Hello/ Dear Tygers of Pan Tang, I salute you and hope all is good with you. Thanks for taking your time doing this interview with me.
1. Please introduce your band to my readers first - when did the story of TOPT begin?
Robb: The band started back in 1978 and established itself through the NWOBHM era up to 1981 when Heavy Rock/Metal was building its foundations across the world. The band was started by me (Robb Weir) and I recruited original members Richard Laws (Rocky), Brian Dick & Jess Cox. The band was quickly signed to MCA and in 1980 released the first album `Wildcat` which charted across Europe and is synonymous with the sounds of that time (NWOBHM). In 1981 the band took a slightly different musical direction into mainstream Rock and recruited John Sykes on guitar (Later of Thin Lizzy & Whitesnake) to make us a two guitarist band and Jon Deverill on vocals who replaced Jess. This line up then recorded and released the critically acclaimed `Spellbound` and `Crazy Nights` albums before John Sykes left the band to eventually join Thin Lizzy. Fred Purser then joined the band to replace John and this line up recorded The Cage in 1982 which became our biggest selling album worldwide due to the worldwide hit of the single `Love Potion No 9`. After this success the record company wanted more cover songs which we declined as the songs we had written for the fifth album were really strong. MCA then terminated our record contract so we decided to split up in 1983.
2. What does Tygers of Pan Tang stand for? Just a question for all of the younger generation who didn`t already know you.
Robb: The Name Tygers of Pan Tang was the idea of Richard Laws (Rocky) who was a huge fan of sci-fi novels and was reading a book called `Stormbringer` by Michael Moorcroft. In the book there is reference to some Cliffs called Pan Tang which were guarded by mythical Tigers. When he suggested the name, I thought at least people would remember the band with the weird name so we went for Tygers of Pan Tang.
3. Can you describe the feeling which you had as you reunited TOPT back in 2001?
Robb: It was a fantastic feeling to be playing music again although because Jess was on vocals we were only covering the `Wildcat` songs. After we played at Wacken in 1990 I wanted to start to play songs from the other three albums so I put together a new line up that enjoyed the music and wanted to take the music to the fans. At the time we did not have any plans to record new material.
4. How would you describe TOP in 2011...? What has changed since the year 2001?
Robb: The band is hugely different in 2011; we have a real solid infrastructure in terms of management and band. The present line up as been together now for 7 years which is the longest the band has ever gone without a change. This is really showing its benefits in the music we are writing and the performances live. Our website is full of activity and the web shop has the best range of merchandise the band has ever sold. We also keep close to our fans; we listen to their comments and always respond to correspondence. There are very little ego now just an appreciation of the music we write and respect to the people who buy it.
5. Were there many singers you casted before you decided to choose Jacopo as your new singer?
Robb: We auditioned a few singers before Jacopo but as soon as he auditioned in 2004, I knew he was the man for the job. There will always be a time when you hear a musician audition and you just know that he will be playing with you in the future because there will be no-one better that walks through the door. This has now happened twice to me, once in 1980 when John Sykes auditioned and then again in 2004 with Jacopo. He was everything I wanted in a singer; he ticked every box so to speak.
6. So what are the Tygers doing at the moment? Which things keep you busy? At the moment?
We have just recorded and released a 6 track EP which is a series we are calling `The Sessions `. Last year we released `The Wildcat Sessions to celebrate 30 years since the album was originally released and in February 2011 we released `The Spellbound Sessions` to celebrate 30 years since that release. We have just been confirmed to play a few festivals including the Bang Your Head Festival in July, and some others but we have been asked not to announce these as yet. We are actively writing new material for a brand new album for later in the year before we then record the third `Sessions EP` to celebrate `Crazy Nights`. For more details on the EP or to purchase this visit the bands website shop at www.tygersofpantang.com
7. Are you looking forward to play in Germany? Are you already exited to be back in Germany and performing in front of this huge audience?
Robb: We love playing in Germany; the fans have never forgotten the band and have always been very kind in their support. Last year we played at Keep it True X111 and Headbangers Open Air Festivals and got a fantastic response. It will be just great to play to a larger audience and hopefully get more fans back on board with the band. We are having to really raise our game now though as a band and always look at ways to improve the live performance/ set list. When we played KIT the audience did not really know what to expect from us as they had never seen this line up. If you read the reviews I think we made a lot of friends that day and we hope we can keep this momentum going. BYH gives us the chance to keep the profile of the band high through the media and expand our fan base further with the performance and we will take that opportunity, trust me.
8. Do you prefer to play big open airs or club-tours?
Robb: We love to play anywhere where there is Tygers fans, we will play to 150 people or 20,000, and it’s not a problem. We like to hang out with the fans so it is a bit easier at a club gig but if there is signing sessions at the Festivals we play. Be sure we will be there.
9. How would you describe the style of Tygers of Pan Tang in 2011? What has changed since the early days?
Robb: The musical style has not really changed, the Tygers have a signature sound and we are still writing music in that style. The lyrics of the songs may change slightly with different topics because the authors have changed but if you compare our last album `Animal Instinct` it was a similar style to the first three albums. We have a fun side to the band also and I think this is still reflected in the music.
10. Which equipment do you use?
Robb: I have a guitar endorsement with `Spear` who made me three customised models and I use Hughes and Kettner Amps & Cabs. The band has also endorsements with Dean guitars and we also use Marshall and Ampeg Amps in the backline.
11. Last but not least please leave a final message for all my readers!
Robb: I really hope that you find the time to check out the band at Bang Your Head, if you like NWOBHM or want to just hear some good time Rock n roll then we are the band for you. Also check out the website www.tygersofpantang.com and send us a message, we love to hear from you. Finally if you have not listened to the Tygers for a while either put on some old vinyl you have stored away or maybe look to purchase one of the new EP releases from the website, I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised. The songs have really stood the test of time.
Thanks for your support of the Tygers
4.2011 by Rocket Queen Promotion