Back to homepage - Everything Boy George
Menu header

Short vertical line Empty line

 

    Helen Terry
  1. A very short biography.
  2. Helen remember Ron Williams.
  3. The exclusive interview!
  4. About Blue-Notes (the Special Edition).
  5. Helen Terry collectibles in a row.
  6. Dowload Helen Terrys videos and mp3's!
Helen Terry

Very short biography

Helen Terry was the "fifth member" of Culture Club during the first years of the band's history. A very important part who's soulful voice without doubt was a big part in creating the Culture Club sound.

She went solo in 1984. Helen Terry collaborated later with talents as Giorgio Moroder, Phil Collins and Ray Parker. She also continued working with Boy George on several occasions.

Her album, Blue-Notes was released in 1986 and she followed up with two brilliant singles in 1989 that marked an end to her short, but very grand, career. She still have a following of music fans hoping for a comeback!

Helen Terry works today a producer at BBC. Brit Awards is one of her projects. She lives in Scotland working on her dream - "a perfect garden".

Helen remember Ron Williams

In 2001, Helen wanted me to publish her memorial for Ron Williams - a Culture Club musician who past away early spring 2001.

"Some very sad news reached me today. Ron Williams, who played trumpet on the Colour By Numbers album and who toured with Culture Club between 1984-86 died last week (spring, 2001) as a result of coronary failure. He was a stalwart member of the troupe as we slogged our way across the world, and although a jazzman through and through, he was integral to the spirit of camaraderie that we all briefly shared in the middle of apparent mayhem.This is my own memorial to Ron and his Jazz trousers - a good man, a great comfort, zen - probably to the last."

Helen Terry

This interview took place online - May 8, 2001.

The Devil In Sister George Homepage is very proud to present an EXCLUSIVE online interview with Helen Terry.

Helen Terry is today a producer and she lives in Scotland dreaming of making the "perfect garden". Helen have, of course, changed since the Culture Club days and doesn't think much about those days anymore.

After this interview I can't help feeling a little sad that Culture Club didn't treat her as she deserved. This interview is published as a tribute to the fifth member of Culture Club. We love You Helen!

Jessica:
I can't tell You how thrilled and very honoured I am to do this little interview with You. I grew up with Culture Club and You was a very large part of that band. "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" would not reach the top without You! The "Colour By Numbers" album wouldn't be what it was, and still is, without the soulful voice of Helen Terry. I'm not alone feeling this way. Does it come as a surprise for You that You still have fans today?.

Helen:
It does rather startle me if someone remembers what I used to do. When I decided to get out of the music business I did rather deliberately kick over the traces of my old life - so I look very different - it would be too sad if I still had the same haircut and wore the same kind of clothes at my old age. I tend not to hark back endlessly on the 'good old days'. Life changes, and we have to move onwards and sideways if not upwards. Having said that I do know that CC played an important part in the lives of quite a few people, especially those who might have had problems conforming to the so-called norm and I'm delighted if I contributed in any way to making their lives a little less scary.

Jessica:
Please tell me what You do today. You are a producer. Tell us more about it.

Helen:
I have two main strings to my bow. My passion is making documentaries that entertain and enlighten - sounds pretentious I know, but I am a firm believer that art and culture in all their forms are vital to our development. Unfortunately (in this country at least) the TV companies seem to think that the general public will only watch exposés or the tv equivalent of junk food. My other field is putting together or producing music shows and directing the odd promo although I really only do videos for mates.

Jessica:
A video You produced for" Everything But The Girl" was nominated for "Billboard Music Video Awards" in the dance category. So You do music videos as well?

Helen:
I don't really sell myself as a video director/producer but the promos I have made tend to use the visual techniques I use for documentaries. For the "Everything But The Girl" video we used hours of footage that I shot in the streets of Soho over a three week period - It was like a zoo - thousands of pissed up people behaving badly.

Jessica:
Tell us more about Your projects. What are You working on right now?

Helen:
At the moment I am producing the Classical Brits which is the grown up sister to the Brit awards. I was the music producer for the main Brits show which meant that I chose who got on the show and what they did - having said that I must now state that Hear Say were nothing to do with me - ITV made us put them in the show.....

Jessica:
What would be your dream project? TV, singing, performing, something completely different from what your fans are familiar with.

Helen:
Making the perfect garden - Since I moved to Scotland I have become horrendously middle aged and my house is littered with seed trays.

Jessica:
You told me last time we were in contact that You were best friends with Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders). Do You work with her as well?

Helen:
Chrissie and I put together the Linda MacCartney memorial gig which was one of my most memorable experiences. Thanks to Chrissie's indomitable spirit, she persuaded an amazingly diverse array of major pop persons to show up and give it some welly. The rehearsals were unbelievable - people like George Michael would stop by even if they had done their thing, just to hang out - Sinead and Chrissie made Patsy and Edina from Ab Fab seem unfunny in comparison and it was a generally warm and fluffy time for all involved. At the gig, a significant section of the audience left the gig with tears in their eyes. Aside for that I do the odd bit of filming with Chrissie but I try to get someone else to do the interview because we do tend to get side tracked - she is the funniest person I know and has a heart the size of Alaska

Jessica:
What are Your influences? Have You got any "idol"? Musically or producer.

Helen:
Um, Germaine Greer, Djuna Barnes, Massive Attack, Damien Hirst, Keith Allen, Etta James, Dorothy Parker, Gertrude Stein (in small doses), The Rolling Stones circa Let It Bleed and Janis Joplin. In no particular order

Jessica:
We're aware that you have left your singing career behind, but would you consider, under the right conditions, recording again and do you continue to reap the benefits of your singing days? Royalties, and are you enjoyed being recognized as the famous diva you are, do people still stop you in the grocery store?

Helen:
Ohmy god a multiple answer question...
I spoke to George recently about the singing thing - I am out of practice and in all probability would have a hard time hitting the high notes, but I do rather like my low voice but never had a chance to use it in CC. I do the very occasional bit of singing but on a mates-only basis. I worked a bit with Leslie Winer on an album called Witch - it's one of my favourite bits of work. .

I don't get royalties on CC stuff, never did. I don't really want to go into that as it's old news. As I told You before - nobody recognizes me anymore, certainly not where I live now - If people do they are far too polite or far too busy worrying about their sheep to mention it - I certainly haven't mentioned my old job to anyone - come to think of it people up here don't care what you do for a living or how much cash you have in the bank which is why I love it so much.

George and I might have a bash at something - it all depends on when I'm in London really and if I'm brave enough.

Jessica:
George...?! Ahh.. so You are in contact with him again? Last time we had contact You said that I have made You think and that You were going to contact George again. Just to clear the air. You did it?!

Helen:
I called him up and said that we should meet up -well I actually said lets go somewhere expensive to eat and YOU'RE paying. So we did.

Jessica:
I'm very happy to hear that, and many with me! If we take a large step back to the 80's when You were singing with Culture Club. Was it George You were closest with?

Helen:
Yes... I know we had a big fall out but it was because we were really fond of each other - we are two sides of the same coin in a very peculiar way - both second generation Irish who did not fit in - the difference was, and is, that I am circumspect and fairly quiet whilst he is direct and needs to be heard - I'm a swot and he's the bad kid who always sits at the back of the class causing trouble. I am delighted however that we are now communicating electronically and eating large meals together whenever we can.

Jessica:
How do You react to the fact that an Helen Terry album sell for high values in eBay auctions?

Helen:
I wish I had a copy - I lent my only copy to a friend and they lost it. I'll have to save up.

(Don't worry, Helen - I'll rip it for Ya! *smile*)

Jessica:
How has the internet changed your life? Many people think the internet has extended the careers of many artists who might have retired years ago if not for a global fan community keeping everyone up-to-date with their favorite artists' whereabouts and goings-on. Do you agree with this, or do you feel 80's artists had more longevity than, say 60's or 70's artists?

Helen:
Someone ( I think it was Annie Lennox) once said that you are only as good as your last single, I'd probably amend that to you're only as good as your next single, but the principal is that good music will always find a home somewhere. It's a question of letting people know its out there

I don't really think that you can say an artist from a specific decade has more longevity that one from another because there are so may mitigating circumstances to consider. 80's artists were really the first to utilize computer technology in the writing and recording process and so are more ready to use the available internet technology to their advantage - simply because they are familiar with the way these boxes work.

Artists from the 60's were, by and large tied to draconian contracts which gave them little money and worked them like dogs, so they probably would use the live circuit to promote their cause as they are familiar with the way it works. Ditto seventies bands.

Personally I use the internet for research - to a point - you can't always believe what you read - I always call people and chat for hours to make sure the story is straight before I film them or follow a lead.

Jessica:
What happened to Your second solo album? We remember the excellent tracks "Lessons In Loneliness" and "Fortunate Fool". There was never an album! Why?

Helen:
I had an argument with the A&R man - he wanted me to make a dance record and I cannot dance. So I walked (which I can do) . It has taken me 10 years to get out of my publishing contract. Bastards!!

Jessica:
Many of your songs had subtle (and maybe not so subtle) sexual innuendos. Today's music doesn't hide anything, some of the lyrics are shockingly offensive. How do you feel about today's pop music having a much more overt attitude towards sex, or violence?

Helen:
Songs only act as mirrors to the writers' life - a song cannot change the way a generation acts or feels but they sure as hell can reflect it. I blame it all on bad press and television myself, and that is entirely the fault of my generation - after all Eminem grew up surrounded by stuff that people my age wrote or put onto the box and he simply tells us what he sees and feels. So the 'horrified' parents really have to look to their own peer group to apportion blame.

Jessica:
Back to Culture Club, sorry for being a pain ....... Did You ever feel "left-out" in Culture Club? I have a feeling not everybody though of You as the "fifth member" as we - the fans - did.

Helen:
There were times when my position within the hierarchy was difficult. Certain members felt that I had more press/publicity than they did and that I should be 'let go' - which, in a very subtle way I was - they stopped paying my retainer ... and then asked me back at George's insistence to help them out on the 4th album.

The most difficult part was travelling by bus when the others flew - we almost missed a show because the van driver was deranged and we had no money to get ourselves to Berlin - luckily I was a grown up and had a credit card so stumped up for the other session musicians to get to the gig on time. To be honest we were treated like shit a lot of the time. Unforgivable really.

Jessica:
Have You got ANY good memories from that time....?

Helen:
Oh I'm sure I must have... Umm meting people like Aretha Franklyn would never have happened to a fat girl from Essex if she had not been associated with a huge band - as CC were in those days.

Jessica:
There's a lot of fan discussion about what happened between you and George after the release of "Take It Like A Man". Would you care to discuss what happened? All we know is what George have said in interviews. We haven't heard Your side of the story. This is Your chance...:)

Helen:
Oh dear - it was 10 years ago and whatever vitriol I was feeling at the time has dissipated now. I think that I felt betrayed - mainly because I had no idea what had been written about me in the book nor indeed when it was due to be published.

I remember the day the excerpts were published in the UK press I was in New York making a film. My sister faxed the copy through to me and I felt that my new life would crumble around me - not least because the UK serialization was all about George and I taking an alarming cocktail of narcotics at my gaff, There was I being taken seriously as a film maker with all the massive responsibility and integrity the job requires and the bombshell landed - questions were indeed asked by the commissioning editor.

I do still wonder how on earth George remembered what went on - I certainly don't and I have an elephant's memory

Jessica:
When Culture Club did the VH1 concert in 1997, Alison Hay wrote in the Times that she felt there had been a family reunion and she hadn't been invited. Were You ever invited to this "family reunion"? .... were You ever asked?)

Helen:
No I was not invited - but then why should they invite a middle aged film maker to a show in New York - I was probably busy anyway - I certainly had no idea what was going on. As for Alison what can I say, and why was she writing in the Times - what an alarming prospect, surely the Times can do better than that?

Jessica:
You choose not to work with the band again. How do you feel now about not being involved in the reformed Culture Club? Do you regret missing the opportunity to revisit those songs you made your own?

Helen:
Ohh no, not in the least - I'm sure I would sound like a wheezy old banger anyway - I smoke far too much. The songs are out there, they don't belong to me, let someone else have a crack at it

Jessica:
"It's hard to follow a singer as Helen Terry...." George stated at the VH1 reunion when he introduced Zee and Zee Asha has commented to a friend of mine about how honoured she is to be singing classic pop songs, singing your arrangements. How do you feel about her performance of your arrangements?

Helen:
I have to say that I have not heard any of the reunion stuff - I do hear from those who saw the show that Zee was excellent - I'm sure George would not have chosen a duff singer as he feeds off the interplay massively on-stage - he'd also need someone he could hang out with as I believe the 'family reunion' was, perhaps inevitably, far from happy.

Thank You Helen for letting me spend Your precious time on this interview. Fans will appreciate it! Good luck with Your perfect garden, Your present and future projects. Keep up the good job!

 

Blue-Notes (Special Edition)

Included on this Special Edition CD of 18 re-mastered tracks: The original album with songs exclusively written for Helen. Bonus tracks never before available on CD including her gorgeous piano ballad `Laughter On My Mind' featuring guest vocals from Boy George, as well as the Giorgio Moroder produced gem `Now You're Mine', her US club hit `Stuttering' and rare b-sides and mixes.

A comprehensive booklet featuring rare pictures, single sleeves, full discography and exclusive liner notes from ex-Attitude editor Adam Mattera and the elusive Miss Terry herself .

Buy CD from Amazon or Download on iTunes

Produced by Jessica