BAND BIOGRAPHY - 2007
Nick 13: Vocals, guitar
Jeff Roffredo: Stand-up Bass/Vocals
James Meza: Drums
Tiger Army: Music From Regions Beyond
For the devoted who tattoo the lyrics and “TigerBat” logo on their bodies, Tiger Army is more than a band – it’s a way of life. Nick 13’s music channels the frustration, loneliness, despair and triumph of sheer will of a lost generation, buzzing with power and dark romance. The loyalty of the band’s following is evident on their MySpace page and website, where hundreds of photos of Tiger Army related tattoos can be found.
Music From Regions Beyond, hailed by Alternative Press as one of this year’s “Most Anticipated Albums,” is the definitive work by Tiger Army.
It is a thrillingly diverse record, running the gamut from the break-neck yet melodic “Afterworld” (which generated over 13,000 spins its first day on MySpace) and the soaring modern rock anthem “Forever Fades Away,” to the dark wave pop of “As the Cold Rain Falls” (which has elicited early comparisons to New Order) and the country-leaning balladry of “Where the Moss Slowly Grows.”
It is also the first Tiger Army album that was not self-produced. A-list producer Jerry Finn (AFI, Morrissey, Rancid) partnered his experience and expertise with Nick 13’s passion and self-motivation, resulting in an album that will be remembered as this year’s best. The two became acquainted during the sessions for AFI’s Decemberunderground (which features multiple backup vocal contributions from Nick 13), and discovered that they shared similar recording philosophies, including a love of analog tape and vintage gear.
The worldwide psychobilly scene owes an enormous debt to the So Cal trio, whose four albums and relentless touring have infused the genre (a blend of punk and rockabilly with dark elements) with the interest of countless new listeners. Music From Regions Beyond pushes psychobilly forward musically and otherwise by breaking its “rules,” the way Joy Division, The Smiths or The Cure forged a new “post” punk. Tiger Army embraces its psychobilly roots but transcends the genre with nuanced introspection and a staunch stance against novelty. They follow the example laid down by The Beatles who always maintained a connection to their first musical love, the rockabilly of artists like Buddy Holly and Carl Perkins, even while expanding and redefining it – in some cases beyond recognition.
The three years between Music From Regions Beyond and III: Ghost Tigers Rise have seen Tiger Army transform into an international phenomenon. After a lengthy run as direct support for Social Distortion, Tiger Army’s own “Dark Romance” tour ended with a five-night stand at the House of Blues in Hollywood, followed a few months later by four nights back-to-back at the House Of Blues in Anaheim, California. All nine shows sold-out before doors opened.
A handful of shows with Morrissey in the US and UK came next. After that, Tiger Army went out as direct support for their longtime friends in AFI, wrapping up in front of a capacity crowd at the legendary Long Beach Arena, recently documented on the platinum selling band's new DVD I Heard A Voice (which includes a guest appearance from Nick 13, who performs on the song “A Single Second.”)
Tiger Army played their first show in 1996 at the Bay Area’s legendary punk collective, 924 Gilman Street, known as the venue where everyone from Green Day to Rancid got their start. The gig saw them opening for AFI, who lent Nick 13 their drummer, Adam Carson.
Rancid’s Tim Armstrong took notice of Nick 13’s songs via a series of demos, later collected as The Early Years EP, and signed Tiger Army to his Hellcat Records imprint strictly on the strength of Nick’s songs and vision knowing full well he had yet to secure a steady lineup.
The first Tiger Army album followed in late 1999. The fledgling psychobilly scene in North America took flight shortly thereafter. Songs like “Nocturnal” and “True Romance” presaged the dark palette that would paint much of underground music in general in the years to come.
Nick 13 relocated to Los Angeles the following year, where Tiger Army would build it’s first true lineup, and embarked upon eighteen months of touring in support of II: Power of Moonlite, including trips to Europe and Japan and sharing stages with Dropkick Murphys, Reverend Horton Head and The Damned. With ex-AFI bass player Geoff Kresge on standup and Fred Hell on drums, Tiger Army began to rehearse Nick’s new songs for their third album. Tragically, Hell was shot four times in a botched home invasion in 2003, derailing those plans for some time.
Longtime friend and drum tech Mike Fasano stepped in behind the kit for the recording of III: Ghost Tigers Rise and subsequent touring, as lingering health issues prevented Hell’s return to the band. Two sold-out record release shows at the House Of Blues on the Sunset Strip marked the June, 2004 arrival of the album as the band took off for a month on the main stage of the Warped Tour.
After Warped, Jeff Roffredo (the former bass player for seminal West Coast psychos Cosmic Voodoo who had nearly joined Tiger Army before the first album) came into Tiger Army following Kresge’s amicable departure, along with drummer James Meza.
The latest version of Tiger Army underwent a trial by fire on the road for 46 shows with Social Distortion and came through with flying colors. The afore-mentioned Dark Romance Tour came later after which the band took some time off to prepare Music From Regions Beyond, pausing briefly for the gigs with Morrissey and AFI as well as a headlining performance at Orange County's annual “Hootenanny” festival and a trip to the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver to support Social Distortion, among other shows.
Tiger Army remains Nick 13’s vision and mission, with the new material representing his most fully realized songwriting yet. Music From Regions Beyond includes guest vocal appearances from AFI’s Davey Havok, longtime Morrissey collaborator Alain Whyte, Bleeding Through’s Brandan Schieppati, ex-bass player Geoff Kresge and other Tiger Army comrades.
At a time when much of contemporary rock music has been reduced to meaningless theater performed by false pretenders, Tiger Army’s Music From Regions Beyond is an antidote, bracing in its authenticity. Hear it, and hear the sound of artistic legitimacy reclaiming rock music – Tiger Army Never Die!
Official website: tigerarmy.com
Official MySpace: myspace.com/tigerarmy
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