TERRI HENDRIX: I had the idea to do this CD for a long time. I’ve played a lot of shows where people bring their kids. I love to write and I had these songs that I had written that didn’t fit on a regular record-they were a little more childlike in nature. Some of the songs were written for if I get nervous before I play–they are little stupid things I say. Like one of them was, “If you get the jitters, be a hitter not a quitter. Step up to the plate and play ball. Even if you’re in a funk, don’t be a little punk, step up to the plate and play ball”. “Get your goat on”. So they were quirky songs that absolutely didn’t have a place on a folk record and so that’s how the kids record came to pass. And then, we play a lot of shows for kids with disabilities and a lot of the songs are about what’s different about us is actually beautiful and unique. These things that make us different are beautiful. Being different is beautiful. And so a lot of the songs are about that as well.
We did a lot of stuff for Kinetic Kids and that’s an after school program for kids-all types of kids-with any type of handicap. And these parents got together and made it so where their kids could play together after school and meet more kids like them. And the parents could meet more parents. And started it in San Antonio and we played a lot of events for them and so these songs kind of came out of watching these kids play together year after year.
AD: Why San Marcos and not Austin?
TH: I like Austin in my rearview mirror. It’s a nice town and everything but driving here is a scary thing. Y’all have too many choices for where to shop for groceries. In San Marcos we have two right now. It’s just easier for me to navigate myself. I get here and I get lost and it’s just too big for me. San Marcos is small. I go to the post office and I know all of the people that work there. I know that Elroy mumbles all the time and he just had surgery on his shoulder and I know that they got in trouble for playing the radio too loud and I like that. I like that in San Marcos. There’s that hometown feel. I like that a lot.
AD: How has the album “The Art of Removing Wallpaper” done so far?
TH: I’m really happy with it. I never really think about it too much. My goal when I do a record is to just do the best I can and let whatever happens, happen. But I feel really good about it. I run my own label and so I base things off how my fans respond. You know how are they responding to the songs? And by now, what are they requesting live? If they are requesting the older songs and not the songs off of “Wallpaper” then I know maybe I’ve got an issue going on-they aren’t connecting. And so far, it’s been going pretty good because they always connect to the same songs. I don’t care if we are playing in San Marcos or if we are playing in Seattle or if we are playing in Philadelphia, people always gravitate to the same songs. And they don’t know each other but they always request the same songs. That’s how I know how a record is doing. By how many songs they are requesting. And that’s how I now what’s working.
AD: How has the response to the song, “Monopoly” been?[fa:p:a=72157594267830938,id=235359102,j=r,s=s,l=p]TH: You know it’s interesting you should ask that. When we first started playing “Monopoly”– we first played it at the Philadelphia Folk Festival — the crowd went crazy. And that festival is bizarre because there is the stage, which is maybe 12 feet off the ground, maybe more, and then they have a huge media section that’s roped off where people do the camera. And then there is the audience. So it is really hard to hear the audience-what they are doing, what they are responding to, are they laughing-you know it’s really hard to feel. But then we went, “Hey, hey, SCC, don’t you turn your back on me”. And there is this lull in the song when we do our break and the audience was still screaming and that’s when it hit us, I mean I almost started crying. I was like, wow, they got it. Because it’s such an important topic and they got it. And I thought, people are aware of the corporate world taking over and eating up our democracy. They are aware. They are more aware than I thought.
But I’ll tell you man, they are not.
I’ll play that song elsewhere and it’s like speaking Greek. People are not aware. We’ll play that song and it will get a good response but more for the rhythm and not for the lyrics. And I’m surprised. I thought there would be more of an outrage. It seems to be going right over their heads. And the people in the media-it’s going right over their heads. We did get a call from Clear Channel but they wanted me to do some billboard campaign and of course I said no.
As a whole, it’s under the radar. But I think it’s so important. God man, we really need to stay on top of that because that’s where our freedom of speech and religion comes from. It’s our choices of media.
AD: How about the song, “Judgment Day”? Has there been any backlash to it?
TH: No. That one has been going over good. You know I think the media tends to hype up this great divide in the country, this huge divide. And I don’t know who they poll, but the majority of the people I know just want freedom of speech and religion. And a song like that, they can relate to it. I feel like my fans have related to that song. Because it is from the Bible belt, the Holy Land…I mean these radicals do use God for whatever is going to suit their cause. They don’t take responsibility for their actions they blame it on God. They use God. There’s not any hackles to be raised on that.
AD: When did you first become associated with Lloyd?[fa:p:a=72157594269325105,id=235358089,j=r,s=s,l=p]TH: It was through a demo tape in 1997 and then it just organically developed. At first I got him to produce my record, “Wilory Farm”, and then we just started working together. And then I brought him in as a business partner in 1998. It was choice-you know I could go with a label and the profit that would be eaten up by being on a label or I could have Lloyd be a partner. So that was a choice to make back then.
AD: Have you signed any new artists to your record label, Wilory Records?
TH: I want to. I’ve always wanted to. I’m a huge music fan and I’m always buying music, but it’s so expensive. It is so expensive for me. And it’s responsibility as well. If I signed another artist, you know, I would have to hire someone else. It would affect my taxes. It would affect everything. And I would feel so responsible for this other person, when would I write a song? So I just kept it me.
I’m high enough maintenance as it is.
I really feel like that the one thing about music that I’ve learned, and I’ve been doing this for fifteen years now, is that, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you no”.
Woody Guthrie has a great quote,
“I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard traveling. I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work”
And I think that says it perfect. Because if you got something to say then you’re somebody. And if there is two words that always pissed me off and get on my nerves, it’s the word, “buzz”. What in the heck does that mean? Things that buzz have always really disturbed me-bees-I don’t like bees, I don’t like flies and I don’t like mosquitoes. So buzz is one thing. And another thing is ever hearing somebody say nobody. Everybody is a somebody there is no nobody in my book. And if you got a song and you’ve got something to say, go for it. Don’t let anybody tell you no.
That just can’t be in the dictionary.
AD: Do you plan on playing with Ruthie Foster again in the future?
TH: Oh yeah, I hope so. We end up doing some events at the same places at the same times so we’re old friends and hopefully we’ll do something down the road.
AD: What’s next for you? What are you working on?
TH: Working on a book. I’ve been writing a book for a really long time about the music business and experiences running a label, the mistakes I’ve made and journal entries, and songs. And I’ve been working on another regular record that will hopefully come out in 2007.
I’m working on my harmonica.
AD: Is there anything else you want to add?
TH: I’m just happy to do what I do and I appreciate y’all doing this interview. ***