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Interview: TERRI NUNN (Berlin)

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Berlin vocalist Terri Nunn is really looking forward to the Totally 80s Australian Tour which kicks off in Brisbane this month. “I remember when we started out, it was Australia first and then Japan that were the first countries outside of our own country to give us a chance. The first to open their doors up so it was wonderful to do the first tour there and we have not been back since then so this is really a big deal for me. The line-up coming out to Australia with me will be Dave Schultz who has been playing with me since 2007 and Chris Olivas who has been with me since 2000. He’s actually the longest standing musician I’ve ever collaborated with. So it’s the three of us coming out and we’re hooking up with an Australian guitarist there, Craig Laird (from 1927), who will be playing with us so that’s very exciting. This will be obviously the hits and there will be a few songs from the new album, ‘Animals’ and we are a very visual band so there will be quite a bit visually to see.”

Terri is also excited about working with the other artists on the Totally 80s line-up. She recalls touring with Australian band, Real Life in the eighties. “Real Life opened for us on a tour in America. I love those guys! And Men Without Hats we have played with before. Stacey Q I have not worked with but we started together back in the early 80s. We were in this tiny studio doing a demo and she was there doing a demo and I remember her because she’s just adorable and then it turned out later she had that hit. I’ve never actually seen her live but I do remember her and I look forward to seeing her play.”

After leaving Berlin (the band, not the city) in 1986, Terri recorded a solo album and worked on other projects with various other artists. “I got inspired to put the band back together in 1998 and put out another five albums.” And now the original three members of Berlin are writing together again. “This came out of nowhere. I had no idea this was going to happen and the next release will be with the original three. John Crawford started the band in 1977 and I joined in 1979. From the beginning, the guitar was really our signature. The electronic thing had not happened yet in America when John turned me on to it. He was into bands like Kraftwerk and Ultravox and they were all from overseas and that was where our inspiration came from. They were really electronic. They had no guitars whatsoever and they had male vocals and America was very rock based at the time and we thought if we put guitars with that and a female vocalist, then that would be something different; something unique and it might work.” And it did.

The band’s second single ‘Sex (I’m A…)’ attracted a lot of attention when it was released in 1983. “It was quite controversial in its time,” says Terri. “It was a song about things that had never been shared by a woman, maybe by anybody. My idea was to share what my girlfriends and I talked about re sexuality and what pushed it for me is that I was in a relationship at the time. The song and video were banned in a lot of places. In a way it helped us. It was just prior to the biggest show we’d ever played up to that point. It was a stadium of 9,000 people in capacity and we were a little nervous about it.  The controversy created by the song was actually helpful in getting the public’s attention which was a good thing but Terri recalls that she didn’t handle the backlash very well when assumptions were made that she must be a ‘bimbo’ for writing a song like that which, of course, she knew she wasn’t.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was ‘Take My Breath Away’, the song that was made famous by the Tom Cruise film, ‘Top Gun’. “From one extreme to another,” laughs Terri. “But that is what we love about creative people, the passion that can go both ways. And Berlin is no exception. It’s my greatest highs and my lowest lows; from one extreme to another and everything in between.”

The Totally 80s Australian Tour kicks off Tuesday 12th July in Brisbane. For more information, full tour details and to book tickets, click here.

 

by Sharyn Hamey

Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2016.  All rights reserved

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