Terl Bryant - Village People, Hurstpierpoint

Terl Bryant

Terl Bryant

Lucy Webb meets the drummer and percussionist Terl Bryant, and finds out moe about his impressive life’s work in the music industry

By Lucy Webb

One of the things one gets used to whilst living in the countryside is the difficulty of finding people’s home, and locating Terl’s was a good example of this. He lives in a road near the College Lane end of Hurst but, as is often the case, I only have a house name to work with.

I’m no exception to this. Living in a road where the houses only have names, I’m up there with Terl for tricky to find addesses.

After driving up and down a bit, I employ the old window-winding question to a local looking type with obligatory wellies and dog. She thought for a moment and after exclaiming that she knew the house, her son was friends with Terl’s son and to look out for “a wonderful cherry red VW van in the driveway”. Now I had a lot more to go on.

In a couple of minutes I located said cherry red VW, and was soon to discover the necessity of this van quite quickly after being invited into Terl’s house.

He and his wife, Jules, welcomed me with a smile and a cofee, she a kind of countrified ounger Jerry Hall type who is a writer of children’s books. Terl is a laid-back, tall, cool kind of chap, with an easy manner and great hair. Here was Hurst’s answer to a rock and roll glamour couple, and I found myself imagining that they probably held rather fabulous dinner parties with equally fabulous guests.

We settled down in the living room of the house that Terl and his family have lived in since 2005. He and Jules have six children (two girls, four boys), hence the need for the van, and despite this their home is the picture of serenity. The younger children were at school and the older ones, as teenagers are known to do, were either asleep or had slipped out of the house undetected.

Terl took me back to the very beginning of his career, explaining that he is originally from Northamptonshire, and left school at sixteen to become a drummer. He tells me he had no business plan and yet this wonderfully solid decision at such a young age seems similar to the kind of drive you would need to become an entrepreneur.

Terl’s parents were artists who met at art school, and actively encouraged their son’s career choice. He admits he was very much influenced in his love of music by hi father’s love of rock and roll. Listening to a wide range of music from punk to jazz, Elvis Costello to Deep Purple, Terl began drumming for bands around the Midlands, including a band called Stranger. He remembers with a slight wince that the band auditioned Fish (lead singer of Marillion and later Fish of solo artist fame), however the two founding members of the band didn’t want him. Terl and another band member knew at that point that they had found something great in Fish, and felt disillusioned with the band after this. Terl decided a change of scene was needed and, following an invitation from his parents’ friends, upped and left for California in 1981.

Full story published in the March 2016 issue of Hurst Life