Episode 255: Terri Nunn Pat sits down for a one on one conversation with the lead singer of Berlin, Terri Nunn! Kyle "Artie" Dodson produces. From June 2, 2016
With your host:
Pat and Kyle welcome us to the show. Or should I say, Pat and Artie. Because today's guest, lead singer of Berlin, the one and only Terri Nunn, thought Kyle's name was Artie. Beautiful. Terri is not on the first Berlin album because she had temporarily left the band, but she came back into the band for the second album, Pleasure Victim. Pat plays one of the big hits off the album, "The Metro".
Terri is analytical when she listens to her own music; she always thinks of what she could have done differently. Pleasure Victim was a big album for the band and got them on MTV. She felt very lucky because Berlin got signed when MTV started in 1982 and they needed music videos to fill the time. Terri was only 23 at the time. Her parents were very supportive of her success. Terri originally considered signing on to the show Dallas, but decided against it because she wanted to try her hand in music.
If the music career hadn't panned out, Terri was going to be a full-time actress. In fact, Terri auditioned for PRINCESS LEIA IN STAR WARS. Just her and Harrison Ford reading this sci-fi nonsense in a warehouse on deck chairs. Terri is just happy that she ultimately chose the music path. Pat plays "Sex (I'm A...)" off of Pleasure Victim. Pat asks if the record label ever tried to censor the more risque lyrics. The record label didn't, but MTV censored every music video the band ever did. But it was MTV, they were the only game in town.
Pat and Terri are chit-chatting over a bottle of wine. Maybe that's why she thought Kyle's name was Artie. Boy, I'm sure that's never gonna get brought up ever again. Pat lets it slip that he's recording an episode with Mike Siegel--Title Fight 3--and a Prince song gets name dropped. This leads to a story about Terri recording her solo album at Paisley Park. Terri never met a harder working guy than Prince. It was like he never slept or ate, all he did was just record music. And he was in FULL MAKEUP AND STAGE CLOTHES the entire time!
Prince only spoke to Terri on the last day of recording and he also had a girlfriend who wore the exact same clothes as him. Terri ponders whether or not she could have been a bit more open to Prince, maybe that would have made him a bit more talkative as well, but who knows. Pat just finds it amazing that Terri has Prince stories. He plays a song off the solo album Moment of Truth called "Confession Time".
Pat goes back to Pleasure Victim and plays the song "Masquerade".
Pleasure Victim went Platinum. Pat compliments Terri and Berlin for being artists that have longevity. Terri reasons that electronic music has never gone out, so Berlin doesn't sound out of place. When it came time to do the follow up album, Love Life, the pressure was high but they managed to hit it big again. Pat wonders if the band had animosity over Terri being front and center. Terri says of course there was some animosity because everyone wanted to talk to her, the singer, but every band is like that.
Terri says the other guys in the band looked out for her. They may have been swimming in female fans, but they made sure that Terri was protected from the guy fans. In the early days, the Berlin albums were credited solely to John Crawford, but it was Terri and Dave Diamond who also helped write the songs. Terri says they just didn't know that songwriting credits would eventually be so important. Off of Love Life, Pat plays "Now It's My Turn".
Love Life was the first Berlin album on Geffen Records. Terri says that David Geffen was the real deal; he was very smart, very supportive of the band, and true to his word. Pat goes to the listener mailbag for some questions for Terri. One listener asks Terri about doing the US Festival in 1983. It was just a dirt field back then and the crowd went on into the horizon. She was so excited to be able to play on the same bill with bands like US, The Pretenders, David Bowie, Joe Walsh, and Stevie Nicks. Unfortunately she never got to meet those people.
With a crowd that large, Terri played as big as she could. Pat compares that to Mick Jagger. Pat and Terri talk about other legendary rockers like Springsteen and Bonnie Raitt. Terri brings up Grace Slick, whom she interviewed for her radio show. She was a super cool lady. Pat and Terri transition to talking about smoking cigarettes and prescription drugs.
Pat reiterates that he's never done drugs, but he is addicted to those little silver discs they call CD's. Terri questions what Pat's favorite band is. Cheap Trick, of course. Pat asks Terri the same question. For her, it's Pink Floyd and Heart. She just loves Nancy Wilson being a badass with a guitar. Is there a producer Terri would have liked to worked with? Trevor Horn. She also tried to get Roy Thomas Baker for her solo album, but he declined because he didn't like the music. Terri admits that her solo album was all over the place with what it wanted to be.
Pat plays another big Berlin hit, "No More Words" off of Love Life. Which song gets the biggest pop at a live show? "Take My Breath Away," written and produced by Giorgio Mororder (who also produced "No More Words.") Berlin were so excited to work with Giorgio and they were working with him when he got the call for Top Gun. He offered them "Take My Breath Away" for the soundtrack. John Crawford hated it, Terri loved it. IN A ROCK SOLID EXCLUSIVE, Terri admits that the band doesn't play on it. It's basically a Terri Nunn solo song that had the name Berlin slapped on it, and then the song was put on the band's fourth album.
Terri did not sing the song at the Oscars that year, Lou Rawls did. She admits her fault because the Oscars called her and said they were going to do a medley of the songs nominated that year. Terri put her foot down and said "No!" Either she sang the whole song or she wouldn't have sung it at all. And that was that. Pat moves on to the next album, Count Three & Pray. There are a bunch of guitarists on it: Ted Nugent, David Gilmour, Elliot Easton, Kane Roberts. Terri loved working with Uncle Ted, he was a blast. Pat plays the song that Ted plays on, "Trash".
Pat and Terri get into some family talk. She and her husband have been married for fifteen years. Her family stays home, she doesn't take them on the road. There's just a lot of shlepping on the road. Pat plays another song off of Count Three & Pray called "Pink and Velvet", which features David Gilmour.
David would just plug in and play the guitar for twenty minutes at a pop and producer Bob Ezrin would chop it down. Terri was just madly in love with David. Meanwhile Mike Siegel walks in and is flabbergasted at the Rock Solid Exclusive that Terri admitted to earlier. He also laughs heartily at Terri calling Kyle "Artie." After Count Three & Pray, Berlin breaks up. The band was just tired and sick of each other and too young to know that. They were too young to say that they needed a break. Berlin would not become a band again until 2002, but it was not the classic Berlin. It was Terri's version of Berlin. She bought the name from John because he was out of music.
The original band actually got back together on VH1's Bands Reunited. Pat and Jimmy Pardo came on to workshop the show for the pilot, but they got kicked off before it went on the air. It was nice for Terri, John, and the rest to reconnect after so long. She wanted to thank John for giving her and her kids a life. Pat plays a song from the 2002 album Voyeur called "Blink of an Eye". Between the breakup and reemergence of Berlin, Terri just had fun. She did the solo album, got married, moved around, worked with a whole bunch of cool people like Billy Corgan and The Sisters of Mercy.
Pat plays a song from Terri's solo album Moment of Truth that was written by Ric Ocasek. It's called "Fly by Night".
Pat asks Terri what it was like recording their most recent album, Animal, with her in charge. Terri says it was exciting because she loved what everybody brought to it. Her current band members include Dave Schulz from The Goo Goo Dolls and Carlton Bost from Orgy. Pat plays the title track, "Animal".
Terri loudly grunts in approval of the song. She says her co-writer for the song didn't have sex until he was 28, so all that frustration went into the music. Pat knows the story, he didn't get his bones jumped until he was 25. Terri really enjoys working with him.
You can find Terri on Twitter @RealTerriNunn. You can also go to Berlin's website BerlinPage.com. Go there for tour dates and merchandise and other goodies.
Artie reads off some of Berlin's tour dates. They're all over the place, people. Pat thanks Terri for being on the show and being so open and fun. Oh, and thanks for giving us the gift that is "Artie Dodson." Terri drops another Rock Solid Exclusive that there might be a tour with the original Berlin trio. "Holy balls," says Pat. We end the show with "Don't Make Me Regret It" off of Animal.