Undertone Billy ‘delighted’ with Terri Hooley movie

Richard Dormer (left) as Terri Hooley.
Richard Dormer (left) as Terri Hooley.

It’s been praised by Hollywood director, Ron Howard, but a movie about legendary Belfast D.J. Terri Hooley has received its latest seal of approval from The Undertones’ drummer Billy Doherty.

‘Good Vibrations’, which will be shown at the Foyle Film Festival this week, charts the life story of Hooley, who was instrumental in bringing the punk movement to Belfast.

“If it hadn’t have been for Terri Hooley the song ‘Teenage Kicks’ might not have gone on to have been as successful as it was,” said Billy.

“It’s as simple as this, if it wasn’t for Terri Hooley I wouldn’t be doing this interview right now.”

Billy attended the film’s Irish premiere along with fellow Undertone, Michael Bradley, in August when it was screened in the Ulster Hall in Belfast.

“I am delighted that the Foyle Film Festival have chosen to show the film at this year’s festival.

“There are a lot of great scenes in the film but the part that convinced me that they had done a great job was when they showed John Peel playing ‘Teenage Kicks’ twice - it was really well done.”

Although he’d attended the premiere, Billy actually missed the scene depicting John Peel playing the song twice and it wasn’t until he watched the film being reviewed on ‘The Review Show’ that he saw it.

“I had to go to the toilet at the premiere at the Ulster Hall and when I came back everyone told me that I’d missed the best part.

“I was watching the television a few weeks ago and they were reviewing the film. Everyone on the show seemed to like it and thank God, they showed the clip I missed back in August,” he laughed.

‘Good Vibrations’ was the name of Terri Hooley’s Belfast record label who many attribute the success of ‘The Undertones’.

Hooley championed the song ‘Teenage Kicks’ and had it rejected by many record companies before Radio One D.J. John Peel played it for the first time in 1978.

“I hustled it [‘Teenage Kicks’] around every record company in London and they all hated it.

“I came back to Belfast and cried my eyes out. That night John Peel played it on the radio and said, ‘wasn’t that the most wonderful record you’ve heard in your life?’ and played it again.”

Billy said that he thought ‘Good Vibrations’ was a fitting tribute to Hooley, who he described as a “nice man”.

“I was very young when this all happened,” said Billy.

“I didn’t know Terri extremely well but the older I got I realised just how important a figure he was.

“I remember he bought us [The Undertones] all fish and chips and lemonade one night. I always thought that that was a really nice thing to do.”

‘Good Vibrations’ will be shown, as part of the Foyle Film Festival, at the Brunswick Moviebowl on Friday at 7.30p.m.

In conjunction with the screening of ‘Good Vibrations’ ‘The Undertones’ will play a special gig later that night at the Nerve Centre.

For further information contact the Foyle Film Festival team on 028 71373 456.