Best known to the rock community as the perpetually grinning, effervescent and incident-prone, spinning-top frontman of persistently chart-bothering 90s Britrock stalwarts Terrorvision, Tony Wright has returned to the fray. Acoustically, yes, but in some regards, heavier than ever.
His debut album under his own name, Thoughts ’N’ All, fan-financed via PledgeMusic, logically follows Tony’s – perhaps self-explanatory – Acoustic TV project, and boasts a biting lyrical edge that is more acute than ever. Well, maybe just a trifle.
**‘I’m a burned-out, washed-up, rockaboogie merchant,’ is a bit of a shock opening line coming from someone who’s always had a reputation as a glass-half-full kind of fella. **
It doesn’t have to be completely autobiographical, does it? It’s using a bit of poetic licence, but it’s a nice start. The way I felt at the start of that album was very different to how I felt at the end. I wanted to go from negative to positive, have the story in the middle and an end in a better place than the start. One of the reasons I did it acoustically was because I wanted it to be heavy; heavy in an honest way. Where you can suck on your teeth and go: “That’s a bit harsh.” I don’t think you need a wall of Marshalls to be heavy. I think the openness of acoustic guitars can be just as heavy, and you’re leaving yourself open. It’s like an open wound, isn’t it? For people to stick their finger in.
It’s a different world since Terrorvision charted regularly. That level of commercial success and Radio 1 support simply isn’t there for rock-based musicians now.
It never was there though, was it? Radio 1 played Tequila (the Mint Royale Shot remix version) because it sounded like the kind of crap they played at that time. They didn’t play Terrorvision’s version of Tequila, which was far better. They didn’t play Alice What’s the Matter, which is a far better song. They never played Pretend Best Friend. You have to be a really safe rock band to get played on the radio.
A lyric from the song Self Portrait is: ‘Ninety per cent alcohol is close enough for rock and roll.’ That’s a great line.
It’s true though, isn’t it? I really thought long and hard – probably too long and too hard… It’d be easier to stick a ‘doo-wop’ in everything, but lyrics are important.
**Do you think that the mood within the songs improved as your own mood improved? **
Definitely. And I think you can hear that. I’ve been told I was that rockaboogie merchant, that I was a waste of space. And I kind of believed it, you know, when you get told it enough… So when people (via PledgeMusic) said: “No, Tony, you’re not. We’d like you to come out and make a record for us,” I thought, “Brilliant.” And it put me back in the place where you find new friends, discover new sounds and discover yourself a bit.
You made me a trifle once and it had wine gums in it.
It was never going to set with that much whisky in it though, was it, really?
Are you still an excellent chef?
I don’t do a lot of cooking… I’ve been baked a few times, though.
Thoughts ’N’ All is out now on Woodcut.