at a time when power pop was huge and we weren’t, electronic music wasn’t really happening yet so people looked at us a little strange as they didn’t really get it. But as I said power pop was huge so we were playing with bands like ‘The Knack’, ‘The Go-Go’s’ and ‘The Motels’, and Punk was still happening at the end of the 70’s as well so there were ‘The Cramps’ and ‘X’ and ‘999’ and we were all playing with each other and it was so exciting in the LA club scene and you always had a chance to be heard.

Mark: You’d already put out some great songs before your huge break with ‘that song’, can you tell us what it was like to go from being a band that was making good headway to a band that suddenly everyone was listening to? It seemed to effect the band in not necessarily a good way?

Terri: The ‘Take My Breath Away’ song was really just timing as we were having problems as a band anyway, we’re all friends now and when we look back on it now it was exhaustion, we were just working constantly since the label had signed us in 1982, when that song came along it was 1986 and we were just idiots, just kids and we didn’t know that we should just probably fit in some downtime in those four years. The label didn’t care as they just want their money when you’re hot and making them money. So it was “OK now you’re touring, then recording then touring” and we just hated each other, we hated everything … we were just tired and so when that song came along it was just one more thing to fight about because I loved it and Paul and everyone else hated it because it wasn’t ‘our song’ and Paul thought we should be in control because we were Berlin and that was that. So when we did that tour we weren’t even talking anymore (laughs) we didn’t sleep for four days straight and now it seems so easy that we should have just stepped back and done something other than work. From going from a band that wasn’t that well known ‘Take My Breath Away’ we all know now and agree was only a good thing because it opened so many doors to places that knew nothing about s previously and couldn’t give a shit about us so it was such a great experience to have that happen but we weren’t appreciating it because all we wanted to do was take a break and sit with some friends for a while! (laughs) So that’s been one of my great lessons in life - learning about balance. You know money doesn’t hug you at night and there are a lot of other parts that I need.  

Mark: I was reading some interesting things that you got up to after the band split that first time – like singing backing vocals with ‘The Sisters of Mercy’ on ‘Under the Gun’ which would have been an interesting experience?

Terri: Yeah, it was actually a duet, and the first time I’d played ‘Tops of the Pops’ as the song charted over there. I had the song from a solo album and the label didn’t like it so I played it for Andrew (Eldritch, Sisters of Mercy songwriter and vocalist) and he said “maybe we could do it for our record and I need a new track for our ‘Best of’ compilation”. And that was that.  

Mark: That’s so cool. And you were also in a Rock band ‘Sin City’ around LA in the 90’s was that just for fun?  

Terri: Yeah that was kind of fun, a sort of sixties, bluesy thing I did as I didn’t know what I wanted to do at the time. It was great fun but never really meant to go anywhere.

Mark: And to close with our stock questions. If you could have been a ‘fly on the wall’ for the creation of any great album just to see how it all fitted together and how the band made the magic in the studio what would it be for you? What’s the album that’s stayed for you?

Terri: Oh wow, just before you called I was thinking of ‘Scary Monsters (by Bowie) I loved that album or ‘Station to Station’: in my teen years my girlfriends and me would play that and just dance to the entire album, it’s so incredible. Or pretty much any Pink Floyd album just to watch how they did it as David Gilmour is just the greatest guitar player in the history of man! He played on our third album on one of my songs and to this day I have never had an experience like that – just listening to someone and wanting to have his children and keep him in the room and in my life! It was just so special! Maybe ‘The Wall’, imagine that oh my God!

Mark: And we always end with the easiest question, ‘What is the meaning of life’?
Terri: ‘Love is the whole show’ – I had that line given to me during an experience I had with a Shaman using a plant substance that is actually legal in America called ayahuasca. This being came to me when I took the ayahuasca and not only said to me that line but showed it to me that ‘love is the while show’ it’s everything that I’m looking at everything, it’s love and so that to me it’s the meaning of life it’s everything.   


Mark: That’s a beautiful thought to lose, thank you so much for talking to The Rockpit. Berlin has been one of those bands I’ve always wanted to see live and I can’t wait.


Terri: Oh wow, thank you for your time Mark and I hope to get to see you there.

 

 

Terri spoke to Mark Rockpit - January 2016  

 


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