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TANKARD Andreas Gerre Geremia Interview June 3014

HARD ROCK INTERVIEWS 2014 - Tankard's Andreas Gerre Geremia



Most people who are aware of German thrashers Tankard probably know them for their beer loving thrash attitude but underneath all the fun stuff is some seriousness which has really kept this band going for more than 30 years. We caught up with vocalist Andreas "Gerre" Geremia to discuss their new album "R.I.B." and their upcoming Australian tour in July.

Andrew: How are you?


Gerre: Yeah it's 9 O'clock in the morning in Germany. I just woke up!


Andrew: Yeah it's in the afternoon over here. How's the weather over there?


Gerre: The weather is fine and good. First off all I would say I am very sorry because you lost against Holland yesterday. It was a very good game of football!


Andrew: Yeah We have been watching it over here as well.


Gerre: They did very well. I saw the game and yeah, the more lucky teams have won.

Andrew: Yep! Well I have been listening to the new album "R.I.B." (Rest In Beer) and I gotta say this is a great album. Can you tell us a bit about the writing and recording of this album?


Gerre: The writing process in Tankard is the same as the last couple of albums. We started too late as always haha but I think Tankard is a band that tries to write some good songs. So in general it's like we get together with our guitar player (Andreas Gutjahr) and he is writing most of the Tankard songs and get a feel for different guitar parts. So I listen to that and start to do some melody lines for the vocal parts. We meet in the studio and record and decide which parts we can take, which parts we throw away and things like that. Later on we get the songs to 2 people, our old guitar player Andy Bulgaropulos or our roadie Harald Maul and they are writing the lyrics so they have to write verses and we give them the topic on what the song should be about and then they write the lyrics. And the bass player and drummer do their parts so yeah that's how the songs were created.


Andrew: So is there a formula when you sit and write songs or has that changed a bit over the years?


Gerre: In the 80's we always just met in the practice room and showed the parts and nowadays we have the technology in all our things so it's a bit easier.


Andrew: I noticed a couple of serious songs on the album, "War Cry" and "Hope Can’t Die", in particular "Hope Can't Die". Can you tell us a bit about what that song is about?


Gerre: So generally I have to say that Tankard is a band that really tries to have a mixture of serious and comedy songs so this is not something new for Tankard. "Hope Can't Die" is a very personal song, a very good friend of mine died so this song is about all the feelings you have when a good friend dies. So it's about anger and sadness and hope again and all this mixture. I think it's an outstanding song on this album because it's not that kind of thrash metal, it's really a sad song but still one of my favs.

Andrew: So all seriousness aside, a lot of your songs have that fun party kind of vibe to it, when you are in the studio recording recording the albums, is there a fun vibe in the studio?


Gerre: Yeah of course we have fun times, but I have to say that this is 100% work, we have to be compensated in the studio. We have to work the whole day, with the vocals you have to imagine that we take 3, take 4 per song, we choose the best parts. It takes a long time so it's more work than fun in general haha!


Andrew: With your last album (A Girl Called Cerveza) which was really successful and got high on the German charts, do you hope that this album will repeat that same kind of success?


Gerre: There's the record company Nuclear Blast and they try all their best, they have a lot of power, they do a lot of promotions. The album is coming out on Friday (June 20th) and we will see what will happen but it will be very good to be on the official German charts again but we don't know what exactly will happen. It will be cool because the name of the band showing up is good for the reputation of the band but if it doesn't happen then that's also OK for us. The most important thing is that the thrash metal fans will really like the album and there are different types of parts of the album and I think this is the most important thing.


Andrew: Yeah listening to the album I think a lot of the fans will definitely love this, I think it's one of the best ones you have put out in a while.


Gerre: Thanks a lot!

Andrew: You are also coming down to Australia next month. What can we expect on the tour?


Gerre: Well first of all we are very glad to be the very first time in Australia so it's a little bit of a dream come true. I think the fans can expect a good mixture of old songs and new songs, I mean we have 16 albums out so we have to choose what we are gonna play. I think just in general the people can expect a big thrash metal party, I think it will be very cool.


Andrew: Yeah and as you said, you have a lot of albums in your back catalogue. How difficult is it to pick a setlist these days?


Gerre: Yeah it's very difficult so we have to plan all the time so of course we have some albums we've played no songs from. That's very difficult because I mean 16 albums, it's something like 160 songs we have to choose but there are some classic songs we have to play like "Zombie Attack and "Chemical Invasion" and if we don't play these songs, the fans will kill us haha! We try to do a good mixture, I think we play a couple of new songs from the album and then we have to play the title track from the album before so we have to choose. So we go off stage after 60 minutes, we play an hour so I think there will be enough songs for everybody.


Andrew: So when you start a new tour, do you change a lot of the songs in the set or do you keep the same songs in the setlist?


Gerre: Of course we have to play songs like "Chemical Invasion" and "Zombie Attack" which Tankard has since the first day. During the time of course we change songs and now we try to have new songs in the setlist. We did something on facebook where fans choose the songs and so we have to put them in the setlist again so we change sometimes.


Andrew: That's great! So when you are not partying and drinking and creating thrash metal, what do you do in your spare time


Gerre: I don't have any spare time haha! We all have regular jobs in the band, the other guys have family and kids and stuff like that. We decided about 20 years ago that we don't do that this 100% professionally. I mean on the one hand it's totally positive because we are totally independant, we do what we want, we don't have to sell many records, we don't have to play hundreds of shows in a year to survive to get money. This is one of the reasons that Tankard still keeps going. One the other hand, we can't play every offer, that makes me a little bit sad but we play 30-35 shows in a year. I mean this is something like a little tour so I'm a social worker in my real life.

Andrew: Have you ever thought about taking the band full time and quitting your jobs?


Gerre: There's no discussion, we go on like this. Everybody has his own job and all free time is for the band so we will keep on going like this.


Andrew: So obviously you have been in the business a long time, looking back over the years do you consider yourselves the same band as when you started or do you think you have changed a bit over the years?


Gerre: We never thought when we started the band that we would still be here after 32 years, I mean this is really amazing. It makes us a little proud to be honest because we never gave up, there was no reunion of Tankard. We really went through hard times in the 90's because of the end of the magical thrash metal era so yeah it's really great to still be a part of the metal scene.


Andrew: Yeah it's definitely good to have you there, I think a lot of fans are appreciative of the fact that you are still going and still doing the old school thrash metal.


Gerre: Thank you!


Andrew: I got a couple of questions that we try to ask everyone and it would be interesting to hear your answer. If you could be a fly on the wall for the recording of any classic album in history what album would it be?


Gerre: Well my personal favorite album - I have millions of favorite albums - but I would choose the Canadian band Exciter, "Heavy Metal Maniac".


Andrew: Oh yeah? Why that album?


Gerre: It's one of the top 4 albums and we like the new wave of British heavy metal and all that stuff like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest and other bands like Tank and Jaguar and all these bands and then we have in '83 the first Exodus, the first Slayer, the first Metallica and the first Exciter album. These 4 albums helped change everything and I still love this Exciter album, it has a mixture of speed and thrash and it really blows me away. I thought of every import in this year so if I were to choose one of these 4 albums, it would be Exciter.


Andrew: Cool. And for you, what is the meaning of life?


Gerre: The meaning of life is to travel all over the world, making noise playing thrash metal and taste all the different beers all over the world.


Andrew: Cool, that sounds really good! Haha


Gerre: Haha!


Andrew: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us and good luck with the album. We will see you guys in Australia next month!


Gerre: Yeah thanks a lot. And watch out for the video which is already out, the video for "Rest In Beer" and also the next video for "Fooled By Your Guts" which was done by an Australian maniac. He's working for film school and this is a comic video, it's really amazing so check out this video clip.


Andrew: Cool will do. Thanks again!


Gerre: Yeah thank you and have a nice evening!



Andreas spoke to Andrew Schizodeluxe June 2014





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