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Intervju, Robb Weir från Tygers Of Pan Tang

Tygers Of Pan Tang släpper en re-Issue av albumet Ambush i september. Pauline blev nyfiken och lyckades få en pratstund med Robb Weir. Efter en del teknikstrul, hundar som ville bli berömda och papegojor som ville ta över intervjun lyckades de diskutera såväl forna tider som kommande nyheter!  

Hi Robb! What’s up, what’s happening?

Robb: Oh gosh, nothing at the moment that’s for sure. Not with what’s happening in the world! It just shows you what a fragile world we live in!

P: You’re doing a re issue of Ambush. How come? Is it just to tune up the sound or do you have some other ideas behind the re issue?

Robb: The re issue is made on Target group which is our record company. You cant get the album any more so it was an opportunity to re master it and there was a track that was never included on it witch is actually going to be a single of it called Cruel Hands Of Time, we’ve put a couple of live tracks on it and a demo as well, a very rough demo that we recorded with one microphone in a rehearsal room just to show people that you don’t need thousands of pounds worth of technology, ideas can be caught in the moment as it were. So, we put that on there just for people to get a feel for how we write at a rehearsal.

The album was originally of course recorded by Chris Tsangarides who unfortunately is no longer with us. Which is a great shame, Chris and I were good friends you know. We used to talk to each other three or four times a year and make sure each other was ok because we go back to 1980 when he produced Wild Cat, the first album so we had known each other an awful long time and when we got the opportunity to go into a studio in 2012 in Deal near Dover to record Ambush everybody was jumping around for joy, it was quite an excitement and of course Chris is Chris, he never changed he was that lovely fellow I first met in 1980 and it was just an absolute pleasure to spend time down with him. In between recording Chris and I actually recorded a good hour and a half’s worth of audio blog about our time in 1980 and 81.

P: I’ve listened through your catalogue this summer, mostly to The Cage but I’ve listened to Ritual a lot and I feel like you’ve still got the old school rock sound!

Robb: Well yeah! The songwriting is still the songwriting, that doesn’t really change at all. The production that we have now is done by Søren Andersen in Denmark and Søren in part of being an incredible guitar player in his own right, also plays in the Glenn Hughes band, or he was before Glenn joined The Dead Daisies but that’s not the end of the Glenn Hughes band. Søren for me, is the new Mutt Lang, a lot of people are going to him now, a lot of people want him to mix and produce their material.

We, in fact recorded Ritual here in the UK in the northeast of England where I live, and we recorded it at Trinity heights recording studio which is owned by Fred Purser and of course Fred was the guitar player on The Cage album! After Fred left The Tygers he opened this fantastic recording studio and has recorded and produced several hundred bands over the years. We got an opportunity to book ourselves in with him so we kind of produced our own album but with Fred’s help because Fred’s ear for production and for ideas is tremendous! Fred helped us an awful lot, to which we are very grateful. He tidied all the mixes up and sent them across to Søren for him to mix in his studio Medley studio in downtown Copenhagen. The first album Søren was involved in was the last album simply titled Tygers Of Pan Tang, and in January last year (2019) we actually received a gold disc for it, which is the first gold disc that I’ve had which is absolutely tremendous! And after something like that you’re not going to employ somebody else’s services!

We obviously had a chemistry and a formula together so that’s exactly what happened, we sent all the stuff over there and Søren once again worked his magic and I think it sounds even better than the previous album! Sørens work is unrivaled really and of course on the next album in a couple of years we will employ his services unless something happens that I don’t know about!

P: That sounds amazing, to find someone so in tune with your music.

Robb: Yes, and he really is such a kind man, its great working with him.

P: Have you noticed any change with all the streaming services like Spotify and iTunes and so on, has there been a change in your fan base at all?

Robb: Undoubtedly yes because the videos and singles that we’ve released from Tygers of Pan Tang are well over a million streams now. But as you’ve probably seen in the news lately how little the artists get paid. I was absolutely devastated about three days ago when I read that one of Peter Frampton’s very famous songs had been streamed and downloaded for, I don’t know how many million times and it has earned him something like 1700 dollars. And I know Slipknot were on about a million downloads and it earns them 400 dollars. Its so sad that these companies are not paying the artists what they’re worth and what they’re due. They are making a shitload of money and we aren’t, and I don’t know how that’s going to pan out. Its sad really. But of course, we need the streaming services.

You know I started in the pre internet days, pre mobile phone days, pre computer days (laughter). If somebody in Australia wanted a copy of Crazy Nights or The Cage, it had to be sent through the post! They had to wait until the ship, the plane, the donkey and kangaroo had delivered it! (laughter)

P: Well, at least the vinyl sales have gone up!

Robb: Yeah Vinyl’s back in! Its very popular! Obviously not as popular as downloading but it certainly is back in and our record company is very big on vinyl which is such good news for me because I love it! I was dragged screaming when CDs were invented to even listen to a cd. You know when I heard my first cd, even though it probably did sound better than vinyl I went “Nope, no I’m not having that”. But of course, you know we have to go with the times but its really nice to see that the LP´s and singles, we’ve released singles as well, are coming back in.

P: Are you doing the re issue on Ambush on vinyl?

Robb: Oh yes! Ambush is coming out in black vinyl and in Orange Tiger (Tyger) vinyl! Limited numbers of course so people are going to have to get in early! The plan is that the record company, Target will own all our back catalogue so it’s all in one place which makes perfect sense to me. And really, I wouldn’t want anybody else to have it we are so lucky to have them as a record company and they are tremendous. They have really professional, visionary people working for them.

Här blir vi avbrutna av en stor svart hund som vill vara med i intervjun. Robb Presenterar Deedee och Harry innan han säger “Your famous now, so shut up ok? Just lay down nice.” Med ett stor leende på läpparna.

P: So, how about new music? Have you found any new exciting music to listen to that inspires you?

Robb: Ehm… New bands. I’m not really good with new stuff. I listen to the new bands but I’m a bit old fashioned. I kind of still listen to classic Thin Lizzy and Uriah Heep. I have to say that I do love a bit of Rammstein. I’m very partial to a bit of that. But I suppose that the newest band, who are not as new anymore would probably be Airbourne or something like that!

P: Talking about Thin Lizzy, how do you like Black Star Riders?

Robb: Well yes! Gav (Gray) the bass player in the Tygers was in a band with Ricky (Warwick) he was in The Almighty and recorded an album with them so they’re great buddies. I think we’ve done a couple of festivals with them but just kind of missed each other. But yeah, I like Black Star Riders, they have a great sound. Obviously, there’s that kind of Irish thing going on in the background, from their writing and from where they are.

P: So, I have a tradition where I ask everyone that I interview to recommend three albums to our readers!

Robb: Okay. So, the first album is going to be Fly By Night by Rush. Which brings very fond memories of me going to the record store and they had three booths and there were headphones, you went to the counter and asked “Can I have a listen to…”. Whatever you wanted to listen to and they would put the needle in the groove and you would put the headphones on and listen and decide whether you could afford to buy the album or not. So definitely Fly By Night by Rush because its just a tremendous album.

Let There Be Rock by AC/DC which has oddly enough my all-time favourite track on it which is Go Down. I just absolutely love the vibe and the feel of that track! And they never really played it live! I don’t know why. There’s one version of it, actually with Brian Johnson singing on VH1 Sessions in some studio. But they never really played it live. I remember going to see AC/DC at the Newcastle may fair and there was a fire. They did plan two nights and they had to cancel, we thought they were going to cancel both nights, but they actually played the second night. The carpets were inches deep in water, a wall of amplifiers and AC/DC just going for it, and the roof was coming of the place.

And a third one, probably… Physical Graffiti. Because I think that Led Zeppelin just, oh my goodness that was just such a good time for them you know, Houses of The Holy, Cashmere and all those amazing tracks that are on that album.

So, three older albums, and of course listen to Ritual, the new Tygers album! (Laughter)

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us!    

/P ”The Poser” Pousár