The English Heavy Metal act Tigertailz have been around since 1987. After all this time in the business, they are preparing to release a live DVD and a new studio record. The band has seen their share of tragedy in the past with the passing of co-founder Pepsi Tate in 2007. The band decided the best way to honour Pepsi’s memory would be by carrying on with the band that he so dearly loved. Frontman Kim Hooker took some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about the band, their upcoming projects and their long-time friend and band mate Pepsi Tate.
When you compare the early days of Glam Metal to the scene today what do you feel has changed for the better? What do you feel has become worse? Kim: I like the term glam metal - we've always thought of ourselves first and foremost as a heavy metal band. Ever since I joined the band for the Bezerk album that is the direction we have gone in. We were always told by record companies to give them four singles and the rest is up to us. So as we have had less to do with record companies our sound has become more how we like it and less how they would. It makes me laugh when people compare us to Poison. I just think clearly they have not listened to anything we have done after Young and Crazy in 1987 so I think everything about Glam these days is better.
I love Deathstars; I love how metal they are though I know they do not really think of themselves as Glam in the same way we never have. The makeup is really us wanting to look a bit strange and not just banging away on our guitars. The makeup could just as easily have been macabre masks - In fact, it is a shame we never thought of it first - I fucking love Slipknot. In the 80's there was a lot of shit around you know. But now bands like 69 Eyes and Hardcore Superstar have got it right, they know how to kick arse which of course metal bands always should - listen to Saxon these days.
First, let me offer my condolences to the band on the loss of Pepsi Tate. That must have been a big blow. You guys made a decision as a band to carry on though. Have you recruited a new player? Does it feel different or odd playing live without your old pal sharing the stage with you? Kim: We decided for the time being at least not to get a bass player as such. When there were some shows Pepsi could not do, we had an old friend of ours Glenn Quinn step in with Pepsi's blessing so we just carried on with him. He is a great player and a great guy, which means everything to us. We miss Pepsi's company really that is the truth of it, and as a songwriter. Put Pepsi together with Jay and some beer and you've got a great night ahead, that's what we really miss.
I know that you are working on several projects right now. First, you have a DVD in the works that I believe was originally started by Pepsi. What can fans expect from this DVD and when? Kim: Yes this is true. Pepsi did film everything since we got back together and was trying to finish it but just became too ill. We left it on the shelf for a year or so but now we are back on it. We have filmed every show we have done but it will concentrate more on the backstage stuff, which is very funny indeed. You can all see how much fun it is to be in a heavy metal band. Obviously live stuff too and interviews; some of these sadly filmed the last time we we're ever together as a band with Pepsi.
Along those same lines, I hear their might be a new Tigertailz record released in 2009. Is this true? Can you provide any other details? Kim: Yes there will be a new Tigertailz record, we're doing demos at the moment. Going back to the question, it will be the heaviest thing we have done. At the moment we've got some songs/titles like "Daggers", "Spit In Your Eye", "Smash It Up" and "Fuck Off" - so you get the idea.... We'll be very busy this year - me and Jay also have a side project called Blood Brothers which is kind of like an industrial death disco thing we're writing songs for too. So we've 2 albums to record. It's very different to Tigertailz, big repetitive death riffs with big banging drums- the kids are gonna love it.
What have been the best countries to play so far? Kim: Anywhere in Europe is great for us. Spain and Italy especially, we love playing live, loud and anywhere.
What song from your catalogue is still exciting for you to sing? Kim: "Dirty Needles” is a favourite, “Brain The Sucker,” “Long Live The New Flesh” - all the heavy stuff, but also “Love Bomb Baby” and the older stuff because the fans get off on it - and the chicks love it which of course means we love it too.... After all it’s our history so we'll always do it.
What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage? Kim: You have to be very disciplined to make a record, you can't be pissed or strung out cause your record will be shit. You only ever really find out how good you are when you are in the studio. As for live, don't drink the tap water in Spain the night before a show...!
All of that passion that you play with must be tough on you physically. How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour? Kim: Yes it very hard but it's the way we've always played and always will. I only really train after we have been in the studio because I find if I do not, it kills me up on stage. I live in the mountains so it is a great place to run. Jay sweats a lot but he's that kind of guy.
What can the music business do to stop the decline of record sales? Kim: I think give people value for money which they never used to. The mark up on CDs used to be huge and we never saw any of it. I still like to buy a CD because I like something in my hands if you understand me. I like to have the whole package, for it to be seen how the band intended, to see what they saw. That said, if kids want to download our stuff please do and enjoy it with my blessing. I paid for it and don't let anyone tell you any different. The great thing about downloading is it is the kids who decide who they like instead of record companies telling them who they should like which is what metal should be! You do what you want to do - not what people tell you.
How has MySpace and the internet impacted your band and do you think downloading helps or hinders the artists? Kim: Well like I just said, it’s probably the most exciting thing to happen to music ever. Whenever we play festivals, I can see thousands of people singing all our songs, which they obviously downloaded - but the point is everyone in the crowd including Tigertailz are having a great time and believing in it which is something you can't put a price on. So go to www.tigertailz.co.uk and push the free button... As I've gotten older and lost people close to me I've learnt one saying that really is true – some things really are worth more than money. [ END ]