Interview with the godfather of punk

We asked Terri Hooley a few questions about Good Vibrations!

How do you feel about Good Vibrations getting a new lease of life on the Lyric stage?

I am delighted and thrilled that the Good Vibrations story continues. When I first met the director, Des Kennedy I was nervous in case we didn’t get on, but we got on very well and had a great laugh together. Then when I met the cast I was taken aback by the amount of very talented young people involved in the production. I have been saying this since the 60s. I think for such a small country and per head of population we have the greatest talent of poets, painters, actors and musical performers in any part of Europe. Not that they always get the breaks that they deserve.

Did you realise at the time of opening Good Vibrations Record Shop and starting the label, the influence that you would have on the Belfast music scene?

I never in a million years thought that anybody but a few record fanatics would remember all the things that we did. The legacy of Good Vibrations is that it brought people together and they have remained friends to this day. The memory of Good Vibrations is very important to a lot of people because it is part of their teenage years. I think it means more to them than it does to me. I think the very fact that Good Vibrations didn’t put out a lot of records means that people cherish them. Stuart Bailie said “The first 8 records on Good Vibrations were classics but after a couple of years Terri had burnt himself out”.

This is a real feel good story. Do you have any particular favourite memories from the time that aren’t featured in the show?

Where would I start! In the early days we couldn’t get gigs for our bands and I went along to Queen’s University Student’s Union and booked the McMordie/Mandela Hall under the name of The Belfast Music Society. The young girl who did the booking gave me the hall for £5 thinking we were Queen’s Classical Society. Queen’s freaked out when they found out that it was Belfast’s first home grown punk gig with 8 bands and was a benefit for an anarchist book shop. They tried everything to stop the gig but it went on and you got 7 bands for 80 pence admission. It was a fantastic night and The Undertones stole the show. The next day they went into a studio in Belfast and recorded the legendary Teenage Kicks. And the rest is history…

In Good Vibrations you can see the influence your Dad had on your outlook. Are there other people that you think had a strong influence on you?

I first met John Peel in the late 60s when I was in London trying to get funding to set up projects like the Belfast Arts Lab. He had a show on pirate radio called The Perfumed Garden, playing all the hippie music that I loved. The music he played was a big influence on me even after he moved to the BBC. During the Troubles some of the pubs that we went to had been bombed and friends had been killed on their way home, so at night time we stayed in and listened to John Peel. John and I became friends and he was a huge supporter of the label. He used to hate the way that I treated him like a rock star but he was bigger than most rock stars to me. I used to stay with him and he used to listen to every record and demo tape that he was sent. I am very proud to have put out his all-time favourite record, and on his grave it says ‘Teenage dreams so hard to beat’.