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TERRY SULLIVAN (Renaissance)

Terry Sullivan was the drummer in Renaissance, a band who had been going since the 1960's, releasing a string of well received albums that covered rock to folk to jazz & back! The band's last album was 'Tuscany' and since then Renaissnace have called it a day. But Terry Sullivan is far from inactive as you can see below... Thanks to Martin Orford at GEP for passing the questions on.
1. What are you currently up to?

At the moment I am finishing my album "South of Winter" for a spring release (Hopefully), my good friend from Renaissance John Tout has added piano and Betty (Thatcher) Newsinger has contributed with some of the lyrics, I'm hopeful this will be the first of many projects together.

As for touring I haven't been on the road since the short Renaissance tour of Japan in March 2002, which is sad because I just love LIVE gigs. But on the positive side it has given me the time to get reaquainted with the spirit of my drums, as I take a couple of hours each morning to play them...(better than jogging) I'm also involved with Batts music in the creation of soundtracks for anything from radio jingles to cinematic productions,we recently finished a documentary called Shangri la for Australian TV great and great fun.

2. What has been the highlight(s) and lowpoints(s) of your career to date?

Well I think the lowest I felt in my career to date was definitely the break up of Renaissance, we had been together ten years and worked hard against all sorts of odds to achieve the level of success we had attained by 1980 , still there are worse things in life Ha ha......

As for the High points ,in my heart I feel that they are still to come.

3. How did you first get into the music business? Who have been your main influences on your career to date?

From the drummers point of view and being a child of the sixties I would say that my main influences were, Ringo Starr for his ability to support a band in the most creative ways and yet never get in the way of a song.

Keith Moon, for his energy and Mitch Mitchell, for the delicate vet Jazzy feel he could turn on whenever the song required it, and that's just pop I haven't started on the many great players in soul, blues, jazz etc !!!!!!!! .

4. The last Renaissance album 'Tuscany' featured Roy Wood as a guest. How did you get him involved, given that he very rarely appears on other people's albums? How has the 'Tuscany' album been recieved by fans?

Roy has been a very close friend of mine since the 70's, we all met at De lane lea studios, he was working in studio 3. I've always been a big fan of his and he's everything you would expect. he later went on to co write and produce Annie's first solo album "Annie in Wonderland" ,so when we found that we couldn't get all the original members of Renaissance together for "Tuscany", he being multi instrumental was for us the obvious choice, Annie rang him and he kindly agreed, he's a great guy.

As for Tuscany there were moments of pure magic and to be honest some things we could have improved but the logistics of putting it together proved very difficult with the many constraints and a change of personnel in the band half way through recording.I think the fans recognise the difficulties we had and have been very kind. Its a shame we didn't carry on as I think we had a lot more music in us.

5.What is the current situation with Renaissance? Could there be further music from the band in the future? Did the band tour to support 'Tuscany' at all?

Well Annie is living in the United States and has decide to concentrate on her solo career, she is also an artist and I think she is very happy, you can check out her website at Annie Haslam Michael is concentrating on finishing his musical " Scherazade". John Tout and I have been working together and we did hear from Jon Camp that he is interested in getting together with us to discuss future projects.

As I mentioned earlier, Annie Mike and I did a tour of Japan , While we were there we recorded an album "In The Land of the Rising Sun" GEP CD 1032

6. Going back to the 70's...when 'Northern Lights' became a hit did that put more pressure on the band at all? (ie did the record label want more hit singles) Which venues/countries did the band enjoy touring most in the 70's?

Northern Lights was a big success for us, our main concern in those days was to make an album that would stand the test of time, and the single market wasn't our thing at all, there was a bit of pressure to repeat the single thing but then along came punk and none of it mattered anyway!

7. What did you do after leaving the band in the early 80's? (Just to update people whon may not know!) Would you ever join a band again or would you prefer the solo/session route?

When I left the band I actually felt quite burnt out. I had a young family so I did a Lennon for a couple of years,. I then hooked up with a real bunch of n'r do wells "The Good 'Ol Boys" all ex rock names , so we rocked for about five years, just a good fun thing bringing me back to my roots, then I did some demo things for Billy Idol at Surrey Sound Studios and very others projects came and went. I'm quite happy now recording my solo album and getting calls from friends to help out with gigs or recording, I love music and working with musicians and I think I will always be involved one way or another.

8. Last book that you read...

1984 George Orwell

9. What do you do in your spare time outside of music?

Worry about the world.

10. Message for your fans...

I'd like to thank everyone who has supported us over the years, hopefully there are more exciting projects to come. Many Thanks and Best Wishes to you All..............

Related>>Album Review (Renaissance)

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Interview © 2003 Jason Ritchie/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

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