ON THE ROAD AGAIN
- an interview with Gay and Terry Woods by
Michael Vickers, published in High Times in January 1973.
Frank Murray, who roadies with Skid Row on their last tour of the States, called one day and arranged for a chat with ourselves and Terry and Gay Woods. Murray is the duo's personal manager at present and he had just completed details for an extensive Dutch tour. By the time you read these lines, the Woods will be well into Holland, probably one of the best countries in Europe to play and stay.
Husband and wife folkies are veterans of Steeleye Span, Dr Strangely Strange,Sweeney's Men (Terry is anyway) and, of course, The Woods Band. The latter, it will be remembered, featured such excellent musicians as Ed Deane - who incidentally is now fully integrated into Gentry - and John Ryan, ex Granny's Intentions organist, who has been very quiet since. The band made one album, played concerts up and down the country and Britain and split, according to Terry Woods, because of overbearing management hassles. They now live in a little house in County Meath, "getting over the shock of the Woods Band".
So, was the band a dissilusionment ?
Terry Not a great dissilusionment, the band had potential - far more than a lot of the bands going today. But the potential was never developed due to lots of situations.And of course, the management hassles were just beyond the beyonds.
Ed Deane was saying he blamed it all on the management
Terry That was true. If they had been together we would have had more time to play. I read that interview, he said there was never any sitting down time to play. Well, Ed would often be in bed whilst I was out hassling for bread in London or somewhere. Things weren't as straightforward as maybe Ed would have imagined.
I get the impression that people expected too much of the Woods Band, especially at your last concert in The Stadium.
Terry Well as regards that gig - we'd been messed up on the whole tour and that was the culmination of it. I'm not saying that the man who ran the concert was bad, in fact he was the one man who didn't mess it up but on the day of the concert, we didn't want to go through with it.. We wanted to pull out because we had all the hassles. I had two stitches in my hand, due to a bouncer who didn't know who I was when I arrived for my own gig at Kytler's Inn at Kilkenny.
Gay We had to go on without him
Terry We'd been ripped off at so many concerts that were badly organised, shoddily organised, so in the end (at the Stadium), I didn't care whether we played or not. But we did anyway. And we were told that we'd be on at something like half-nine.Well, Planxty went on and did a really nice nice set but they were in the ace place because by the time we got on, it was twenty past ten. And from the moment we got on, people were leaving the stadium to get buses to God knows where.
Gay (laughing) We always play to that crowd...
Terry And there is nothing as bad as going on to a concert where people are instantly leaving. You don't know why they're leaving. You say to yourself 'Jesus are we playing badly or something ?' But I don't think the audience was expecting too much of us. Some of the audience hadn't a clue what we were at. Planxty had done a very nice and soft set and we got and played quite a loud electric set and the juxtaposition was a bit too much. If there had been any time lapse between ourselves and Planxty, it would have been alright. But they were off and we were on so in that respect, it was a bit of a mess-up to. Now we have a bit of time to sit and think. I mean, we've been on the road since Steeleye Span without a break with one scene or another.
You formed that band ?
Terry Yeah, with Tiger. He was with Fairport Convention and I was still with Sweeney's Men.
You are now virtually back where you started - a duo again.
Terry Well not really.We're writing a lot better than we were.An awful lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.
You seem to be fairly unhappy with the scene but you're prepared to stay here
Terry Oh no, I'm not prepared to stay here. I don't intend to try and make a living here musically, giging all the time. What I like to do is a tour of Ireland every four months or so, a months tour of various gigs, odd concerts and so forth. The whole scene though is very disorganised over here.I personally have tried to get all the colleges and social secretaries together and said 'Look if you get a circuit going, you'll get bands in from England at cheaper rates than if you brought them in for one gig' If four or five of the Universities got together they could get plenty of the middle bands in England to come over and play. But they just said things like 'I'm not doing that if he's involved' They were so petty.Belfield, for instance, is a pain in the arse as far as I'm concerned. They have the facilities but they certainly don't have their heads together. We did a concert for them a few months ago. First of all, the posters they had up, a child could do better.There were no posters at any vantage points. They were all tucked away in pubs where people could sit in front of them.Anyway, we got to the gig. They had no room to change in or tune up or have a jam with yourself before you went on. We were just sitting in a corridor freezing. So I called one of the guys and said ' Look, I'm not playing if I don't have to tune up' And he said 'Oh,can you not do it here?' And I said ' No I can't do it here, I don't want to' So he got us a place - the other side of the University. Then there was the question of, now we have this place, I'm putting the instruments in it ; can you lock it ? 'Well I don't think so' he says. 'You'd better come with me to the social secretary, this kind of thing. Eventually they could lock the door but they had to leave the key with so-and-so because so-and-so was coming in to do something. So right we said, we'd go for a drink and we went across to the bar and it was just like any other rugby session you'd ever go to. They were all rugbying around.
Gay Very alien-looking people out there, I don't know. I couldn't get into them at all.
Terry Playing in England or on the continent you arrive at the university and they say right, there's a place to tune up, there's where you set up your gear, do you want some beer and you just have to sit down and get into the atmosphere. Another thing, you'll never get a contract in Ireland. They usually use it to light their cigarettes or something. And when it comes to paying the bread, they don't like doing that at all. That's another bad scene.
How is your old mate Henry McCulloch getting on in Wings ?
Terry Well I think Wings are capable of doing a lot of good things. Henry seems to be very happy in the group. It wouldn't matter to him whether it was McCartney or whoever in a band - if he didn't like what was going on he'd just leave.
Tell me, how old are you now ?
Terry Too old (laughs) Good for the first division but made it to the third.