Saturday, August 11, 2012
Local musician Terry Salyer has big name ties
One day, at the age of 19, he was testing a new guitar. Another young musician, a 14-year-old boy named Ricky, walked over to him and said, “Sir, would you mind showing me that riff?” That single sentence was the beginning of both a teaching career, which he started at Mike Black’s in 1977, and a lifelong friendship with a young local talent who would later be known as Ricky Lynn Gregg.
LONGVIEW There is an old saying that goes something like, “If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.” It’s a wonderful thought. But for millions of people who get up every day and head out to work, it is just a dream. There are others, like Terry Salyer, who have made that dream into a reality, and he will proudly tell you that he has never had a job in his life.
Terry is a Texas son, born and raised. Originally from an area near Corpus Christi, Terry Salyer moved to East Texas with his family when he was 3 years old. Except for his time on the road playing music, Terry has lived in Texas all of his life.
His love of music started early when he watched his older brother playing the trumpet and marching in the school band. “I remember how cool I thought that was,” he says. Terry was in the second grade, and like most children that age, his thoughts would occasionally drift toward growing up and getting a job. “I remember that I wanted to be an astrologer or a scientist. At least I thought I did.” With instant recall, Terry can tell you the exact moment he knew that music would become his life, his livelihood and his dream.
It was February 9, 1964. As he sat in front of the family television set (back in the days when a house had one television), a young Terry Salyer watched Ed Sullivan introduce a new band that had arrived in the United States from England. That band was The Beatles. Suddenly, a young boy halfway through the fourth grade knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up.
“I started playing trumpet in the school band like my brother,” says Terry. “But I remembered watching those guys on television.” He also began playing the guitar and the bass. When I asked if there was a reason he started with a guitar, Terry simply smiled and said, “It was easier to borrow a guitar.”
By the time this young musician was in the eighth grade, he was already a member of a band called The Midnight Sun. Together, they performed many of the songs popular at that time, such as “G.L.O.R.I.A.” made famous by The Shadows of Knight and “Louie Louie,” a hugely popular tune by The Kingsmen. “We played a lot of little gigs around the area and even a few larger ones at some of the clubs,” says Terry.
By the time he was 15, Terry was playing trumpet in his second band, Chamber of Soul, from Henderson, Texas. It was a big 9-piece band, and they performed after football games at the American Legion Hall in Henderson. “For kids, we made pretty decent money, and we were having fun.”
Terry graduated from high school in 1972. By that time, he was considered by his peers to be proficient on several instruments including the trumpet, guitar, bass, drums and piano. In December of 1973, he was approached by the Arlington, Texas, band, First State Bank. By January 4, less than a month later, he was on stage performing in front of 4,000 students. He was “hooked” and stayed with FSB for about three years.
Terry was involved in all aspects of music even when he wasn’t on stage performing. He enrolled in Kilgore College where he learned the fundamentals of music theory. He went on to graduate with a music degree. During this time, Terry began teaching.
As a young musician, Terry spent his spare time at music stores. One in particular was Mike Black’s North Town Music. One day, at the age of 19, he was testing a new guitar. Another young musician, a 14-year-old boy named Ricky, walked over to him and said, “Sir, would you mind showing me that riff?” That single sentence was the beginning of both a teaching career, which he started at Mike Black’s in 1977, and a lifelong friendship with a young local talent who would later be known as Ricky Lynn Gregg. In 1979, Terry started teaching at Mundt Music and has been giving music instruction there since then. He says, “I like to teach and enjoy working with my students. It’s kind of a family thing.”
During all this time, Terry continued to play and perform and still does to this day. He says, “I have played on a semi-regular basis with about 20 or 30 bands through the years.” He is quite proud of his three year run with First State Bank. Other long term band relationships include about five years with Fat Tuesday, and from 1977-1983 he played with Lee Pickens (formerly of Bloodrock) and now performing as Easter Island.
At 57 years of age, Terry Salyer can proudly say that he has been a working and successful musician his entire life. “That’s what I set out to do, and that’s what I did.” And he has a long list of accomplishments to prove it.
With one solo CD to his credit, Terry has worked on numerous albums both for custom and independent labels as well as radio, television commercials and soundtracks. “Back in the 80s, if you were watching a Sunday fishing or hot rod show, then you were probably listening to me playing.”
Some of his most memorable moments include touring with his band and opening for Iron Butterfly in 1974. After the show, it was discovered that there were some special guests in the VIP booth: the Rolling Stones and Rod Stewart’s band, Faces. “It was a big event in a huge indoor venue. I was only 19 at the time and didn’t know they were there during the show,” Terry says. “It’s a good thing, because I might have been nervous.” He has toured extensively throughout the Midwest and Canada and performed as a drummer in Europe while touring with Ricky Lynn Gregg in 1995-96. Their friendship has remained strong over the years. Terry describes his friend as “real loyal, a good friend.”
Terry and his wife Lisa have six children. “With all of the kids and grandkids together, I could put together an orchestra,” he says jokingly. Though he misses his wife and family when on the road touring, Terry says, “I feel very, very fortunate to be able to still be playing and teaching.”
In July 2011, Terry became a member of the Alan Fox Band playing drums. While they used to play a lot of bars and clubs, AFB is now playing to much larger audiences at fairs, festivals and larger venues. They are in the process of recording their second album and currently have a new single titled “Do Me”. Go to their website for concert information. I can promise you a great show. There is a LOT of talent in that group!