Interview with Tiger Army (Nick 13) on January 15, 2005 in Nottingham, England at Rock City
- by Matt, of Scene Point Blank

After their second show on their new UK tour, Tiger Army are still settling into the routine of playing with a new band lineup. Their first time playing in the UK for three years, the band were keen to spread the psychobilly love with UK veterans The Hangmen and with thrash/hardcore zombies Send More Paramedics. Our man Matt sat down with Nick 13 and asked him a bunch of questions.

Scene Point Blank: Hey Nick. How did the show go yesterday?

Nick 13: Um, it was a good time, it was a bit weird for me, you know, the first show of a tour is always a little strange, you're kinda finding your sea-legs. Also, the jet-lag didn't help.

SCENE POINT BLANK: You got here yesterday?

Nick 13: We got here the day before yesterday, but I didn't sleep the night before. It was just a bit strange for me. I mean, it was still a pretty good show as first shows of the tour go, but tonight was much better for me, I just felt a lot more..

SCENE POINT BLANK: It seemed really natural onstage. So why don't you guys play the UK more?

Nick 13: Well, a lot it has to do with, you know, uh... 2003, we were here the beginning of 2002, and then 2003 was just such a strange year for us, from our drummer Fred getting shot, and then we were in the studio for a long time making this newest record, Ghost Tigers Rise. Really we hadn't played in the states for a long time, when we were done making the record, so we spent basically all of last year on the road in the states, and also in the studio.

SCENE POINT BLANK: How long did it take to record?

Nick 13: It was about 4 months total, but we came out of the studio to do a tour with Rancid, during the making of it, so it was kind of broken up to a couple of different sessions. But it's a shame really, cuz I love playing in the UK, we'll definitely have to get back here.

SCENE POINT BLANK: How has it been playing these shows with the new band lineup?

Nick 13: You know, it's actually.. surprisingly, it's really really good. You know, it doesn't seem like the type of thing you should be able to do, but somehow I think we managed to pull it off. Part of it has to do with the instrumental skills of Jeff (the new Geoff) and James. They're such excellent players, and another part of it is the fact that they had played in a band together before.

SCENE POINT BLANK: So they already had the..

Nick 13: They already had the rhythm section chemistry that's so vital to it. So I think when you put those things together.. I have to say that live onstage, I think Tiger Army sounds as good as it ever has, if not its' best ever.

SCENE POINT BLANK: Just today on the internet I saw you guys have added some shows in Australia. Have you played there before and are you excited?

Nick 13: No. I'm very excited about it, it'll be our first visit to Australia, uh, to do a tour there in March. It's really the last place that people play that we've never been, we've been in Japan, the US, Canada, the UK, Europe, so... I mean, there's certain countries in Europe I'd still like to get to, but it's a whole region of the world. Not many bands I know have been there. The only bands I really know that've toured there are AFI and Rancid, so it's quite a nice thing to be able to do it.

SCENE POINT BLANK: You debuted some new songs tonight, so how much new material do you have written? Are you ready to start recording anything or is it too early to say?

Nick 13: Well, yeah, actually I have been writing, I just started writing the last couple months, and I would say.. we've only just scratched the surface of actually playing with the other band. I've started jamming the material with those guys. I have about three or four songs. We're pretty busy touring the first half of this year, but I would say we can start working on a new album in some form, at least rehearsing the material if not going into the studio, by the end of the year.

SCENE POINT BLANK: Do you guys write in a different way now the lineup has changed?

Nick 13: Well, generally what I've always done is written the completed songs and then brought them to the practice room and taught them to the rest of the band, but I've been toying with the idea of changing the approach for this record, to kind of keep it fresh. I think I'll be bringing in material that's a little less developed, and bouncing it off them, seeing what happens.

SCENE POINT BLANK: Do you think the next record could sound different because of the different approach?

Nick 13: It's possible.. I think each record we've done has sounded a bit different, and I think that's a good thing. I would hope the next album sounds a little different from the last one.

SCENE POINT BLANK: Have you had a chance to look around Nottingham while you've been here?

Nick 13: Uhh yeah, I had a stroll about. It seems really nice, there's a lot of cool stores.

SCENE POINT BLANK: Is it true that british food is that bad compared to American stuff? Bands say that all the time.

Nick 13: Um, I think it depends, you know, there is a lot of British food that I quite like, like uh.. Sheperd's Pie, but some of it is.. kinda bad, yeah . I think the chain fast food here is a lot better than the states.

SCENE POINT BLANK: Did you see 'Super Size Me'?

Nick 13: Yeah, it was pretty disturbing .

SCENE POINT BLANK: Could you ever see yourself doing something with Geoff (Kresge) again?

Nick 13: I have no idea. I mean, who's to say? It's not really in the plans, but who's to say what's gonna happen in 5 or 10 years.

SCENE POINT BLANK: What do you think of the current trend in metalcore bands?

Nick 13: Well, you know, some of that stuff is cool. To me, metalcore is really a live music. There's certain bands we're friends with like Bleeding Through, where it's cool to just go to the show and watch it live, but... metalcore in general is not something that I really listen to at home, as I've never been a big metal fan. The hardcore I tended to like was eighties, the kinda more old school stuff, I suppose.

SCENE POINT BLANK: Green Day released a rock opera album, AFI slowed down and became more melodic.. what's next for Tiger Army? A jazzcore psychedelic prog-rock record?

Nick 13: I don't think so. I mean, to me, the new album we've just done, Ghost Tigers Rise, is a fairly intense album, but a lot of people were concerned that it was slower than the last record. I still think it's hardly a slow record, there are slower songs on it, but really I think you need to explore different tempos and different times. Sometimes playing something slower can add more power to it. But at the same time, we obviously have a lot of fast songs in our set. As for the next record, who's to say what you can see, you'd probably see a bit of everything.

SCENE POINT BLANK: What bands do you think should be big in 2005?

Nick 13: Well.. Unfortunately it seems like the bands that should be big never are and vice versa. Bands that I think are good that are around right now.. AFI, Interpol...

SCENE POINT BLANK: Do you think AFI can get any bigger?

Nick 13: It's possible. Their last album just went platinum in the states, which I'm sure if you'd have asked this years ago, you couldn't have imagined that.

SCENE POINT BLANK: Could you ever see Tiger Army reaching that level?

Nick 13: You know, I would like to become as big as possible, on our own terms... I don't ever see us getting that kind of massive success, but I'm certainly not gonna tailor the music I play in the hopes of getting success, but I do think that any musician who tells you that he/she doesn't want as many people as possible to listen to the music and be into it is lying.

SCENE POINT BLANK: What have been your favourite records of 2004?

Nick 13: Let me think. Um.. the new Morrisey album You Are The Quarry, it was definitely my favourite record of 2004. Next would probably be Antics by Interpol. Gosh, after that, it starts slowing down for me. Those were the records that made an impression on me at all. There's probably some industrial/EBM stuff but I can't remember if it came out within 03-05. The Explosion's new record was good, Black Tape. The new Social Distortion album is pretty good too.

SCENE POINT BLANK: You guys have just been touring with them in America, how has that been?

Nick 13: It was a good time. It was a bit long, it was 9 and a half weeks on the road, 46 shows.


Nick 13: No, just straight through it. Longest tour we've done. Yeah, I can't say, um.. well, it had it's bright spots. But as far as 2004 in music, I'd have to say it was a pretty dead year.

SCENE POINT BLANK: When it comes to doing a tour that long, and you just wanna go home or go to bed, how do you set yourself up to play shows and you're so tired you just wanna die onstage..

Nick 13: Ha! Well, fortunately I'd have to say that more than 90% of the time I'm really happy to be onstage. I'm not always happy to be on tour, especially a tour that length, but.. really, the downside of tour doesn't have to do with the time you're onstage, that's the fun part.

SCENE POINT BLANK: What's the one band you'd give anything to see?

Nick 13: Would it be in a time machine or now?

SCENE POINT BLANK: It could be back in time or right now or whatever..

Nick 13: I have to say that I'm really tired of bands getting back together.. it's getting more and more depressing and it seems like it's taking away from them. I mean, if they were really good then it's cool, but more often than not it just takes away from what they did originally. I'd like to see maybe, Joy Division or The Smiths.

SCENE POINT BLANK: I've heard you guys shy away from political stuff in your music, which is a rarity in punk bands these days. Why is that?

Nick 13: Really, it's just that I would hope that the people who listen to and enjoy our music are intelligent enough to form their own opinions on stuff.

SCENE POINT BLANK: Without being told.

Nick 13: Yeah. Exactly. And research the issues for themselves if they care to do so, without needing to be told by me what to think. More so I think it has to do with the fact that... politics.. they're obviously important, I wouldn't say they're not of interest to me personally. They don't have anything to do with our music, they don't have anything to do with the lyrics.

SCENE POINT BLANK: It'd seem contrived if you tried to fit it in.

Nick 13: You know, the things that I'm personally trying to express with the lyrics happen on a very different level than that, of everyday life, and the kind of that politics is a part of. So, um, there is pressure sometimes to say what you think about this or that, but it's not something I'm interested in doing, because if it had something to do with the song or if it had something to do with what I'm trying to express through music; the reasons I'm playing it, then by all means I would, but it just doesn't. As far as the kinds of things I am trying to say in the lyrics, it has more to do with things that are timeless and don't change regardless of the year or the decade. A lot of times the music that talks about political topics really directly is just kind of dated and it might be thrown away. I mean, it might ultimately become relevant again, but...

SCENE POINT BLANK: I've seen in other interviews that you guys wanted to put a DVD together. Is there any news on that, and what would be on it?

Nick 13: Well, that's a bit on the back burner for now. I mean, at one point we were going to put out a DVD/EP of just the few videos that we've done, but it's still definitely something that's important to me, as the visual aspect of the band is something I'm really into, as well as the musical obviously, but we have four videos now, I'd like to wait until we do a couple more and then kinda do a longer one.

SCENE POINT BLANK: Would you ever do a live show on there?

Nick 13: That's possible.

SCENE POINT BLANK: What about a live album?

Nick 13: You know, I've never cared for live albums, but as the years have gone on, I've noticed the way the songs kind of organically kind of evolve through playing them many times, they develop little hooks and things that weren't neccessarily there originally, and sometimes take on different aspects that are kind of cool that just aren't on the record. So, um, I can't say it's something we're really planning on, but if you'd asked me that 5 years ago I'd have said never, I hate live albums, and I wouldn't say that now, so.. maybe someday.

SCENE POINT BLANK: Thanks for your time Nick.

Nick 13: You're welcome.

See Photos from the Rock City show here

Many thanks to Matt, of Scene Point Blank for permission to post this!

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