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18th June 2019

Q: You’re doing a lot of travelling this year Cliff.


CE: Yeah South America, Australia, Japan…it’s always nice to do those territories. A month ago we did some European shows so it’s looking good. I’m really looking forward to coming back to Japan.


Q: When was the last time you were here?


CE: Twenty years ago – 1999; We did that NWOBHM festival in the park. It’ll be nice to come back with this line-up as well. These guys are great players. Our drummer’s been there many times as he was with Sodom (Bobby Schottkowski) and the singer we’ve got now (David Readman), he’s toured there with Pink Cream 69.


Q: Any ‘first time in Japan’ members?


CE: Yeah the bass player Randy van der Elsen. He’s only a young lad so it’s his first time and the first time for all of us in Australia. That will be fun working with Girlschool again and we’ll see the guys from Raven.


Q: I’ll be there as well. I’ve booked myself a flight down to see you all there. It’s like a school reunion.


CE: Oh cool! It’s going to be quite a laugh I’d say.


Q: Let’s chat about the album. It’s out now here…


CE: Yeah April 26th I think it came out.


Q: …but delayed in Europe for some reason.


CE: Yeah there was a problem with distribution there. We went with an American label  Cleopatra this time around and they are great at doing the job in America but there were a few problems when they put it out in Europe. (laughs)


Q: The infamous Tank curse strikes again!


CE: Absolutely! There’s always something there and I expect these things. Something’s going to go wrong and that’s Tank for you. We’re very used to that.


Q: Well Tank have probably had more than their fair share of things going wrong but it’s also the business. Young bands I have staying here often whine or moan that something has not gone quite right but I always tell them, if you think this is bad thing, you’re in the wrong business. This is a part of your career.


CE: Yeah, tell me about it! (laughs) It’s always never-ending problems. That’s it. That’s the way it goes but you just have to deal with it and get on with it.


Q: So the album is some re-recordings of the Tank classics. There are obviously a few on there that were no-brainers to record (Stormtrooper and Shell Shock for example) but how did you select the lesser known ones?


CE: It was a tough decision as we had so many songs to choose from. We all put our own ideas into the hat and we wanted a good cross section of the first four albums as well so for anyone who’s never really heard Tank before, they have a whole picture of the different styles that Tank were playing back then. As I said, it was a tough choice and there were a load of songs that we obviously missed out but the way we see it, maybe next year we’ll do Re-ignition Vol 2.


Q: Well if the market is there…


CE: Yeah if people want it they can have it and you know those original recordings were not great recordings. They are classics but we thought we’d beef them up a bit and give them an up-to-date production.


Q: Well that first album was produced by Fast Eddie and it’s no secret that Eddie – God bless him – wasn’t at his best back then.


CE: I think there was a lot of alcohol being consumed. (laughs)


Q: (laughs) Yeah! Back to Re-ignition; were there any songs that you tried that didn’t work?


CE: No that was it. Once we had chosen the eleven, we just stuck with those. There are a couple of bonus tracks on the Japanese release- one is a slightly different version of Shell Shock and the other is Valley Of Tears with Doogie White on vocals. The whole thing was pretty straight forward recording and didn’t take long to do. We try to keep costs down all the time and was done mainly in home studios.


Q: Everything is these days Cliff.


CE: Yeah it’s the only way a lot of bands can do it these days. The costs of flying everyone around to a studio for two weeks and hotels and all that, those days are gone unfortunately. The thing is though, as long as you get the results at the end, it doesn’t matter how you do it. As long as it sounds good, then do whatever you have to do to get it done.


Q: You’re right. We’re of that generation that if we listen for something, we can hear if a band is not altogether in a studio but does it matter to the music buyer these days?


CE: No it doesn’t and that’s it and providing everyone is happy with it that’s all you can ask for.  Also, a lot of people are not buying albums now as such, they download and they listen to it on a pair of earphones where they can’t appreciate the quality of an album that cost £100,000…


Q: Cliff, don’t get me started on this one mate…


CE: (laughs) I understand that…we could rant about it all day. (laughs)


Q: Let’s get off that…The Tank legacy is something special. There seems to be a half a dozen bands of the NWOBHM era that have more influence than most - a famous Japanese band cover Shell Shock for example – and Tank are one of those.


CE: Yeah there’s quite a few bands that have covered Tank songs and quite a few that have been influenced by Tank. Obviously for one, Metallica. They were big fans and we toured with them as guests on the Ride The Lightening tour. It’s always nice to have people be influenced by your band. The band has been going a long time and we’ve had a lot of line-up changes and with Algy not being in the band anymore, it’s been hard work just keeping it going and moving it forward.


Q: You must have come up against that problem a lot; no Algy in the band, no Brabbs brothers in the band…


CE: Yeah that’s it. You get a bit of that but not so much anymore. When we first put it together, there were people in uproar about it but then when we did the first album – War Machine with Doogie – people thought there was good stuff there. You get one or two people who complain but that’s it really. Algy left the band almost twenty years ago.


Q: It’s the Ritchie Blackmore/Deep Purple thing isn’t it?


CE: Yeah that’s it.


Q: For me personally – and I always tell people this – if the spirit of the band is still there, that’s the most important thing, more than the members. Deep Purple certainly still have it.


CE: That’s it! Mick’s been in the band since 1983 and I joined in ’84 so thirty-five years of being in the same band, you do pick up the vibe of it and I think that does qualify us to carry on as Tank. Of course the band sounds different to the original but you have to evolve and move forward. You can’t stay the same as a lot of those bands from that era try to do.


Q: I fully agree with you on that one. So do you have some new material you are working on?


CE: Yes. We are writing at the moment and start recording around August so it will be ready for an early 2020 release. This will be the first original album with David on vocals and he has a great voice. His vocal style really suits what we do. It was Mick’s suggestion to bring him down to see how it works and I thought ‘Pink Cream 69…that’s really nothing to do with what we do’ but Mick said give him a go and straight away – Bang! The first song he had it nailed and fitted in perfectly.


Q: I have to confess, when it was announced, I had exactly the same thought.


CE: That’s it. It’s a bit of a weird one. When Doogie came in he had the more Classic Rock voice and we did a couple of albums with him but then he was poached by Michael Schenker and we pulled in another odd choice which was ZP Theart from Dragonforce but on the Valley Of Tear album it worked really well. A great frontman as well but then he was poached by Skid Row (laughs). Hopefully we can keep David. (laughs)


Q:  Cliff, thanks very much for this and I’ll see you in Melbourne and look forward to the Japanese shows.


CE: Ok. Fantastic Glenn, much appreciated.





CE: ああ、南アフリカに行ってから、オーストラリア、日本・・・これらの国は大好きなんだ。1ヶ月前にはヨーロッパも回ったけど、良かったよ。また日本に戻って来れるのを楽しみにしているんだ。























Q:アルバムではタンクの初期の曲を再録音しているね。そうする価値のある曲だと思う(例えば「Stormtrooper」とか「Shell Shock」)。でもどうしてあんなにマニアックな曲を選んだの?










CE:いや、あれだけだね。11曲を選んだんだ。それに取り掛かったところさ。日本盤のボーナス・トラックには2曲ほど入っていて、1曲は「Shell Shock」のちょっと変わったバージョン、もう1曲はドゥギー・ホワイトがボーカルを務めた「Valley Of Tears」なんだ。いざレコーディングということになったら、時間はかからなかったよ。経費も節約しながら、ほとんど自宅のスタジオで仕上げたんだ。






CE: そう、関係ないね。リスナーが聴きたいと思う音を届けるだけだ。また今のリスナーはアルバムを買わなくなっている。ダウンロードしたものをイヤホンで聴く。制作費に10万ポンドかけたアルバムのサウンド・クオリティなんて気にしないからね。





Q:そうしよう。タンクの血統というものは特別だと思う。NWOBHM時代のバンドの中には凄く影響力を持っているバンドがいる。ある有名な日本のバンドが「Shell Shock」をカバーしているよ。タンクはそんなバンドの一つなんだよ。




CE:そうだね。誰にもあることだろうけど、僕たちほどじゃないだろうね。バンド結成当時からトラブルに巻き込まれた。でもドゥギーと作ったデビュー・アルバム『War Machine』は評判が良かったんだ。異を唱える人もいたけど、評価は高かった。でもアルギーが抜けてからもう20年近くになるんだよね・・・












CE:そうだろ?おかしな感じに思えたんだ。ドゥギーは王道ロックのボーカルという感じだった。彼と数枚アルバムを作ったんだけど、彼がマイケル・シェンカーに引き抜かれてしまい、僕たちはドラゴンフォースからZPサートを加入させざるを得なくなった。でもアルバム『Valley Of Tear』はとてもうまくいったんだ。いいフロントマンにもなってくれたしね。でもその彼もスキッド・ロウに引き抜かれてしまった(笑)。何とかデヴィッドは持ちこたえてほしいね(笑)。




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