Imagine if you will, three amazing characters who have come together to form the punk band known as Terminal Rage sitting before you under the effulgence of The Booth Hall stage lights. I was aware these gents were characters, but as the interview progressed my “impressed” button was pushed many a time.
Rich Lovell (Vocals, Guitar)
Many of you are perhaps aware that Rich Lovell and myself founded a recent venture that is coming to fruition quite beautifully known as The Underground Revolution (oops, hope I didn’t jinx it). Rich was once the Chairman of Hereford Live, but could not sit still for too long, and was happy to come on board to join Hereford City Centric when I approached him. It was a glorious match and a matter of gut instinct (I get that a lot). The guy knows what’s up, and probably all the bands in Hereford. He is the enigmatic frontman for Terminal rage as well…go figure.
He may be a true punk from Wolverhampton through and through, but it does not mean he is not ‘clued up’ or jaded about other music scenes. In fact, he has had as obscure, and open-minded an upbringing as myself. Boy oh boy was I stoked. The perfect creative pairing – but you know, he is a respectable family man and that takes honour…it is kind of a punk thing too.
Bob Griffin (Drums)
I could go on about Rich ages but I have to get on with it. There are two other characters who can really soak up some limelight here. Terminal Rage drummer, Bob Griffin, had his first drum kit purchased for him by his brother who happens to be a Hereford legend, Mott the Hoople drummer Dale Griffin. Sadly, Dale passed away this year in January. Ironically, a few days later Bob had an injury and has been on crutches since.
Regardless of this misfortune he managed to make band practice the day before the interview, not an easy task as it was hard work getting on that stage…not to mention reaching for his pint during the interview looked pretty trying. He is a chilled out character and I genuinely look forward to seeing him perform at our April gig. Let’s hope Hereford are there to brighten his night and give him the support he deserves after such a difficult few months.
Raphael La Roche (Bassist)
Next we have bassist Raphael La Roche aka Chairman of the All Terrain Boarding Association – the national governing body for UK Mountain boarding. He has actually just retired, but you get that from him…he has that edgy extreme sport presence about him, and alongside his two band counterparts is an ‘extreme’ly interesting character (get it?). He is notorious for being one of England’s best mountain boarders.
HCC: So how long has this punk trio been together?
Rich: 18 months and Raph has been with us for 6 months. We met Raph last November at the British Heart Foundation fundraiser he put on, which also was in honour of his brother and idol Andre. It was a punk charity night at The Core Skatehereford where Terminal Rage were performing. We consider ourselves a punk band with a social message, but it is all in good fun.
Bob: Not to mention it was also Rich’s 50th birthday. Our bassist was leaving, then next you thing you know, Raph joined us in an encore and the rest is history.
HCC: How old where you guys when you discovered punk, what is the moment of truth?
Raph: My punk epiphany happened when I was sitting in the park at age 13 listening to a Madness cassette on my tape recorder when a friend passed by who was heading to a punk gig. He asked me to come along on the bus, but I was a bit worried, I knew I would be in some kind of trouble with the folks. I went anyway (tut tut) and from that gig on, I was hooked!
Rich: Hearing The Clash for the first time did it for me.
Bob: For me it was seeing Johnny Rotten and The Clash were a big influence too.
HCC: Well actually that leads me to the next question. What punk icons inspire you?
Rich: Like I said it is definitely The Clash for their style and their politics. Johnny Rotten was also a big influence due to just how aggressive he was on stage.
Bob: I was definitely hugely influenced by the aggression and energy of Johnny Rotten’s presence. It resembled the same feeling you get when you are on the terrace at a football match. (These guys are football mad I should mention).
Raph: My main inspiration was Howard Devote from the Buzzcocks, but more so when he formed Magazine. Magazine left a lasting impression on me, as well as Johnny Rotten.
HCC: (revelling in the old skool punk coolness) Johnny Rotten gets a unanimous vote then. Is today’s political climate similar to the era punk was born in? It seems to be heading that way.
Rich: Yes and no. There is disaffection with politicians and how they treat the working class. The problem is that we don’t seem to react how we used to. We aren’t reacting because we are so distracted with X boxes and mobile phones, technology basically to communicate our frustrations. There is a whole lot of sharing on social media of anger, and not enough doing – arm chair critics, maybe.
HCC: I really wish more of today’s younger bands focused on these things, it gets the right message out there, and if enough of them do it they can make an impact. Revolt! What does Terminal Rage have planned for 2016?
TR: We have the April 21st gig coming up at The Booth Hall playing alongside Skinhorse and The Youth Within (There will be some moshing at this gig no doubt). Then we have Cloggerfest in Blythe which takes place in September.
We play the Stoke-on-Trent ‘We Shall Overcome!’ gig in October, which supports people affected by austerity and raises money for food banks, but we also are putting one on at the at The Booth Hall just before playing alongside Headsticks. We hope to have support from compassionate Herefordians, times are difficult for many. Let’s do what we can.
Lastly, we have Raph’s now annual punk charity gig at The Booth Hall in November. We will also be recording an EP in the next 6 months, so keep an eye out.
HCC: I have no doubt you aren’t arm chair critics. I am inspired to say the least. What advice do you have for today’s youth that are putting bands together?
Raph: Go for it! Don’t try to be anyone else, have fun and if anyone says you’re shit…thank them!!
Rich: We are not trying to lecture young musicians, but we have been there. My advice is just don’t take yourself too serious. (Bob of course agreeing and chiming in similar advice)
CRAZY MUSICAL HAT QUESTIONS
(round and round it goes, what you pull out, nobody knows)
Hat: 1968? 1978? 1988? 1978 of course, it was the height of punk, even though 1988 is the year I was married, so it was a good year too.
Hat: Vans or Nike? Vans! (I grew up down the road from the original Vans shop, good choice Bob…I approve)
Hat: 1st & last festival? 1st- Donnington Monsters of Rock when I was 17 Last- Cloggerfest last September
Hat: Eddie Murphy or Pee Wee Herman? Wait a minute, isn’t Pee Wee a massive pervert weirdo? I am going to say Eddie Murphy because I love the film Trading Places (me too…truly hilarious). Jamie Lee Curtis was a babe in that film and gets her ‘what’s its’ out. (ummmm ….lol)
Hat: Phobia? I don’t really like my mum (lol), so getting a text from her saying she wants to come visit is pretty scary.
Hat: Favourite Pub in the city? (ok hat more original questions please) The Booth Hall of course! (good boy)
Well I was certainly inspired, and giggled a few times after interviewing these guys. Many thanks to The Booth Hall for supporting these interviews for us and the bands, and for lending us their stage and comfy sofa, even though they have to carry it up and down every time. They are lovely like that.
All Photography by Nick Vidal-Hall, House Photographer of The Booth Hall
The Booth Hall, 3 East Street, Hereford Hr1 2LW www.theboothhall.co.uk