The curse of Terry Reid was not, however, about to lift. After River sank without trace, the label releasing Seed Of Memory, ABC, went bottoms up: “I saw it all go down the tubes. ABC simply froze the record and wouldn’t give it back to me. I had three major record companies wanting to take it on. I was broke and busted. Graham helped me out just to get me back on my feet. It’s sod’s law. You have to laugh or that sort of thing could crush you.”
Three years later, it happened yet again. Reid signed with the seemingly solid Capitol Records and made a decent rock’n’roll record in Rogue Waves. “Capitol was in a real mess,” says Reid, “people were coming and going and no-one knew what to do with the record. I was left high and dry once more.” He didn’t record again until 1991, when Trevor Horn produced The Driver. The title track was a collaboration with soundtrack composer Hans Zimmer, intended as the title song for the Tom Cruise vehicle Days Of Thunder. With a certain crushing inevitability, it was passed over.
Understandably defeated, Reid largely opted out of the ’90s. But since 2000, he’s been steadily rebuilding his career. Having moved down to Beverly Hills, Reid became part of a band of local session men who played a small club called The Joint every Monday night. Leader of the pack was guitarist Waddy Wachtel and, as word spread, stellar guests would drop by including Roger Daltrey, Joe Walsh, Bobby Womack and Keith Richards. One night, Robert Plant joined Reid onstage to sing “Season Of The Witch” and “Morning Dew”. “Robert did say onstage that I could have had his life,” admits Reid. “He says there were a bunch of things I could’ve had. But he doesn’t know what I would’ve wanted.”
Playing The Joint re-energised Reid and, since moving to Palm Desert, two hours outside LA, he’s begun touring more regularly, including dates this year that featured underground artists Howlin Rain and Matt Sweeney as his backup. “There was no record after The Driver because nobody asked me,” he says ruefully. “The most lucrative thing for me in the last 10 years has been from my old songs being used in movies.” Reid even tried acting, appearing as a golfing caddy in 2005 film The Greatest Game Ever Played.
It’s another curious twist in Terry Reid’s story, one in which the acclaim of his illustrious peers has rarely tempted him away from the comforts of a normal life. “People will always gravitate towards the train crash, all the things that went wrong in your life,” he points out. “But I have a lot of irons in the fire at the moment. I prefer to live among real people to experience what it’s really like. You live on a farm in Mexico, they’ve never even heard of Led Zeppelin.”
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