Gerre - Tankard
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.
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?
MettleAngel: Wow, I did not know that, so it then means that you are feeling intoxicated?
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.
MettleAngel: That is awesome, considering that next year the band will celebrate its 30th anniversary.
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.
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?
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.
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?
MettleAngel: What then is the "Hippo Effect"?
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.
MettleAngel: That is good to hear, as those prohibitive rules are for fools!
MettleAngel: Leave the junk food for Assassin, and then The Tankard can be open all night!
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"...
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.
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.
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".
MettleAngel: Well now that makes a little more sense....
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.
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.
MettleAngel: Hey wait a minute, I am only slight drunk with power and control; although, my sexy feet do stink just like 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?
MettleAngel: I know and I salute all your efforts in doing so!
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.
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.
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.
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".
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?
MettleAngel: I was so hoping that you would have been asked, and that we were going to see you on board.
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.
MettleAngel: I have spoken to others who have participated in the same type of venue.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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?
MettleAngel: I respect the fact that everyone is entitled to have their own beliefs.
MettleAngel: Well like Peavy of Rage says, "Religion, this is sinister thinking..."
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!!
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.
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.
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?
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?
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!
MettleAngel: This is when your mettle was tested, and you prevailed.
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?
MettleAngel: If there was a so-called "Big Four" from Germany do you think Tankard deserves to be ranked with Sodom, Kreator, and Destruction?
MettleAngel: Oh I get it, "Who are we...we are us!"
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
MettleAngel: I can understand this...
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!
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?
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.
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.
MettleAngel: I like that song too.
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.
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!
MettleAngel: I hear you, so please take it easy, and do not work too hard. All the best and keep on thrashing 'till death!