Decibel Geek staff writer Mikael Svensson had a chat over a very shaky Skype connection with original member and guitarist Rob Weir of the NNWOBHM act Tygers of Pan Tang. Rob seemed to be in a very good mood after playing the Winterfest last night in northern England. Rob speaks openly on the breakup of the original band, that there is a lot of old material that will stay hidden, being out of the music business for 12 years and why the new band is maybe the strongest line-up so far. He also reveals the band has a new beer coming out called Tyger Blood.
Hi, Rob! How are you?
I´m doing great. How are you?
I´m fine. First I would like to congratulate you on putting out a great new album!
Thank you! We recorded the album in January in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, our hometown, We set aside three weeks for the album and used the first two to do the proper recording and the last week for mixing the album. I started out mixing the album and putting it all together but at a certain point, it all came to a halt. Our Danish record company suggested we should try Sören Andersen. He basically did a tremendous job putting 57 channels together and made it sound great.
The new album is self-titled and why is that? Are you starting a new chapter för the band?
Yes, we wanted to draw a line in the sand. This is Mickey‘s first professional recording with the band. I mean he played on the Crazy Nights session but that wasn´t really available anywhere. So it is true we are starting a new chapter of the band with this new album.
Our previous guitar player, Dean Robertson bowed out gracefully and when we needed a new guitar player a friend who plays guitar in another north-east NWOBHM band suggested: ”Why don’t you try out this guy Mickey Crystal”. We knew when he walked in the room that he was the right guy. He had a certain kind of presence around him.
How come Dean Robertson left the band?
Dean wanted to pursue other things in life so he quit the music business altogether.
“Glad Rags” is a funny song title and an unconventional Tygers song. Can you tell us a little bit more about this song?
Glad rags is an English word for your best clothes. It is something you would wear out on a Friday night. It could be a favorite pair of jeans or a shirt. Glad as meaning happy and rag is a favorite piece of clothing. Basically, it is about going out and having fun wearing your best clothes.
Can you tell us a little about the songwriting process in the band? Do you write together as a band or do you write separately?
Well mostly separately, everybody brings their own ideas in and then we work on it together. The first question we ask ourselves is ”Is it Tygers?” and then ”is it good enough?”. All members have an input on the songs and then we put them together to songs.
I want to go back in time and ask a question. The original band broke up in 1983 and I read somewhere that there were songs demoed for a fifth album called Square One. Is that correct?
We were not entirely pleased with The Cage which came out in 1982. If you go back to the Wild Cat album in 1980 it charted and was a success and it was all original songs. If you look at Spellbound and later Crazy Nights those albums charted as well and were made up of original Tygers songs. The record company wanted us to use external songwriters, some American and some British songwriters. I said I am a songwriter and I have written songs that charted the albums. I won’t do it. The rest of the band was with me at the time. So that was basically it and the band went separate ways at the time.
We had written songs for a fifth album called Square One.
Is there any plans to use the songs in future recordings?
No, that stuff is buried and will not be used at all.
After the original band split, you formed a band called Tyger Tyger with Jess Cox. Can you tell us a bit of what you did after original Tygers split?
I formed a band called Sarge with drummer Brian Dick. We recorded an album for CBS but that will not be released either. It is due to contractual issues so that is dead and buried as well. And then from 1986 to 1999 I was out of the music business until the Tygers started up again.
Well, it was really nice talking to you Rob and I have one final question. Now that you have an excellent new album out – how are you going to support it? Will you do a full tour or play festival dates coming next summer?
We did play Winterfest yesterday over in Ayrshire and now we have a month off before we head over to Portugal for a tour. We hope to confirm new dates soon.
So there might be Festival dates coming up next summer?
Yes, we hope to confirm dates for next year as soon as possible. All previous members of the band have been an important part of the Tygers history but with the new band, we seem to have hit the right spot.
The Tygers seem to have revitalized with the Ambush CD in 2012 and the new disc seems to be a natural continuation of that.
Yes. It feels like we have a very strong line-up at the moment.
Anything else you would like to say to our readers?
I want to thank all your listeners or readers or whatever you have. I want to thank especially those who read about us or listen to this interview. Your support is very important to us. We are getting our own Tyger Blood out soon. It’s our own brand of beer that we would like to get out as widely as possible.
Well, thank you so much, Rob, for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us! I would like to wish you luck in supporting the new album which I think is excellent! Hopefully, this will turn some more people onto the Tygers of Pan Tang.
Thank you! And bye.
Interview by Mikael Svensson