The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

MARK ROCKPIT TALKS TO JAY PEPPER OF TIGERTAILZ

 

Tigertailz is a band that never got the recognition it deserved and have had their fair share of tragedy, but they survived and they are still kicking ass...

Best Glam Metal band on the planet anyone?

 

Jay Pepper by Xanna Absolom of www.beautifullyflawed.co.uk

 

M: Thank you for talking to www.theRockpit.net. How is the weather back in the old country?

 

JP: Snowy. We’ve had over a foot of snow which hasn’t cleared and now frozen. It looked pretty for a few hours but I wish it would go now.

 

M: I must admit I don’t miss that! The new live album is now out; I’m told it sounds awesome. What’s the response to it been like so far?

 

JP – It’s been really positive so far. Pre-sales have been really great and main worldwide distribution starts in January 2011 through Cargo – so all looking good. We also had a great signing session at Hard Rock Hell with hundreds of people there.

 

M: A great way to mark the twentieth anniversary of ‘Bezerk’?

 

JP: Oh absolutely, that was the main reason behind it. We only did this Live album as a sort of ‘hardcore fan’ release, but like everything we do we wanted it to stand up as a proper record so spent more time (and money) on it then we really wanted. We also wanted to get Sarah fully integrated into the band so it worked on that level as well. And now it’s all finished and out there we’re really happy with it and think it sounds great.

 

Tigertailz Live at the Scala 2010 by Xanna Absolom

 

M: How was Hard Rock Hell? Get a chance to catch up with any old friends?

 

JP: HRH for us has become like the Tailz Xmas party. We love it and the people and fans there are so great. And yes, this was our third year in a row playing there so people are definitely starting become familiar friends.

 

M: The Glam Fest in Bologna on April 3 sounds amazing too, what’s it like playing these festival dates?

 

JP: If I’m really honest the larger festivals are where Tigertailz really can show what we're made of - in my view it’s where the band is at its best. We’ve always been into the full stage production thing and the bigger the stage the more we love it as we can jump around and pretend we’re still 20 years old, ha ha. We’ve never lost sight of the fact that Tigertailz are here to provide entertainment and play great music.

 

M: How does Tigertailz spend Christmas?

 

JP: Like we spend most gigs. By getting seriously pissed and arsing about. My beard’s also now getting so long I’m starting to morph into Santa. I just need the big red suit...

 

M: Tigertailz has had a bit of a turbulent career with more than its fair share of ups and downs over the years. How did you keep the spark going? What inspires you today?

 

JP: Getting back together after being away from each other for so many years made me realise what rock n roll is all about. For me it’s not about the money or adulation from fans, it’s about doing what you were destined to do and meaning it every time you step onto that stage, write a song, record an album or whatever. It doesn’t matter to me if there are 100 people at our shows or 10,000 – we still play like it’ll be our last ever show. So when you finally realise what rock n roll is all about it’s easy to keep the spark going. I feel very privileged to be able to do what I do with this band.

 

M: The band’s image really changed when Steevi left and Kim came in, the look went from a ‘Cat Dragged In’ Poison to an edgier ‘Shout at the Devil’ era Crue look. Was that change as much to say Kim Hooker is here or just because you never sounded like Poison!

 

JP: By the time Kim joined we’d established ourselves as one of the new upcoming UK bands worth its salt. But by the time we got to do the 'Bezerk' album with Kim it was clear we had enough profile that we could start being more ourselves and refining the image, but at the same time keeping it powerful. I’ve never really thought Tailz sounded like Poison – obviously we’ve got our commercial tunes that are nearer them, and with the early image it’s easy to see why people made the connection. But I’ve always thought of Tailz as a Rock/Metal band before a Glam band. When it’s all said and done it’s just Rock music to me – whatever you’re wearing or singing about.


I would also like to say I’ve huge respect for the Poison guys. It doesn’t matter what level your band is at, it’s really hard to keep a band going at any level. So respect to them for that and for all they’ve managed to do over the years. Can I also pass on my best wishes to Brett and hope he’s fully recovered from his recent health problems.

 

Xanna Absolom

 

M: You seemed to get stuck right in from the off and I remember seeing some great shows at Rock City back in the day, you had charting singles, were label mates with some big US bands, we all thought the big time was around the corner. I hear so many heartbreaking stories about record labels - what happened?

 

JP – We’re like a million other bands that have the same story. Bad or wrong management, bad or wrong record labels, based in the wrong country for the type of band we were - and bad luck! We just didn’t have the right people looking after us when we needed it most, and as a result we and others around us made some of the wrong decisions. But that’s life and I’m not bitter. I’m still here rocking when some my closest friends aren’t. I also still get to play our music to thousands of people all over the world. I’m just thankful for that.

 

M: The music industry as we know it is dead! Bands should brand themselves like celebrities or other consumer products – discuss!

 

JP: I think it’s true that the music industry is dead as we used to know it. And I think bands now have to look at ways of drawing people’s interest in other ways than just music. But that death of the record companies is a good thing as it now means bands can record and sell music direct to their fans – i.e. no middle man taking all the profits. That said, physical copies of music sales are a now a fraction of what they used to be and bands cannot survive from CD sales or just playing live. You have to try and cover every angle to keep people interested in what you’re doing. Bands also have to be much closer to their fans – all the social networking sites are proof of this. But even saying all that I think recording and playing live music is still at the very core of what being in a band is all about for me.

 

M: Shouldn’t a band like Tigertailz have a Greatest Hits out by now? Maybe a big double CD with Hits and Covers?

 

JP: That’s very kind of you to say but personally I hate those kind of records. And I don’t really think we deserve that kind of record yet. I feel we still have to earn the right to put out an album like that. Maybe in a few years.

 

M: How are the new Tigertailz members settling in? Are all guns blazing?

 

JP: Without doubt this line-up of the band is a force to be reckoned with. Obviously Tailz will never be the same without Pepsi Tate and the band is different now. But what we have in Robin and Sarah is a powerhouse rhythm section that is as good as any band around and people are taking notice. This is never more evident than when you play festivals as people who would never normally watch Tailz come up to me and say: “You know, I also thought I hated your band, even though I’d never seen you. But watching you play live tonight for the first time I have to say your band is great”. That means more than anything to me. I think Tailz has been misunderstood for most of our career but hopefully that perception is starting to change.

 

Kim Hooker by Xanna Absolom

 

M: How are tracks for the next CD coming along at this stage, I know you’ve all been writing?

 

JP: Well, myself and Kim have been writing for some time and we’ve definitely got a few songs ready for the next Tailz album. But with the addition of Sarah and now Robin we’re going to kick into gear and start writing in anger in the New Year. Our hope is to have a new Tailz album out in 2011 and it’ll be as pure a Rock /Metal album as you can get. No messing - just pure Rock Metal in your face.

 

M: Always considered a Glam band, live there is a definite hard edge to your sound and always was, you’ve also covered songs by bands like Megadeth. How would you label yourself if you had too?

 

JP: If you had to put a label on it, I’d have to say we are a Glam METAL band. But I prefer to leave the labels for other people. We’ve never really signed up to the whole ‘We’re a Glam band’ thing so we don’t restrict ourselves to just playing that ‘one’ kind of music. I’ve said it many times but we grew up on the likes of Kiss, Ozzy, Priest, Motörhead, AC/DC, Sabbath and Maiden. We just found a niche in the UK rock scene at the time that got us noticed and we did this by looking a certain way. But as far as the music goes I don’t think we ever say ‘we can’t do that’, or ‘we must sound like this’. We just do what comes naturally and rock. I can understand why people didn't like us in the 80/90s as many couldn’t get past the image – I completely understand that. But know this – Tigertailz is as pure a Rock band as you’ll ever see. We ride Triumph motorcycles, we drink until we can’t speak and we rock as hard as any metal band on the planet. And, we also have a few tidy tunes to throw into the mix.

 

M: Where would you suggest someone new to Tigertailz should start with your back catalogue?

 

JP: Listen to 'Bezerk' album for what we were - then listen to the 'Thrill Pistol' / 'Wazbones' albums for what we are.

 

M: Sweden and the US continue to produce Glam and Sleaze bands all the time what’s the scene like in the UK currently for dirty rock ‘n’ roll?

 

JP: When we started I always thought the UK was pretty poor in supporting its own home grown bands. And I don't really see it’s much better now. Obviously, we have our hardcore fans who support us in all we do and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts for their support. But generally speaking UK rock fans have always seemed to have some fascination with the US bands and will happily lap up any old shite the US throws out – even when there’s much better bands in the UK (such as Falling Red who played with us recently in Newcastle). I do like the Scandinavian scene though. I think they’re producing some great bands such as Hardcore Superstar and Crash Diet, both of which we’ve had the pleasure of playing with and become good friends with.

 

Kim and Jay by Xanna Absolom

 

M: Pepsi has been gone a while now and it’s nice to think that he’s looking down on you and smiling. What do you think he would make of the last few years living without him?

 

JP: Pepsi was always a realist and a totally rounded guy who knew better than anyone what it takes to make a band work. I have absolutely no doubt that he’s delighted that the band is still going strong.

 

M:Your website is one of the best out there with plenty of free stuff for fans - a deliberate policy on your part?

 

JP: Absolutely. I’ve always thought that us making music and giving it directly to the fans is the purest, no-bullshit way of being in this business. Money was never a factor for me doing this again and wherever we can we give stuff away free. Obviously, we have to make some money to keep the Tailz motor running, but if we can give things away free we do. This is why our Tailz TV www.tailz.tv site is totally free. Most bands charge for their videos but we think this is a rip off.

 

M: If you could have been involved in the creation of any piece of music at any point in time what would it have been?

 

JP: Ozzy’s ‘Diary of a Madman’ album. I loved his first Blizzard of Oz album but Madman for me is epic. Ozzy was almost insane at this point and I think this come across in his vocals and performance. Randy Rhoads' guitar playing is unique and breathtaking. He’s one of my all time heroes. Bob Daisley’s bass playing and lyric writing is perfect. Lee Kerslake’s drumming is a benchmark for any drummer - and Don Airey’s orchestral arrangements are just magnificent. The title track ‘Diary of a Madman’ is one of the finest rock tracks ever recorded and still takes my breath away. More recently, I would have loved to be part of Muse’s ‘Black Holes and Revelations’ album. I didn't think anyone could take guitar playing any further, but Matt Bellamy has taken it to another level and I love what he’s doing.

 

M: And finally the question we ask everyone. What is the meaning of life?

 

JP: To love and to be loved xx

 

M: Merry Christmas from the Rockpit, take care!

 

Mark Rockpit

December 2010

Words by Mark Rockpit

Images by Xanna Absolom

 

 

Keep in touch with Jay and Tigertailz at:

www.tigertailz.co.uk
www.tailz.tv
www.facebook.com/tigertailzofficial
www.myspace.com/tigertailzofficial
www.twitter.com/TailzOfficial

All photos by: Xanna Absolom of www.beautifullyflawed.co.uk

Thanks to Steve for setting us up with the interview