December 20th 2022

LCR Music Board pays tribute to Iain Templeton and Terry Hall – words from Kevin McManus

The music world is a poorer place today with the sad news of the deaths of Terry Hall (The Specials/Fun Boy Three), Martin Duffy (Primal Scream), and our own Iain Templeton, a feature of the Liverpool music scene for the last 30 years or so.

I first got to know Iain when he was in a band called Tiempo Libre in the late 80s. I was writing for NME at the time and spending a lot of my time hanging around The Picket venue, as did Iain. He was a brilliantly energetic but controlled drummer, as I witnessed when I reviewed Tiempo for NME when they played at the Picket as part of the ‘Liverpool Now’ festival. Francisco Carrasco, who was in the band with Iain, reminded me of one of Iain’s songs called Freedomain, a highlight of Tiempo’s set.

Iain was always creative, writing songs and painting as well as drumming with many local bands. He is best known for his work with Shack, drumming on some of their best and highest profile records including HMS Fable, Here’s Tom with the Weather, and one of my all-time favourites Michael Head and the Strands’ The Magical World of The Strands.

At one point in time it seemed that every drummer in the city was in The La’s for at least a couple of weeks and Iain was no different. If you want to check out what the La’s sounded like with Iain on the kit, have a listen to the session they did for Liz Kershaw. It’s on the The La’s at the BBC album, which to my mind is the best officially available collection of those famous La’s songs.

I love all those records and bands I’ve mentioned above, but to be honest my own memories of Iain centre largely around hugely enjoyable late-night chats over a pint or two in the basement of the old Casa.

I spoke to Francisco Carrasco, a long-time friend and musical collaborator of Iain’s, and he summed Iain up perfectly with the following words which I wanted to share as a fitting tribute someone who was great musician but also so much more:

“A wondrous song-writer, composer, creator, painter, doodler. A troubled soul with incredible energy and love for humanity.

He was my friend and my brother – and loved by many of the better-known musicians and artists in the city and beyond.”

Our thoughts are with Iain’s family and friends. He will be greatly missed and always remembered by those who were lucky enough to know him.

Hearing about the passing of Iain, as well as the death of Terry Hall really struck me. Terry, who died this week at what seems like the criminally early age of 63, had lots of Liverpool connections and was particularly close to Ian Broudie and to The Bunnymen. I only met him briefly once, but he and The Specials had a major impact on my musical life. I first saw them when I was 15 or so when The Specials (who I’d never heard of at that point) supported The Clash at Eric’s. I was there to worship The Clash but was absolutely blown away by The Specials’ performance which was like nothing I’d ever heard or seen before. I was hooked instantly, and I bought their debut single Gangsters as soon as it came out and it was played all that summer at the first ‘grown up’ parties me and my mates went to as ridiculously immature 16-year-olds who thought we knew everything. The Specials quickly became huge (and justifiably so) for a couple of years, but much more importantly they changed the musical and political landscape for a whole generation of music lovers like me.

Terry Hall – music legend. RIP.