"In the year 1990 they drove the whole world Bezerk. Now, get ready to go Bezerk all over again!"
So proclaims the opening track to 'Bezerk 2.0', the barnstorming new album from returning Welsh glam warriors Tigertailz.
In truth, fans of the band's original 'Bezerk' platter haven't been waiting since 1990 for another slice of this particular brand of frenzied glam-metal. There were 1991's stop-gap 'Banzai!', 1994's much-delayed and re-recorded 'Wazbones', and finally 1996's live best-of 'You Lookin' At Me?'. Spiritually speaking however, 'Bezerk 2.0' is the true follow-up to the band's 1990 milestone album, and from the moment Tigertailz's 5th studio album roars into life, you know things are never gonna be quite the same again. It's time to throw off your cardigan and slippers, dig out the wife's high-heels, your daughter's hair-straighteners, and (depending upon how unkind the intervening years have been to your waistline) maybe even your grandmother's girdle. It's as if the last fifteen years never happened!
Since their reformation was officially announced back in April 2004, vocalist Kim Hooker, guitarist Jay Pepper, bassist Pepsi Tate and new drummer Matt Blakout have enjoyed a low-key return to the hearts and minds of the rock/metal community, who have been yearning for a return to the feel-good factor of the late 80s ever since Grunge and, more recently, Nu-Metal drove the music of our youth underground where it has until recently remained. With only four UK shows todate (including today's main support slot at the inaugural 'Wildside Festival), a handful of European festival dates throughout last summer, and Sanctuary Records' re-release of the 'Bezerk' and 'Banzai!' albums, you could be forgiven for viewing this purely as a nostalgia act - cash in on the back-catalogue and fuck off back to the valleys before the make-up's even dry! Not so! In fact, the band's relative inactivity on the live circuit has been down to their dogged determination to finish and release the new album.
Released via independent label 'Demolition Records' (UK home to such acts as Hanoi Rocks, Twisted Sister, WASP and Y&T), 'Bezerk 2.0' was recorded and financed by the band themselves prior to them signing to the label, and was produced by long-time cohort Tim Lewis. Distribution delays resulted in the record not hitting the shelves until late July/early August 2006, meaning that today was the first gig at which the band could truly unleash the new material to an expectant UK crowd. Organised and promoted by local heroes DJevAL and RPM Promotions, the Wildside Festival is a continuation of the regular Wildside club night - "A night dedicated to sleaze glam and hair metal! Full of the sleaziest and most explosive music you'll hear all year", bringing together the best of the best of the UK's glam/sleaze scene, plus of course, San Francisco legends Vain, kicking off their UK tour as headliners. With a total of eight bands playing - including classic rock merchants Rattlesnake Remedy and soon to be media darlings (via a bit part in a televisual interpretation of Seb Hunter's excellent 'Hell Bent for Leather: Confessions of a Heavy Metal Addict') Red Star Rebels - there is the inevitable 'hurry-up and wait' scenario, whilst one band after another completes its sound check, ahead of the 4:30pm kick-off. This allows Glitzine the opportunity to grab a few, precious moments with Tigertailz.
Stashed away in a freezing-cold broom cupboard, I can't help but think of poor old Mick Wall of Kerrang! and the time he found himself locked up in a similar venue by Poison and their security guards, as he waited to interview them back in 1988. As the various members of Tigertailz come and go, at one point leaving just myself and Jay Pepper alone, the fear of an all night lock-in grows. Fortunately, no such mishap arises, and with the exception of a collapsed desk (my fault) the interview starts and finishes without incident.
All four band members seem genuinely surprised when I congratulate them on what has been heralded in some quarters as their strongest album to-date. Indeed, reviews of the album have been nothing but positive:
"Amid today's understated rock scene, Tigertailz stand as high as Kilimanjaro and can be every bit as heavy" - 4Ks, Kerrang!
"Melodic lustre and relentless grit combine to create an album that pops as much as it rocks" - Classic Rock.
"An early contender for album of the year" - 5/5, Glitzine.
Kim Hooker: "To be honest, I'm surprised at the reviews that the album's had. We've all lived with these songs for so long, that it was a bit like closing a chapter for us, before we could then move on to the next album."
In fact, no less than seven out of the twelve songs contained on ''Bezerk 2.0'' pre-date the band's reformation. 'I Believe', 'TVOD', 'Make Me Bleed', 'Annie'z Gone', 'For Hate'z Sake', 'Sugar Fever' and 'Dirty Needlez' were all written for the 'Wazbones' album and, whilst only two of these ('Make Me Bleed' and 'Dirty Needlez') were actually used on the final version of 'Wazbones', re-hashing an 'old' song is always going to attract criticism, particularly when that song featured on your last studio album. As if to drive this point home, Slayer's Tom Araya went on record in a recent issue of Classic Rock, saying: "Unlike some bands we don't use songs rejected from one album as the basis for the next album - if you do that, then you end up with a shit record". However, Tigertailz are not the first to have done this, and certainly won't be the last. Hanoi Rocks have done it, The Dogs D'amour and The Quireboys did it. Jesse Malin has virtually made a career out of doing it. Hell! Twisted Sister and LA Guns have even gone so far as to re-record entire albums in recent years! How do Tigertailz react to such criticisms?
Pepsi Tate: "I think, ultimately, if you've recorded material that you think is really good, then you want people to hear it. For many different reasons at the time, a lot of those songs never got released in the form that we've now released them. So with all due respect to Tom Araya, that may be the way Slayer works, but we obviously don't think like that, and if we've got stuff that we think is good, then it's gonna come out."
Kim Hooker: "I think it doesn't really matter when a song was written. To me it's an achievement really to come up with an album of half old songs that still sounds relevant really."
Matt Blakout: "Well that's why it was different for me, because I came into it completely fresh."
Kim Hooker: "That's right. Matt was the one who was able to say "Well, yeah, this is great" when we were unsure, because he was hearing them for the first time."
Jay Pepper: "I think the other thing as well, with a comment like that, is it's true if the songs were actually rejected from a previous album, but that isn't the case here. These songs were never rejected. They just didn't come out for a whole range of reasons. They were never second-rate songs that we never wanted to use."
Given that 'Bezerk 2.0' is such a strong album, and given the benefit of hindsight and the only moderate success of the 'Wazbones' album, does the band not wish that they'd stuck with these songs first time out, instead of ditching them in favour of the eventual 'Wazbones' track-listing? Do they think it could have sold better? Or do they think that the changing musical climate would have killed it off anyway?
Kim Hooker: "I think, personally, everything that happened to us happened at the right time for us, and we needed to stop doing it for whatever reason we did, and things needed to come out or not come out, and I don't really think things could've worked out better, because at the end of the day I don't care how good an album is - best album in the world, worst album in the world - if the company's behind it then they'll sell it. If they're not then you may as well through the thing in the bin."
Pepsi Tate: "And also, nowadays there's so much more competition - not just from so many more bands, but there are so many more things for kids to buy, you know there's a million more things to do, DVDs, Playstations and shit like that, all kinds of stuff that you can do in the house that you wouldn't have been able to do previously. So it's got to the point, like Kim said, where if somebody isn't behind your album, pushing it, it's just gonna be out there bubbling along, which is what, I think, 'Bezerk 2.0' is doing at the moment. But, through doing gigs like this, hopefully we can move on, and we're already talking about doing the next record. You know, it's kind of like we've got that stuff out there now, we wanted people to hear it, now if they're interested they can, and we can go ahead and write the next record."
"Bubbling along" seems an appropriate phrase to describe the progress that 'Bezerk 2.0' has been making, in terms of sales, since its release in mid 2006. Despite the fantastic reviews, Demolition Records seem to have done very little to promote it as far as the fans can tell. Surely this must be an extremely frustrating position for the band. Do they have any idea how many copies of 'Bezerk 2.0' Demolition Records have sold? Do they want to tell us? And will the next album, if there is another album, be released on Demolition?
Pepsi Tate: "There definitely will be another album. I doubt if it will be released on Demolition though, and it's a very difficult situation with them, because it's very hard for us - and this is gonna sound crazy to your readers - I think it's been very difficult for us even to communicate with them."
Jay Pepper: "Well, yeah, that's exactly where we're at really. At the moment we have no communication with them, and it's not for the want of trying on our part. They just seem to have closed shop as far as we're concerned. We've had no communication with them since the record came out. So we have no idea how many units have been sold - genuinely, we just haven't a clue."
Despite the poor relationship with their current label, the unquantifiable success of the new album, and controversy, in some quarters, surrounding the origins of 'Bezerk 2.0', it has to be said that Tigertailz have come back all guns blazing. Despite having only played four UK dates since their return, as well as a handful of European festival and support slots in the last year or so, diehard fans and press alike have taken to the rejuvenated line-up surprisingly well - even Kerrang! gave their recent return to Nottingham Rock City a resounding thumbs up! But what does the future hold for these forty-something glam-metallers? The diehard fans are generally only slightly younger than the band themselves, and, whilst enthusiastic in their love of the old days, are not going to provide the band with sufficient pay-back to keep them on the road or in the studio for years to come. Pepsi Tate says there will definitely be another album, but what can we realistically expect from the guys in the months or years ahead?
Jay Pepper: "Well I can't see there being any future product coming out on the label, and "
Kim Hooker: "Well there won't be, in actual fact."
Jay Pepper: "We've actually looked at, for future stuff, you know, the evolution of iTunes and other music downloads, it appeals to us a lot more to use those mediums to deliver it now, because we can do that quite quickly, and we haven't got to wait for the record companies to pull their fingers out of their arses! It is just so fucking horrible, to deal with all these companies - and it's not that they're bad people, it's just that the wheels start turning and they grind almost to a halt because everything is just such a chore to get done. And all it ultimately means is that you - the people that want to buy it, are the last ones actually serviced by it; the last people to hear it, whereas we've finished it what, a year before?"
Kim Hooker: "Actually, if you look at the front of the cover, it was 2005, I think."
Jay Pepper: "Yeah, they had it before Christmas last year. In their hands. Finished artwork - everything. And when did it actually come out?"
Kim Hooker: "July, August, wasn't it?"
Jay Pepper: "Well there you go. You know! So we've wasted almost eight months of the year, waiting for 'em."
Kim Hooker: "The same actually happened with 'Bezerk', on Music for Nations. That was finished a year before it actually came out."
Pepsi Tate: "Well actually that probably did us a lot of damage as well, because we would have had a good twelve months to record and release a follow-up had that problem not have happened with 'Bezerk', coz that was based on (I think), to really boil it down, our record company Music for Nations had lost their American distributor, and they were waiting until they got a new one before they released 'Bezerk'. In the end they didn't get one, so the album I think only came out on import in America. So that kinda screwed us up again, back then, coz we could've gone on to follow up 'Bezerk' straight away with another record, probably a year later, if it had come out in '89 or whenever it was due."
Jay Pepper: "So, as it stands, the band, as a business, barely manages to sustain itself, and we can only do that for so long. It has to have some sort of income in order for it to sustain itself, otherwise it's just not viable in any capacity, which is where the iTunes idea comes in to play. It's not that we're not gonna release the product as a CD or produce a finished cover and all the rest of it, it's just that for us to produce new music - to do another album, we're just thinking that maybe we can get it to people as EPs or something - we're not talking about making any hard and fast decisions here, but if we could get a clutch of songs ready, record them, release it as an EP, and get, you know, maybe two of those a year out."
Kim Hooker: "So yeah, we're already writing material for the next album, and to be honest we didn't stop writing when we weren't together, but this album was really like closing the door on that kind of thing, because the new material that we're writing is more current really. We were conscious of the need to put all that stuff to bed, and that's why the album's called 'Bezerk 2.0' really - just to close that kind of thing down. And certainly we're writing, and we'll be demoing soon. And to be honest, everything we do is done to get back out and play again - you know, that really is the thing we've enjoyed doing so much, especially the festivals, and everything we do is to enable us to get out and do more. So if we can record something quickly, and get it out quickly, then that's what we'll do, because 'Bezerk 2.0' was delayed a lot, so was 'Bezerk' - it's always the same. And I don't see why anything should change, unless we change it ourselves."
Jay Pepper: "But there aren't any old songs kicking about this time - not ones we'd want to use anyway. We've effectively cleared the slate with 'Bezerk 2.0', and can now move on in a similar vein to the newer material you've already heard."
All this talk of getting back out on the road and playing again is all well and good, but back in the day Tigertailz often seemed reluctant to tour. There would be half a dozen or so dates around the release of an album or single (in the case of 'Love Bomb Baby'), and then nothing. Despite the band's obvious aspirations, why was this so?
Kim Hooker: "I think that's a fair point, but it was never a reluctance to tour, we just did as we were told - which, as we've learned over the years, is never a good idea. You know, we're doing a photo session - "Go sit in that bin.", so we went and sat in the bin. And that's one thing we've learnt, you really do need to stand your ground sometimes, especially if you're thinking "Well, that's not what we want to do", like with 'Bezerk', "We need four singles. After that you can do whatever you like.", and, you know, you can clearly hear what those singles were meant to be, and what we did for ourselves - the stuff we really enjoyed doing. But that was basically it - we played when they told us to play and we recorded when they told us to, and we listened to their bullshit and believed it!"
Jay Pepper: "I think the other thing was, from our point of view, there were a lot of bands who, when they started getting the kind of profile we had, would start getting offered onto the festivals - the Donningtons, the Readings, and a lot of them would also quite often end up with fairly major support slots. We never really got asked to do any of that. I think a lot of that was attached to the image - we were seen by a lot of bands, well not so much bands as managers and promoters, as something they didn't really wanna be associated with. So everything we did - going out playing, when we got to whatever level we got to; those size venues, we'd done that all ourselves. And Europe at the time We seem to be a lot bigger in Europe this time around, we seem to be a lot bigger in countries like Spain and Italy and Sweden - it's all quite amazing really. Coz when we went out before and toured places like Holland and Germany and places like that, we weren't going down particularly well at the time, when our profile was theoretically at its highest. And yet now when we go there we're really well received. There's this whole audience that we didn't even know existed. So that was it really; there was only so much that we felt that we could do in the UK. Once you've done it once, you don't wanna go out two months later doing the same sort of venues. We felt that we were doing realistically pretty much all we could do, and what we were being told to do at the time."
Given the change in musical climate in recent years, the upsurge in interest in 'Classic Rock', and the band's increased status as a legitimate musical entity - particularly in Europe, what are your aspirations for the band today? And what gigging/touring plans do you have in order to achieve this?
Kim Hooker: "We just want to enjoy ourselves, which is exactly what we're doing. You know, if the day ever comes when one person is thinking they've had enough, then that person won't be there. We did some shows recently without Pepsi in Spain, and the guy we had with us was fantastic - a fantastic bass player, we've known him for years, lovely guy It just wasn't the same though, you know? There was something missing. It really did make me realise - I mean, we've all said it, but it really is the truth - we're all doing this because we enjoy it, and we'd love to go to America and do the same there, and go to Japan and everywhere, and just enjoy ourselves, and, you know, everything is to continue having fun, and that's really it - until we're just so old we just can't do it no more. It's all about having fun really, and when the fun stops, I suppose we do too."
Jay Pepper: "I think, as well, it's important to set peoples expectations - people reading this, it operates at a certain level now, and we're very comfortable with that, and what we've realised is that the most important thing is releasing product. I think if there's one thing we probably could've changed, with the ten or twelve year gap, it's that had we kept the band alive just to release products occasionally, then things would probably have been easier."
Kim Hooker: "And I have to say, there are bands I know - I won't mention any names - but bands we've played with, who have absolutely no intention of making any new records. They're clearly, and unashamedly, out to rake in as much money as they can, and then when the money stops coming in that'll be it, they'll be gone. And we're not one of them, but there are bands out there and that's exactly why they're there."
Jay Pepper: "But that aside, we're back together now and that's our aim, but like I said, to set peoples expectations, I don't think you're gonna be seeing us playing all the time, or often enough, quite frankly. I mean, we're picking up the shows we wanna do, and nothing more really. We're getting asked on a daily / weekly basis to do different things, and this goes right across Europe, doing different gigs, but we're only doing stuff we're almost cherry picking really. And I know that's not what the fans wanna hear, but unfortunately that where we're at really. If the right shows come up - and that's not to say we're not gonna play - but it has to be the right show. You know, either it's a show we wanna do, or they're bands we wanna play with, coz there's no doubt that that has an influence on this - you know, when we play some of these festivals, we wanna go and have a good time too."
Mention of the recent gigs played without Pepsi Tate - the only member of Tigertailz who has been with the band at every stage of their recording career, raises the issue of the line-up changes that have taken place in the past. The band's official website (www.tigertailz.co.uk), lists no less than twelve official members throughout its history. These, of course include vocalist Steevi Jaimz, who appeared on debut album 'Young & Crazy', and drummer Ace Finchum, who played on 'Young & Crazy', the original 'Bezerk' and odds 'n' sods follow-up 'Banzai!'. Yet somehow this current line-up appears to be the happiest and most stable of all. How is this so?
Kim Hooker: "When I originally approached Pepsi to do this again, he said "Look, I'll tell you now, right, no more in my life do I wanna be pissed off - I don't put up with it from anyone, so if anyone pisses me off, you can forget it. Part of my condition in coming back to this band is that I must be enjoying myself.", and that is something we've all been conscious of - we've all been thinking "Why should we put up with shit off of anyone?", you know, we're just here to enjoy ourselves, so it's back to the same thing again, enjoying ourselves, and Matt's just a very easygoing guy, he's a great drummer, you know he's just a lovely guy and that's it."
Jay Pepper: "I think, for anything to function, and for everyone to produce their best music, it always comes across better if everyone's getting along, clearly - you're the most creative. But more than that, it goes back to what we we're saying earlier, if you're doing it largely for a laugh and because it's fun, if you're around people you don't enjoy being with, then it's the exact opposite really, isn't it? We're fortunate in this band that myself, Kim and Pepsi have known each other for so long, we know each other inside out, and we know the things that make us laugh with each other and the other things that piss us off, so we tend to just steer clear of the things that piss each other off and we don't do those, or we're never round each other long enough to piss each other off. And then with Matt coming in, Matt's just such a lovely bloke - just such a down to earth guy, who just wants to get on and play. He's enthusiastic about doing everything, and that rubs off on us and collectively we're all just getting on - there's no bitching and moaning, there's no endless fucking whining about what is and isn't happening - what we should and shouldn't sound like, we just do it. For a band to function you need at least a partnership to make that work. Well we're lucky enough to have myself, Kim and Pepsi who've always been on the same sort of level - although possibly not musically, but certainly on things that the band should be doing. So with Matt it's just easy, everybody's getting on and it's fun and if it stops being fun and people start pissing us off, I think we'd have done with all that by now."
Given Pepsi Tate's recent and ongoing illness however, it must have crossed the rest of the band's minds that they could be on the verge of re-emerging from their self-imposed exile, only to find the mainstay of the band these last 23 years unable to meet the demands of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle. Given this scenario, can the remaining members see the band surviving any further line-up changes, either now or at any time in the future?
Kim Hooker: "Well, like I say, we did those shows in Spain and it just wasn't the same - you know ever since I've been in this band I've looked over to my left and Pepsi's stood there, but in Spain he wasn't. And even if he was the worst bass player in the world, it still wasn't the same. And I suppose if anyone went it would be down to "Well, does anyone wanna see this?". That's the thing at the end of the day - if someone turned round and said "Yeah, we wanna see this", then yeah, I suppose we would."
Jay Pepper: "Well yeah, at that point though we didn't really know how seriously ill he was. We'd committed to doing those Spanish shows, and didn't really wanna let the promoter down coz he'd been good to us, so we gave him the option of having us pull out or doing it with a stand-in bass player. They said they'd rather go ahead with it, so that's what we did, and I almost kinda wiped it from my mind - the fact that he wasn't gonna be there. I'd already come to terms with that. So, while it was still a laugh, it was more a piece of work really. If anything has felt like work since we got back together, it was that really, coz we were doing it because we'd committed to doing it. We'd come to terms with it before we went, and like Kim said, it was strange looking around the stage and Pepsi not being there." *
Anyone that has followed the band, even from a distance, since its reformation three years ago cannot have missed the drama that has been going on between this version of Tigertailz and an alternative version launched by ex-band mates Steevi Jaimz and Ace Finchum. Whilst most of the resultant rivalry has been between the fans of the two outfits, rather than the bands themselves, there has been going on behind the scenes a lengthy legal dispute regarding ownership of the 'Tigertailz' moniker. The issue was finally put to bed in June 2006 when the UK Patent Office ruled in favour of the Hooker/ Pepper/Tate/Blakout version. Since then, the hatchet seems to have been firmly buried, with Ace Finchum stating on the official website of the renamed 'Steevi Jaimz Band' (www.steevijaimz.com) that "everything is cool between both camps and that is just the greatest vibe ever, all the bull**** is over." This raises the question as to whether or not the two bands would ever consider playing together in the future. This would surely be every Tigertailz fan's, and may even give both bands some much needed exposure at this stage.
Kim Hooker: "Well I'd play with anyone, I would. But, you know, is there a point to it? Would anyone wanna see it?"
Kim, of course, was never in the band with Steevi Jaimz. Ace Finchum, however, stuck around for the 'Bezerk' and 'Banzai!' albums after his friend had moved on.
Kim Hooker: "I knew Steevi well though, before the whole Tigertailz thing. I was in another band and we always used to go out together, and it was fucking crazy! He was a great laugh!"
Jay Pepper: "I just think though it comes down to doing it for fun - doing the right gigs, and I just think "Well, why?", you know "What's the point?". They're people I haven't seen in fifteen or more years. They're people I hadn't spoken to in that long until all this court case thing came up. It's just like talking about somebody from another life really, and from a band point of view I just don't see the benefit in doing it. I'd struggle to see any reason to do that, you know?"
Kim Hooker: "I don't think it's really on the same level as the Kiss and Aerosmith tour. I don't think the stakes are that high."
Throughout the troubled history of the band, from the 'Young & Crazy' days and the departure of Steevi Jaimz, through the classic 'Berzerk' era, and onto the gradual disintegration of the band when first Ace Finchum then Jay Pepper left prior to the eventual release of the 'Wazbones' album - to be replaced by Andy Skinner and Cy Danaher respectively, before eventually imploding altogether, the image and actions of Tigertailz have often overshadowed the music. Despite regularly garnering rave reviews, both for their albums and live shows, the band often struggled to be taken seriously by the music industry. This was particularly the case as the Grunge movement gathered momentum and laid to waste many of their contemporaries. Over a decade later, and with so much baggage behind them, it must have been especially daunting for new drummer Matt Blakout to join the Tigertailz family at this late stage in their career.
Matt Blakout: "I've known the Tailz for a very long time though, although not so much as a band as individual people. I played football with Jay and sometimes Pepsi and went to some parties at Pepsi's house. I also used to hang around with Kim and go out for some drinks on the weekend and stuff. How I got in the band is a funny story really and lends itself to timing and fate. I was in Butlins for a rock weekender, which they used to do twice a year, and I bumped into Kim who I hadn't seen for about ten years. He gave me his number and we said we'd keep in touch and I saw him a couple of times over the weekend. A month or so later I heard on the grapevine that Tigertailz were looking for a full-time drummer, having had problems with getting someone who could fit in the way they wanted. I rang Kim and left a message on his phone but got nothing back until about two weeks after. Apparently he'd changed his phone and checked his old messages and there I was. I arranged to meet up and as I already knew the guys it was pretty straightforward. They liked what I had to offer, not only in terms of my playing but I make it easy for them, in that I don't give them shit about stuff, I'm easy to deal with and I turn up on time and get to where they want me to be under my own steam. I'm just pretty happy to be here. When I joined, Pepsi asked me what I hoped to gain and things have surpassed my hopes really. With the festivals we did in Europe, with some fantastic bands, who are heroes of mine. If it ended now, I'd be very happy in what we've achieved."
In recent years, the upsurge in popularity of what has become known as 'Classic Rock', typified by the phenomenal (albeit short-lived) success of The Darkness, and the arrival of other bands like The Answer and Wolfmother, has led to the reappearance of several bands from the seventies and eighties. Motley Crue are at the forefront of this reformation explosion, soon to be followed by Van Halen, complete with original front man David Lee Roth!). Poison and Kiss are also doing great business in the US, and the rock world awaits the eventual return of Guns 'n' Roses with an ever increasing sense of apathy - since the endless line-up changes and scrapped release dates for Axl's 'Chinese Democracy' opus have left all but the most dedicated of followers left with nothing but cynicism towards perhaps the most famous tribute band in the history of rock!
How do Tigertailz view the current music scene? Where do they see Tigertailz fitting into today's scene? And is it fair to say that this increased popularity in Classic Rock, in part created by the success of bands like The Darkness, has helped create a musical climate more welcoming to a Tigertailz reunion than at any other time since the original split?
Kim Hooker: "Well, kind of. You know, the people who liked The Darkness were just what I would define as 'straights'. They weren't really rock fans anyway, most of 'em. They were just people who watched the TV every day, and what's happened to The Darkness is exactly what I thought would happen, you know, they were around for five minutes. I mean, how can a rock band win awards and stuff? What's all that about? To a real rock 'n' roller, like I would call myself, they weren't great. I mean, lets be honest, if they were around fifteen years ago, with the likes of Ratt and stuff, would the have even got signed? No, I don't think they would have been. But, people like myself, and all of us, should thank them for what they've done, coz certainly there's a renewed interest in it again and, you know, I think some of their stuff is great, but I don't think the stuff they won was warranted. I think any number of bands could've been pushed hard enough and off they'd have gone and done exactly the same thing."
Jay Pepper: "These days I'm influenced either by what I see on the music channels or what my kids are playing me, which is pretty much all that new music, you know, My Chemical Romance, Green Day, Sum 41. It's great, a lot of it, really really good! But I just think we're appealing to a different audience. My kids are probably thoroughly embarrassed by everything I do, for a start! It's just commercial and marketing that gets them into what they're into really, and I notice they don't spend very long with each band. Six months ago it was all Green Day, now it's My Chemical Romance, and in between those we've had a few other things. I don't know if there'll be this Classic Rock scene again in twenty years time when all those bands have had their day and gone away, and whether they'll come back. I don't know if there'll be enough of a fan base for them to be remembered.
I'm a retro man myself though really. All I ever do is listen to older stuff and reissues. It's all a bit sad really. I like to pick up the Journey reissues, the Boston reissues, Priest and so on. I don't hear anything new that really turns my crank, I really don't. If I turn on the music channels - Kerrang! or something - it's like, I don't know, a lot of people have said this - Alice Cooper being the latest, I think - it's like a fast food, and it really is, you turn on the TV and it's a different band almost weekly - sometimes fucking daily! And some of them are great, but by the time you think "Oh, I quite liked that", there's something else on and whatever that band was has gone, you know? System of A Down is another band I quite like, but even if I do find a band I really like, I rarely go out and buy the product.
So, I dunno, I'm a bit shit on new music. I'm an old fucking rocker, and that's what I listen to. Although I am looking forward to the next AC/DC album, if it ever materialises."
Given Jay's indifference to the modern rock scene, yet his undiminished passion for the bands of his youth, who, out of all the bands currently doing the rounds, would Tigertailz most like the opportunity to tour with? These last couple of years have, after all, seen a marked increase in the double-bill/double-headline tours, featuring such well matched acts as Kiss and Poison, Aerosmith and Motley Crue, Enuff Z'Nuff and Pretty Boy Floyd, and the soon to embark Backyard Babies and Buckcherry. Who would Tigertailz view as the ideal touring partners for an evening of Glam Metal Mayhem?
Kim Hooker: "Someone I wanted to see. And to be honest with you, the only band I really want to see now is Aerosmith - I wouldn't mind seeing Aerosmith. I wouldn't travel that far to see 'em though! I saw Judas Priest last year, and actually they were fucking staggering! They were absolutely fantastic, and the funny thing with Judas Priest was, it kinda fitted for me, you know, Rob was wandering around the stage - all menacing and like, and then I saw an old video and he was all gay and flouncing around, and I was thinking "He is now the best he's ever been!" They were fucking fantastic! And it was fantastic to see. But really I'd like to tour with a band that we can have a laugh with, you know. And that's it really."
Jay Pepper: "For me it would be Aerosmith AC/DC as well. I've seen just about everybody I wanna see. I can't really think of any other band that we'd fit with that I'd be that enthusiastic about playing with. Of the ones that are still out there touring, I can't think of any. I mean, I'm sure there are a few names that, if you were to mention them, I'd think "Hmmm, yeah, maybe" but "
Kim Hooker: "The thing is, we've played with bands which we never thought we would. You know, there was talk of us doing more shows with Y&T" (The band's first UK gig upon regrouping in 2004 was a slot at the Demolition Ball in Newcastle, which also featured the San Francisco veteran hard rockers) "and we thought that'd be fantastic! I mean, who would have thought we'd have come back and be playing gigs with Y&T?"
Jay Pepper: "Actually, yeah, they're a band I wouldn't mind playing with again."
Kim Hooker: "I mean, we had a fantastic time - just the best night ever, and I was like "Wow!!!". D'you know, a funny thing I remember? I remember sitting in the bar afterwards with Y&T, and I remember sitting there, it was after our first show - which, to be honest, up until the moment we went on I was still thinking "Is this the right thing to be doing?" We were stood behind the amplifiers waiting to go on, and Jay's amp wasn't working, and I was thinking "Maybe it would be better if we just walked away from the stage right now and said "Look, it's just not a good idea"". Literally, we were just about to go onstage and I was literally in two minds, but as soon as we walked out in front of the amplifiers it was like "Fucking hell!", everyone was there and we just couldn't believe it. Everyone was there with their Tailz t-shirts on and we just couldn't believe it, and ever since then it's been forward, full steam. But I remember sitting in the bar afterwards, and I was look at Jay, who was sitting there with Dave Meniketti, and I remember thinking "Fucking hell! I remember him coming up to me when we were kids and him going "Oh, Dave Meniketti, Y&T, it's fucking awesome!"", and all this, and I was sat there thinking - they were sat there talking about guitars and all this - and I thought "This is fantastic, you know? I would never have thought, back then, that I'd be here, right now, watching him having a conversation with one of his guitar heroes.". And I just thought, "Well, you couldn't buy this, you know. How much would this cost me - coming to this?". And that's really what it's all about for us.
There was talk of us doing some shows with them in Germany, and that would've been great, but it didn't come off, but certainly we'd love to go out and play a few shows with them again."
Jay Pepper: "The last tour, unfortunately, had already been finalised before we'd got to speaking to them. We were talking to Jill Meniketti, who manages the band, and it had all been hammered out before we even heard about it. And that last tour that they've just finished, with, what was it? Asia? Yeah, well unfortunately we were there just a bit late in the day, coz that was something we'd have loved to have done. And there's an example of the kind of venues we'd love to play, but to go and play those on our own well no one's gonna be interested in promoting that, are they?
But there are other bands as well. There are rumours that Cinderella might be coming over. That's possibly one, if that happens. So we'll just have to wait and see."
Wait and see, we will. And after such a triumphant comeback year for Tigertailz in 2006, what does the future now hold for the band? What can we expect to see of them in 2007 and beyond?
Jay Pepper: "The DVD we've been working on, that'll be coming out. Pepsi's just about there, he's almost done with it, he's just down to about two hours of footage for the new DVD. So that's one thing. We're hoping to have that on sale at the St. David's Hall gig."
Kim Hooker: "It's everything we've done over the years as well. There's some backstage footage from the 'Bezerk' tour in 1990 that I found lying about. It's just everything, from when we got back together, to when we recorded this album and backstage stuff from Sweden. It's everything, since 1990. With a ten year gap in the middle, when we weren't doing anything! "
Jay Pepper: "And we're looking to really focus over the next year or so on places we've never played before - the US being the one I'd say we're really looking at, and Japan - if we're gonna be playing anywhere outside of Europe, it's probably gonna be those territories. And then the European stuff will probably be festivals, or, if we get asked to do the right sort of shows with someone else, or these kind of things (Wildside Festival). I don't see us going out on our own in the UK, quite honestly. In the short to mid-term I can't see that happening."
Kim Hooker: "There'll be another album too, which you'll probably find has more riffage contained in the songs, coz the stuff we've been playing lately has been very riff orientated, and, you know, more shows and just trying to carry on for as long as we can, and just keep on enjoying ourselves."
And with that, Tigertailz head off to perform their main support slot at the Wildside Festival. Taking the stage to the enormous riffage of the eponymous 'Bezerk':
"In the year 1990 they drove the whole world Bezerk. Now, get ready to go Bezerk all over again!"
you'd better believe it too! The world's most outrageous band is back! And they
want you to go Bezerk, too!
*At the time of writing, Tigertailz have just announced that Pepsi Tate has been taken into hospital and "will be unable to perform at the band's upcoming show at St David's Hall Cardiff (Feb 10) due to ongoing and worsening illness. Following a series of MRI and CT scans, an abnormal growth has been discovered in the area of Pepsi's pancreas. A biopsy will be performed on the 9th of February, and news of the results will be made available as soon as possible. Pepsi would like to thank the many fans and friends who've extended their best wishes, and looks forward to getting back to work with the band later this year. Despite obvious disappointment, Kim, Jay and Matt's main focus here is doing all they can to support Pepsi and ensure his long-term health and well being. Pepsi has asked them to continue with the Cardiff show despite his absence so this is what they will do. The show will still go ahead with Glen 'Nailz' Quinn filling the Bass slot."
at Glitzine would like to wish Pepsi all the very best for a full and speedy
recovery, and extends their best wishes to Pepsi's family and friends and to
everyone within the Tigertailz camp.
Interviewed by Danzai
Visit the Tigertailz Website