Interview with Gerre of Tankard

May 29th, 2014
by J P

INTERVIEW WITH GERRE OF TANKARD

Tankard is one of the craziest bands the world has faced up ever. I do like always their insistence about continuing to write and record in the same vein: fast metal songs in honour of alcoholGet some answers about the music business and heavy metal from an old hand who can play what he wants along with his beer-fellas and don’t give a s***t. Beer kings’ Gerre caught up with Metal-Rules to talk about the new album, R.I.B. (=Rest In Beer!) their craziness, Gambrinus (the traditional god of Beer), iTunes, Greek metal scene and overall: Beer!

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Metal-Rules.com: Hello Gerre! This is Hellias Papadopoulos from Metal-Rules.com, I am very happy and glad for this interview and greetings from Greece! First of all, how are you doing? And where are you checking in from today?

Hello Hellias! Nice talking to you. I’m very busy at the moment, but I’m doing well. We just finished the mixing of our new album R.I.B. and tomorrow we gonna film our first video-clip for the album. Today I have to go to support my favorite football team Eintracht Frankfurt, so I’m a little bit nervous at the moment!

Metal-Rules.com: You are a football maniac! That’s great! To start off, let’s take a look on the upcoming Tankard album, R.I.B. Can you tell us the new things on this record in compare with the previous ones?

I think the sound will be transparent as the last time, maybe the guitars sound a bit harder and the songs are more short, we wanted to bring it more on the point. But don’t mind there will be some typical tankard thrash songs on it!

Metal-Rules.com: Give us some details of the new record. The production, the songwriting.

We worked together with the same producer Michael Mainx and recorded the album here in our hometown city Frankfurt. It was very hard work, he kicked us in the ass again hahahaha. Our guitar player Andi wrote all the music and I did the melody lines for the vocals. Our old guitar player Andy Bulgaropulos and our rowdy Harald Maul wrote the lyrics.

Metal-Rules.com: I have to tell you that I really like the album title, Rest In Beer!!! Hehehe Also I did like THE BEAUTY AND THE BEER hehehe!!! Why do you adore beer?

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Of course it is something like a word game, we just changed Rest in Peace (R.I.P) a little bit, typical Tankard humor! We don’t adore beer, we just drink it…….hahahaha.

Metal-Rules.com: Are you alcoholic? (hehe) Do you know Gambrinus??? Tankard is a band adoring and fell in love with Beer. Maybe you are second to Gambrinus only. Hehehe! What does beer mean for you exactly?

Gambrinus is a beer of the Czech Republic right?  I guess I try it once! But it was also the king who invented the brewing of beer I heard.

Metal-Rules.com: I mean Gambrinus the god!

So he really is the king of beer! We just called our second demo tape “Alcoholic Metal” as a joke; later on we did everything for that kind of image. We wanted to get rid of this kind of image, but it really failed! Nowadays we make jokes about our image and we never took ourselves too seriously. So Tankard combines Thrash and Fun and that really fits to us as persons.

Metal-Rules.com: Back to the album now, how did you wrote that album? Can you tell me something funny from the recording sessions?

As I told you before Andi wrote all the music. He gave me CDs with a lot of guitar parts, and then I try to find some melody lines for the song. Then we gonna meet again in Andis house (He has a little studio), record the vocals and decide which parts we gonna use for the songs, what the chorus should be and how the structure of the song should be. A funny thing during the recording sessions? So we had the idea to have some to record some choirs of monks for the title track, so we invited some friends to do that. So as they entered the studio the came with a lot of beers and their own cowls, that was really a lot of fun, but they did their job very good, you will hear!

Metal-Rules.com: A GIRL CALLED CERVEZA surprised us and your record label as it hits the charts and landed in #32 Germans Charts. (FUCKIN’ YEAH!). To what do you attribute this success?

I think it was a good album, the first one for Nuclear Blast. They have a lot of power and they did great promotion stuff, so we are really thankful. Maybe we can enter the charts again with “R.I.B”, that would be amazing!

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Metal-Rules.com: Please let us know some things about the lyrics. What’s the main focus?

It’s again a good mixture of funny and serious things. The title track is very funny; the professor of „Chemical Invasion“ is back and takes revenge at the mankind because he failed in 1987. On the other hand we have really serious lyrics like “Hope can’t die”. I lost a very good friend two years ago and there isn’t any single day I’m not thinking of him, so I have to write about all the feelings to stick together with his death.

Metal-Rules.com: When writing, are you primarily concerned with song structure? Riffs? Overall feel? You give your message through the music? You give music through your message? Or Music is the message?

We just start with songwriting without any plans how the next album has to sound. It’s just what our feelings are, so there is nothing special we think over during the creation of the songs.

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Metal-Rules.com: What does future hold for Tankard? Maybe Tour? If yes give us a specific near-future schedule.

So these are the confirmed shows. As you can see we come back to Greece to party together with you! And we gonna play the very first time in Australia, we are really looking forward for that! As we all have regular jobs we are sorry not to go on tour for a couple of months, but we spend all our free time into activities of the band

 

Sa., 12.04.       Dettelbach (D), Metal Franconia-Festival   

 Fr., 02.05.        Cham (D), LA

Sa., 03.05.       Dornbirn (AUT), Schlachthaus

So., 04.05.       Ludwigsburg (D), Rockfabrik   

 Sa., 24.05.       Baltimore (USA), Maryland Death Fest

 Sa., 07.06.       Zadar (CRO), Underwall-Festival

 Sa., 21.06.       Lorely (D), Metalfest

 Sa., 28.06.       Helsinki (FIN), Tuska-Festival

Do., 10.07.       Brisbane (AUS), Crowbar

Fr.,11.07.         Sydney (AUS), The Hi-Fi

Sa.,12.07.        Melbourne (AUS), The Hi-Fi

Sa., 26.07.      Essen (D), 5.NORD Open Air

Fr. 05.09.        Katzenbach (D), Metallergrillen

Sa., 13.09.      Mennecy (F), Metal-Fest

Sa., 20.9.        Hamburg (D), Hamburg Metal Dayz   

Fr., 17.10.        Weinheim(D), Cafe Central 

Sa., 18.10.       Schrecksbach (D), Bullblast

Fr., 14.11.         Berlin (D), Bi Nuu

Sa., 15.11.        Köln (D), Underground

Sa., 29.11.        Bukarest (Rom), Dismember Metal Fest   

Sa.,13.12.          Thessaloniki (GR), Eightball Club

So.,14.12.          Athen (GR), Club Kyttaro

2015:

Fr.,27.03.         Jena (D), F-Haus

11.-16.04.         Full Metal Cruise

Fr., 29.Mai         Frankfurt (D), Batschkapp

So these are the confirmed shows. As you can see we come back to Greece to party together with you! And we gonna play the very first time in Australia, we are really looking forward for that! As we all have regular jobs we are sorry not to go on tour for a couple of months, but we spend all our free time into activities of the band

 

Metal-Rules.com: What do you do exactly?

We all have regular jobs; I’m working as a social worker together with drug addicted people.  Besides that all the other members in the band have families with children!

Metal-Rules.com: After VOLLUME 14 and A GIRL CALLED CERVEZA, this is the third album produced by Michael Mainx. Why? I mean, in the past you were working with some other producers, So, what’s so special about Michael Mainx?

The old producers did a great job, we just wanted to try something new with VOLLUME 14. The sound is more transparent, you can hear out every instrument very clear, but still heavy. Michael takes really care about the vocals, he has a lot of ideas and we try a lot of things. That doesn’t mean we gonna work until the end of life together with him, I’m open for everything. But Michael is a very professional and friendly guy. It’s really a very good working together at the moment.

Metal-Rules.com: Tankard are based in Germany and play pure heavy/thrash metal. What’s/are the thing/things that put Tankard apart from the rest heavy metal bands and make them unique?

We are the most ugly band hahahahaha…. I think we are unique because we can mix very hard music with a lot of fun. We don’t take ourselves too seriously that’s the way we are and I think that is authentic!

Metal-Rules.com:  That’s a great answer! are you a professional metal artist or do you have a day job?

We all have regular jobs; I’m working as a social worker together with drug addicted people.  Besides that all the other members in the band have families with children!

Metal-Rules.com: Tankard music has a very specific sound. After 30 years, do you find it challenging to innovate within that rather strict definition of what your music is? Are you ever going to run out of riffs?

At the moment it doesn’t look like we are running out of ideas. The spirit is still there and we still have a lot of fun to play that kind of music also after 32 years! So we will keep on going for the next 32 years, going with the wheelchair on stage hahahaha….

Metal-Rules.com: What’s your main influences on you as a musician?

We started with the new wave of British Heavy Metal in the early 80ties; later on we heard the first albums of Exodus, Exciter, Slayer and Metallica. I think these are most important influences!

Metal-Rules.com: Could you tell me some info about your music gear?

The love to the music in combination with the fun we always have! That’s all!

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 Metal-Rules.com: Is technology part of your life or are you still a “romantic”?

I am a romantic technology freak! That was just a joke, of course I use some technology inventions, but I’m not really a technical freak. For example: I still have normal mobile phone, no smatphone, you know the reason why? I always loose them every couple of weeks……………………

Metal-Rules.com: Hehehehehehe! I am a another one who loses always everything! What separates music that is worth listening to from that which is not?

That is on everybody’s own mind, the taste of music is different, everybody has to decide this by himself!

Metal-Rules.com: One of the last trends in music business is iTunes. More and more metal bands sell albums through this way. What’s your opinion on that?

I personally never bought any album in I-tunes; I need hardware with a booklet and cover in my own hands.

Metal-Rules.com: Oh! You are very “romantic”! CD or Vinyl?

I still have a lot of records, but once I switched on CD. So I still buy CDs, I have a very great collection of more than 4000 CDs and 1000 albums on vinyl and sometimes I work as a DJ in different metal clubs.

Metal-Rules.com: I am gonna say a word and I want you to let your thoughts out: Thrash metal.

The best music I ever heard. Full of energy and aggression, you can let everything out coming straight out from your heart.

Metal-Rules.com: Are you a religious man (in every sense)?

No not at all, I believe in Metal and Football, that’s all!

Metal-Rules.com: So, you are a religious man!!!!! I know that the CD manufacturing and its cost is around 80 cents. At the same time the CD is being sold for $20 and the band takes $1.50 of it. Is that true?

 I don’t know exactly the numbers, but nowadays you don’t earn any money with selling CDs as a band, too much illegal downloading in the Internet.

Metal-Rules.com: Can you tell me about the entire number of Tankard album sales to date? If you wish

I wish I could, but to be honestly I don’t have any idea! Maybe a couple of hundred thousands, but I really don’t know!

Metal-Rules.com: Did you ever say to yourself: ‘You have to quit, man! You are done’.

No, not at all! No I never did say that to me, but of course I always try to do things better!

Metal-Rules.com: What’s one thing/things that you’d like people to know about Tankard?

I want the people to know that tankard is an authentic Thrash band with a great love to the music they create. That’s all!

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Metal-Rules.com:  Do you know any Greek heavy metal acts? Are there any Greek metal bands that you really like or want to share the stage with? Rotting Christ, Septicflesh, Firewind and Gus G., Mass Infection, Nightrage to name a few.

Yeah I know some of them, I really would love to go on tour with Suicidal Angels, and I really like their albums, great band!

Metal-Rules.com: What do you think of today’s music industry in general? Do you believe that illegal downloading harms album sales or you accept the fact that the real fans will go anyway to get the new CD or vinyl regardless of the ‘free’ illegal way?

As we are a metal band we have the luck that the metal fans are really faithful and o lot of them still by physical sound carrier. But of course illegal downloading is a big problem. Sometimes I feel that the music business is corrupted and not better than other business, but the love to the music recover the damages.

Metal-Rules.com: Heavy metal changes throughout the decades. Heavy and Thrash metal dominated the 80’s, there was Death, Black and Power metal in 90’s, and Metalcore and Nu Metal in the 00’s. 2010 was the beginning of the new decade. What do you see for the future?

The different styles gonna mix again and there will be always something new in the world of metal music.  But I really guess Thrash will survive, we had really hard times in the middle until the end of the nineties, but we survived! It will be very exciting what we gonna hear in future, I am open for everything, but my favorite bands are still the same I was grown up with.

Metal-Rules.com:Which big metal loss affected you the most?

I really would love to have the German thrash band Deathrow back to go together with them on tour. We had wonderful times, please come back guys!

Metal-Rules.com: Have your dreams come true musically? Of course there is a lot of Tankard staff to come in the future. Do you feel that you got to your own peak?

I’m really happy with all the things we reached the last 32 years. I really would love to visit countries we have never been to. The metal community worldwide is really unique! We had our most successful times in the end of the eighties and the beginning of the nineties, but I think with the release of b-Day in 2002 we go step-by-step forward again! But the success is not so important, the most important thing is that the spirit is till there and we are behind the things we do!

Metal-Rules.com: What’s the most difficult thing on doing your own metal music breakthrough?

To be too often too dunk hahahahaha…….to be honestly, I am very satisfied at the moment and we look very hopeful into future!

Metal-Rules.com:  Hehehehe! Could you respond to the following terms in just one word or sentence:

Heavy Metal: Best music ever!

Greece: very nice country and total crazy metal heads!

Politics: I am interested but most of the politicians are too corrupted!

Favorite TV series: Sturm der Liebe, a German soap

Football: Eintracht Frankfurt will always be in my heart!

Favorite metal band: Overkill!

Spending all you pocket in Strip show: Stupid, better buying beer!

Metal-Rules.com: Top five metal bands:

Overkill, Exciter, Omen, Deathrow and Exodus!

Metal-Rules.com: What’s the things you would have changed from day one till now?

Not much I think! Maybe we should have been done a US- tour in the eighties, but we really had not the time at that moment. We decided not to live from the music, so we are totally free in all things we do. On the other hand we cannot play all the offers we get, but I am really satisfied what we have reached in the last 32 years!

Metal-Rules.com: If you could pick only one thing before you die, what would that be? A hot night with a hot chick or a 30-minute fun with friends drinking beer?

Of course the last one, I’m too old for sex!

Metal-Rules.com: Gerre, Thank you for your time and this interview. I wish you and the rest guys of Tankard all the best!!!

Thank you for your support. Looking forward to come back to Greece to thrash again together with you!

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www.tankard.info
https://de-de.facebook.com/tankardofficial

 

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