» Andreas Geremia - Tankard
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Interview conducted March 02 2013
Interview published March 26 2013

Now into the 31st year of their career, classic German thrashers Tankard are still going strong. Their latest album, A Girl Called Cerveza, was released last year and most definitely proved the band's potency, containing a string of top-notch thrash tunes. When the band was confirmed as one the acts at the House Of Metal festival in Umeå, Sweden, Metal Covenant took the opportunity to re-connect with their charismatic frontman Andreas Geremia, commonly known as Gerre.

The singer appeared in the hotel lobby being quite weary, due to a cold as well as some late-night partying. That did not, however, prevent a very pleasant time with Gerre - a very nice, modest and funny guy, and a dedicated metalhead just like you and me.

Mozzy: So, how was yesterday's show?

  • Gerre: There were not so many people, but the crowd was very crazy and we had a very good time. I mean, it was a little bit late, quarter past 12... But we had a lot of fun, and you can have fun also with just a few people. I think it was ok!

Mozzy: Absolutely. And there are usually more people at this festival on Saturday than on Friday. And the stage you're playing tonight has a couple of bars around it which will attract people.

  • Gerre: Oh, ok.

Mozzy: As for Sweden, have you been to these Northern parts before?

  • Gerre: No, we've just played a couple of shows in Sweden. The only shows we've played are… Motala? (Motala Rock Festival). Yeah, Motala, and Sweden Rock. That's it, and we're gonna come back this year for Sweden Rock again. It's a very relaxed festival, just as the House Of Metal festival is very relaxed, I think. It's only that we are not used to the rules about alcohol (smiles). After 2 o' clock, you are not allowed to get drinks anymore. But we'll get used to it so tonight we know what we have to do. We have to collect all the beer (laughs).

Mozzy: It's great that you're playing on both days of the festival. And after this, do you continue with some more shows?

  • Gerre: No, it's just two shows at the weekend and then we… We did a small tour in South America in January. As we all have regular jobs and the other guys all have families, we just do like 30-35 shows a year. Mostly at the weekend, of course. And we spend all our free time into activities of the band. So yeah, we are independent; we can do what we want. In one way, it's very cool; on the other hand, we get so many offers…(sighs).

Mozzy: You want to do more gigs, really?

  • Gerre: Yeah, you cannot do everything. So these are the two sides of it all. But we're satisfied at the moment.

Mozzy: Is it difficult to plan things - the touring, days off and so on, fitting everything together?

  • Gerre: Well, our manager Buffo does all our booking and I think for this year, everything is booked already. So we usually know a year before when we do a gig somewhere, so we can plan, and it works out.

Mozzy: I guess the ones you work for are understanding people too?

  • Gerre: Yeah. I work as a social worker, and I often work at the weekend, but I'm free for my band. So that's ok.

Mozzy: Cool. Has it always been like this; during the 80's or 90's for example, were you ever able to live on the band or did you always have day jobs?

  • Gerre: Well, I lived from the music in the 90's for one or two years, I think. But that was never a big discussion. I mean, you can make such a decision when you're 20 or 25, but if you're 45… You don't know what will happen in 20 years, you know. So in this sense it is a little bit difficult, so therefore we do it somehow in a half-professional way. Yeah, it works.

Mozzy: It definitely seems to be working well for you. And you had your 30th anniversary as a band last year. What are your reflections on that?

  • Gerre: Yeah, last year so many things happened, you know. We were recording the album, changing the label, doing the album art, and… So reflecting… well thirty years is a very long time, and… I mean it's stupid when you say that time is running faster when you're older, but it's really true, it really is! (laughs). So yeah, I think we are proud that we never gave up, and always kept our kind of music, and did what we wanted to do. But yeah, thirty years is a very, very long time…

Mozzy: And you were very young when you started, too, then?

  • Gerre: 15. So I'm 45 now. We started at around 14 or 15, around Easter in 1982.

Mozzy: Cool, keep on going! And I want to say that you are definitely still very relevant; your latest album (A Girl Called Cerveza) is a very strong album, your best in quite a while I think.

  • Gerre: Thank you. I love the albums before that one too. On Vol(l)ume 14, we worked with a new producer, and I think that is good too, but I think on the newest album, the sound is better. It's very transparent; you can hear all the instruments very clear. On the other hand, it has very heavy guitars, so there is a good mixture. Vol(l)ume 14 is not that heavy, concerning the sound. So, I think we are now really on the right path. We really wanted to change from this bombastic sound. But we will see how the next album will sound, I don't know.

Mozzy: Now I want to show you a couple of photos. Last time I met you was on the 70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise. Do you remember?

  • Gerre: Oh! I remember (laughs)!

Mozzy: You can have those photos.

  • Gerre: Cool, thanks a lot! That was very cool, an amazing party. I lost 700 dollars or something like that(laughs)! We had a lot of fun, it was a great experience.

Mozzy: And you released a DVD recorded at the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise too.

  • Gerre: Yeah, it's sort of a bootleg. Somebody was filming, and you know… if you release an album then there is a normal CD plus a limited edition. You have to bring something special, so on the DVD there is a video clip for A Girl Called Cerveza plus the show which we call Live Bo(o)atleg, with two o's. You know, boat is called Boot in German, so it's a little wordgame.

Mozzy: I can actually see myself in that live bootleg, when you run out into the audience.

  • Gerre: Oh, cool! It was 4 o'clock in the morning. I was not so amused when I heard they had changed our stage time from 6 o'clock in the evening to 4 o'clock in the morning, but there were still lots of people and we had great fun. And before the cruise we stayed for two days in Miami, which was cool also. We were in Miami Beach and more and more metal fans were coming into town. That was really a great feeling, an amazing feeling.

Mozzy: You seem to have a very cool relationship with your fans.

  • Gerre: Well, without the fans Tankard would be nothing, so… We try to have a good time with the fans, drinking beer after the show if it's possible, and so on. So, I'm looking forward to tonight; I hope some more people will show up.

Mozzy: One awesome thing I saw a couple of months ago on your Facebook page was the picture of the guy in the wheelchair you brought up to sit onstage. That was very cool, I think.

  • Gerre: Oh yeah! It was fun, yeah. We gave him lots of beer, I think he got quite drunk, haha!

Mozzy: You have lots of great, funny pictures on your Facebook page, which I think people appreciate. I don't know if you are on Facebook yourself that often?

  • Gerre: I'm not that into Facebook, but I follow our official page. It's Buffo, our manager, who is handling our Facebook page.

Mozzy: As you said before, you toured in South America recently. How was that?

  • Gerre: That was very amazing. It was the third time for us in South America, and the fans are totally crazy. You cannot really imagine, they treat you like you are a rock star. And they are very thankful. And very crazy, so sometimes you think hell is breaking loose when you get onstage (smiles). We played seven shows, in Brazil and Argentina. Then we were supposed to play a festival together with Sodom in Colombia, but that was cancelled because… First, Exhumer cancelled because they had no flight tickets or anything, and Sodom did not get their money in time. We were also waiting for our money, but we were already in South America and our flights were booked, so we discussed what to do. If we had travelled directly from Brazil to Germany, it would have cost thousands of Euros. So we decided to go to Colombia for one day. We put a picture on Facebook, and some fans came to the hotel and we had some beer with the fans. It was cool. We were very sorry we were not going to play the festival, so we offered the promoter to play alone, but he did not want that.

Mozzy: That was still a great gesture towards the fans, I think.

  • Gerre: Yeah. South America was a very good experience.

Mozzy: The South American fans seem more physical as well, wanting to get close to you and touch you and so on. Certainly crazier than here, in the Northern countries!

  • Gerre: Yeah, crazy (laughs). The craziest fans on the planet, I think (laughs). It was funny.

Mozzy: About your stage performance as a frontman, I think everyone agrees that you are a very entertaining onstage.

  • Gerre: I try to, I have to loose some weight again (laughs).

Mozzy: Were you the same when you were young, and does it come natural for you?

  • Gerre: Oh yeah, I always try to do my best, and… I think that just standing there and having a good light show and so on, that is boring for me. As long as I have some energy I like to give it to the people and get energy back.

Mozzy: You have a big thing coming up with the Big Teutonic Four show (with Kreator, Sodom and Destruction at the Beastival festival in Geiselwind, Germany, from May 30 to June 1).

  • Gerre: Yes, it's the very first time after 31 years that the four bands are playing together. Before, they always talked about the Big Three, and now they talk about the Big Four. It is very cool and we're really looking forward to that event. There is also a limited vinyl edition with each band doing a cover song, and we're doing The Prisoner by Iron Maiden. So we're looking forward to it, and maybe there will be a possibility to repeat it at some festivals, with these four bands. Maybe next year or so, we will see.

Mozzy: Is there a DVD planned for this event, perhaps?

  • Gerre: No, not yet, as far as I know.

Mozzy: Otherwise, how do you see the future for Tankard?

  • Gerre: Well, we are fully booked this year, at festivals and club shows. And we're going to Russia, to Finland, we will come back to Sweden, go to Austria and so on. And there are plans to record new stuff at the beginning of next year, but there is nothing written yet, as always. The last few weeks before we go into the studio there is total chaos, but I think we need this kind of pressure.

Mozzy: You seem to be on a very good run now, with the new album.

  • Gerre: Yeah, we're on Nuclear Blast, who have a lot of power and do lots of promotion. We are very glad to join them. And we appeared in the German official charts, just for one week, but we still appeared, at place 32. Place 30 would have been funny, in our 30th anniversary (laughs). Other than that, we're looking forward. We hope we can travel around the world, and keep the standard of the last album. We don't want to stop!

Mozzy: You must not!

  • Gerre: (laughs)

Mozzy: Well, that was all I had. Thank you!

  • Gerre: Thank you, cheers!

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