Interview with Banshee founder and guitarist Terry Dunn
INTERVIEW WITH BANSHEE FOUNDER AND GUITARIST TERRY DUNN
Date: April 26, 2022
Photo: Courtesy of Terry Dunn
MANY SLEAZE ROXX READERS WILL KNOW THE NAME BANSHEE DUE TO THE GROUP’S OUTPUT IN THE MID-’80S TO EARLY ’90S WHEN IT RELEASED THE ALBUMS ‘CRY IN THE NIGHT’ (1986), ‘RACE AGAINST TIME’ (1989) AND ‘TAKE ‘EM BY STORM’ (1993). AFTER REFORMING FOR A NUMBER OF SHOWS DURING THE FOLLOWING YEARS, BANSHEE FOUNDER AND GUITARIST TERRY DUNN DECIDED TO FORGE AHEAD WITH NEW LEAD VOCALIST GEORGE CALL IN 2011, WHICH RESULTED IN THE TWO HEAVIER BANSHEE ALBUMS ‘MINDSLAVE’ (2012) AND ‘THE MADNESS‘ (2019). SLEAZE ROXX CAUGHT UP WITH DUNN TO DISCUSS BANSHEE’S UPCOMING FOLLOW UP ALBUM TO ‘THE MADNESS’ AND TO PROVIDE THE OPPORTUNITY TO THE GUITARIST TO REPLY TO COMMENTS MADE BY HIS FORMER BANSHEE BANDMATE / LEAD VOCALIST TOMMY LEE FLOOD.
Sleaze Roxx: I understand that you take exception with some of the comments that your former Banshee bandmate Tommy Lee Flood made about you in his interview with Sleaze Roxx back in September 2020. Of note, Tommy indicated “Terry suffers from many demons, depression, addiction, which makes him highly unpredictable.” What are your thoughts in that regard?
Terry Dunn: I suffered from a drug problem after the break up of Banshee, and also depression. As far as demons, I’m not sure exactly what that even means as I am not a satanist [laughs]. I got my depression under control long ago and I have been clean and sober for over the last eight years. Tommy still tries to use this party tactic to disparage me. It’s called projecting, accusing people of the very things you are guilty of. A bit of advice for Tommy would be “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” because from what I have heard recently, Tommy needs to get help for his substance abuse issues. The difference between me and Tommy is I can admit that I had a drug problem but he continues to lie about his. And as for me being unpredictable, I find that statement to be silly as everyone is a bit unpredictable. Tommy has for years tried to use this party talking point as a scapegoating on me. It was ridiculous then and it’s ridiculous now. I will never allow him or [drummer] Kent [Burnham] to re-write the true history of this band as they have tried to do. It only makes them look hypocritical.
Sleaze Roxx: Tommy also noted that despite your past issues, you’re a fantastic guitar player and when you’re sober, you can actually be fun to be around. From what I understand, you and Tommy have not worked together in a long time and you’ve been clean and sober for the last eight years, so from Tommy’s perspective, he really hasn’t seen you as clean and sober for some time. Do you think that given that you are now clean and sober, things could work out between you and Tommy again?
Terry Dunn: Well, I appreciate the compliment regarding my guitar playing but I was never a drunk. Yes, I drank as did Tommy but the only time Tommy was around me when I was drinking was after shows drinking with him. That’s the only time I would drink so let’s not be hypocrites here regarding anyone’s drug use or drinking in the band. Hey, as far as I was concerned, I was always fun, always engaged with our fans and was never a dick to anyone. Last time I checked, I was in a rock band, not a Christian rock band, so again, I have no idea what Tommy is talking about. Also the issue with the band breaking up had nothing to do with anyone’s party habits. It was because Tommy was difficult to work with and he was responsible for us being blackballed by Atlantic Records and the record industry, which he still denies to this day, which again is sad. And no, I would never work with Tommy again. His voice is gone and I don’t think it will ever come back the way it once was. I resent the idea that my partying was the reason that me and Tommy stopped working together and that the break up was somehow my fault because of it. It’s just all manufactured lies and untrue. I have no reason to lie and everyone knows the truth about why Banshee never continued with Atlantic Records. Honestly, I could care less about what Tommy thinks about me. I have not spoken to him in over 10 years and have no intention of ever doing so again. When just the sound of someone’s voice makes your blood pressure shoot up, it’s time to remove that person from your life. Life’s too short to have to deal with nonsense like that.
Sleaze Roxx: You have taken Banshee on a heavier path with the last two albums. I know you said that you would never work with Tommy again in Banshee, but if you did, do you think that the group would continue in this heavier direction or go back to the Banshee sound of the earlier albums?
Terry Dunn: While I appreciate your question, there would never be a chance of working with Tommy again. I am totally happy with George Call and I love the guy. And I’m happier with the heavier direction, which is what I always wanted Banshee to sound like. In the hypothetical world if I were ever to work with Tommy again I would not change my present writing style.
Sleaze Roxx: I understand that Steve Susman is no longer managing Banshee. I understand that Steve in a way was more than just a manager as he contributed to the songwriting as well. What led to Steve no longer managing Banshee and what do you think that Steve brought during his tenure with the group?
Terry Dunn: Steve Susman helped us tremendously and we appreciate everything he did for us. He did write lyrics for a few of the tunes on ‘The Madness’ but we reached a point where we knew Steve could not take Banshee any further, since he was new to the business and he just did not have the kind of connections and experience we needed to take Banshee to the next level we felt we needed to be on. So we felt it best to part ways. We thank him for everything he did for us and wish him the best.
Sleaze Roxx: There seems to be some copyright / trademark issues plaguing Banshee. Back in November 2021, Banshee released a version of the track “Cry In the Night” with George Call on lead vocals but it was subsequently pulled due to a copyright claim from “Tommy Lee Flood & Banshee”. What happened there?
Terry Dunn: That was just Tommy getting mad because George sang on “Cry In The Night.” It was a tribute to Banshee which should have been taken as a compliment to Tommy but instead he got mad and contacted YouTube and Facebook, and filed a complaint. It is back up on YouTube and on our Facebook Banshee fan page so he accomplished nothing and just looked bitter and vengeful by having the song removed.
Banshee‘s “Cry In the Night” (with George Call on lead vocals):
Sleaze Roxx: Steve Susman had previously advised me that he owned all of the trademarks regarding Banshee. What is the status with respect to who owns the trademarks relating to Banshee?
Terry Dunn: Steve did pay for the trademark protection for the Banshee logo, which protects us from other people using the logo or trying to profit off of the Banshee name but it does not legally stop me or any former member of the band from using the logo since we are original members from the beginning. No one owns Banshee except Banshee.
Sleaze Roxx: I understand that Banshee is working on a new studio album. What’s the status in that regard?
Terry Dunn: Yes, I am finishing up arrangements on the last two songs and we are really excited! It will be eight songs. Also, I will be recording a classical guitar piece entitled “Mine” on this record which I’m very excited about. It’s an original guitar piece that I wrote for someone very special to me. I’m really excited about these new tunes.
Sleaze Roxx: What’s the line-up for the new album?
Terry Dunn: I’m actually bringing in some young blood on drums for this record. There is a killer drummer here in Michigan where I live named Andrew Clark who will be playing drums on the album. Also, I have Danny Nightmare who plays guitar in a great band here in Cadillac called “Of Rituals” Andrew is their drummer as well. Danny also is a producer and he will be working with me as well on the new record. We will be recording all the guitar, drums, and bass tracks here in Cadillac Michigan at Danny’s studio. Then send the tracks to Dallas for George to do his vocal parts, then me and Danny Nightmare will be mixing here in Cadillac.
Sleaze Roxx: How would you compare the new album to 2012’s ‘Mindslave’ and 2019’s ‘The Madness’?
Terry Dunn: The new material is diverse on this record, with a few more older classic style tunes and some really catchy hook riffs. There is a song entitled “Delusional Man” that I’m really excited about. You will hear many influences from our mentors of metal in these tunes, from Judas Priest to Rainbow, to [Black] Sabbath — these tunes will reflect our styles and influences. ‘The Madness’ was a very dark record. Production was not good as far as I am concerned. It was rushed and there was a lot of dark energy while making it. We had a drummer who only cared about getting paid and did not work as professionally as he could have. The bass tracks were recorded wrong and I was not happy with any of my guitar sounds because we didn’t get a chance to really work on them before recording them. Our manager was constantly fighting with the engineer. It was a shit show! I think this new record will be much better than ‘Mindslave’ and ‘The Madness’… A little more of a classic rock sound and production with really great songs! We are doing a cover of “Dreamer Deceiver” by Judas Priest which we are very excited about. It will showcase George Call’s voice and it’s such a beautiful song! A classic! We hope we can do it justice as we are huge Priest fans!
Sleaze Roxx: Cool! When can we expect the new album to be released?
Terry Dunn: All I can say is sometime this year. I am taking my time and not rushing this album like we did with ‘Mindslave’ and ‘The Madness’. Since I’m recording the record here in Michigan, I can take my time and make sure everything is right this time. With both of our last two records, it was very frustrating because we were basically on the clock and you can be right in the middle of recording and the engineer will stop the session because he needs more money. I’m not going to deal with any of the crap this time because there will be no clock or limits to us recording. While recording ‘The Madness’, I was right in the middle of recording “Psychosis” and the engineer stopped me and said, ‘Let’s not do this song cause I’m not feeling it.’ I was kinda shocked! So I had Danny Nightmare bring over a mobile recording unit and we set up in my living room and recorded the tune and believe me he was feeling it cause after his production of the song it turned out amazing! So that’s why I’m so excited to record here in his studio and not be rushed.
Sleaze Roxx: Are there any plans for any Banshee live shows and if so, what are they?
Terry Dunn: We have nothing booked at the moment but that could change at any time so we will keep everyone updated on our Banshee fan page. We are just concentrating on making the best Banshee record we can for right now. Covid has messed up the industry so much. Many rock clubs have closed and it’s just harder to book shows right now unless you can get on a good tour with someone with a bigger name.
Sleaze Roxx: Is there anything that we haven’t covered that you would like to mention?
Terry Dunn: Just again to thank everyone who still supports us and a special thanks to Dave Jensen who is doing a great job with the Banshee Facebook Fan page. And a big thank you to you Olivier for giving us this platform to talk about Banshee. And to all of our fans — Scream like a Banshee!
Banshee‘s “Psychosis” track: