THE NOT-SO CROOKED BEAT: Reef Younis investigates what rock stars do next. No.4: Terry Chimes


Terry Chimes played drums for some of music’s biggest hitters. As the original, and intermittent, drummer for The Clash, he also went on to smash the skins for Billy Idol, Black Sabbath, and Hanoi Rocks. But one day, in 1985, that all changed.

Before a gig with Black Sabbath, he overdid it with a three-hour bowling session that left him screaming in pain and unable to play shortly before the band was due on stage. Luckily Sabbath travelled prepared, and the band’s chiropractor leant a hand. It was to be a turning point for Chimes: he would eventually swap White Riots for white waiting rooms.

A few years later, he quit music and then, in 1993, opened up his own chiropractic practice in Essex. Now a teetotal vegetarian and qualified acupuncturist, according to Terry’s short but sweet Twitter activity, his days are spent speaking at, and attending, chiropractic seminars (“Flying to Paris in a few hours to speak at the ‘New patient maven’ seminar. Hoping these Frenchies can come up with some veggie food!”); criticising the Daily Mail (“The Daily Mail story about Chiropractics has all the academic rigor and gravitas of a random outburst by a drunk at the pub, and is less fun”); and offering philosophical food for thought (“Confucius said ‘Find a job you love and you’ll never do a day’s work in your life.’)

The latter deeper-meaning tweet hints at a spiritual side that was further revealed in his autobiography, The Strange Case of Dr. Terry and Mr. Chimes. It turns out that switching from bashing skins to moving bones wasn’t the only change in Chimes’ life; after watching a religious procession in Brazil, he felt compelled to buy a copy of C.S Lewis’ Mere Christianity and find redemption.

“I felt a presence coming through me in strong waves,” he wrote. “At that moment, everything material and concrete seemed like nothing compared to the power and majesty of this presence. Everything in my world seemed to be instantly shattered, leaving me feeling tiny, naked and exposed. At the same time I felt the most extraordinarily powerful love. This presence knew everything about me and yet still loved me.”

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (for The Clash) in 2003, Chimes’ journey from (drum) sticks and (Mick) Jones to aching bones might be more about relief and redemption than excess in these latter years but as that Hall of Fame status confirms, he’ll always be a rock’n’roll (over onto your side, please) icon.


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