Interview by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
As punk was burning out after a firey and bright but brief grip on the country people started looking for their next fix of exciting rock ‘n’ roll and from hundreds of garages, bedrooms and rehearsal rooms across the UK the shout went up and a new music genre was born.
Amongst those countless hordes of long haired young men and women were future genuine legends of the scene and the Tygers of Pan Tang were one of THE hottest bands of the NWOBHM movement that electrified the music scene in the late 70’s and into the 80’s.
Formed in Whitley Bay on the North East coast, the quintet soon made an impression with their electrifying live shows and top-notch songwriting. Quickly snapped up by the seminal metal label Neat before major MCA swooped in and put their major muscle behind the band, it seemed like the Tygers were destined for the very top.
Sadly, despite some incredible support from grassroots level up and some high-profile tours, record company politics and line-up changes hamstrung the band, clipping their wings and preventing them attaining the lofty heights they should have.
Things ground to a halt in the 80’s, the band going their separate ways but there was always a huge amount of love and respect that abounded for them.
This came to a head when the huge Wacken Festival invited them to come back to headline one night of the 2000 event in front of tens thousands of German metal heads, on a bill that featured such fellow travelers like Saxon.
Such was the massive reception that the Tygers decided to make the rebirth official and they haven’t looked back since, putting out a string of superb albums and touring all over the world to great acclaim.
With the recent reissue of the incendiary 2012 ‘Ambush’ album to rave reviews, it seemed the perfect time to catch up with head Tyger, main man Robb Weir.
First off, and most importantly: How are you doing?
Hi! I’m doing fine as I hope you all are? Who would have thought things would have turned out like this? What a fragile world we live in!
How have you been keeping yourself busy?
My wife decided (for me) that after ten minutes of sitting down relaxing at the start of lockdown I was going to re-model the garden! So I have built a 4m x 3m decking area under the kitchen window, re-fenced the entire garden perimeter (40 metres of fence panels) and painted them, built a 4m x 3m flag stone patio and BBQ area at the top of the garden and more…And I try to find half an hour a day to play my bloody guitar!
Have you been doing any online live shows or seen any good ones?
No, I haven’t done any online stuff or seen any online shows for that matter. The Tygers have only played 3 shows this year as all the rest have been postponed. We are all gutted as is was going to be a great year show wise for us!
Have you had to change your way of writing material?
No not at all. I write on my own anyway, I play/programme all the parts and record them in my home studio. It’s not a very grand affair but it works for me and I get pretty good results. Over the lockdown I’ve come up with 22 ideas so far to go in the pot for the next album.
Do you keep in touch with your fellow bandmates / other musicians much?
Yes, I do, I speak to them 4 or 5 times a week and our manager every day, (I’m sure he’s sick of me ringing!) We have been working on the re-release of our 2012 album ‘AMBUSH’ which is out on sale now.
It’s taken a bit of organising, but we got there and it’s been well worth it. ‘Ambush’ has been re-mastered at Medley studios in Copenhagen by the fantastic Henrik West who has made it sound huge, there is a new booklet and 4 extra tracks.
Oh…and Rodney Matthews, the world-renowned artist who produced the front cover, has signed some CD copies as well!
What plans have you had to change this year?
Too many, if I’m honest. We were due to play in Mexico City with Def Leppard, we were going to Madrid to play with Foreigner, the fantastic Cambridge Rock Festival, our tour of Australia in October, all our own headline club shows, the list just goes on.
Anyway, I hope we can pick all this up in 2021? All our shows have been rearranged, check out the Tygers web site at www.tygersofpantang.com for all the latest news and while you’re there why not have a look in the shop for offers on CD’s and merchandise.
What do you think of the social distancing gigs (like the one that happened in Kansas – 229 people in a 1,100-seat venue) or the thought of drive-in gigs?
It’s a start I suppose but quarter filled venues? It’s just never going to work is it? Drive in gig’s, I’m not sure I’m guessing if you don’t have a car you can’t go!
How do you think the music industry will have changed after this period of lockdown?
If we still have a music industry It’ll be a miracle! We are going to lose so many venues because of Covid 19 I’m not sure how long it is going to take to put all this right or even if it can be put right? I know people adapt and develop when change comes about so I’m hoping this will happen to some positive degree.
What plans have you got for when the isolation finishes and gigs start back up again?
Back on the road again, ASAP! Although the Tygers first show in February next year (2021) has just been cancelled so I’m at a loss as to what’s going to happen and when?
How can people support you during this time?
By sending me huge cash donations please, any currency will do! All joking aside, check out the current album, ‘RITUAL’ and our re-released 2012 ‘AMBUSH’ album. All the deals are in our web shop at www.tygersofpantang.com
Love and respect to you all, stay safe…
Official bandshop http://targetshop.dk/tygers-of-pan-tang