Texas Terri and the Stiff Ones Take Off in Paris!
Butte Montmartre, sunny spring afternoon, hoards of tourists push past me as I make my way up into the brilliant bustling street from the dark Parisian subway. I scan the horizon, searching for the right boulevard, and after circling the block only once, amazingly I find it. Café Montmartre is there, just below Sacre Coeur, doors and walls open to the sidewalk, brimming with punk rockers. Instantly I'm amazed. I haven't seen any punks during three years in Paris, and all of a sudden, they're coming out of the woodwork!
I go to the girls working the door and say, "je suis sur le liste" and, sure enough, I am! I feel like a real somebody, on the list for a show in Paris. How chic! I go to the bar and order a cider. My stomach is filled with butterflies and I'm sweating like it's the first day of junior high. I eye the room, anxiously seeking familiar faces. The punks do all look familiar - just like the ones at home - but they're speaking French and I don't know any of them. My heart sinks a little but I keep looking, and then, suddenly, she emerges from the underground, red hair flaming. "Terri!" I scream and run up to hug her.
It's a really strange experience to see people you know from home in a foreign country. And it's an even stranger experience to see a band you watch in Hollywood nearly every month play a venue halfway around the world. But that's exactly what I got to do, and let me tell you, it was awesome!
In the midst of their first European tour, Texas Terri and the Stiff Ones played to a packed house on a Sunday afternoon. French kids are starved for rock n' roll and were given the treat of their lives when Texas Terri and company rolled into town. Doing songs from their "Eat Shit!" CD along with an extended Iggy Pop set, the band tore the roof off that bistro and whipped their new-found fans into a frenzy. As usual, Terri and the band put on an amazing performance. Sweaty kids vied for position to get "baptised" by Terri, as she sprayed water and near-beer into the crowd with her mouth. She then threw herself onto someone's shoulders and was passed from end to end of the sardine-packed room. Cameras flashed and the habitually-composed Parisians screamed and wouldn't let the band leave until they belted out two or three encores. Terri emerged for the final encore wearing nothing but combat boots, which was her standard m.o. the entire tour, and if it hadn't been for the sweltering heat and time constraints, they could have gone on for another two hours and no one would have budged. After the show, people flocked to get autographs and buy merchandise, completely won over by L.A.'s answer to the Stooges.
Once the fans let them go we wandered around the street snapping photos and talking about the tour. Looking like bonafide rock gods, they attracted gawkers from everywhere - especially when Terri flashed me in the middle of traffic (gotta love that girl!). They told me their reception had been excellent everywhere, particularly in Spain, where Terri made both the cover and centerfold of a local magazine, Popular One. The editor, Cesar Martin, had actually sent a correspondent to Al's Bar in L.A. to get the story and photo, so when Terri and the boys arrived at the show in Barcelona there were about 500 people there waiting and they all wanted autographs. "It was a little taste of what it's like to be rock stars and it made us hungry for more, more, more!" Terri said.
In addition to Spain and hypnotizing a dead crowd in Germany with her tampon, the show in Utrecht, Holland was a highlight. "I grabbed five or six guys and made them take off their shirts and dance with me on stage. We even made up a song! Then we all stood in a line, dropped our pants, and shook our asses! That was one of my favorite shows."
Lovingly dubbed the "Fabulous Disaster" tour because that's the name of the San Francisco-based all-girl punk band they toured with and also a good summary about how it went, the Stiff Ones played dates in the UK, Spain, Holland, France, Germany, and Switzerland. The hardest part was the constant currency exchange and traveling with two bands in one van. "I felt like I was married to them for 1,000 years," said Stiff Ones guitarist Don Cilurso (Demon Boy), but credited the girls for putting up with him. "Yeah, the one vehicle was the big problem. I mean with one band we have enough agendas but with two? Forget it!" Terri added.
Bandmates for five years, Terri and Don met in a welfare line in L.A. They instantly hated each other and decided they made the perfect Jagger/Richards combination and thus the Stiff Ones were born. "All my other bands were just a warm-up to play in the Stiff Ones," Terri enthuses proudly. "This is the shit!" And the admiration is mutual. "I think she's the best - period, male or female," Don says. "She's got more balls than I do!" He also says the Stiff Ones is the perfect name for the band, as it has three different connotations: a stiff drink, a dead person, and, well, you know the other one!
Never conforming to mainstream expectations or current MTV fads, the Stiff Ones play rock-based punk. They have an original sound and write their own music together. "I don't have time to listen to other records, and maybe that's good," Terri says. "So I just have to be myself."
A natural-born performer, who's been "pulling up my shirt at the dinner table since I was a kid, just to piss my parents off," Terri believes in going all-out at every show and building up her following bit by bit. "That's how you do it - one little show at a time."
Yet, despite all their talent, amazing performances, and huge LA following, it hasn't been easy for the band to get signed. "No one had the balls to sign us," Terri says. "We're the black sheep," Don agrees. "No one saw raw rock coming back."
And that's where legendary producer Jack Douglas (Aerosmith, New York Dolls, Alice Cooper, etc.) comes in. Terri met him at a club, got his number in New York, and just kept calling and inviting him to their shows. "When I was calling him, I'm going 'I'm crazy' but, you know what? I am crazy!" Terri says. And it worked. He came to a show and, like most people who catch the band live, he dug what he saw. He agreed to produce their next CD and so far they've recorded three songs. Don and Terri say he is the only one who can take total control of them and has the ideal vision for their music.
With the backing of Douglas and a wildly successful European tour behind them, Texas Terri and the Stiff Ones are laying a solid foundation on which a worldwide following is developing. If their reception in Europe is any indication, this next CD should be a mad success, and they'll get more than just a taste of rock stardom. As Terri says, "Never shut up, always want more!"
The current line-up of the Stiff Ones includes Terry (T-ray) Love on bass, and James on drums. Look for their new recording in 2001, and get all the daily info at www.texasterri.com.
Check out their mp3s at: http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/106/texas_terri__the_stiff_on1.html