England’s hard rock/metal TYGERS OF PAN TANG are out and about and definitely on the prowl again since the recent release of their highly praised RITUAL album. I caught up with my friend, Gav Gray, TYGERS bassist extraordinaire and he got me up to date on TYGERS latest happenings….please read on, enjoy and check out TYGERS OF PAN TANG’s new release, videos and catch them ‘live’ if you’re lucky enough to be in England or close by…
MARCY: Two years isn’t that long between releases (albums), but why was there a two-year wait with RITUAL, which was officially released on November 22nd?
GAV: It’s actually three years since our last album, which is a long time, I guess, but we’ve been gigging a lot, and the record company didn’t want us to release the 2nd album through them within a short time of each other. It should have been two years, but we felt the new record should be as good as it could be, so it did get pushed back until we were all happy with the songs.
MARCY: Tell us a little about the recording of RITUAL? What was the experience was like for the band while in the studio?
GAV: We got to work with Fred Purser, who was the guitarist in the ‘Tygers on the Cage’ album. We thought it would be fitting to use his studio, Trinity Heights, in Newcastle, England. He’s such a lovely bloke and a great engineer. He actually played a solo on one of the B sides. He made us feel right at home, and it was probably the best studio experience we’ve had, nothing was a trouble for him, he made us relaxed haha. We had been writing and rehearsing the songs for three months solid, so we were ready to record a great album. Day 1 was setting up the gear and getting a good drum sound, then Mick and I would lay down all the rhythm tracks in the control room, this is how we like to record the backing tracks. Robb comes in and does his bit, and Jack flew in from his home in Italy the last week to do the vocals. It was a fantastic way to record, can’t speak highly enough of this studio.
MARCY: Had to be the best studio experience because RITUAL is proof of it!! The first single WHITE LINES (which I love) has a great rocking video.
Where was that filmed and by who? Also, who came up with the idea of how the video would be and what would be in it? The footage of WHITE LINES is doing quite well on youtube, almost 90,000 hits the last time I watched it? Did you think it would get that much attention so quick?
GAV: The initial idea for the White Lines video was my idea, it was actually my girlfriend who suggested the location (her skatepark), so I went to see it thought it was perfect. I took our production team, Flashlight Films, over and they were like “Wow, this is cool” and started getting ideas instantly, the inside is just a big old hangar, we also shot some great footage in a cargo container and some of the wastelands too, looks great… We are happy the way it turned out and more than happy how many views it got in such a short time.
MARCY: I loved the cover of ROCK-IT! magazine with TYGERS on the cover! You all look great and ‘shred’ the cover! How did it feel to see your band on the cover (NEVER too old to be a poster boy, huh???)? Have you been interviewed/reviewed a lot lately? If so, tell us where we can check out other interviews with you/& TYGERS?
GAV: Haha, yeah. This is our first cover, and even though every band wishes a better picture was used, it’s still cool to be on there. It gets us some good exposure too.
The reviews have been flooding in. Some really positive ones too, we’ll settle for that.
MARCY: The second single DAMN YOU hit the top 8 new releases of the week the end of October in CLASSIC ROCK MAGAZINE. That’s a big thing!!!
Bet you and the TYGERS were proud of that!? There is also a lyrical video for DAMN YOU, which is cool to watch. So those who haven’t watched it yet, please give it a look-see on YouTube. DAMN YOU is beyond ROCK CANDY…it’s ROCK DRUGS…gives you more than just a damn’ sugar high’!!! Okay, Gav, tell us a little about DAMN YOU? What’s it about? Who wrote the song’s lyrics and music? Who writes most of the lyrics and music for the songs? Is it everyone in the band. Do you all work together, and everybody adds something to all the songs? Tell us the process in which a song comes together (is created & finished)?
GAV: Damn You! is about saying just that. Without sounding political, which we are not, its basically saying a big Fuck You to the bad shit in the world, listen to the lyrics and get from it what you want. Craig wrote the lyrics for this one, and the initial riff was one of Robb’s classics. I came up with some of the other sections and arranged it in my home studio before presenting it to the rest of the guys, and we worked on it until it is what went on the record.
As with all Tyger’s songs, the lyrics are written by Jack and Craig, and the music is written by us all. We all have a big part in the riffs, structures, tempos, and arrangements of the songs. That’s the beauty of being in a band, and you have to take on board everyone’s ideas and work with it.
MARCY: TYGERS OF PAN TANG has been touring to promote RITUAL, and I love all the photos you share!!! How has the touring been going? You’re tearing up England and Europe. What countries have you TYGERS played so far since RITUAL became available? Noticed you were recently in France? How’ did France go with the TYGERS?
GAV: Yeah, we’ve just finished a run of shows in Europe and the U.K. Germany, Holland and Belgium mainly, and it been fantastic. The new songs have been going done really well, so we’re happy with that. Still, the old classics are a must in the set for all the die-hard fans. That’s next year till we start again with club shows and festivals. We’re supporting SAXON in March 2020 in Dusseldorf Germany, it’s a 7000 capacity area, shit…haha!!! No pressure, eh?
We love playing in Europe. That’s where most of our fans are. And France is a country we don’t play much, dunno why maybe they don’t like us, hahaha!
MARCY: I’m sure France likes TYGERS, who wouldn’t???? Okay, the third fucking single already DESTINY and RITUAL isn’t even officially been released yet (during this interview)… what’s up with that? It’s a damn great album (CD). That’s what I think but tell us what you think about having the third single out there for the world to hear already?? There’s also a video for DESTINY, which is kind of sad….it has us, humans, destroying our planet. Right? The video is superb, and if people really watch it, there’s a message it puts out there for all to see. Again, who came up with what this video would be like. The scenes in it and such?
GAV: Yeah, it’s a great song, one of my favorites, it’s basically a pop-rock song about our outcome, what the universe maps out for us, everyone has a destiny whether they know it or not… The video idea was a bit of a joint effort; we were in rehearsal and started coming up with stuff about fate and destiny. Craig sourced a bunch of clips and edited it in his studio. The lyrics even have some brief reference to the video game of the same name.
MARCY: Correct me if I’m wrong, but TYGERS aren’t as famous and well-known over here in the USA?…. I’ve heard of them a long time ago and heard some of their music, but I promoted bands for 30+ years. I’ve told lots of people I know about TYGERS OF PAN TANG just since we’ve been back in touch and quite a few never heard of you and your bandmates, which is sad because, in my opinion, everyone should know the band TYGERS OF PAN TANG! The three singles (& videos) out there for everyone to listen to and see are not ‘Bubble Gum-type’ rock that snaps, crackles, and pops. It’s more like screaming rock that BOOMS, BANGS, and BAMS! It’s right in your face and has a metal-like groove. I’m definitely a fan now for life, and whoever reads this should also be or at least check the TYGERS out and see what they are missing out on…! Enough of my rambling, Gav… Is there an American tour in the works, if so, when would it possibly be or aren’t you planning a tour over the pond yet?
GAV: You know, we’ve been asked to tour the U.S. quite a few times over the past couple of years, but for one reason or another, its never been logistically worth it for us. Don’t get me wrong, and we would love to play the states, but there’s always red tape.. We did play Chicago a couple of years ago, that was cool, and we did a tour of South America too, a very interesting and colorful place, I even got a tattoo in Brazil, hahaha.
MARCY: I know I’d love to see TYGERS OF PAN TANG live, but are you telling me I have to fly over your way again?!?! Heehee. You, a tattoo??!?! Noooooway.hahaha. Let me guess. It is a…..dragon!!! I could go on and on and would love to. There’s so much I’d like to ask you, but we’re cut off the ‘view here but so feel free to tell everybody what you think they need to know….the stage is yours!!! Share with us whatever you wish to…end this with a BANG…… Also, thanks so much for taking the time out to do this interview with me. I know you’ve been busy, busy, busy!!!
GAV: Been real nice chatting with you, Marcy, after like whats seems an age since we met in the U.K. while I was in RUNT… Since then, I’ve played with THE ALMIGHTY til they disbanded and have been with the TYGERS since 2012, recorded three studio albums with them, and played some amazing shows across the world… Here’s to the future, and I would like to say thanks for having me do this interview. Peace and Love, Gav x