Former Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Craig Terrill’s football playing days are behind him but that doesn’t mean he has stopped playing. He has turned his love of music into a successful band and will be performing Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run album in its entirety at The Triple Door on September 7th.
Growing up, Terrill got into music the same way many young kids do, by watching his older brother.
“My older brother played guitar and when I was 12 or 13, I wanted to be like him so I got a guitar and learned some basic stuff,” said Terrill about his early years. “Growing up in Central Indiana I enjoyed country music to begin with. He was more into stuff like The Beatles and Rolling Stones so that influenced me as well. Eventually I found my way to stuff like John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen and Heartland-Americana type stuff.”
Terrill played in bands while in high school and continued to play with his brother as they got older. His current band took root when he arrived in Seattle to play with the Seahawks in 2004.
“There was a great cover band called The Herding Cats that would play in Kirkland every Sunday night. We would watch them after home games, it was kind of a team hangout,” Terrill says. “I became friends with the lead guitar player, Mike Mattingly, gave him my demo, he got together some of his friends and we’ve been a band since 2008”
The group, known as The Craig Terrill Band released records in 2008 and 2010 and now that Terrill has achieved his dream of playing in the NFL he’s giving the music dream a shot. There have been some athletes who have tried to be musicians before and sometimes have to convince people that they are serious about it.
“When I began I almost didn’t want to talk about the football side of it,” Terrill says. “But now, with how funny the music industry is I’ll do anything to get someone to listen to it. Hopefully that’s when they’ll hear that we’re putting out a good product. There definitely is a stigma with athletes doing the music thing, but if they listen the first time just because I was a Seahawk and then continue to listen because they like the music – that’s my ultimate goal.”
The band is made up of local musicians who have played in the Seattle area for twenty-plus years. They’ve mainly played local Puget Sound area shows. Do they have plans to expand?
“You know this is the first year we’ve really toured and we’ve just done the Puget Sound area this year,” Terrill says. “I just retired from football last year so we would maybeÂ do a couple of gigs in the off season before I had to go into my football schedule. This is our first year really getting out and playing weekly, we’ll see where it goes from here.”
So far Terrill is happy with how the shows have been going and the reception they have had from fans.
“My main goal this year was to create a fan base and for people to come see us live, they like what they see, so we’ve been trying to play out everywhere and get as many fans as we can,” Â he said about their reception.
Now that Terrill has more time on his hands he feels that the band has become even tighter.
“I surrounded myself with good musicians so I look like I know what I’m doing,” he says with a laugh. “I figured if I’m the best musician in the band we would be in big trouble. The guys that I play with, I can throw anything at them and they pick it up.”
Going from being, as he calls it, a ‘rock head lineman’ to leading a band can be quite the transition, but Terrill sees some similarities in football and music.
“A little bit, moving up the front yeah. It’s not like I was calling plays but it’s still working within a team environment and making sure everyone on the same page,” he said. “If one guy isn’t doing his job then it shows up in the finished product. Football and music are very similar that way. Although its a lot less painful and I wake up feeling much better after a gig.”
Using one of their sets at The Triple Door to cover a Bruce Springsteen album is a unique gig and speaks to how Terrill feels about Springsteen and Born to Run.
“It’s always been one of my favorite albums and when we were kicking around the idea that was the first one that popped into my mind,” he says of their choice. “Its a very iconic album and I’ve always loved Springsteen and the live show he puts on. Lyrically I think he is one of the best”.
Springsteen is known for his high energy live shows, something Terril says has been a huge influence on his stage persona.
“I always try to take my football energy and put it on stage and that’s what he does, he is bringing his best and giving it all to the audience.”
Terrill is still involved with football and is still involved with his former teammates, who have all been supportive of his music endeavors. Along with the band Terrill spends time on the radio as part of the Seahawks pre and post game show on 710 ESPN Seattle.
Tickets for the Springsteen show are moving fast and can still be purchased here. The Craig Terrill Band will also be playing a set of their original songs so there will be a full evening of music.