Wilkinson Publishing (label)
28 March 2014 (released)
28 March 2014
Honestly folks, there can’t be many rock autobiographies about that conclude with a prayer by Mother Teresa! Then again, bona fide drummer turned chiropractor Terry Chimes is not your typical rock n roller – far from it.
Born and bred in London’s deprived East End, young Terry had, unlike many other kids from this area, a privileged upbringing surrounded by a caring family. In particular father Bill Chimes instilled an interest and a love for music into his sons from an early age. After all, Bill played with his local dance band most weekends. Ironically perhaps it was Terry’s brother, John, who would go on to study timpani (kettledrums) at the Royal College of Music, although eventually, Terry followed suit (sort of) by deciding to become a drummer in a rock band! However, the ‘split personality’ of Terry Chimes would already manifested itself in his teenage years… apart from bashing drum kits, Terry displayed a strong interest in medicine, especially dissecting dead animals.
The first part of the autobiography reveals (in equally fascinating and entertaining measure) how Terry would grow to become the much respected drummer for The Clash. Subsequently, he would also become the drummer for other punk/heavy metal outfits such as Generation X, Hanoi Rocks, and Black Sabbath. In between, he was equally busy as a much sought after session drummer – not least thanks to his ability to memorise tracks real quick.
Although peppered with fascinating anecdotes from his adventures as a sticks-man, one can’t help getting the impression that even back then, Terry was always a tad too nice, too considerate, and too clean-living to ever fully fit into the ‘dangerous abyss’ that rock ‘n’ roll can be. Indeed, he lists 25 musically diverse rock bands and asks what it is that they all have in common. Answer: In each of these, the drummer died first! This sad fact must have triggered something in him, for he decided that the traditional rock lifestyle, combined with a likely early death, was not for him! Move over Mr. Chimes, and welcome Dr. Terry!
The second part of the book chronicles, with the occasional detour, how Terry decided that going back to university and study to become a chiropractor would be more fulfilling then being a drummer in a rock band. As he wisely remarks: “Those who never dare to get out of their comfort zone are severely limited in life!” Do I really need to point out that he passed his exams with flying colours?
They say that however we turn out in later life, all things go back to our childhood. This most certainly was the case when Terry decided to study chiropractic and acupuncture respectively. Earlier in the book, he mentions how his father once consulted a chiropractor for a bad back problem; somehow, this childhood experience must have resonated with him.
As his medical odyssey continues, the reader is further let into the secrets of spiritual enlightenment and various other alternative ways of thinking and healing. Well-meant as it is, it does read a bit of a mixed bag at times. As the book goes on, not only does it get more complex but also more spiritual, for example when Terry, in his never-ending quest of becoming one of the nicest persons on this planet, suggests that “using prayer to help the patient not only gives remarkable results (according to extensive research) but is also a chance to deepen ones own faith.” Ah, bless! I would like to see how this well-meant slice of advice can be put to practice though, especially were chronically overworked NHS doctors and nurses are concerned! Nice Dr. Terry also dedicates a few paragraphs to becoming a more depentable and more reliable person, reassuring us that such noble gestures result in a powerful feeling brought on by a change for the better. On that note, dear author, you still owe me that interview (as promised on June 5th, 2013). Alternatively, some practical advice on how to kick my disgraceful eight-chocolate-bars-a-day habit would equally be welcome.
The book’s final part sees demon rock ‘n’ roll once more taking hold of Mr. Chimes. Not entirely though, for now, our man Terry seems to have struck the right balance between his much appreciated work as a chiropractor, and being the drummer for relatively new power band The Crunch - comprised of Sulo Karlsson (Diamond Dogs), Mick Geggus (Cockney Rejects) and Dave Tregunna (Sham 69, Lords Of The New Church). One thing for sure: should any of the guys encounter back pain or joint disorders, they are in the best of hands courtesy of drummer Terry!
The Strange Case Of Dr. Terry And Mr. Chimes (extra kudos for such witty title) makes for an enjoyable read, filled with humour and of course, well-meant advice on an all ‘round healthier lifestyle. Oh yes, it’s also a great read for all you Clash, Hanoi Rocks and Black Sabbath fans out there!