The Gig Cartel - Gig guide: Terrorvision Stoke The Sugarmill

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Terrorvision Stoke The Sugarmill

(featuring Terrorvision)

Venue: Stoke on Trent The Sugarmill

Terrorvision were born in 1988 out of the remnants of a glam rock mess called Spoilt Brats, an amalgamation of art school buddies Mark Yates and Leigh Marklew, drumming loon Shutty and long-haired urchin Tony Wright. After three years of gigs and demos they were signed in 1991 to EMI Records on the strength of Pump Action Sunshine, a demo which featured what was to become their first Top-30 hit, My House.

Incessant touring – including support slots with long-time heroes, The Ramones and Motorhead, backed up positive reviews of their debut album Formaldehyde. They broke off the European leg of the Motorhead tour to open the show at Def Leppards’ homecoming Sheffield Don Valley stadium gig in front of 40,000. The night before they played an impromptu gig in front of 100 at a pub just down the road…

At the end of 1993 they decamped to New York City to record their second, breakthrough record How to make friends and influence people with alt-rock uber-producer, Gil Norton. The album went on to spawn five top-30 singles during 1994, catapulting the band into the mainstream. Appearances at both Donington Monsters of Rock and Reading cemented their reputation as the default festival bands of the 90’s. Kerrang awards followed (then lost in a drunken haze) and their most successful year wound up supporting Therapy all across Europe.

More awards followed in ’95 from Kerrang and Raw magazines, and the band took a left turn, supporting REM at a UK stadium gig and donating a track to the world famous Help album, for the Warchild organisation. All the while plans were being hatched for album number three, Regular Urban Survivors.

Released in 1996, the album notched up four more Top-30 singles, including Perseverance, which debuted at number 5 on the UK charts. The album swiftly went Gold. Celebrating their success, tequila-fuelled, in Madrid whilst on another European jaunt, Tony smashed both his ankles trying to scale the walls of the Hard Rock café to rearrange its famous logo. Gigs were curtailed only briefly, ideas for new songs were hatched and then the band was back out on the road, taking in Glastonbury and Reading in 1997.

Their fourth album for EMI, Shaving Peaches, saw the band take another left turn, working with four different producers, including Edwyn Collins and the Utah Saints. Acid, Speed and Scrumpy-fuelled mixing sessions in deepest Cornwall resulted in the sprawling 15-song set, which gained mixed reviews from fans and critics alike. EMI wanted out, but delayed the axe when Zoe Ball began playing a remix of the Shaving Peaches track, Tequila (remember the Hard Rock café?) incessantly on her Radio 1 Breakfast show. Eager not to miss an opportunity, EMI rush-released the track, the band organised a last minute video shoot at (where else?) a Tequila bar in Camden Town and 1999 arrived with the band sitting at number 2 in the UK charts.

The fall out with EMI wouldn’t go away though and the band were dropped before storming Reading / Leeds festivals as an unsigned act in the summer of ’99. Party of over, fuck you over there, as they say…

A new deal (with Papillon Records) was done in 2000 and the band released what was to be their last album for ten years in 2001. Good to Go gave them another Top-30 hit, D’ya wanna go faster and the Neil McClellan (Prodigy) produced album was generally received as a storming return to form. Alas, ten years of touring, excesses, abscesses and successes saw the band knock it on the head, bowing out with a sold-out farewell tour.

Mark, Tony and Leigh threw themselves into other musical projects (Laika Dog, Malibu Stacey, Blunderbuss, Broken Hearts Club band) along with dry-stone walling, creating art, graphic design and even opening a tattoo studio. The joy that is Terrorvision was never far away though, and the boys reunited in 2005, then again in 2007 and every year since to play gigs, hang out and party! In 2009 they celebrated the 15th anniversary of their seminal How to make friends and influence people album with a sold out tour, playing the entire album in order and in its entirety!

In 2010 the band got itchy songwriting fingers and a decision was made to start working on new material once again. Drummer Shutty didn’t make it along for this ride however, and was replaced – after 20 glorious years on the throne – by Cam Greenwood, for the writing and recording of the first new album in ten years, Super Delux. The band toured the album for 18 months, culminating in a rampant return to Donington in 2012 for the Download festival. However, after a momentous gig at Manchester Ritz in October 2012, the band went their separate ways once again – Tony launched his solo career with the critically-acclaimed acoustic Thoughts n all album, and Mark stepped out with Leeds rockers Boomville – and it looked increasingly likely that we may never see Terrorvision on stage again.

Cut to Summer 2015, three years since the band played together, three years since they were in a room together, and an unlikely meeting at a charity gig sowed the seeds for more Terrorvision in 2016. Thank the good Lord of Rock n Roll for that!