AS the king of London’s Eighties rave scene, Terry ‘Turbo’ Stone hosted wild night outs for thousands of drug-fuelled party goers.
His dangerous but lucrative career choice, which earned him hundreds of thousands of pounds, got him hauled into gangland brawls as boozed-up punters hit the town — and he was even held at gunpoint three times.
Terry ‘Turbo’ Stone gained a reputation as the King of Clubs and rave’s Richard Branson in the eighties[/caption]
A string of menacing threats was the final straw for Terry and his alarmed girlfriend, prompting him to quit in search of a safer job — despite gaining a reputation as the King of Clubs and rave’s Richard Branson.
But 20 years after his last party, Terry is putting his knowledge of the underground scene to better use by bringing the world of sex, drugs and thugs to the big screen in the successful franchise The Rise Of The Footsoldier.
The movies, which debuted in 2007, tell the true-life saga of some of Britain’s most notorious gangsters.
Movie bosses hope to emulate the success of Brit classic Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels which was made on a similar budget and went on to become a cult blockbuster.
The fifth instalment, released last week, also marks footballer-turned-Hollywood hard man Vinnie Jones’ return to acting after tragically losing his wife Tanya to cancer age 53 in September last year.
Terry, 50, explains: “Movies are definitely safer than putting on raves.
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“When I said I was quitting the club scene to become an actor people laughed at me.
“My girlfriend Maxine — now my wife — thought I’d gone mad.
‘I WORE A BULLETPROOF VEST EVERY NIGHT’
“I got a couple of bit parts in soaps — EastEnders, The Bill, things like that — but I’ve found my niche is bringing to life stories about the world I know best.
“The films are extremely violent, but that’s what that world was like at the time.
“I started out by handing out flyers, then selling tickets, and then people said ‘Why don’t you just do your own nights?’
“By the end I was putting on the biggest raves in the country.
“It started out as great fun. People were just looking for a good time and they were safe places, but as the Eighties and early Nineties moved on they turned uglier.
“The gangs took over and the drugs got scarier, and the local criminals all wanted their share of the money coming in.
“By the end I was wearing a bulletproof vest to work every night and I had two Dobermans with me trained to rip people to pieces.
“We did everything we could to stop the gangs that were starting to take over from making it unsafe for clubbers — but towards the end it was too much to keep on top of.
“Guys were bringing loaded guns to my nights and it was just too much.
“I was making some really good money by then, but the third time someone pulled one on me I just said, ‘Enough is enough’.”
Known as Terry Turbo in the days when he was putting on raves, his path from small-time promoter to serious wealth led to him encountering a host of stars as diverse as Tom Jones, Alesha Dixon and So Solid Crew — along with some of London’s most notorious crime families and gangsters.
Venues in north London could hold as many as 20,000 clubbers a night — with Terry even requiring an armed police escort home on one occasion.
Former SAS soldiers were hired to patrol the events as organised criminals began to circle around his increasingly lucrative business.
It was those brushes with serious villains which inspired his film franchise, which he both produces and stars in as drug dealing gangster Tony Tucker who was gunned down in the real-life 1995 murders in the village of Rettendon, Essex.
Terry, left, as real-life drug dealer Tony Tucker[/caption]
Tony and fellow crime lords Pat Tate and Craig Rolfe were shot dead in a Range Rover on farmland before being found the following day sparking a major police investigation which later saw two men jailed.
Known as the Essex Boys murders, the killings have spawned many film and book adaptations.
It has provided brutal subject matter for Terry, with his Footsoldier franchise telling the story of the key characters’ lives — and the latest film is the perfect environment for Jones to make his comeback as nightclub bouncer Bernard O’Mahoney.
Rise of the Footsoldier: Origins, which is a prequel focussing on the Essex Boys’ rise from small-time drug dealers to crime lords in east London and Essex.
It features ruthless scenes of gangsters bludgeoned with makeshift weapons, from snooker balls to claw hammers — which producer Terry says “is all pretty true to life”.
He says: “Some of these people, and others who inspire the stories, were the most brutal men you could possibly imagine — real vicious thugs who would think nothing of beating someone to the point they were unrecognisable, and then hit them a bit more just to teach them a lesson.
“It was a very dangerous time and I’m not glamorising that — it’s why I got out. I didn’t want to end up crossing the wrong people.”
Terry adds: “There’s a misconception that doormen are knuckle draggers — some of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met have been bouncers.
“Vinnie was perfect. Nobody plays these sorts of characters like he does.
“It’s great to see him back on screen after what he has been through in his personal life, and he was a joy to work with.
“He can genuinely frighten you with one of his angry stares, fists clenched — there’s barely a need for dialogue.
“And that’s exactly what these guys were really like on the club scene. Doormen could be smart, sharp, well-connected, but also very, very scary.
“A lot of them also worked as enforcers for the crime gangs, the likes of the Inter City Firm or The Essex Boys, who our films are about — but people often switched sides and things could turn ugly.”
Terry’s experience of throwing raves for up to 20,000 people proved to be the perfect training ground for pulling together films — a belief that anything was possible with the right people around.
‘MY FIRST FILM COST £140K AND IT WAS DREADFUL’
It has led to him successfully hiring the likes of Vinnie and Keith Allen in his latest film, and work with Martin Freeman, Joan Collins and Bob Hoskins on other projects.
He explains: “I’m quite an unlikely film maker, I guess, given my background, but I’d put on events before so I knew a bit about the entertainment business. I just thought, ‘How hard can it be?’
“I rang round people I knew who had some money and asked them all to put a bit in, and suggested it would be a bit of a laugh — that’s how I made my first film, One Man And His Dog (released in 2004), and it was dreadful.
“It cost £140,000 but we got back about 25 per cent of our cash, so I just figured if we made a better film, we’d get more back.
“A friend of mine who was also involved in the club scene suggested, ‘Why don’t we make films about the world we know?’
“So we did, and the first one was called Rollin’ With The Nines, and it won a few awards and got a Bafta nomination — all for a £250,000 film. That’s when I knew there was something to be done.
“Now most of what I make is about true crime, but it’s not glamorous. I haven’t got any interest in doing a pretend-gangster film about a load of guys who don’t exist when there are so many amazing characters out there whose stories are worth telling.
“I really believe in independent British cinema, and now we are selling a million copies of some of our films, and it’s a shame there isn’t more financial backing for it.
“But people who are passionate about it are making some good stuff, and it’s coming alive.”