Guitarist Cliff Evans talks about Tank’s rather good new album ‘War Nation’…
We’ve recently released our 8th studio album entitled “War Nation” on Metalmind Productions. This is the 2nd album we’ve recorded with this current line up featuring Doogie White on vocals and Chris Dale on bass and we feel we are producing some of the best music of our careers. Tank now has a pedigree to be reckoned with and we are confident we can compete with any other band out there. Between us we have worked with and been members of bands with such names as Ritchie Blackmore, Bruce Dickinson, Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker and Paul Dianno to name a few. Our combined experience and love of great rock music has come together to create the “War machine” and “War Nation” albums.
2. Could you take us through the excellent new album ‘War Nation’?
As with “War Machine” we wanted “War Nation” to be an album that was interesting to listen to from start to finish and leave the listener wanting to hear more. We approach every song in a different way and draw on our wealth of experience and individual influences to create songs that have the essential ingredients to make them great rock songs. On this album we have up tempo songs, medium grooves, laid back ballad and even an instrumental to end on. We like to experiment and it’s paid off on this album.
Our last album was produced by Pedro Ferreira (The Darkness) who did a great job. This time we wanted to use someone who wasn’t familiar with our music so they weren’t trying to re-create a sound and could approach the production with fresh ears. We recruited a young guy called Phil Kinman. I’d heard some tracks he’d recorded with some other bands and I was really impressed with the results he was getting while working in his own purpose built studios in West London. We tracked everything in just a couple of weeks which gave the album an edgy live feel and captured the energy of the band which is what we were looking for. The mixes were pretty straightforward and came together quickly. Mastering was done in a day and the album was complete. We’re very pleased with the result of our hard work and judging by the response we’ve received so far it was well worth the effort.
3. Were the band pleased to the reaction from fans and reviewers to ‘War Machine’? Have you seen the band pick-up new fans who may not have heard of the band previously?
We recorded the “War Machine” album in 2010 and it was the first time we’d worked with Doogie. Our writing style had to adapt to the new line up but this is the direction we’ve wanted to head in for some time. Obviously we were very aware that this direction was far removed from earlier Tank albums but in order for Tank to survive we had to move forward and lose the old nwobhm tag. We needed to recruit a new army of fans and at the same time keep our old fans happy. The album was very well received by fans old and new and it was a favourite with all the major European magazines. This, along with a greatly increased web presence, has contributed to the sizeable expansion of our worldwide fan base. Metal fans around the world now have access to our entire back catalogue online.
4. How did Steve Hopgood come to re-join the band?
We needed a drummer to record the new album with who understood the style of music we were writing and the results we were aiming to achieve. Steve had previously been a member of Tank back in 1998 and I had recorded several albums with him while playing in Killers with Paul Dianno. We’re all from the same musical background so he understands the music and has the technical knowledge to get the job done how we want it. The drums really kick ass on “War Nation”.
5. Are there any plans to re-release the earlier Tank albums at all? Is there much unreleased material back from then that could be maybe added to any reissues?
They are all available as re-issues. Go to www.tankofficial.com
6. How do you think the live music scene may look in five to ten years’ time given the fact that a lot of the 70’s and 80’s bands will have stopped touring by then?
That’s a scary thought. It will be a sad day when the likes of AC/DC, Sabbath, Priest and other legends eventually disappear from the arenas. I sense that day is not very far off. The problem is no other bands are there to take their place. No other bands have the quality of songs that these icons have given us. Songs that have stood the test of time and still set the benchmark 40 years on. There are no new young bands emerging.
The UK rock scene has been dead for sometime now. All the great venues have gone, illegal downloading has ended most bands chances of being able to finance their development, the remaining labels out there are on their last legs offering deals that even blues legend Robert Johnson would have turned down, and unless you’ve got your tongue up certain rock journalists arses (or you’re an American band) then you won’t be getting in any of the UK metal mags. Don’t give up your day job. That’s if you’re lucky enough to have one.
7. If you could go back in time and perhaps change one career decision what would it be and why?
Back in 1979-80 I remember seeing in the musicians wanted section of Melody Maker an ad reading “guitarist wanted for Iron Maiden“. Should have gone for the job.
8. The band seems to have hit a rich vein of form lately with two albums in two years. Do you find it easier or harder to create new music after all this time?
Working with these guys is such a pleasure. No one’s telling us what to do. We’re just enjoying making music together and it really shows on these two albums. That fact that both albums have received great reviews around the world and the response from our fans has been overwhelming means we are doing something right. There’s hope for us yet.
9. What do you enjoy doing in your time away from music?
Long country walks, evenings in front of a log fire watching a romantic dvd and crystal meth.
10. Anything else to add and a message for your fans…
Hopefully kids brainwashed by X factor and Rap hits produced on an i phone for three quid will wake up someday and discover the sound of classic rock music. Songs that stay with you throughout your life and possibly influence it along the way. And sound even better when you’re pissed.
Message for our fans. Stay with us.
The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk was streamed on Sunday 22 November.
More about Josh: http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/?s=%22Josh+Taerk%22
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