The Tygers Of Pan Tang are one of the most important bands of the NWOBHM scene; their sound over the years has remained virtually unchanged and despite the various lineup changes, the years of silence, the strong will of individual members, especially of axeman Robb Weir, has allowed the Tygers to arrive to this day, still with something to say. We had the pleasure to chat with them about the past, present and future of the band.

R&MIMB: You were one of the most important bands of the NWOBHM; in 2016 how much interest do you think there is in this kind of music?
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Robb - Hi and thank you for your questions. Thankfully the 'New Wave Of Heavy British Metal' movement has never gone! It has always been present, but as new versions of rock music appeared over the years, (Thrash, Death, Speed Metal and many more) the NWOBHM sat waiting, as the foundations of all these types of music, to rise again! Of course all the musicians involved in the NWOBHM era are 35 years older now, but we are all still rocking hard which just shows you the movement is the strongest of them all!

R&MIMB: Robb, how and when did you get the idea to put together the Tygers?
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Ok, back in 1976/77 I was in a band called 'Trick.' When that band split I put an advert up in the Newcastle University for a bass player and drummer to jam new hard rock material I had written. (Trick was part covers and some of my original songs) I wanted a new band to do all original material. Richard (Rocky) Laws answered my request and we met up. We became instant friends (and still are) and Rocky suggested Brian Dick as the drummer as he was on his course at Uni. So I found us a hall to rehearse in and the first version of the Tygers was born!

R&MIMB: Robb, where did you get the name of the band from?
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: The name of the band was dreamt up by Rocky. Rocky was a big Sci-Fi book reader and one of his favourite authors was a man called Michael Moorcock. In one of his books, 'Stormbringer,' the Emperor had attack Tigers guarding the cliffs of Pan Tang, the entrance to his kingdom. So Rocky put the elements together and that's how the Tygers of Pan Tang name came about!

R&MIMB: Robb, If you were to tell us what it was like living in the fervour of the English metal scene between 1970 and 1980, what would you say?
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: You had to be there to really experience it for yourself! It was a magical time, lots of young bands all wanting to prove themselves, but not at the expense of hurting anyone else. There was great friendship amongst musicians and it was a fantastic time to be creating new material to try out on the rock public!

R&MIMB: Over the course of the band's career the line up has changed often; how has this affected the progress of the band and its musical direction?
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Robb - I have tried to steer the bands musical direction carefully over the years so as the music remains faithful to the original idea of the band. Of course with new technology and studio advancements we can make the whole collective sound bigger and better and I'm all for using that medium. But it doesn't affect the direction or content of the material. The Tygers are a hard rock band and that's what we do best, in our Tygerized style!

R&MIMB: Robb, you've had two distinct periods of activity, from 1978 to 1983, and then a return to the stage in 1999; why the decision after more than 10 years to rebuild the band?
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: You know music is an amazing thing, once it's in your blood that's it you're doomed! You can never get it out. So when I was asked to perform in 1999 at the Wacken festival near Hamburg, Germany I knew I was going to be re-infected with the glorious rock 'n' roll serum!

R&MIMB: From Wildcat (1980), to Ambush (2012) a lot of time passed by; how did the band's sound change over this time?
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Jack - The band went through different line-ups and has survived over 3 decades. The band's sound might have changed a little, but not the attitude. Tygers of Pan Tang are a hard rock band with a heavy "touch". With "The Cage," we added a great melodic vibe. From "Animal Instinct" we have reconnected to the first three albums. I think with the new one we have come full circle so all the fans will be pleased to hear the latest Tygers sound.

R&MIMB: In 2004 the band took on board Italian vocalist, Iacopo Meille; how did this come about?
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Jack - This was my one and only audition in my career. I received an email from Swiss management saying that an iconic NWOBHM band was looking for a new singer. I sent a couple of mp3's and after a couple of weeks I was told I was one of the chosen ones to do an audition in the UK. I did it in Darlington, the same town where Mr. Coverdale way back in the '70s took the train from to London to do his audition with Deep Purple. I thought it was a good omen. It proved to be right. I sang 'Take it' and I spotted the smiles on their faces. It felt very natural to me too. It was the 4th of November 2004 so this year I will celebrate 12 years in the band!

R&MIMB: How does the band approach the writing process? Do all of you contribute to the writing of material?
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Jack - For the new album everyone was involved in the writing process. There are no rules. Sometimes a song comes out of a jam session, sometimes a member of the band comes with a full idea, and sometimes a song is a combination of two ideas. What's important is that every one of us feels free to add his own mark to the song, to make it sound like Tygers.

R&MIMB: Tell us about something funny or unusual that happened during one of your tours.
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Micky: There are so many stories but one that sticks in my mind as it happened more recently was driving through the night from Londrina (Brazil) to Asuncion (Paraguay) and Gav announcing that nature was calling and running into a field in near enough total darkness and ending up in a swamp and nearly losing his shoes and his life! The rest of us were rather sympathetic, not!!

R&MIMB: Tell us about a gig which you are particularly fond or proud of.
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Robb - To be honest every single show we play is mega important to me. We play all over the world to sometimes thousands of people and I love every single minute of it. Why wouldn't you, what's not to like?

R&MIMB: To which of your albums do you feel the most attached and why?
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Robb - Most definitely the new Tygers album, which is out on October the 21st, worldwide. It's probably the most accomplished Tygers album there is to date. There is something on there for everyone, while still being a hard rock album.

R&MIMB: If you could choose, alongside which artists you would like to share the stage with or collaborate with?
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Micky - Ahh there are so many but two artists that spring to mind that I'd love to collaborate with would be Glenn Hughes or Pink. Glenn Hughes is one of the greatest rock singers ever, I love how he fuses blues rock with funk and jazz and Pink may seem like a shock to some people but I think she has great energy and her performances have that rock and roll attitude. I like when pop stars add that rock and roll element to their music.

R&MIMB: Robb, In recent years we have seen a record market growth in record sales, but above all a return to "old school" supports, like vinyl; What do you think of this return to the past?
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Robb - You know history repeats it's self over and over again. Besides, where else can the recorded format go? Vinyl was one of the best mediums going wasn't it?

R&MIMB: We are really looking forward to hearing the new album, tell us a bit about it. How do you feel about it and how do you think it will be received?
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Micky - I feel really proud of what we've achieved with the new album. From the start I had in my mind that I'd love for us to put together the sounds of different eras of the Tygers, so the raw, punk attitude of Wildcat, the classic rock vibe of Spellbound and Crazy Nights, the AOR sounds of The Cage and the modern feel of Ambush and put them into a melting pot. Soren Andersen (Glenn Hughes, Mike Tramp) mixed the album in Copenhagen and he just got the whole vibe of the band and where we wanted to go with the new album from the get go, his input was invaluable. As far as how it will be received, only time will tell.

R&MIMB: What is the band looking to achieve next?
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Micky - World domination haha!!

R&MIMB: Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
TYGERS OF PAN TANG: Robb: Thank you for reading this article. I hope you will buy the new album, trust me this one is a MONSTER. Please keep supporting your live music venues and most of all keep ROCKIN' . Cheers Robb, Craig, Jack, Gav and Micky.

Interview by Amy Louise Hamilton and Lorenzo Mortai. Edited by Yader Lamberti