Interview: the TERMITES


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Fev. 2007

Hey! The TERMITES are back! Between 1987 and 1991, they released an EP on Raucous and a LP on Link Rcds, then nothing. They have like disapeared in another dimension, or something like that... Anyway, they're back, so watch out! Be ready for the TERMITES' invasion...


1/ Could you make a brief historic of the band?

Ewin and Bally had been messing around on the drums and guitar doing some covers. The natural progression was to find a bass player and singer.
The TermitesEnter 'The Duke'. Can you sing and play bass? Kenny was always interested in being the front man - you have to admit he would be a little lost hiding behind a bass - from there we managed to steal Gerry from another local band and start gigging around the local (not so) hotspots.

I saw a clipping from a local newspaper the other day to say we were hoping to get some more gigs out of our local town - we were talking of a place 15 miles down the road, but we thought this was amazing - you can only imagine what we were thinking when we landed our first record deal to go on a compilation album. Pretty soon we were playing beside our heroes - even now we get excited about playing with some of the bands we idolised back in the 80's.

2/ What is the current line-up? Are there any changes since the 1st LP?

The current line-up is pretty much as it was originally:

  • Kenny 'The Duke' - vocals
  • Bally - guitar
  • Ewin - drums
  • Matt Black - double bass
  • Jonnyfiddles - fiddle.

The TermitesOf the 5 band members Kenny, Bally and Ewin have been in the band since it's conception all those years ago. We never really had a full-time bass player, although Gez played on all the recordings.

When we reformed we felt that we wanted a double bass sound and tried out a couple of guys before sticking with Matt - Kenny had known Matt from another band he played in so he knew what he was letting himself in for before joining the band. The latest addition, Jonnyfiddles, came about by chance. He had been a Termites fan in the 80's and by coincidence moved into the same street as Kenny. After a few beers and Jonny admitting Kenny was his hero (lol), he was asked to join. We had been discussing the idea of adding a fiddle just before this and it felt pretty good straight from the start. Initially, Jonny was going to record 2 songs for the new album but he's now become a solid member of the band.

Kenny passed our original bass player Gerry in the car just the other week, but apart from that no-one ever seems to see or hear what he has been up to over the years.

3/ There were some troubles in the band during the "Overload" recording sessions. What happened next?

The TermitesBasically we all just fell apart - I don't remember a time when we all gave up at the same time. It wasn't so much losing interest but more falling out and not talking for a while. We left one by one soon after the album was recorded, the original line-up was not present by the time the album had been released and gradually fights and arguments meant others would drift away, laving Kenny the only original member for a short period of time. He gave that up in 1992 but generally we kept in touch in one way or another. Kenny eventually moved to USA and Ewin moved to another part of the country so conversations were limited until 2004 when we suddenly realised we were all together and would be able to make it happen.
It's easy to say what could have happened if we'd stayed together, but we all genuinely feel that we had (and still have) an excellent band so we're just delighted at the chance to do it all again - it is a bit easier now though as we tend to fly to gigs and stay in hotels. Much better than a beat up old van with 12 people sleeping in it over night!

4/ What made you get back on stage after all these years?

As I've already said the main factor in getting back together was basically all being in the same part of the world at the same time. Myself (Ewin) Kenny and Bally have been friends for as long as I can remember so it just seemed like the natural thing to do to keep the band going. The feedback we've had so far has been amazing. We continually set ourselves goals to reach and so far we have reached them, which is mainly down to the enjoyment we're getting from everything we do.
The TermitesWhen we decided to start again we didn't know anything about Overload being re-released or even if anyone would want to hear us again - we did this because we wanted to do it. In Scotland there is no psychobilly scene and only a handful of people have actually heard of it so it's safe to say we didn't do it for the money. Having said that we did do one gig in Glasgow as a warm-up to our first London gig which was well attended - a few of the old (some really old) faces appearing from back in the day.

5/ You got some new tracks on MySpace. Is there a new CD to be released?

The 4 tracks you can hear on Myspace are demos from the new album.
We're delighted to say that we've signed a deal with Crazy Love Records and will be bring a new album out this year. Recording will be in February/March and will contain all new material.
The majority of the tracks were written in the last year but there are a couple of gems Kenny resurrected, which were written straight after Overload - I won't tell anyone what they're called, see if you can guess when you hear the album.

6/ What are you currently listening to?

I'm heavily into Hank III at the moment, which has influenced some of the tunes we're writing just now. I listen to anything that floats my boat, but all the usual psycho, rockabilly, rock n roll, country, yodel, Punk etc.

The Termites7/ What are your main musical influences?

It's safe to say that our original influences came from the scene of the early 80's and still find time to listen to some of the great bands that came out at this time. I think though it's difficult to say exactly who influences us because there are so many bands and so many different styles of music that we listen to. The new songs have moved on from the typical rock n roll standards of Overload to a fresher sound - we'll just have to wait and see how it turns out - often you don't realise who your influences are until you hear the recordings.
I am basically influenced by everything that happens to me past and present, everyday life and the trials and tribulations it brings!

8/ According to you and comparing to the early 90's, how is the Psychobilly scene?

I don't know if it's because of the Internet, but I feel that scene is much healthier, and widespread than it was during the 80/90's. In the early days you didn't know if anyone liked you or even if anyone was interested, but it's dead easy to talk to your band heroes now and let them know what you think - which is good.
I love the number of bands that are coming out now - the older guys are still there (and for us it's great to meet up with a lot of old friends) but the number of young bands is excellent.
It help that the USA has jumped on-board, as it now seems bigger than ever. I've read a few debates on PORK recently about what scene is best Europe or USA - who gives a fuck - the bands and the music are brilliant that's all that should matter. If you're good you play if not no one will be interested and you won't get booked. Since we came back we've played with some excellent young bands from Europe and USA - Mad Marge and the Stonecutters, Henchmen (USA) and Rocker Arms and Koma Cats form Europe - so I would say the whole scene looks pretty healthy.

The Termites9/ Which is your best anecdote on stage?

Probably the time one of us got a blow job on stage in front of the whole crowd during 'Shaggin all night'!

My favourite though is the time Kenny jumped into the crowd and attacked a guy who had been heckling him all through the first four songs. The guy became quiet real quickly after that, the crowd went wild and we had an awesome show!

10/ ... And the worst?

That would be the time Kenny came on stage tripping on LSD and stared at the lights for the length of the first song, forgetting to sing. He eventually told the lighting guy to kill the lights as he was freaking out because the crowd was staring at him!!
Ha ha fuckin mental!
In fact come to think of it Kenny's a lucky guy to work with us...who else would put up with all the shit he's put us through over the years.

11/ What are your lyrics about?

The TermitesEveryday life and all the good and bad I deal with. Don't really do the zombie thing, more autobiographical really. You can decide what is fact and what is fiction! Hah!

12/ You've been interviewed in the DVD "Psychobilly". Why isn't there any video-clip or live footage of the TERMITES in it?

We were interviewed by Alan (White) on our views - he didn't ask for any footage.
We have considered releasing a live DVD with some extras, which we probably will do when the album comes out - best thing though in the mean time is to come to the shows - you will not be disappointed. Oh and we will be on a live DVD coming out on Cherry Red sometime soon.

13/ What are the plans of the band? Any European or American tour?

Just now all work is concentrating on writing and recording - we have around 25 new songs and will choose the best from them to release, but obviously when the album comes out we will be looking to promote it as much as possible.
We are speaking with promoters in the Europe and the US about forthcoming tours so both are a definite although it's too early to confirm anything concrete for now. We want to play to as many people as we can so you can bet we'll tour the arse off this album. Up till now we've played a lot of one off gigs in London, Europe etc. and we'll be playing the next "Kings of Psychobilly" in Hamburg.

14/ Last words...

Check out the album when it comes out. Before then you can have little listen to some samples at You can also buy some merchandise here! Hopefully we'll be in a town near you soon - come and see us - you'll not be disappointed

The Termites - early days
The TERMITES - early days

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