Berlin

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In the 1980s, Berlin was famous for such hits as "No More Words" and "Take My Breath Away". Now Terri Nunn is back with Berlin, touring and recording again. She tells us a bit about touring, and her passion for vegetarianism

DM) There's been a resurgence of interest in Berlin as of late. How does the band's sound differ now as opposed to the late '80s?

TN) We're still electronic; but now we're using all of the new technologies to get our messages out. I love it! Some of the sounds you can create now, especially onstage, were impossible before. Some aren't even humanly possible now, like the playing in some of the drum loops, for example. Putting that kind of stuff together with people playing is mind-blowing.

DM) Do you ever get tired of playing songs like, "Take My Breath Away"?

TN) Yes, I have at different times. So when I do, I find ways to change them up for myself and the crowd. For example, now I pick a person every night to dedicate "Take My Breath Away" to. That gives it even more meaning for me every chance I get to sing it.
Honestly, doing these songs is like sex. There are only so many positions, and things you can do, so when I get bored, I throw in some variations on a theme--i.e., a new fantasy, new location, new toys etc. Then VOILA! It's great again. Same with music. A little imagination goes a long way.

DM) If these songs are like sex, which of your songs do you feel satisfies you the most after singing it?

TN) "Sex (I'm A)"

DM) I guess that was too loaded of a question! What's the story behind the creation of that song?

TN) We'd finished recording of all the songs we wanted to include on our demo (which later became the album "Pleasure Victim"). We realized we had no songs dealing with sex-- except the song "Pleasure Victim," which John said was about masturbation--so we noodled around one day in the studio.
John was playing that old blues song Muddy Waters sang, singing, "I'm a man... I said M.. A.. N!" I joined in with a bunch of responses--some roles I'd like to play: Goddess, Mother, Geisha, etc. We had a good idea going, so I took the music home and wrote the lyric based on a problem I was having with my boyfriend at the time. Our sex life was getting a little predictable, but every time I suggested something different, he resisted. One day, he even said, "Look Terri, I don't want to be a pirate or a burglar or whatever. I'm just a GUY; I like normal guy things, I'm just a MAN, OK?"
So, in the song, I made the male voice sing: "I'm a man, I'm a man" endlessly while the girl's going off all over the place--like I wanted to.

DM) And did the boyfriend catch on to that subliminal hint?

TN) A little, yeah.

DM) Have you ever had the urge to remake any of your hit songs?

TN) No. Once we were asked to do a remake of "Masquerade" for a movie. We even got a great producer - Mike Chapman - to do it with us. It was terrible! The movie company paid us something like $40,000 and ended up using the original anyway.
There's a certain magic that happens with a song recording that you just can't recreate. It would have to be changed drastically to have a shot, I think.

DM) Some people feel the magic of live performance is that a live performance is the chance to "recreate" the songs they wish they could do again. Is that the magic you're talking about?

TN) No. I'm talking about the recording itself. The live situation is totally different. There you can actually create a new, usually even more hyped-up experience of a song than the recorded version. It's the same yet different--if that makes any sense.

DM) I heard you were originally a nutritionist and still practice. Is this true?

TN) I picked up an interest for nutrition in my late teens. I wasn't feeling--or looking--so hot. Doctors and drugs weren't helping me, so I began to read, and through books, I tried vitamins, herbs, and a vegetarian diet. The results were unbelievable. Within 2 months, I saw a huge difference. Within 6, I was a new person.
Anyway, I was reading so much about nutrition, it made sense that I might as well get something for it--like a degree. That way I could help other people. At least they'd listen to me. So I did. I found a college that let me do some of my schoolwork on the road (I was touring heavily with Berlin then). I never became a licensed nutritionist, but I still practice it--absolutely. It saved my life.

DM) Then what type of diet do you follow on the road?

TN) Pretty much the same one I follow at home: lots of veggies, fruit, whole grains, pasta, fish once in awhile. I have trouble getting enough fruit on the road though. These days, most restaurants have vegetarian dishes of some kind, or dishes that can be made vegetarian really easily. It's great! When I first went vegetarian in 1979, it was a lot tougher. There wasn't the awareness there is now.

DM) Do you feel that much healthier since you've turned vegetarian?

TN) Yes. I don't get sick as much anymore. That means a lot to me, because I never feel I have time to be sick anyway. There's too much to do!
It's also easier to keep my weight down since I cut out dairy. I'm not anal about it though. It's actually been harder for me to cut out dairy than it was to cut out meat! Dairy's in everything--it seems like!

DM) As of late, there seems to be a surge in sales of "natural healing products," "alternative medicine," and the such.

TN) "Alternative medicine" covers anything purported to heal illness that doesn't involve drugs or surgery--the two mainstays of conventional medicine. For emergencies, drugs and surgery can be great; nothing can pull us from the brink of disaster faster. But for everyday good health, alternative medicinal practices are the only ones that have healed me in my life. Mega-vitamin therapy is amazing. That's where you take what are considered high doses of different vitamins--alone or in combination--to target specific problems.
Herbs are another fantastic tool for healing. In college, I studied mainly vitamin therapy. If I ever go back, I'd like to study herbs next. They've been miraculous for me. Many drugs' active healing ingredients come from plants, or are synthesized to mimic plants.
Truthfully, neither drugs nor surgery are designed to keep you optimally healthy. Drugs can't heal, technically; only nutrients can heal.
I found out the reason doctors don't give you vitamins--something that can actually cure you--is because drug companies can't patent vitamins, therefore they can't "own" them and make a truckload of money. That's when I lost my faith in doctors. They'd rather put me on a drug for the rest of my life than cure me--for money. That sucks.
And it gets worse: every drug has side effects. That means we get MORE problems by taking a drug than we walked in with. Guaranteed. So you've gotta take MORE drugs to combat the NEW problems. And the vicious cycle begins. The credo, "First: do no harm" was ditched a long time ago by orthodox medicine. So I'm stoked at the surge in sales of alternative medicine.
Here's a quote: the New England Journal of Medicine, a highly respected orthodox medical paper, published a study that "over one third of those surveyed chose alternative medicine over conventional methods, because of the medical establishment's emphasis on diagnostic testing and treatment of drugs without focusing on the patient as a whole." That's great! We're wising up, I think.

 

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