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Interview conducted January 21 2011
Interview published January 24 2011

To all those cool souls who heed the call, in the hall, for alcoholic Metal, to all those who thirst for incredible loudness, to the beautiful beasts of bourbon who long for a brain piercing of death, and to all the chemi-kill invaders who never regret the mourning after, I am proud to announce that Tankard have returned with their 14th album aptly dubbed 'Vol(l)ume 14'.

For what has now become almost an every other holiday seasoned greetings of death; thereby, welcoming the mindwild creation of new material, I again spoke with Andreas "Gerre" Geremia, one of the founding members of Frankfurt's own reputed "Kings of beer-soaked bliss".

The new album is quite mature, and true to the Tankard Tradition. Thus did Gerre and I decide to stage dive right into the live crux of the matter, and bring one another up to date in the aggoriamento Metal meltdown fashion.

MettleAngel: Hey Brother, it is so great to hear from you again. I know you are quite busy so I appreciate you taking the time to do this interview.

  • Gerre: That is no problem, it is great to hear from you too.

MettleAngel: I really am digging the new album. I just wrote a review for it for www.metalcdratings.com. I assume you chose to call it 'Vol(l)ume 14' because this is a play on the alcoholic weight, and it is your 14th studio release, correct?

  • Gerre: Yes, this is our 14th full length album. We wanted to just call it 'Volume 14'. The German word "voll" when written with two letter "l"s implies being drunk.

MettleAngel: Wow, I did not know that, so it then means that you are feeling intoxicated?

  • Gerre: Yes, and so you see this is another word game, of course!

MettleAngel: I love it when Tankard does stuff like that. Ever since "666 Packs" Or "Beermuda" I have always enjoyed the wit and mindwild antics of the band.

  • Gerre: Thank you! If you look closely at the cover art, you will notice that there is room for twenty beers in that case! So you know that means that our fans really can expect at least six more Tankard full-length albums to be released over the next few years!

MettleAngel: That is awesome, considering that next year the band will celebrate its 30th anniversary.

  • Gerre: We have no plans to stop thrashing.

MettleAngel: As you well may already know, I am a strong supporter of the lyrics of the band. What I find interesting is that over the last few releases, the subject matter, and especially the lyrics, although still very well written, seem to be evoking a much more subjective response.

  • Gerre: I know that in previous interviews you have commented on our lyrics.

MettleAngel: Tankard has always written great songs, but in the last few years, the lyrics have really caused some serious introspection. I was wondering if you now, personally, write all the lyrics for the songs?

  • Gerre: We have two good friends who willingly help us with the lyrics. I do the melody lines for the songs, and we as band really decide about which topics the songs will be!

MettleAngel: I wonder if one of those friends is the notorious Mike Kipness? Sometimes it seems as though the lyrics are also more inter-personal. I have read that you have really slimmed down.

  • Gerre: About a year and a half ago I joined Weight Watchers. I lost over 65 kilos.

MettleAngel: Congratulations! So are you still fat, ugly, and liver damaged, ha, ha? Is the song "Fat Snatchers"a tribute to or parody of this experience? Will you continue to curb your appetite for alcohol to avoid gaining the weight back?

  • Gerre: Once I lost the weight, we decided it was the right time to write a song about that. At the end we had the idea to construct a funny story about this stuff and connect it with the "Hippo Effect".

MettleAngel: What then is the "Hippo Effect"?

  • Gerre: It is the concept that if I lose some weight, then it is imperative that somebody else on this planet gets fatter!

MettleAngel: Well you can bet that here in America where obesity is now a "disease", someone is always getting even heavier, and I do not mean with their mettle! I will say that I am glad to hear that you have lost the beer gut.

  • Gerre: Well, it is a very funny story, and it makes for a great song! Of course I still love to party, especially with Tankard on stage!

MettleAngel: That is good to hear, as those prohibitive rules are for fools!

  • Gerre: Indeed, but I have to take care of my body, and watch what I eat. I try to refuse junk food, for example! You do not have to worry though, because the Tankard party will go on for sure!

MettleAngel: Leave the junk food for Assassin, and then The Tankard can be open all night!

  • Gerre: Sounds good!

MettleAngel: Another point I would like to make in keeping with this alcoholic tendency, yet consideration for your health, or shall we say, "Mens sane in corpore sano"...

  • Gerre: What does that mean?

MettleAngel: Oh, yeah that is Latin for: "A healthy mind in a healthy body". What I was going to say is that what I also find interesting about the band's approach to songwriting as of late, is that there are no direct songs relating to alcohol this time.

  • Gerre: What we always attempt to do is create a solid mixture of fun and serious stuff. We even have some critical lyrics, as well.

MettleAngel: I know, and the band has always had their political attitude. I have noticed that there are songs with alcoholic themes like "Weekend Warriors", and "Rules For Fools", but overall the lyrics really make you think a little with their amusing anecdotes and polemical thrust.

  • Gerre: I am so glad that you take the time to notice.

MettleAngel: What exactly is going on with "Beck's In The City"? Is that a Frankfurt deal with skanky Metal chicks? I have never heard about "Speed Metal Dating".

  • Gerre: First of all, we wanted to call the song "Speed Metal Dating". Then we realized that we had included in the second part of the chorus the idea of "Beck's In The City", so we just decided in the studio to change the title.

MettleAngel: Well now that makes a little more sense....

  • Gerre: If you listen to the way I sing it, you will notice how it really sounds similar to my saying," Sex in the city"...

MettleAngel: Man, I sure hope you are not a fan of that gay HBO show. Although, I do have to admit that I have watched both movies with my wife, but neither of us are really into the storyline or characters.

  • Gerre: The song is about speed dating relationships. By this I mean the idea where you get to know about, and familiarize yourself with various foreign people by just talking for a couple of minutes.

MettleAngel: Oh I get it, we have a similar concept for dating here in the US. I understood the song to be about "Speed Metalheads" who are going out as a couples' retreat.

  • Gerre: Yeah that is the basic suggestion, but it is more like the overall experience of attending single's parties. What we did was expand upon the idea by creating another very funny story about a girl who is searching for a stinky, drunken Heavy Metal guy, just like you! Hahaha...

MettleAngel: Hey wait a minute, I am only slight drunk with power and control; although, my sexy feet do stink just like Al Bundy!

  • Gerre: Al Bundy???

MettleAngel: Do you think that perhaps Korpiklaani are writing more songs about alcohol than Tankard now does? Is it possible that after almost three decades, the band has actually become a bit more serious, and perhaps even more outspoken?

  • Gerre: First of all, I want to go on the record by stating that Tankard is a fun band, who connect thrash with a serious sense of humour.

MettleAngel: I know and I salute all your efforts in doing so!

  • Gerre: I think we have have enough songs about beer up until this point. Face it, we always will have this kind of image even if we were to only write all the rest of our songs dealing with more serious stuff!

MettleAngel: In some respects this lessens the authority of the band, because people may not take you seriously. As a long time fan, I have always appreciated the lyrics which are not always about alcohol, and which may border on the more realistic.

  • Gerre: I just think that it is high time that after 29 years of Tankard, that the people would take more care and focus more on our music than what they believe to be our established image!

MettleAngel: Well after such a prolonged duration, the band has earned a certain reputation. I respect all that Tankard have done, and all the music which you have created. I do not want to seem to fawning or obsequious, but I want it to be known that I think of Tankard as musicians and Metalheads, who are not just mere alcoholics.

  • Gerre: Thank you!

MettleAngel: Hell, I remember even believing in the myth that the band were, in fact, stone cold sober, such that the myth of being drunks was all a facade.

  • Gerre: Yeah, me too.

MettleAngel: So speaking of Korpiklaani, as just a point of reference, since Tankard is such a better act, by far, I did notice that they will be on the "70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise".

  • Gerre: I have heard of that...

MettleAngel: My family is very excited about experiencing this cruise ship terror as well. With all the beer and gear aboard, how is it that Tankard were not invited, when Sodom & Destruction, as well as several other noteworthy Thrash acts and German Power Metal Gods like Rage, Blind Guardian, and Gamma Ray were?

  • Gerre: Funny that you should mention this. Honestly we really would have loved to join that cruise.

MettleAngel: I was so hoping that you would have been asked, and that we were going to see you on board.

  • Gerre: Well, maybe the next time we will be invited, as that would be cool!

MettleAngel: This is the same case with several acts with whom I have spoken. Onslaught are hoping to be on it next year, assuming it is as successful as I know it will be. I will put in a good word, and recommend you for next year.

  • Gerre: That would be great! We once had an experience while travelling on a ferry from Sweden to Finland for 24 hours playing a show.

MettleAngel: I have spoken to others who have participated in the same type of venue.

  • Gerre: Yeah, that was one of the funniest parties we ever had. I really would love to repeat it!

MettleAngel: I bet you would, and this cruise is way bigger and better than a ferry. Would you personally be able to commit due to your noble job endeavour as being a social worker for what, now almost 15 years of dedicated service?

  • Gerre: As you know, we all have regular jobs, but we spend all of our free time focusing on the activities of the band. We strive to play live as often we can. So, yes, we really would love to join such a party again!

MettleAngel: I am glad to hear that. Changing course, I just recently obtained the music of the German band Nemesis which features your ex-guitarist: Axel Katzmann and your ex-drummer Arnulf Tunn, as well as members from Grinder and Capricorn like vocalist Adrian Hahn.

  • Gerre: Oh really!

MettleAngel: My friend bought it and burned it for me. I know it is very rare. Do you miss having two guitarists in the band?

  • Gerre: To be honest, after the departure of Axel back in 1995, we chose to go with having only one guitarist.

MettleAngel: I will say that Andy Gutjahr does an amazing job on the old and newer material, and I know that he has been in the band for over a decade.

  • Gerre: Ever since this time, we never thought about adding a second guitar player to the band. I agree, Andy is doing a great job, and we have maintained a great line-up ever since 1998, up until now, so there is no need to change anything!

MettleAngel: I agree! Speaking of Andy, I also just got the Seventh Avenue album called 'Southgate'. I have been a fan of this band for quite a while. I was surprised to discover that Andy played on this album. Is he a Christian, or is he just a musician for this and other German Christian acts?

  • Gerre: He is somehow really a Christian, so everybody in the band accepts that he can believe in whatever he wants.

MettleAngel: I respect the fact that everyone is entitled to have their own beliefs.

  • Gerre: The other three members of the band, including myself, choose to have nothing to do with religion.

MettleAngel: Well like Peavy of Rage says, "Religion, this is sinister thinking..."

  • Gerre: We all get along well, and we have never had any problems with this topic in the band.

MettleAngel: This is because Metal is the only true religion! I do however listen to Christian Metal. The new Stryper album called 'The Covering' is incredible. I respect how a Christian act such as themselves who paved the way for Christian Metal, have now released an album covering all their influences like Maiden, Priest, Sabbath, Ozzy, UFO, etc. Their new song simply entitled "God" is awesome!!

  • Gerre: Hmnnnn.....

MettleAngel: Honestly, I would also be very interested in hearing Andy's other bands like Lightmare and Treasure Seeker. Their album called 'A Tribute To the Past' has some killer covers of some of the best Christian bands from the '80s. I do appreciate fine music, even if I do not always agree with the preachy lyrics.

  • Gerre: I know that Lightmare still exist, but they just play a couple of shows in a year. This is more of a hobby thing for Andy! Unfortunately, about Treasure Seeker, I just can not tell you anything, honestly!

MettleAngel: That is cool, and I understand. Maybe, if you get a chance, you can ask Andy if he can let me know where I can track down these albums, even if digitally.

  • Gerre: Well for you, I will ask him for sure!

MettleAngel: Man, I sure would appreciate that! I know this may be a sore point for you, but Tankard has still only been to the US one time, and that was an very interesting show, as you may recall. Are there any plans for you to return in 2011?

  • Gerre: Sorry, there are no offers as of yet, but we really would love to come back for a couple of shows or play some festivals!!

MettleAngel: I am surprised you have never been invited to play Prog. Power. Let me ask you this, what do you love most about making a career out of Tankard? What are the highs and lows of playing in such a landmark Thrash Metal Band?

  • Gerre: For all of us, the single most important thing is to have a lot of fun playing this kind of music! We never surrender or quit! This was the case, especially in the middle of the nineties, when thrash metal was not very popular.

MettleAngel: I know, and as a dedicated fan, I purchased all those expensive imports on CD. For some titles like 'The Tankard' or 'Stone Cold Sober', I would dish out up to $20 a pop!

  • Gerre: We appreciate the support! Back then, these were very hard times for everyone in the Metal Music Business, but ever on we kept our spirit, and held our heads high!

MettleAngel: This is when your mettle was tested, and you prevailed.

  • Gerre: Indeed! As far as the highs of the band, that would be the euphoric experience of playing all over the planet, and partying with all of our fantastic fans everywhere!

MettleAngel: I can only imagine the exilaration, and that feeling of doing the moribund dance. There are so many bands that have now admitted how influenced they are by Tankard. How does this make you feel?

  • Gerre: Of course, this truly makes me proud to know that Tankard has influenced a number of bands.

MettleAngel: If there was a so-called "Big Four" from Germany do you think Tankard deserves to be ranked with Sodom, Kreator, and Destruction?

  • Gerre: Maybe we should belong to the "Big German Four", but it is not really interesting for us, or a major concern. We have to care about us, and not so much all the others.

MettleAngel: Oh I get it, "Who are we...we are us!"

  • Gerre: Ahh our lyrics! As for those other big German Thrash greats, I am myself a fan! We all know each other personally, and celebrate playing together. This is especially true when it comes to our countrymen in Sodom. We always have a lot of fun!!!

MettleAngel: When I see Tom Angelripper on the cruise I will pass this along! Are you aware that all these bands, with the exception of Kreator have new material now out?

  • Gerre: Of course!

MettleAngel: Kreator like Destruction just signed with Nuclear Blast, so they only have a live release. I have not heard the new Destruction yet, but if I have not already made it abundantly clear, Tankard's latest achievement is far better in every respect than new Sodom.

  • Gerre: Really?? I love the new Sodom album 100%, please check it out again!

MettleAngel: Alright, I will, but it did not hit me like their self-titled. Perhaps it is because they have a new drummer. Nothing will ever compare to 'Persecution Mania', 'Better Off Dead', or 'Agent Orange', which they just remastered. I did get the new DVD and that is killer.

  • Gerre: That includes their Wacken performance, with past members.

MettleAngel: Yes it does, all but the late Chris Witchhunter. The bonus edition CD of 'In War And Pieces' also includes songs from this show. Enough about Sodom, though, I want to know what is your favourite Tankard album?

  • Gerre: Ok here we go...

MettleAngel: I know that this is a loaded question, but I still love 'Chemical Invasion' the most. I however, also do not dislike any Tankard releases. On the new one, the songs are so melodic and catchy, and your vocal style is still so unique.

  • Gerre: Yes, this is a very difficult question to answer. At the moment I prefer the new stuff.

MettleAngel: I can understand this...

  • Gerre: We put really a lot of work into the vocals and I am really satisfied with my performance! I guess if I were to pick my all time favourite Tankard album, I would have to choose 'Zombie Attack ', because it was the first album we put out!

MettleAngel: I can respect that too. After all, this is the first Tankard album I bought, on cassette, no less. Also it contains my still favourite Tankard song, "(Empty) Tankard"! The other day, out of the blue, my wife was just humming the words to this. I am so honoured to have such a true Metal wife!

  • Gerre: Yes. I met your wife, she is the real deal!

MettleAngel: Just recently, she wanted to play some classic Rage 'Perfect Man' tracks to put her in the mood for the cruise. She also loves to crank your cover of "Centerfold". When will you cover another '80s one hit wonder band like you did with this freeze frame hit by The J. Geils Band?

  • Gerre: Good question!

MettleAngel: I know you do a lot of punk songs and Frankfort Football anthems which are also great, but if you could cover a song from the '80s Tankard style what would it be? Perhaps Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher", "Shake It Up" by The Cars, or maybe even a Michael Jackson song.

  • Gerre: At the moment we really have not thought about covering another song. I must admit that the Michael Jackson is a really a good idea, so thanks for the input. Did ever a Metal band cover the King Of Pop????

MettleAngel: Actually, I just spoke with Yngwie Malmsteen a few months ago. He has covered "Beat It" with Ripper Owens on vocals. I teased him for adding at least seven extra solos that were not in the original.

  • Gerre: Whoah! Yngwie! At the moment we just want to include "We're Coming Back", back into our live set.

MettleAngel: I like that song too.

  • Gerre: This is the cover we did from the band called Cocksparrer. I really love that football-song! I just have to strongly convince the other guys in the band to want to play it more often! Mark my words, we are definitely going to 100% play it live again, I promise!

MettleAngel: That will be amazing! To this day, my favourite cover of yours is by The Spermbirds. Ever since I first heard "Try Again" off the 'Morning After' album I have been hooked. I may have never have heard the original, but those lyrics really ministered to me back in '80s. Those words still speak to me to this day.

  • Gerre: Yes, those are some good lyrics, very inspirational.

MettleAngel: Well my Brother, as you know, all things much come to a close, and now we must depart. I am so grateful that you expanded on all this food for thought! I know how busy you are, so I sincerely want to thank you for taking the time to indulge a die-hard fan!

  • Gerre: Yes, I want to apologize for my delay in any follow-up. At the moment life would be easier if my day was 48 hours long!

MettleAngel: I hear you, so please take it easy, and do not work too hard. All the best and keep on thrashing 'till death!

See also: Song By Song commentary on the album Vol(l)ume 14

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