When I knew Terry,

For SFTKs’ 2nd Anniversary on July 11, 2020, we decided to have an ALL NEW Page and you can participate.

Do you have any fond memories of meeting and interacting with Terry? Could be a chance meeting or more.

Please send your memory through the website email on the Homepage, and we will post it here!

The first time I saw Chicago was in 1973. Through a classmate we were fortunate to have free front-floor-center tickets and backstage passes. I didn’t know everything Chicago played, only what was on the radio, but I knew at least half of the songs. The concert was unbelievable and Terry, well, all I could do was stare at his hands, his fingers effortlessly flying up and down his fretboard. He was wild and relentless, unrestrained yet focused. IMO the band as a whole are truly gifted, accomplished musician but Terry out-shown. His style was uniquely his own yet he respected the roots of the music. After the show we headed back in hopes of meeting the band. I had the good fortune of meeting and speaking with Terry.

I soon found Terry was a very down-to-Earth person. He was hysterically funny and fun as we engaged in our no-filter conversation. It was very obvious he wore his heart on his sleeve and possessed a no-poker face. Here he’s this rockstar but Terry never pretended to be anyone but his true self. We spoke a lot about music, our likes, dislikes. He wanted to know the who, what, where, when and why I transitioned from one genre to another. He was genuinely engaged and interested, sustained eye contact. He told me how he liked the Ventures and how he’d place speakers on either side of his head. He spoke of a group, I believe they were called Baby Huey and the Babysitters and his admiration for a jazz session player named Howard Roberts and blues player Elmore James. Terry also spoke of fun times growing up in Chicago, eating at Tasty Freeze and Bellas, skinny dipping and hanging at the local record store he’d frequent, El Reys.

I have to say Terry made a huge impression on me and till this day I still consider him to be the most versatile, experimental, incendiary guitarist I’ve heard to date who had the ability to cross all boundaries. With him there were no limitations. Terry also had a beautiful soul. He could destroy you with his vulnerability and brutal honesty. Terry changed the way I feel about music and for that I will eternally grateful. – SFTK Member

The first time I met Terry I didn’t know who he was. He told me he was working at the Caribou Ranch, I thought that meant he took care of the horses. We talked for a while about nothing in particular then he asked me what type of music I liked. I told him I liked rock. He asked me who my favorite band was I told him The Doobie Brothers. He asked me if I had a favorite guitarist…so of course I told him Eric Clapton, I put my foot even farther into my mouth by saying Eric was the greatest guitar player ever…he looked at me with kind of a smirk and said “are you fucking kidding” I found out a few minutes later who he was…it didn’t take long before I changed my way of thinking about who the greatest guitar player was…ever. – Caryn Opperman

It was the fall of 1974. The band was playing Madison Square Garden. I heard on the radio that they were staying at the Essex House hotel. We cut school and took the subway into Manhattan to see if we could get some autographs. We parked ourselves outside the Hotel on Central Park South, armed with programs for the band to sign. We sat outside and waited all day until we finally saw Terry walking towards us. We ran up to him – I think we scared him a bit, and asked if he could sign our programs. He smiled, and said “yeah, sure”. He put his hand on my shoulder and asked where we were from. I told him we cut class and had been waiting all day to meet the band. He said “wow, that’s wild”. We chatted for a few minutes about the concert and then saw Peter Cetera walking down the street. We thanked Terry, and he said no problem, and left to get Peter’s autograph. – Patty Molloy

… I met Terry in 1975 at a private party at the Peninsula Night Club in Peninsula, Ohio. The band had performed that evening at nearby Blossom Music Center.

It was a cocktail party type set up where everyone stood and worked the floor with drinks in hand. The guys were all personable, and we had good time. I still have a vivid memory to this day from that party of glancing at Terry now and then and observing him with drink in hand wearing one of his sports jerseys talking to someone.

… I’ve posted before about meeting him so I apologize if it’s redundant for some. It was April of ’72 and they were back out on the road promoting their first single album, 5, which was about to be released in a couple of weeks. I somehow found out they were staying at the downtown Hilton in Baltimore. Before the show a friend and I started on the top floor and worked our way down. Bad decision since they were on the 6th floor but upon opening the stairwell door we heard a loud laugh coming from a room that was no doubt Terry’s. I swallowed hard, my heart was thumping, and I knocked on the door. It opened and there he was roughly drying his hair with a towel. He greeted us and asked what we wanted and I suppose I told him I was a staunch fan of the band and wanted to meet them. He said they were getting ready for the show but we were welcome to come back afterward. We did and were literally sitting cross legged on the floor of the hallway outside of their rooms and who knows what stupid questions I bombarded him with but Terry was having a good time with it. I was a high school senior and they were my favorite band. I was a drummer of 6 years and practiced playing with the first two albums and then 3 every afternoon after school. I also had 5 recorded on my reel to reel when a radio station played an advanced promo copy, start to finish, a week or two before so when I was able to discuss Dialogue and other songs on the album. He was diggin’ it. We spoke long enough for Lee, Jimmy, and Walt to also sit for a few minutes each and join the conversation individually. I have met many celebs in my lifetime. If ever the subject comes up in conversation, meeting Terry ranks right up there with people with the most notable names I’ve encountered including Raquel Welch, Moe Howard, and Larry Fine.

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