Crazy Cats on the Loose... Robb speaks out!!!
No doubt about it, North East of England has create some fine N.W.O.B.H.M. bands such as Venom, Atomkraft, Avenger, Blitzkrieg, and of course Tygers of Pan Tang. Tygers are one of the under dogs that have influenced the likes of Metallica, just as much as Kreator are influenced by the Tygers with their brutal version of 'Gangland'.
Tygers in my opinion have made some fine albums, for me 'Spellbound', 'Crazy Nights', 'The Cage' were the highest peaks for the band, each album contained some fine classic tracks from start to the end. Guitarist Robb Weir is the only original member that has continued to keep the Tygers at bay and carried making some fine music, Like all bands they have line up changes, and for Robb his long time drummer Craig Ellis has been his right hand man since 2000 when his 1st appearance was the 'Mystical' in 2001.
The band have made some impressive albums in the past and this new album which is self titled is a fantastic album, still capturing the spirit of old Tygers with a slightly fresh sound and some awesome tunes. The band now consist of Robb Weir (guitar), Craig Ellis (drums), Jacopo Mielle (vocals), Gavin Gray (bass) and Micky Crystal (guitars). I managed to chat with Robb when the band played in Hull last month to talk about the new album and what the future holds for the band. Here is what he had to say, in the meantime check out this impressive new album.
OK Robb, great to meeting you again after so long, I think the last interview was for the 'Noises from the Cathouse' in 2004. So let's start the interview off by asking you who did the artwork for the new album? Has he worked with the band before?
"Well it's good to see you again, it has been a long time. Well Bart Gabriel from Skull records approached us to do a compilation album of the 1st 2 sessions as EP's, we have done 3 so far and do a 4th one to complete the 1st 4 albums. So he wanted to release together session 1, which is 'The Wild Cat' sessions. The other one sessions 2 is 'The Spellbound' sessions. He has worked with an Italian artist called Roberto Todareo and asked him to come up with concept in which he did and he did an amazing job.
The detail in the background had both 'Crazy Night' and 'Spellbound' & a bit of 'Wild Cat' but you have to look for them. It is very clever and has our albums tend to have a tiger on them. So we liked what he had done and we put them on the back burner and we thought about using Rodney Mathews who did the 'Ambush' cover as well as the early Magnum covers. Rodney was actually approached but with the time scale he didn't get back to us in time. So we came up with the idea ourselves and the idea we came up with has nothing to actually do with the cover that we used, but it involved into that with people making suggestions. If you put a tiger on top of the world, would it explode? Craig our drummer who is a master at creating things like 'Only the Brave' and previous 3 Craig did for us.
So he actually photo shopped it all together for us, and we sent it to the record company asking them to make it better. They seemed to think it looked pretty good as it was, and this was something that we didn't want to hear. So Craig contact Roberto and we gave him the idea and asked if he could paint it for us. In the end we have this amazing piece of artwork for the album cover."
Who else had Roberto worked with?
"Well he does more metal bands, more thrash metal and it's the artwork were you can't even read the band names."
Are you happy with the end results of the artwork?
"Yes of course, I thought 'Crazy Nights' was a great cover. I think the new one has beaten it to be honest. It's an amazing piece of art!!"
So how did the deal with you're Danish label 'Target', how did the deal with them come about?
"Well that was done through our manager, 'Spare Change Management', who is Tom Noble who actually use to manage me in Tyger's in 1978 he was the original Tyger's manager. I saw him in Rome, and after our show we had a few drinks and he was with his wife at the time. So we chatted and in the end he ended up managing us again. He is more experience and better now so he knows what he is doing, he is a great manager. Mike our label manager is a big fan of the band and has always liked us from day one, so we have a great relationship and we know we are going to have a great future together. We are the biggest band on this label."
So how long did it take to record this new album self titled album?
"Well in the end I think we ended up with about 50 odd songs that were scaled down to about 20 or so. The deal is for a multi deal contract and I know that Michael will want the next one ready by mid next year. We have a few ideas for the next album, about 10-12 songs so far. The songs have been written over a period of 3 yrs and there was a bit of a flurry just towards the end."
Are the songs wrote as a team effort?
"Yes they are wrote as a team effort. Somebody has to come up with an idea to work on. Everybody has come up with set ideas and we bring them to the rehearsal room and we all jam them and if we like them we will use them, if not then we wont. The main question we ask ourselves is... Is it Tygers? It has to have our sound otherwise it's not worth using them."
So what songs form the new album do you like and why?
"Well that's a tough question, it's like saying which is you're favourite kid? I would have to say that the song 'Praying for a Miracle' is one of my all time favourites because it has the best melodies of all time that we have done. It is just a great melody and song and the song has got everything. It starts off and it just builds up and carries on. There all great songs, but that is my all time favourite."
OK Robb tell me about the video for 'Only the Brave', where was it recorded?
"It was recorded at the 02 academy in Newcastle (UK) between tea time to midnight. We shot the song about 20 odd times but the film makes knew what they were doing and it is filmed in colour and some black & white. It is now 105.000 hits on You Tube. (Ed: Do you feel it is still important to make promo videos for You Tube?) Yes I do because is weather you like it or not is the future."
How well si the tour going so far the band?
"The tour is going fantastic and the tour started on 18th October and we are half way through the tour so far."
So the future plans are the next album, another tour I guess?
"Well we are doing a new festival called 'Winter Storm' on 25th November in Scotland with FM, Praying Mantis, Inglorious, Last in Line, and Ricky Warricks 'Fighting Hearts' and more."
Do you think it's about time somebody did a Tygers tribute album? I've only heard Kreator going 'Gangland'. I think some really cool Power Metal bands could do some kick arse versions of you're songs.
"Well that would be interesting!!! (Ed: I think the band 'Cage' from San Dieago would do a killer version of 'Running out of time'."
Well Robb it has been a pleasure interviewing you again, it's been such a long time. Let's not leave so long next time. Do you have anything to say?
"Yes it has been a long time coming Jason, it's been a pleasure meeting you again. I'd like to thank all our fans for their support and for sticking with the band and for buying our albums all over the years. If you ever get the chance to see us live please do so or a spare bit of cash please support the new album, it's a great record that we are proud of."
Thank's to Robb Weir for the interview & best of luck to the boys!!!