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IN CONVERSATION WITH… Andreas ‘Gerre’ Geremia, Tankard – August 2014

| 19 September 2014 | Reply

IN CONVERSATION WITH… Andreas ‘Gerre’ Geremia, Tankard – August 2014

By Shane Pinnegar

As singer of German metal lunatics Tankard, Gerre has spent thirty years roaming the world, bludgeoning headbangers with his brand of alcohol-rich heavy metal. 2014 saw the release of their SIXTEENTH studio album – R.I.B. (Rest In Beer), which again celebrates their two deepest loves: metal and booze.

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100% ROCK: Hey Gerre, How you doing, mate?

Gerre: I’m doing fine, thanks a lot. Hope you’re doing fine too.

100% ROCK: Yes, yes very good over here. Thanks for your time today, man. So, are you calling from home Frankfurt?

Gerre: Ya, we came back yesterday from Croatia. There was a festival and the festival was cancelled but we played in a little club and that was very cool.

100% ROCK: Excellent.

Gerre: So, the organizer was running out of money and then it was only two days, the festival. Then everything was fucked up. The bands organised something by themselves and that was quite fun for all the people I guess.

100% ROCK: Wow – who would have thought there’d be drama in the music industry, right?

Gerre: Right! [Laughs]

100% ROCK: So, you’ve got your new album out – Rest In Beer – which is a really cool title, by the way. What can you tell us about recording the album?

Gerre: I think that comparing to the last album [2012’s A Girl Called Cerveca] I think it’s a little bit harder, the songs are a little more on the point – I think we only have two songs over five minutes. We’re really satisfied with the results of course, it’s some of our best metal. We tried, again, to do a good mixture of serious and funny lyrics. We have a couple of very serious songs on it like War Cry or Hope Can Die, but we also have funny things on the album like the title track, of course. It’s a word game with Rest In Peace and we’ve got our crazy professor [character] back. He was not able to stop the chemical invasion of ’87 now he’s coming back and take revenge on the whole of mankind. So, typical Tankard funny lyric. But, we always try to do a good mix here of everything. That’s all what I can say about the album. [Laughs]
100% ROCK: Yes, absolutely. You’ve really stuck to your guns with a very old school thrash sound for thirty years now. How do you feel that you’ve all progressed as musicians, as a singer yourself, and as songwriters during that time?

Gerre: We work now together and put our minds together for the first time and we’re really taking care about vocals. So it’s not that I have three or four takes for a song and we choose the best ones, you know. It’s always very hard working and I think now we find a good combination. On the one hand very heavy guitar sounds, on the other hand it’s very transparent so you can hear everything very clear so I think we are on the right way now concerning the sounds.

100% ROCK: Yes, cool.

Gerre: I don’t know if that was your question. [Laughs]

Tankard 02

100% ROCK: It is close enough. We’ll move on – it’s all good! You’ve got producer Michael Mainx and he is on board for your third album now. Have you found an arrangement where you guys bring the best out of each other to get the best possible Tankard album each time?

Gerre: This time it was better. We know Michael now a little bit better and he knows us, how we work. Yes, it was very cool working together. But he really kicks our ass so he is, yes, he is an honest guy so we had a lot of work with that album but yeah, we are really satisfied with the result.

100% ROCK: You mentioned earlier that you’ve got some funny songs on the record as well as some serious songs. The image of Tankard is to be funny, alcoholic guys. But you’re a deeper bunch of blokes than that, really, aren’t you?

Gerre: The most important thing with Tankard is to have fun and we’re good enough in our career, okay? We did everything for that kind of image with albums like Chemical Invasion or The Morning After, of course. Later in the nineties we really wanted to get rich, we’ve got this image but, [so] of course, we failed. And yes, nowadays somehow we do love the ironical things and do a parody of our own image.

We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We have a lot of fun to play that kind of music. But we also have very serious songs and we always try to do a good mixture of serious and funny things. The most important thing, we think, is we don’t take ourselves too seriously and we still have a lot of fun to play this kind of music.

100% ROCK: Absolutely – and you still enjoy a beer as well. After thirty years of touring as a thrash metal band and writing metal songs about drinking, how have you all avoided rehab?

Gerre: You know, we are not 100% musicians, so we all have our regular jobs. We are not able to play 200 shows in a year. I mean, on the one hand it is very good for the band – we are totally independent, we don’t have to spend money with playing music. On the other hand, we are not able to play all the offers we have and that’s a bad thing but yeah, it keeps us alive. I think if we would do 200 shows in a year, I don’t know [laughs] I would be sitting already in a wheelchair, I think.

100% ROCK: What do you do for a day job, if you don’t mind me asking?

Gerre: I am a social worker.

100% ROCK: Okay. Oh, that’s a bit different.

Gerre: Yeah, totally different from what I am doing with Tankard. Totally different – but that’s good.

100% ROCK: Yeah! There is a choir of chanting monks on the title track of the album. I really wasn’t expecting that. How did that idea come about and get made?

Gerre: You know, we have a little studio at home and that’s where we were preparing the album and where we just record all the stuff and we said ‘yeah, there should be some monks on it.’ We asked some friends and they did it in the studio and yeah, it’s something different and I really like it. It sounds cool. Now we have to check out what we are going to do when we play this song live! We have to get them on stage I guess. [laughs]

100% ROCK: That would be good. Your last album was your first for the Nuclear Blast label and it went into the German charts in the top forty, I think. Was that surprising that you had that much chart success with the album?

Gerre: So, really good success with that, of course. But the best place we ever had it was on thirty-two and yes, we will see what happens now. I mean, it is always good for the reputation of the band you know, that your name has shown up in the official charts. But if it will not happen, we won’t die because of that. But it [would] be cool. That would be really cool again.

[R.I.B. debuted on the German charts at number 41]

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100% ROCK: Did it make that big a difference in terms of getting into the charts and getting that many sales when you’ve got a label like Nuclear Blast pushing the album?

Gerre: It’s now the second album with Nuclear Blast, the biggest independent record label on this planet, and yeah, they are doing a lot of promotion stuff and they have a lot of power and we are very glad to be asked to join this company. They are really a step forward for Tankard with A Girl Called Cerveza and all the promotion stuff. They have a lot of power

100% ROCK: It’s working for you, man. That’s really, really good to see thrash in the charts anywhere in the world.

Gerre: Any heavy metal in general.

100% ROCK: Do you think that thrash metal is very healthy at the moment?

Gerre: Yeah, I think we have always some waves. Sometimes it is a little bit more popular. Then we had some hard times in the middle until the end of the nineties. Thrash metal was not really dead but not so many people were into it. I think it is always some kind of waves but thrash metal survives. There is another person to enjoy it.

100% ROCK: You also came down to Australia, but only on the East Coast for a few shows in July. Was this your first trip to Australia?

Gerre: This [was] the first trip with Tankard to Australia but I was in Australia in ’85 I think for a couple of weeks. My parents had some friends near to Sydney and they sent me there to speak English, learn English. [Laughs] Tankard is very glad and we [were] really excited to see what will happen. When the other guys fly home I stay a couple of days longer and check out your country.

100% ROCK: Excellent. So, for the Australian fans who weren’t able to see you on the East Coast, what exactly is a Tankard live show all about?

Gerre: It is solid good thrash metal, no pyrotechnic or something like that really doesn’t fit to us. A lot of frickin’ energy and we try to play a good mixture of old songs and new stuff. We have now sixteen albums out so it’s always hard to decide which songs you play and which not. But, yeah, we try to do a good mixture and, yeah, [it is] a total thrash metal party, I think.

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100% ROCK: Do you feel like a big kid who never grew up, like Peter Pan of the thrash metal world?

Gerre: [Laughs] Christ!!!

100% ROCK: You get to live the dream, tour the world…

Gerre: We are not the youngest anymore but yeah, sometimes we feel like little child. It is good to get the best energy on stage.

100% ROCK: Excellent. Just a hypothetical question to finish up, man. If you could go back in time and be part of the making of any one record in the whole of history, which would you choose?

Gerre: Exciter – Heavy Metal Maniac.

100% ROCK: I love that album.

Gerre: I really have this kind of maybe ten albums that I really was growing up with and love, but I really think this one is my, yeah, this one is my most favourite.

100% ROCK: I love that album. That is a really, really cool choice, man. Okay. Thanks very much for your time. Good luck with the record

Gerre: Thank you for your support and have a nice evening.

Category: Interviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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