A REMARKABLE ARTIST
A CONVERSATION WITH TERRY DRAPER (EX-KLAATU)
Talking with Terry Draper is always an education and a pure pleasure. Besides being an astounding musician (he started as a drummer and branched out), this guy is an encyclopedia when it comes to music, literature and movies. He has not only seen the greats (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention to name a few) but remembers the shows and can talk about their set-lists that night.
“But I can trump all of that,” Draper laughs during our recent conversation to discuss his new album Remarkable Women. “My first live show was The Three Stooges. My mom took me. How cool is that?” Pretty damn cool.
Terry Draper was one third of the band Klaatu. The interesting thing about Klaatu is that when their debut album 3:47 E.S.T. came out in 1976, many people thought they were The Beatles. Not that they were influenced or sounded like The Beatles, but that they were The Beatles reformed under a new name. That is pretty cool to be that good that people thought you were The Beatles. Of course Klaatu were three musicians from Toronto who had been playing around the scene for a long time prior to the release of 3:47 E.S.T.
Five years and four more albums, Klaatu called it quits in 1981 following the release of the release of their brilliant album Magentalane. Klaatu was a hard act to follow. They released five stunning albums that are well worth searching out. But Draper did just that and launched a solo career and has released nine solo albums including his new album, Remarkable Women, music for children (Can You Pretend?, 1996; We’re The Furzall Family, 2000) and lots of session and live work as a drummer/producer. He even enjoys himself playing drums in an Adele Tribute Band, An Evening With Adele.
“It is refreshing just to turn up with my drum kit and play and not be responsible for anything else. You know with Klaatu I took the lead in many things. I contributed a lot of songs, I was responsible for the cover art, did the majority of interviews and press. I was way more than the drummer,” says Draper.
Draper is very excited about his new release Remarkable Women, which came out on July 14, 2017 on his own Terry Tunes label.
“Basically I have been tidying up and cleaning up my music files. I found four or five older songs that didn’t quite fit on previous albums and I noticed a theme that the songs were about women. I am always writing and recording and I came up with some new songs, so the album is half old and half new with some songs from my catalog. It was a way to get these songs out without sticking them on an album where they didn’t fit.”
Draper continues, “I wanted a great flow with this album. Some songs don’t sound good following others, so I rearrange the order. In the album days, you had to be aware of two sides. Get it going on each side, end side one with a killer song so people wanted to flip over the album or listen to the side again. But it was always about sequencing, the key and tempo of each song. I still do that. I am interested in what the artist wants to present to me, so I am an album person.”
And with Remarkable Women, he succeeds in putting together a flowing album based around a theme.
“In fact,” Draper adds, “I am working on the next collection which is about travel songs. Some new ones, some older ones. My wife and I did a whirlwind tour of Europe, and that trip inspired me to write new songs.”
The new album, as with his previous album, Window On The World (The Lost ‘80s Tapes) (released in October of 2016) and Remarkable Women is available as a made to order CD, streaming and a USB, housed in a guitar. This seems to be the new format for Draper.
“Using USB was a financial decision by my marketing advisor, who happens to be me It also gives me more space for the songs, extra stuff and liner notes. I got tired of CD booklets that I could not read. I taught myself Photoshop so I could do all the art, and put graphics on each page for each song. The next release will have a 50 page booklet to go with the songs. I am very excited. Remember, I am independent now, so…”
Draper has been mainly independent since Klaatu ended.
“I like the financial support of a major label, but I don’t miss the other stuff. When we did Endangered Species (1980) took us down to L.A. to record the album. They hired a studio band and we did vocals. They even hired a professional tambourine player! Mind you, that trip to L.A. did produce a very weird situation. We met Dolly Parton. We were in the refreshment room playing pinball, when the studio manager brought Dolly in, who was recording there as well. He introduces us and she sees we are playing pinball and she was ‘can I play with y’all.
“The funny thing was, the pinball machine we were playing on was a Dolly Parton Pinball Machine! It was complete synchronicity at work! Playing with her on her own game. That was great machine, but it did have big bumpers”, Draper laughs.
Today, Terry Draper is hoping that his new album gets some attention.
“It would be really nice to find one person who is mildly amused by this project,” Draper says with a laugh. “Seriously, I would love a number one hit, but the thing is I am having fun doing what I am doing. I am working on musicals and just having a great deal of fun writing and recording.”
I, for one, was more than mildly amused by his new album, Remarkable Woman to be a thought provoking, brilliant album. My hope is that I can sit down with Terry again when the next project is released. Until then, I will enjoy this new album and try to spread the word about this stunning album.