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Tankard : a band who has cut its eyeteeth


It is hard not to put in the key words list, summing up the main themes dealt with this interview, the word “beer” for a Tankard’s interview. We won’t lie to you saying that we tried not to speak about it because it is not true. This interview with Andreas Geremia, better known as Gerre (vocals), is introduced, punctuated here and there and ended with the theme and some anecdotes dealing with alcohol. And it is so even though the band has things to tell in a more serious field.

However, as the vocalist, who had his famous beer belly amputated, tells us, they asked for it: “those kind of things do not bother us because we are to blame.” It is their raison d’être: Tankard’s confessed purpose playing music is not having groupies (Remember, Gerre has on the opposite known how to keep his starry-eyed side in his vision of seduction far from the traditional industrial groupies sequence.) but having free beer and speaking very unpretentiously with fans from all over the world.

A simple, funny and relaxed interview.

« for over fifteen years now we have tried to have a good mixture of serious lyrics and funny lyrics. […] Ever if we wrote the next 5 albums about evil stuff, nobody would believe us. […] But this kind of stuff doesn’t make us angry because it is our own fault. So nowadays we joke about our own image and we make lots of parodies but we live perfectly fine with this fact. »

Radio Metal : I don’t know if you remember but we actually met backstage at Hellfest 2010 after your show. Do you remember?

Andreas Geremia (vocals) : After the show is always bad. I think that I was drunk, but I think that I remember (laughs).

Yeah you were. I passed you the phone to Philippe who was here in our studio. I don’t know if you remember. In fact at Hellfest I caught you falling on your dressing room wall. What happened?

This wasn’t a violent act or anything; it was just a mistake, so I’m sorry. I got a little bit drunk and I saw a promoter so I said “hey nice to meet you!” and then I slipped and fell into the bloody wall. But I paid it no problem! (laughs)

Does that happen often?

Only in France (big laugh).

How come? Because of the wine?

Which wine? I think that it was more a case that this festival was supported by Jack Daniels and I’m not used to drinking whiskey. So all in all it was just a mistake, you know.

A few weeks later, one of our readers saw you at another festival and he offered you a drink but you told him that you had stopped drinking. Is this true?

No, that’s not true. This is a big rumour (big laugh). I didn’t stop drinking but now I’m taking care not to drink too much. Sometime I party, but I’m getting older and I’m not getting any younger you know (laughs).

About the new album, Olaf declared about that new album in 2010, that you never plan your composition approach. Is it possible to say that music is like a party for you? The best ones are the improvised ones?

The thing is that when we are about to start writing songs, we don’t sit together and discuss how the album should sound. We just write the songs however they sound in our heads. We try to work the songs out before going to the studio and trying to make the best we can out of them. I think that the new album is a bit more melodic and we changed the producer for a really different sound compared to the other albums before. I would say that the sound is more transparent and cleaner or less bombastic. I think that it goes in the right direction of things.

The intro « Time Warp » and the conclusion « Week End Warriors » are much darker than what we’re used to hearing from Tankard. The lyrics are less exclusively focused on alcohol. ‘Black Plague (BP)’ deals with the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico for example. Did you want to show your fans something else than your « funny » side?

You are not the first person who has asked me this question. All that I can say is that for over fifteen years now we have tried to have a good mixture of serious lyrics and funny lyrics. In comparison with our previous lyrics, nothing has changed on this album. Tankard has some serious stuff because we are no longer at the age where we can write ten party songs. This is because many serious and bad things have happened in our lives. We don’t want to go through life with blinded eyes. So if I were to compare these lyrics with previous lyrics, I would say that we haven’t changed anything.

Do you feel slightly frustrated by the fact that people remember Tankard more because of your funny side rather than your serious one?

Yes. First of all, Tankard is a band that combines both the fun stuff with thrash metal. This fits very well with our personalities. We will never really change. Ever if we wrote the next 5 albums about evil stuff, nobody would believe us. We have this image and sometimes we make jokes out of it. Nothing has changed of what Tankard is.

A lot of actors who play exclusively in comedies at first find it hard to gain credibility in a more serious, dramatic genre. Do you have this feeling too as musicians?

Not really. When people talk about Tankard, they focus at first on the fact that we are funny guys who drink and they don’t really care about the music much, but we always care about the music. But this kind of stuff doesn’t make us angry because it is our own fault when we started with Chemical Invasion in the 80s. We tried to get rid of this image in the 90s with albums like Two-Faced and The Tankard, but it didn’t really work. So nowadays we joke about our own image and we make lots of parodies but we live perfectly fine with this fact. It’s not a problem.

« Since we don’t live from our music, we spend all of our free time playing live and going into the studio etc. I think that sometimes it’s boring when people talk bullshit about each other on the internet. We really prefer to speak with people directly. »

You worked with Michael Mainx at the production stage. Apparently Michael is not a big metal fan. Is this the reason why you chose to work with him? Was it to benefit from a different opinion or a different perspective?

We knew him because we recorded one song for a football centre with him two and half years ago and he also worked with a big German band called Böhse Onkelz whose albums were all number 1 in the charts. I would say that it’s hard rock with German lyrics. He also worked with Disbelief a couple of times. So he isn’t a very famous or well-known metal producer but he knows what he does.

Did you hope that his expertise would allow you to produce an album that would appeal to a larger audience than just the metal one?

No, this was not our intention. We made a couple of albums with Andy Classen and although we were always satisfied with the result, we just wanted to try something new to change the sound a little bit. That’s all it is, there is nothing else.

Are you satisfied with this change?

We are satisfied with the result. It sounds different to the other albums but it’s still Tankard inside and it’s still thrash metal. I hope that you agree! (laughs)

When we look at your MySpace and Facebook pages, we realise that you don’t really use these tools to communicate with your fans. You often meet them directly after your gigs: you seem to prefer human contact to the virtual type…

Yeah we prefer personal contact. The other reason is that although we have a MySpace page and a website, we all have regular jobs as well so we are really busy. The other guys in the band also have families and little children so we don’t really have time to take care of those things. If I didn’t work, I would take care of it. But since we don’t live from our music, we spend all of our free time playing live and going into the studio etc. I think that sometimes it’s boring when people talk bullshit about each other on the internet. We really prefer to speak with people directly. Of course, when people write me emails, I try to answer them all in the free time from my normal job. That’s for sure, one hundred percent.

What inspired your music video « Rules for Fools »?

First of all, we wanted to make another video-clip. You get a certain amount of money from promotion, advertising and magazine appearances. We really wanted to make another music video for promotion and the record company said ok. We chose the song, then we had a meeting with the guy who made our two previous music clips and we came up with some ideas. The first thing that we thought of when we think of the word “rules” is school you know. It’s a low budget video clip because we only had a certain amount of money but it’s a typical Tankard video and we had a lot of fun making it. We had more than 80 000 hits on YouTube last week. I think that this is the best promotion for a new album.

Who are the kids who play with your instruments at the end?

These are kids of friends of ours. The little guy who plays the bass is Frank’s third son. It was really fun that he was a part of it. We had a lot of fun with the kids and with the combination of the dominant teacher with the kids. We had a lot of fun that day.

Do these kids form a real band?

I think that the one who plays guitar actually does play guitar but I don’t think that the others are in a band. These kids had a lot of fun that day as you can imagine.

You lost almost 60 kilos in a year! That’s impressive; can you give us some tips to lose weight?

I was pregnant and now I have my baby, so everything is ok now (laughs). I joined Weight Watchers and that’s all. I try to watch my weight now. It’s difficult but I try.

That beer belly had become legendary for Tankard’s fans. Don’t you think that they will miss it?

They can miss it but I don’t miss it. I think that it’s better for my health. I always try to give my best on stage whether it’s with 160 kilos or 90 kilos, but I feel that I have more power on stage now so it’s much better for me and the band.

« We talked to a really big brewery in Frankfurt, but after our meeting, they never answered our emails so I don’t think that they want to work with people like us (big laugh). »

Apparently, you gave your very first gig in a school. At the time, you could not drink beer openly, so you put some in milk cartons. Do you confirm this anecdote?

Yes that is true. We were about 15 or something like that and it was completely forbidden to drink beer inside of the school, so we put the beer in milk bottles. That is a very funny true story.

Did you start writing songs about beer before even reaching the legal age to drink any?

I think so (big laugh). I don’t know what German laws were like at the beginning of the 80s but I think you had to be 16 to drink. But it’s true that we started writing about things that we were not allowed to do.

More and more artists produce wine bearing the name of their band. Did you ever consider creating Tankard beer?

Yes we have spoken with a few breweries but nothing has really happened yet. Of course, it would really fit with our style to have our own beer you know. We talked to a really big brewery in Frankfurt, but after our meeting, they never answered our emails so I don’t think that they want to work with people like us (big laugh).

What kind of beer would it be?

A good one! (laughs)

« My favourite beer is always the beer that I get at a concert or in any place on this planet where we play. This is the only reason we do Tankard; to taste as many beers as possible in the world. »

What’s your favourite beer?

My favourite beer is always the beer that I get at a concert or in any place on this planet where we play. This is the only reason we do Tankard; to taste as many beers as possible in the world.

So most bands make music to get chicks and for you it’s to get beer?

That right! That is the main difference between us and all of the other bands (big laugh).

After the interview :

By the way guys, did you like the new album?

(Spaceman) To tell you the truth I preferred the previous one, but I think that it’s a good thrash metal album.
(Metal’O Phil) Actually, I really liked the first track and the last track, “Time Warp” and “Weekend Warriors”.

“Time Warp”, “Rules for Fools” and “Weekend Warriors” are my three favourite tracks on this album.

Yeah they are a lot darker than the rest and it’s interesting.

The thing was that this time our guitar player Andy wrote all of the songs because the other guys didn’t have as much time and I did all of the vocals. Maybe next time there will be more of a mixture of melodic and hard stuff. We will see what will happen and we aren’t thinking about the next album because we just want to enjoy this album. And we are coming back to France in March!

Yeah it’s in Colmar.

Yeah, Colmar and then another show. I hope that a lot of French freshers with come and that we can all have a good party together.

You know that in Colmar there’s a wine festival. Maybe you could play there?

(big laugh) Yeah, we will ask the organisers. Maybe one of you guys could come to the shows or is it a bit too far away for you?

We’ll see, maybe, why not.

Interview conducted on february 8th, 2011 by phone by Spaceman & Metal’O Phil

Retranscription et traduction : Izzy & Saff’

TANKARD’s Website : www.tankard.info



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