Tank - Logo

Tank - Photo

Hello! It’s so great to hear that such big band as Tank will visit Ukraine! So, I wish you good luck in future shows and want ask some questions about your past and future things.

First of all, I want to ask — have you ever been in Ukraine previous?

-No, this will be our very first visit to your country and we are really looking forward to bringing the show over. We’ve had a lot of fan mail from there over the past few years so we know there is a good metal scene. It’s going to be great to meet the fans and introduce our music to the people that haven’t heard Tank before.

What kind of associations with Ukraine do you have?

-Obviously we have seen on the news that over the past few years the situation has been very difficult for the people of the Ukraine. Hopefully we can make things a little bit better with a great night of real heavy metal.

Some questions about your future album:

— on when we can hear it

-We are currently making the final mixes to the tracks on the album before it goes to our mastering engineer. It’s taken us much longer to record than we thought but this is mainly because we have some very special guests appearing on this album so we’ve had to wait until they were available to record their vocals. We will have a press release soon announcing track listing and guest appearances. The album will be released in the spring through Rubicon Records in Japan and Cleopatra Records for rest of world.

— on writing and recording process of album

-This album is very special for us as we decided to re-record a selection of classic Tank songs from the early 80’s but give them a much more up to date production and also have special guests contribute to the album. We chose 11 songs from the first four albums and gave them a full metal make over. Many of these early Tank classics are still played in our live set and fans are always asking us if we’ll ever record them again. We will announce the full track listing in our upcoming press release.

— on what fans can expect from album

-The very best of British Metal!

— on how band progressed on future album in compare with previous albums

-We have already started writing the songs for our next studio album which we hope to release late 2019. We always try to move the band forward and expand our limits with every album. We’ve worked with several different vocalists over the past few years which helps us to keep things fresh and will always add a new dynamic to our sound. We recorded two albums (War Machine, War Nation) with Doogie White (Rainbow, Michael Schenker) which had a real classic rock feel and slightly more laid back vibe than previous albums. These albums re-introduced Tank to our fans after a long break since we parted company with Algy Ward and these releases reinstated Tank as a major force on the world wide metal scene. When Doogie left the band to tour with Michael Schenker we brought in Former Dragonforce frontman ZP Theart. He recorded the ‘Valley of Tears’ album with us and really brought a whole new energy to the band both in the studio and on stage

— on who will be involved in writing process of album

— We all contribute to the song writing process. We have different influences individually so that helps with creativity. Having new vocalist David Readman in the band now really opens the door to new ideas and dynamics. He’s a fantastic vocalist and really fits in with our sound. This is also our first album with bass player Randy Van Der Elsen. He’s a real powerhouse bass player and also a very talented vocalist. His rhythm section partnership with drummer Bobby Schottkowski really drives the band along at full power.

Some historical questions:

— on most successful Tanks album of 80-s era and reason of this success

-It all comes down to songs! Songs are always the most important thing for a band. You can be the fastest guitarist or the craziest drummer but it’s the songs that makes a band stand out from the rest. You can have as many guitar solos as you want but nothing will ever replace a great chorus melody. We have always focused on song writing and never our technical abilities. We grew up listening to the great bands of the 60s/70s so these guys were our biggest influences.

— on sharing stages with Metallica and Judas Priest

-It’s always an honour and an inspiration to be on the same bill as some of these amazing bands. Touring with Metallica on the legendary ‘Ride the Lightning’ tour in 1984 really opened our eyes to a totally new sound and it was obvious from back then that they would go on to be one of the biggest rock bands in the world. They were a pleasure to tour with and we have remained good friends with them since then. Playing with Judas Priest was a special moment as we were big fans of theirs and to hear those songs played live is always a great thrill for us. I’ve known guitarist Richie Faulkner for nearly 20 years. He’s a fantastic guitar player and a very nice person. He gave JP a real kick in the ass when he joined and he’s been a major part of their recent successful resurgence

— on most successful live show of modern and 80-s Tank

-Obviously our 1984 tour with Metallica was a real high point in our career and also our first appearance on the main stage at Wacken Open Air in 1998 was a great experience for us. We went to Japan for the first time in 1999 which was a very special time for us. All our shows now are great moments for us because we’re having such a great time playing together

— on band mindset while creating one of the best hit of NWOBHM – «The War Drags Ever On»

-It still gives me shivers down my spine when I hear that song. I love the way the intro builds up to a climax and then the bludgeoning riff comes in. It’s 8 minutes of pure metal! Strangely enough the guitar tracks were recorded through a tiny Marshall 12 watt combo with 1 x 8 inch speaker. It sounds huge on the record though

— on war themes in lyrics of Tank 80-s era and present

— There’s always been a war theme present throughout Tank’s discography. I guess when you’re band is called Tank you’ve got to expect that to a certain extent. I think the connection will always be there. We’ll see what happens on the next album

— on recording albums back in the 1980s

-Each album has evolved from the previous one in some way. The first two albums had a very basic production and clearly had an edgy punk influence. When Mick Tucker joined in 1983 for ‘This Means War’ the production was a lot smoother and the guitar riffs became more epic. This paved the way for 1984’s ‘Honour and Blood’ album which elevated the Tank sound to another level. The production was great and the songs were very strong. We toured this album supporting Metallica but we did not have any record label support and our manager did nothing to help us so as we watched Metallica get bigger and bigger we were just trying to keep the band on the road. A good record label and manager makes all the difference. When we recorded our 5th album in 1987 the momentum and excitement had somehow gone from the band. Again the album release suffered from bad management and no record label support so it didn’t help us in any way

— on period of Tank disbanding in 1989

-We never officially split up. We just took a break which lasted much longer than expected. With no record deal or management it’s hard to keep a band alive and individually our interest had rapidly declined. Algy always liked to just disappear for long periods of time so we left it at that and went our separate ways

— on about involve of Tank 80-s era legacy in NWOBHM

-We’ve never considered ourselves as part of the NWOBHM movement. We’re just a British metal band moving forward. We’ve always strived to keep the material new and fresh and bring in the very best Vocalists/musicians available. Most of the NWOBHM bands are still trapped in the early 80’s and haven’t progressed in any way. We don’t want to be pigeon holed with them. We just want to be known as a British Metal band. Nobody refers to Iron Maiden, Def Leppard or Saxon as NWOBHM.

Questions about situation with Algy Ward:

— on reasons of parting with Algy Ward

-After a long break we got back together in 1997 and recorded a live album (Return of the Filth Hounds) which sold very well. We later toured Europe with Hammerfall and played our first shows in Japan. We then made another album ‘Still at War’ but it wasn’t exactly our finest hour and didn’t do much to further our career. Around 2003 Algy decided that he did not want to do anything anymore regarding Tank. This was his decision and we respected that. It really was the lowest point for Mick and myself as we had been with the band for such a long time and it was a big part of our lives. When someone decides they want to take that away from you it’s not a nice feeling. We had remained loyal to the band through all those years and did a good job so we felt a bit cheated.

on juridical regulation of using name Tank between Algy and you

-You can’t copyright the name Tank. There is already a very successful US R’n’B artist called Tank and another band from Belgium with the same name. I own the right to use the Tank logos though.

— on about relations with Algy Ward after parting and other past band members

-I was in contact with Algy when I was putting together the ‘Dogs of War’ box set in 2007 which was released by Metal Mind productions. It was a limited edition release of 8 x CD’s + DVD + 48 page colour booklet. A limited run of vinyl was also produced. Both the CD’s and Vinyl releases (1000 each) are now collectors items. The release of ‘Dogs of War’ generated a whole new, and younger, audience for us and the demand for Tank to tour again was growing. Algy had no interest in Tank whatsoever so the decision was made to move ahead without him. Mick and myself agreed that if the fans didn’t like what we were doing we would not go on any further. Fortunately the fans loved what we were doing and have stayed loyal to us all the way through. Original drummer Mark Brabbs rejoined the ranks for a while in 2009 which was a great time for us. He’s a very cool guy to work with.

— on your thoughts about Algy Ward Tank albums

— I do not know why he’s releasing albums of such bad quality. They are home demo’s using a drum machine. He’s recorded so many classic albums over the years and now he’s destroying his legacy with these new releases. I do not understand.

— on possible cooperation’s with Algy Ward in future

— I doubt it unfortunately. I do miss working and drinking with him very much.

Other questions about:

— on work with Chris Dale

Chris was great to work with. He played on the ‘War Machine’ and ‘War Nation’ albums with Tank plus he was with us for the recording of the ‘War Machine Live!’ DVD which we filmed in Poland. Good times!

— on work with Doogie White

— Doogie is a world class vocalist and performer so it was such a great pleasure to work with him. His amazing vocals and melody lines really helped to introduce Tank to a whole new audience and we are very proud of the two albums we created with him. A true professional in every way.

— on work with ZP Theart

— When Doogie was recruited by Michael Schenker we had to find another vocalist to fill in for some tour dates we already had booked. After a chance meeting with the former Dragonforce frontman in a London pub we convinced ZP to come and play a few shows with us. He was on tour at that time supporting Skid Row with his solo band (I AM I) but we just had time for one quick rehearsal before we flew to Belgium to play a festival with Queensryche. ZP did a fantastic job so we asked him if he’d like to join Tank on a permanent basis. He agreed and we immediately started writing the ‘Valley of Tears’ album.

— on why Doogie White, Chris Dale and ZP Theart left the band

— Doogie was approached by Michael Schenker to join him for his ‘Temple of Rock’ tour and album so this was a good opportunity for him. We understood his situation so it was not a problem for us. Doogie is still a part of the latest Schenker tours and albums so he’s doing ok. We still speak with Doogie every week. ZP’s favourite band has always been Skid Row so when he got a call to go and audition for them he had our full support. He got the job and is now enjoying touring the world with them. We had some fantastic times with ZP and made some great music. Chris Dale had some family commitments so touring became difficult to fully commit to which we understood.

— on comparing work in studio and live between Doogie White, ZP Theart and David Readman

— We’ve always insisted that we would find the very best rock vocalists available and never compromise. We are privileged to have worked with three of the best rock vocalists in the world today. We’ve kept our standards high and we’re very proud of our recent releases. Each vocalist has brought a new dimension and energy to the band so it’s always exciting to write and perform our music. New and Old.

— on how David Readman became new vocalist

— Mick Tucker has been living in Holland for a while and is always keeping up with the local rock scene. When ZP departed we started our search for his replacement. David was also living in Holland at this time and he was recommended by a mutual friend. David was currently also singing with German band Pink Cream 69 but we got in touch with him to see if he was interested in possibly singing with Tank. We weren’t too familiar with Pink Cream 69 but thought their music was much softer than our style of rock so it might not work. We were very surprised when David came to audition for us as his voice sounded absolutely amazing singing the Tank songs. It really worked so well with our sound and he agreed to join us.

— on how music of Tank change with entering David Readman

— It was his suggestion that we record an album of Tank classics from the 80’s. His voice really gives those old songs a new lease of life and many of them are still played in our live set today. We’re really looking forward to recording a new studio album of new material later this year with David.

— on feelings to play with thrash metal drummer Bobby Shottkowski

— Bobby was meant to be in Tank. That drum stool is his rightful place.

— on Bobby Shottkowski thrash metal skills applicable to Tank music

— Bobby is a fantastic thrash drummer but he also has a great groove and knows how to lay back when needed. Perfect for all the Tank songs. His partnership with bass player Randy Van Der Elsen is the driving force behind the Tank sound.

— on influences of present Tank

— Our music still has influences from the the great days of rock back in the 70’s but we also have combined influences from a vast array of musical genres. We always have our sound and production totally up to date so it sounds current and not dated . As I mentioned before it’s all about writing great songs. So many bands today are only concerned about how the kick drum sounds or if they get the latest detuned guitar sound. That’s getting very boring. They forget about the songs.

— on evolution of Tank music from 80s to present times

— From it’s start as a punk influenced 3 piece band it’s come a long way since then. A band has to evolve or you will get lost in the past like so many of those NWOBHM bands. The first four albums were all heading in the right direction as the band developed musically. The ‘Honour and Blood’ album in 84 should have been a big success but bad management ruined a great opportunity for the band. I think the 5th Tank album in 87 was the start of the downfall musically. That’s a long time ago. Now that we have good record labels supporting us it gives us the chance to move forward, make great quality albums and enjoy ourselves while making them. This is how it should have been back in the late 80’.

— on whether Tank now feels still like 80-s Tank of original line up

— Not at all. We will always have the trademark Tucker/Evans twin guitar sound but now there are so many other new elements the band has to offer. Very exciting times for us. The 80’s was a long time ago but it will always be a very special era for us in many ways.

— on feelings about to play old classics in our times

— We love playing the old classics and many of them will always be in our live set list. We’ve re-energised them and given them a new life. The fans love these songs so we’ll always give them what they want.

Few special power metal forces questions:

— on evolution of heavy metal from 80-s to present times

Bands are now more focused on production rather than songs. That’s why so many of those songs written back in the 80’s are still considered to be all time classics and they will be long into the future. When all the great bands from that era are gone there isn’t really much to replace them. Heavy Metal hasn’t really evolved. It’s mutated

— on power metal style as progressing from heavy metal and its future

I choose not to listen to power metal. It doesn’t sound powerful and it’s definitely not metal.

— on about new wave bands of 2000-s playing in close style of NWOBHM

I think it’s really cool that many young bands are being influenced by NWOBHM but they are adding their own style to the genre and not making it sound dated. These guys are really learning their instruments and going back to much more basic sounds. They also make their own stage props and make an effort to put on a great show. That was the good thing about the 80’s. You had no internet so you had to build up a following with your live shows and try to be better than all the other bands. Hard graft! There’s a really exciting underground movement happening now and a lot of labels are getting interested in these bands. That’s very positive. Everything goes around in circles.

-on what are you like behind the scene
I own a small indie record label and have my own studio so music is all around me. When I’m not making music I’m in the pub drinking alcohol. Cheers!

-on your 5 favorite heavy-power albums ever
Judas Priest — Sin After Sin
Queensryche — Operation Mindcrime
Pantera — Cowboys fro Hell
DIO — Holy Diver
Metallica — Ride the Lightning

-Imagine as someone big tell you that heavy metal is dead! What did you replied on it?!

I’d tell them that they are gay and Mick Tucker will kick your ass!

Ok! Thanks for answers! Want to tell something to your fans?

It’s such an honour for us to be invited to come all the way to The Ukraine to play for the army of metal fans. We are very much looking forward to playing a show of real heavy metal and sharing a great evening with the headbangers of Kyiv.

The War Drags Ever On!

Cliff Evans


Questions by Grave Digga