Tiger Army interview with Nick13
Sunday 23rd January 2005 at the London Underworld
By Aaron Coe, melting_hearts@hotmail.com


Aaron: Could you run me through the line-up in case anyone is unaware of the current line up changes?

Nick 13: The currant line-up is myself "Nick13" on guitar and vocals, on bass which is Jeff and James on drums.

Aaron: Could you tell me why Geoff left and how did he tell you?

Nick 13: I don't know if it was sudden for him but it was a decision I didn't anticipate and quite surprised me when I heard it. As for why I wouldn't really feel comfortable trying to paraphrase his words. You'd have to ask him that, but there were no arguments and it was kind of his own personnel thing.

Aaron: What was it like being on tour with social distortion?

Nick 13: It was a good time, it was kind of cool because on that particular tour Matt Freeman of Rancid was playing bass for social D. So he's a good friend and also Johnny two bags the second guitarist in the band is a good friend. It was a good time, the explosion were opening and they're also good friends of ours so it was a fun tour and a lot of good shows and a good vibe backstage.

Aaron: How has the UK been so far?

Nick 13: Really good, this is our first time back here since we supported dropkick Murphy's in 2002, and that was our first visit here and that was 3 years ago, so this is out first headlining tour and I got to say that all the crowds really impressed me with their energy.

Aaron: Has there been any particular really good shows that stand out?

Nick 13: You know, as I speak we've done 9 shows and I would say that the crowds at 7 of the shows really blew me away, but to pick just one..Brighton was one of my favourites. But it would be unfair to pick as so many of the crowds were so good.

Aaron: Did you ever think when you started tiger army that you would be able to fly to the UK and do a headline tour with shows all over the country?

Nick 13: I probably didn't picture that, and it's a good feeling to go on tour somewhere so far from home that you haven't really played that much, and find people here so into it just like at home. It makes a bit more sense at home because we have toured so much in the US and kind of slowly built it up but I'm defiantly not complaining that people are into it here. I think that's one of the coolest things being in a band that I've got ton to see so much of the world from Rock'n'Roll.

Aaron: What's the worst tour experience you've had?

Nick 13: Well, its hard to say, there are defiantly moments on every tour where your health is kind of rundown, you miss home, and its for that particular day to be there. But at the same time, its really rare that I don't really enjoy being onstage, even if 23 hours of the day suck, the time your playing is really coo, so that always balances it out.. And even some of the shitty things that happen for example the van breaking down on the side of the road in Florida on the social distortion tour, everything kind of sorts itself out, we got picked up by the explosion on their bus, so we had fun hanging out with them, and so we got a van rental, and the repair sorted out, so yeah its hard to say as even the crummy things make you appreciate being on tour.

Aaron: Did the 13 come from influence 13?

Nick 13: Yeah.

Aaron: Are there any musicians that you haven't worked with who you'd like to in the future?

Nick 13: Its hard to say, if you would have asked me that a year ago I would have said no. But I have reached a point where something like that would be of more interest to me. Who exactly is hard to say but I wouldn't mind maybe writing a song for someone else, I don't know if id necessarily be so interested in writing with someone else with tiger army. But you never know?

Aaron: Do you ever listen to any of your own music?

Nick 13: Yeah occasionally, its been a while since I listened to the first two albums but I kind of listen to an album a lot after its finished, like I'll come out of the studio, once its kind of approved and off to the pressing plant I might not listen to it for like a month because I've been hearing it every day in the studio or mixes , but then I'll have a period where I really have a chance to get away from it for like a month or so I really listen to it quite a lot and absorb it and after that and you don't really but every once in a while.

Aaron: You get to play in onstage every night anyway don't you.

Nick 13: Yeah that's actually one of interesting things because the songs kind of continue to grow after you've recorded them, and there are certain songs that you get used to. You think of them as you play them every night and sometimes where you back and listen to the record its quire surprising as it kind of evolved from what it was.

Aaron: If tiger army weren't here, what do you think you would be doing? Would you still have some sort of an association with the music industry?

Nick 13: Yeah, that's really hard to say cause so much of my life has been dedicated to not only music but tiger army at this point. I would guess that it would have, I would have to imagine that I would have an association with music in some shape or form. And the only thing that ever held any interest for me outside of music was writing

Aaron: What question do you get asked more than any other?

Nick 13: Gosh, the questions I always get asked are either what does the name mean?, what happened with the line-up changes?, why does the new album sound so different? Which I don't think it sounds. Well progress, I don't think its like a night and day thing.

Aaron: Have you done much press on this tour?

Nick 13: Yeah, quite a bit, there's been at least a couple of interviews every day. Aaron : What's your favourite film and why?

Nick 13: Film is defiantly something I'm into, in fact I spend most of my free time off tour at home watching movies, but as far as picking one favourite film of all time, I don't think I could. Some of my favourite movies, I like a lot of Hitchcock films, Scorsese films, David Lynch.

Aaron: What was the last book you read?

Nick 13: The last book I read was, the biography of Morrissey that I got on this tour, I'm trying to remember what it was called, David Brett was the author I think.

Aaron: Ignore the actual song, but what's your favourite music video, doesn't matter how bad the song is, just the visual aspect of the video, one that really impresses you?

Nick 13: I like a lot of Anton Corbin' s work for Depeche Mode and just his stuff in general. I think a lot of music videos are quite bad actually, you know I'm sure there will be a particular video that will come to my mind after this interview, but I'm afraid I cant think of one at the moment.

Aaron: How do you feel about the US government? Have you ever thought about doing a song or something on a record that's political?

Nick 13: Politics has never really been a part of the reason I play music, or things I'm personally trying to express. I have views on it as does anyone else but, I kind of feel that it should be kept separate from tiger army cause the things I'm singing about are sort of in another dimension, than that of daily life and politics.

Aaron: How do you feel about having your picture taken onstage?

Nick 13: never really thought about it, doesn't bother me.

Aaron: I think most people given your situation and all the line up changes might of given up by now, why haven't you given up?

Nick 13: I think as its so important to me, I cant imagine what else id do. And I still feel like there's other ways to go, I think I might give up if I felt that id said all I have to say or write all the songs I have to write. But I cant stop until I've reached that point.

Aaron: What has hellcat been like? Have they ever pressured you into making a record that they want you to put out or let you do your own thing? Never rushed you or anything?

Nick 13: No, sometimes there are certain deadlines, but its really up to you as the artist to decide when you want to put the record out, like for example, .. They might say if you want the record out by the end of March you have to have it done by end of December. Its kind of on you if you cant meet that deadline, but its up to you if you want to rush to meet the deadline or if you want to put it out in may. So I see that more of a logistical thing like manufacturing. That has more to do with when you want the record to come out, its not like a case of "we've decided to put I out by. so you have to give it to us in April." And as far as input goes, basically your given complete freedom, you go into the studio, you make the record, and when your done you give it to them. Normally at any point does anyone from the label even enter the studio until the records done, maybe when your mixing it just to check it out. But a lot of labels wont finance a record unless they can have an a &r guy sitting in the session making sure its what he wants, so its quite a good situation for the artist really.

Aaron: How many takes does it take to get the guitar part or vocals you want, to get it perfect?

Nick 13: It really depends, sometimes it can happen straight away or sometimes it takes more time.

Aaron: What bands do you love to hang out with and tour with?

Nick 13: Defiantly love being on tour with Rancid, had quite a good time with the Explosion on the Social Distortion tour. And I think it would be quite fun to tour with AFI, we've played shows with them before but they're so such close friends I think it will be a lot of fun to a tour with them.

Aaron: Have you ever been star struck?

Nick 13: I can't say that I get star struck very often, especially by musicians, it would take someone who was absolutely a legend like Jerry Lee Lewis or Johnny Cash if he were still alive. I think musicians I tend not to think of them as different from me, . I suppose I might be more star struck if it were like some actor/actresses. Because In music, even if its someone like Joe Strummer certainly he's accomplished a lot more than I probably ever will, but at the end of the day its still the same thing, someone playing their music. Being doing it for years, but just for longer than I have, I don't see that as existing on some sort of different plane.

Aaron: What bands do you think will be big in 2005 and are there any albums your looking forward to this year?

Nick 13: Lets see..I'm not sure what's coming out, I'm sure there's some new industrial records coming out this year.

Aaron: The new NIN records coming out quite soon.

Nick 13: you know, I never really got into them, I was thinking VNV Nation are putting out a record this year. But I don't know what's coming out to be honest.

Aaron: How do you go about the writing aspect, will you write the music and then freestyle lyrics over the top until something fits or will you have lyrics written already and then put them to music?

Nick 13: There's no one set pattern, sometimes the music comes first and the lyrics I'll work over the top of it. Sometimes the lyrics appear by themselves and get put to music later.

Aaron: Is there any band , living, touring, dead, split up that you'd love to see? Any band at all, whatever the situation?

Nick 13: Id like to see the Luman bothers, a country duo from the 50's. If not the smiths then Joy division.

Aaron: how do you feel about independent label bands signing to major labels and them being sold out?

Nick 13: I think that's all a bit ridiculous, selling out is a term that gets thrown around a lot, I think a lot of people who use it are unaware of what it would entail. I think that if a band at any level is tailoring their music to sell rather than playing music they want to play, that's selling out. But if your true to yourself in your own artistic vision, basically if your playing the music you want to play your not selling out regardless if your on a labels from someone's bedroom or the biggest label in the world. Its all to do with if your staying true to yourself, not what label is on the back of your album.

Aaron: How do you prepare for a live show? Do you do any stretches or vocal warm ups?

Nick 13: There are a few vocal warm ups that I do, occasionally I'll do some stretching depending on the situation.

Aaron: Have you ever heard a riff or lyric that you wish come up with? Nick 13: I think that they're aren't lot of lyrics, I don't find myself to be influenced by other lyricists. My lyrics, are occasionally influenced by literature but other than that, they just seem to bubble up from the self-conscious. Its rare that I'm impressed by other lyricists but when that does happen but when it does happen I think that's really clever, wish id of written that.

Aaron: Is there an essential tour item that you have to have on you while your on tour?

Nick 13: I'm sure there's a few things but the stuff called "emergency" is this food you boil with water ( Like a pot noodle I think).

Aaron: Who were your role models when growing up and why?

Nick 13: I don't know if I had any role models , certainly there was people whose music I appreciated but I guess I always wanted to be myself.

Aaron: Will tiger army ever die?

Nick 13: (Laughs) Only if people forget us. But not necessarily if the band exists in its currant form. As long as someone out there remembers and appreciates the music then the answer is no.

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