Defensive tackle's rock band is impressing teammates and a growing fan base after several shows and a CD.
Craig Terrill can play. Football — and a mean electric guitar.
For all the times the Seahawks defensive tackle has had to win a roster spot during training camp, there is one spot he has won hands down — the spotlight.
Terrill, 27, is a quality musician.
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To be clear, football comes first. He has played in 47 games and has five sacks, though he might be best known for the three blocked field goals he has as a Seahawk. But playing in his current band, which has had three live gigs, is more than just something to pass the time.
“It’s a serious hobby,” Terrill said. “Obviously I don’t have the time to do music full time. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s even more fun when I have other people that enjoy listening to my music. So it’s a hobby that hopefully can turn into something more. But if it doesn’t, it’s still a lot of fun for me.”
Terrill grew up in the small town of Lebanon, Ind., with music and football. His older brother Jason taught him how to play the guitar and got Terrill into good, old American rock ‘n’ roll. The influences of John Mellencamp, Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Tom Petty can be heard in Terrill’s original songs.
The Terrills formed a band called The Strangers while Craig was at Purdue. That’s where Craig sang his way into the heart of the woman who would become his wife, Rachel.
Craig walked Rachel to her car one night after a class. She’d heard he could sing.
“I said, ‘Well, can you sing me a song?'” she asked. “So he sang about four nice songs out there by our cars and I was smitten. It was a couple of years later before we started dating, but he had me that night.”
Terrill never stopped playing his guitar when he got into the NFL. He jammed onstage at the Seahawks’ post-Super Bowl celebration in 2006.
“He doesn’t have the look like he has musical talent, but the guy can sing,” fullback Leonard Weaver said. “He can play. He does the drums. He does a little bit of everything.
“After I saw him play at the Super Bowl, my respect for him in terms of musical ability went up to the roof.”
Since then, Terrill has played with Seahawks owner Paul Allen’s band, which opened for a Seal concert in Seattle. Terrill strummed the national anthem at Qwest Field before a playoff game in 2007. This month, he and his band, all professional musicians, performed at Seattle’s Triple Door and at Washington Wine Highway, a celebration of state wines held at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery near Woodinville.
At that two-set performance, Terrill’s gravelly vocal rendition of CCR’s “Travelin’ Band” had patrons dancing on the grass.
“If you get up there and stink it up, you’re still having fun playing music,” Terrill said, adding with a laugh, “and no one’s going to boo me, because I’m a big guy.”
Terrill’s biggest musical accomplishment, though, might have been the December 2007 release of his first CD, entitled “CT.” He wrote and performed all 12 tracks on the album, and is working on material for another.
“I loved doing all the studio stuff and putting it out,” Terrill said. “When I did the CD, I just kind of thought at least I’d always have a CD that I recorded and did and it’s out, and if people got it, great. Doing the live stuff is just a bonus for me. … That’s really where a lot of the fun is.”
Terrill’s teammates have been supportive of his music. Punter Ryan Plackemeier was at the winery, as was former quarterback Gibran Hamdan. Many have Terrill’s CD, including defensive end Patrick Kerney, who recently had “CT” playing in the weight room at team headquarters while he was working out.
“I listen to it every once in a while,” defensive tackle Rocky Bernard said. “I do remember him playing at the Super Bowl with Paul Allen’s band, and that was surprising. He never really said anything about it and nobody ever knew that he played music like that, and one day he just pops up with a CD. I’d use it as a coaster, though.”
Taking a few jokes is just part of the deal for Terrill.
Next up for Terrill is the Seahawks’ minicamp, which starts Monday. Terrill spent the May camp working with the No. 1 defense in the absence of injured starter Bernard, and doesn’t figure to be a “bubble” guy as far as making the roster this time around.
After that, it’s another gig — June 21 at Suncadia Resort near Cle Elum, and perhaps one more live performance before reporting for training camp in late July.
His following is growing. The CD is for sale at QFC stores. Terrill has made the rounds on a publicity tour. His MySpace page is full of compliments on his performances and sound.
Being a Seahawk has also helped promote the album, yet Terrill’s stage presence is plain to see.
“I didn’t want to rely too much on the football side of it,” he said. “I wanted to try and let the music speak for itself.”
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org