Star Scene: Terri Nunn


Terri Nunn’s choice of scene is a peaceful one, in contrast to her demanding career as vocalist in successful new wave synth band, Berlin. Nunn states: “My favourite thing to do is read. I love to read. At the moment I am reading Billy Idol’s autobiography. I really like it.” Nunn continues: “He and I have crossed paths several times. When I was an actor, before Berlin, I was 17 and he sat down next to me. This was before he went solo, he was in a band called Generation X and he was out in LA and he at a premiere of a movie I did called ‘Thank God it is Friday’. And he just sat down next to me, and he was this fascinating looking guy, he was WOW, he was so punked out with died blonde hair and he was just hot, and so we talked and he told me what he was doing and we laughed during the movie because it was pretty bad. Then I ran into him again when I was working with Giorgio Moroder, he was working at Moroder’s house working with Keith Forsey, his producer.”

“So yeah,” Nunn continues, “I ran into Billy again. But no, I didn’t date Billy Idol. I only dated Michael Hutchence and Don Henley. I avoided famous guys; it is not easy dating them. When you are dating a famous guy, girls are really mean, like you would go out to eat somewhere and girls would literally stand right in front of me to talk to my boyfriend.”

Nunn has interesting tales to tell, and has been fortunate to work with many talented artists. Giorgio Moroder helped Berlin achieve success. Of Moroder, Nunn states: “We stayed as friends. He’s mellowed out a lot. At the time, he had a studio and had agreed to do one song ‘No More Words’ on our second album. He was so sought after that we couldn’t afford any more than one song and he was doing 3 or 4 projects at one time, as well as dating all the hot chicks in LA, he was the playboy of the time, having a great time with the ladies. He was just a whirlwind. It was round this time we got lucky, he got us the gig for Top Gun, right place, right time; he offered us the song and this was after trying three or four other singers that were way more popular than we me, we hadn’t even had a top 40 hit at that point. I mean we weren’t anything at all in the eyes of Giorgio Moroder but we were there and he decided to try me out and the producer said okay and so I sang it and they loved it and so I was very lucky. It opened up the world.”

More recently, Berlin has worked with Billy Corgan. Whereas Moroder was a whirlwind, Corgan was a breeze for Nunn yet a typhoon for her band. Nunn states, “I remember I was a little bit uncomfortable with that rockstar persona, that job description but Billy would come to rehearsal studio, kind of like Prince would when we recorded our album at his studio, he’d be fully dressed, fully coiffured, full make-up, and he was just recording. He wasn’t going out to any shows, he was in the studio, but he would come in fully done up like he was ready for a stage show every day. Corgan was similar. [pullquote]”Billy Corgan taught me that it is okay to be a rockstar all the time. [/pullquote]When he got out of the car, I still remember him getting out of his car and crossing the road to the rehearsal studio, I was at the door watching him come in, and the kids in the neighbourhood were like, ‘That’s Billy Corgan’ and they ran from everywhere and we had to hide him in the back. It was mayhem. He is a tall guy and had this long leather coat on and he looked like a fucken rockstar. That taught me a lot. He worked better with women because he was not easy on my guys, he was very opinionated and dominating with the guys, not with me, which caused conflict. But ultimately it was worth it.”

Nunn reflects on her influences and categorically asserts that without David Bowie, there would be no Berlin. Nunn states, “This week I’ve been thinking about it [my influences] because we lost David Bowie. [pullquote]”There wouldn’t be Berlin without David Bowie. For me he really saved the 70s. [/pullquote]Without him there wouldn’t be glam rock, from Elton John to Queen to Pink Floyd to Roxy Music, all of these people followed him. The romantic look we did with make up on guys, he started all that.” She continues: “We played a concert together. I did not meet him [Bowie] there, but I tried. I didn’t get anywhere but it was still the highlight of my life to play the same stage as him.”

Though influenced by Bowie, those who left an undying impression on her were the members of the band, INXS. She states: “We did a tour with them a couple of years ago. [pullquote]”I said to Andrew Farris, ‘What’s going on dude? Why aren’t you writing? Where’s the new INXS stuff?’ and he said, ‘Well, I need another Michael. I don’t have it in JD. He’s a good singer but he’s not a writer I can work with.’ It’s sad.”[/pullquote]I had been a huge fan and met them early on when they went to England to do a club tour and we were there recording an album and our label was the same. One of the guys at the label said, ‘You want to go see a new band of ours, they’re playing at a club in England called The Marquee’ and we said ‘Yeah sure’ and we went down there and they absolutely blew us away, especially Michael. While they were there, Michael and I dated a little bit, we all became friends; they were great guys. And a couple of years ago when they asked us to tour with them, it was so great to be up close with them, they are such an amazing band. It’s sad that there not continuing.”

Nunn is inspiring. Hopefully they will be new INXS material soon and maybe some new Berlin material as well, the latest being their release of Animal in 2013. Nunn states that they will include some of the new material on their Australian tour. She states: “It is quite a production, not just the hits but the latest as well. I am bringing out my keyboardist, Dave Schulz, from the Goo Goo Dolls, and my drummer of the last 15 years Chris Olivas. We’re going to use the guitarist who is playing in the band that is backing up the people in the tour. We don’t have a bassist. Most of our bass is programmed. We have a lot of video content – it is very visual show.”

“Unfortunately,” Nunn concludes, “our music does not inspire moshing. I am jealous of bands who get that, the fans are so excited, they just want to slam into each other.”

Nunn needn’t worry. They’ll be plenty of dancing.

Catch Terri Nunn and Berlin on the Totally 80’s Australian Tour.


Tuesday 12th July – BRISBANE Eatons Hill

Thursday 14th July – GOLD COAST Jupiter’s

Friday 15th July – MELBOURNE Palais Theatre

Saturday 16th July – SYDNEY Enmore Theatre

Wednesday 20th July – PERTH Astor Theatre

Thursday 21st July – ADELAIDE The Gov

Friday 22nd July – HOBART Wrest Point

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See Scene News for more information on all the artists.

About Mary Boukouvalas 1576 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos,,,, She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.