We (myself, wife and son) drove into Los Angeles on July 4th 1976, it was the U.S. 200th bicentenial. We kept driving aiming for Santa Monica, the only place we had heard of in L.A., but drifted a little south into a town called El Segundo.
We found an apartment and jobs almost immediately. At that time there was a drought in the L.A. and Southern California area and the weather was continually warm and sunny, a welcome relief to the marrow in our bones, which we swore was still frozen from the Massachusetts winter we had survived earlier in the year.
We settled down to L.A. life very easily, back then rent was cheap and utility bills were so low it was laughable, I remember getting gas and electricity bills for $5.
My wife bought me a Fender acoustic guitar, a Jap job, (must have been my birthday) and I started writing the odd song or two, with the idea in mind of sending the demos to Dick James Music in London. I still owed them five or six songs to fulfill my contractual agreement with them (they had already published the “Fatsticks” album songs).
I found a small recording studio in Redondo Beach (a few miles south of El Segundo) recorded my songs and mailed them off to Dick James Music. Eventually a letter came back from them informing me that only two of the songs were suitable for publishing, I think they were “Roadcrew Blues” and “Rota Roota Man”. I could not believe they had refused to publish some of the other songs “Red Sun” , “Love in Ruins”, fantastic pieces (well, to my mind anyway).
With that I kinda mentally cut loose whatever ties I had to the music biz and carried on with my new life in Southern California (the strange thing about emmigrating, is that it’s like having two lives, when you emmigrate you have to start all over again).
We eventually bought a house in El Segundo and I wrote and recorded demos of songs just for my own ammusement.
In the early 1980’s I started working for Hughes Space and Communications in various design departments. Around the late eighties, I was working with a guy who said he played guitar. Gradually we got friendlier and he would bring me in pieces of his guitar playing on cassette. He had lot's of riffs and chord sequences going, but what tripped my wire was his guitar playing and sound, it was straight out of West London, I was having flashbacks to Ealing Broadway on a drunken Saturday night.
I played bass and found a drummer through a local music paper and “The Los Angeles Rockmotor” was born. Funny thing about “The L.A. Rockmotor” was that it kinda fed on itself, one thing led to another until we were playing the Sunset Strip. I recall playing at the Roxy and thinking “Christ, what the hell am I doing, I'm fifty years old”.
Around 1996 “The L.A. Rockmotor” folded. The guitar player had simply had it. To fulfill our outstanding gigs I switched to guitar and we brought in a bass player.
Again this combination seemed to feed off itself. We started doing ‘requests’, a lot of which were Blues and Rockabilly, which got us booked into the clubs that specialized in that genre. At a loss for a decent band name I called the band “The Terry Stamp Trio” and we sailed along on the L.A. Blues and Rockabilly circuit, playing at the likes of B.B. Kings, Jacks Sugar Shack and others. Sometime around 1999 the bass player quit and myself and Bill (the drummer called it quits). Thinking about it, Bill and myself had been playing and gigging the Los Angeles area for ten years.
In 2000 Jim Avery came over here for a vacation and we put together a CD worth of songs. We had heard that Steve Albini was a “Third World War” fan, so I booked a day at his recording studio in Chicago and Jim and I flew up there. The output of that day is on a CD titled “Terry Stamp and Jim Avery, The Complete Chicago Recordings” and is just myself and Jim with two old acoustic guitars, singing and playing away with Steve Albini at the recording desk. I have always had a taste for the stripped down stuff, blues based stuff. There are some great songs on this CD “Duke of Opium Blues”, and “Hoodoo Fallen Blues” - gives me the creepies just thinking about it. There is also a DVD of these proceedings.
Since 2000 Jim Avery and myself have just been throwing demos and song ideas at each other.
Terry Stamp, Los Angeles, February 22, 2004.