Interview with Tiger Army (Nick) on November 2nd, 2004 in Milwaukee, WI at The Rave
- by Jeff Wegner, punkrockjeff@gmail.com for www.epunk-zine.com

After a few days off from his tour with Social Distortion and The Explosion I had the opportunity to sit down lead leadman of American psychobilly veterans, Tiger Army, for the second time this year. Nick13 had just flown into Milwaukee via Los Angeles where he spent his weekend off at home before he sat down with me to talk about some of his passions in life, some things in his past and what may be coming in the future. Here's the interview.

Jeff: Let's start with your past few days. What did you do on your weekend? ...celebrate since you had a couple days off?

Nick 13: Well, I actually went home to LA for a couple days. This is actually the longest tour we've done. I hadn't been home since mid/late September and now it's November. ...but not a lot to answer your question. I was really tired and it was really good to be home and took care of a lot of stuff, nothing too exciting.

Jeff: You're a big fan of the older 60's and 70's horror movies and you had said that in our last interview that your major pastime on the Warped Tour was watching cable tv since you didn't have it. Did you watch any movies this weekend since it was Halloween?

Nick 13: Actually, to clarify, I don't like 60's and 70's horror. I like early 60's...

Jeff: ...the black and white?

Nick 13: Yeah, I'm more into like 30's through very early 60's, but actually I watched Ed Wood which just came out on dvd. I'm definitely into his films and that was a great film by Tim Burton. I bought a bunch of monster movies from the new Universal Legacy Collection which is the 30's through 50's stuff and I didn't get a chance to watch as much as I wanted to.

Jeff: What is it about the older movies that you like as opposed to modern horror films?

Nick 13: Well, there are certain modern horror films that I'm into. I think in the older films, 30's etc., they really couldn't show that kinda gore and violence so therefore they had an emphasis on atmosphere that I was always attracted to and thought was really cool. I think once gore became popular I think there was a period in horror especially in the 70's where that was kinda what it was all about. Ya know I don't have a problem with that, there's just nothing in that for me. It's not like I dislike modern horror, it's just that I'm more into the psychological and the atmospheric.

Jeff: Cool. Today is the presidential elections, how do you think that is going? What do you hope the outcome is? You don't have to say who you want to win I mean...

Nick 13: Well, as for as coverage goes I've been traveling all day and I haven't really seen any of it although that is something that I am interested in. Basically I hope the person that will do the least amount of pushing Christianity down our throats wins. People can figure out who that is for themselves.

Jeff: Do you think bands should play shows in support of certain standpoints like anti-abortion or democratic party concerts or like the PunkVoter.com tour. Stuff like that, do you think bands should do that sort of thing to influence their listeners?

Nick 13: I really don't feel that they should or shouldn't. I think that's something that's up to every individual artist. For me, the reasons I play music and the reasons I create the songs that I play they're not really geared towards day-to-day life and although I have an interest in politics I see that as something completely seperate from the music we are playing. That's one reason why I'm not interested in overtly alligning ourselves with any political cause. I don't think an artist should necessarily be expected to take a stance on an issue but at the same time there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. If people are playing music that deals with certain kinds of issues or if they just wanna say, "hey, this is how i feel," I mean hey; that's good for them.

Jeff: Do you think bands that do that sort of thing kinda alienate themselves from certain fans that they could have by saying that they feel a certain way.

Nick 13: I'm sure it's possible in some cases, but I think that's to be commended if they feel like, "this is what I want to say and if some of my fans stopped listening to me or stopped supporting me that's the way it is." I respect that stance and I'm sure it is a danger that certain artists face more than others.

Jeff: When we talked in July you had said that you were looking at a headlining tour or a supporting tour and you ended up going in support of Social Distortion and you're looking at a headlining tour in the Spring I had heard.

Nick 13: Basically, we had planned to do a headlining tour in the autumn but then this tour came up and this was just something we wanted to do because it was just a great chance to play with a band that we're not doing the same thing musically, but Social Distortion mixes punk with roots music. It's definitely a lot more compatible than a lot of tours that we could do. So it was just an opportunity that we wanted to take, but we are still planning on doing a full US headlining tour in the Spring and it's looking like it will take place during April and May.

Jeff: Any ideas on what bands you'll be taking out with you?

Nick 13: Not yet, it's still kinda all in the planning stages.

Jeff: I had recently talked to the roommate of the guy that ran Chapter 11 Records (made Tiger Army's first 7" record) and he wanted to know if there was any chances of an Influence13 reunion.

Nick 13: *laughs* I don't think so.

Jeff: You don't think so?

Nick 13: Yeah.

Jeff: He told me to ask you that. He thought you'd get a kick outta that. I don't know if you'r familiar, but you have a mySpace page and there was a couple of people that were wondering what Influence13 sounded like because noone can really get a hold of the cd or demo or whatever you had.

Nick 13: I think Influence13 like Tiger Army drew on a lot of things. It was primarily punk but it definitely had a melodic side. At times it had like a very fast, aggressive side. It was drawing on basically all different genres and aspects of punk and post-punk. It was influenced by English 70's punk, by hardcore, by popular melodic stuff like stuff like The Cure and Joy Division. It was kinda all over the place I guess.

Jeff: Recently you had another line-up change. It seems to be a familiar thing with you.

Nick 13: Yep.

Jeff: Eventually, do you want to find some solidity in that line-up so you don't have to take a step back acclimating new members into the fold all the time?

Nick 13: Ya know, that what I always kinda wanted, but at this point it's not as much a concern to me.

Jeff: You're getting pretty used to it?

Nick 13: Yeah, I think the guys who are playing now, Jeff Roffredo and James Meza, they're so good at what they do. It's weird to me how there's not a drop in musical quality in terms of the live playing. I've always hoped that I could find people that are committed to Tiger Army as I am, but I don't know if that's really going to happen. I've been doing this band for eight years now and I don't think there's any way that anyone's going to care as much about it or put as much into it as I do. I've just kinda accepted that, but that being said, I'm really happy where we are at musically right now.

Jeff: Do you still keep in touch with Geoff then?

Nick 13: Uh huh.

Jeff: Any chances for a collaboration on the new stuff that he's writing?

Nick 13: That's something that we really haven't discussed. I don't know how interested in actively pursuing music he is at this point. He may or may not be, I have no idea.

Jeff: I had just read something that said he was starting to write stuff again and I guess he wanted to be more involved in his record label, but from what I had heard he was beginning to write some stuff again. I didn't know how far into it he was or whatnot.

Nick 13: I'm not sure.

Jeff: How's Fred doing?

Nick 13: Fred's doing pretty well. It was before this tour started that was the last time I talked to him so it's been awhile now, but the last time I talked to him he was doing well.

Jeff: Is he still involved in music somewhat or...?

Nick 13: I know he's still playing drums and hoping to continue his recovery.

Jeff: I know it's kinda early to ask, but do you know what kind of direction you want to go in for your next album?

Nick 13: Ya know, it's kinda hard to say. I've written songs and parts of songs that I really like, but the direction of an album as a whole is never something that I plan. I just kinda let the songs take shape and see where stuff wants to take me.

Jeff: I had noticed that Ghost Tigers Rise was kinda more mellow than or it seemed more mellow.

Nick 13: It's funny, that's a word people use a lot in connection with that record. It might be mellower than our last record, but if it was our first album I don't think anybody would refer to that record as mellow. I just think it's people have a certain idea...

Jeff: ...yeah, what the last one was...

Nick 13: ...yeah. I mean really, that record was written and rehearsed in 2000. I like the record and there's definitely a lot of songs I like on that record, but I think the third album is more where we're at right now, but where it's going to go from there, who can tell.

Jeff: Are there any chances for a dvd in the future?

Nick 13: Yeah, that's something that I'd definitely like to do at some point. We were going to do a dvd/ep at one point, but we decided to wait and do something that's a little more extensive in the future. We have four videos at this point and the visual side of the band that is something that is important to me. I'd love to do a longer playing dvd at some point.

Jeff: And are there any chances for any other videos off of the new cd other than the one that just came out?

Nick 13: I would like to do a second one from this new album, but we'll see what happens.

Jeff: Would you have the same guy direct it or would you do it this time?

Nick 13: Umm, I don't think that I would do it. Vince Haycock who directed the last video for The Rose in the Devil's Garden, I felt did a great job. I would definitely be into working with him again, but it was definitely nice having somebody take over in the director's chair because trying to be on both sides of the camera at once is a bit much.

Jeff: What do you think about the prices that your 7" are going for on ebay?

Nick 13: Well, in one sense it's definitely pretty crazy, but I remember there being rare punk 7"'s that I wanted that were kinda going for that price range. It's weird to have it be your own record, but at the same time there were only 500 of those records pressed and there are a lot more than 500 Tiger Army fans so it's supply and demand.

Jeff: I remember you saying when we talked in Chicago that in your previous band you couldn't find anyone to put out your record and you put out one Tiger Army and now they're selling for over $200 a piece.

Nick 13: Yeah, it's funny at the time my first real band, Influence13 which was '91 to '93, we couldn't get anything released in those two years and I think Tiger Army had three offers to do 7"'s in the first few months we were around.

Jeff: ...and now those 500 records are worth about $100k combined.

Nick 13: *laughs*

Jeff: Well, I'll let you go. I know you wanted to go get something to eat so we'll end the conversation here. Hope you have a great tour and great show tonight.

Nick 13: Thanks.

See Photos from the Rave here


Many thanks to Jeff Wegner for allowing us to post this!


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