Tankard – The Ultimate Six-Pack

Sunday, 29th June 2014

The non-musical pursuits of Tankard frontman Andreas “Gerre” Geremia are obvious: Soccer (er, “football”) and beer. Trudge through the band’s social media outlets and you’ll find various photos stating as such; the band loves the two in tandem, especially at the present time when their home country of Germany is playing so well. Both are near-fanatical pursuits for a band who has no bones with showing that a good time is possible, even as they’re surrounded by the ultra-serious Destruction, Kreator, and Sodom. Someone needs to hold up the comedic end of the “Teutonic 4,” just like Anthrax did (or does) with the “Big 4,” right?

Nevertheless, the band’s new R.I.B. (Rest in Beer) is another delightful thrash platter that combines usual subject matter for Tankard (i.e. beer), with some agile, punchy action. In fact, the band’s musicality has only gotten better with each successive album; there are some real solid gold gems here, particularly “Fooled By Your Guts,” “Breakfast for Champions,” and “Clockwise to Deadline.” And it bears repeating: Tankard have only gotten better with age, even with a remarkable 16 albums in 32 years under their belts. Read that again: Sixteen albums in 32 years. Marvels of consistency.

With this in mind, the jovial and easy-going Geremia rang DR on a Sunday morning to discuss R.I.B., the band’s remarkable staying power, beer, their trip to the States for the Maryland Deathfest, and their standing among the hallowed “Teutonic 4” of thrash. Read on…

Dead Rhetoric: You are one of the rare thrash bands that has gotten better with age. What can you attribute that to?

Andreas “Gerre” Geremia: I think we a lot of cool albums out, but A Girl Called Cerveza was the first album with Nuclear Blast. They do a lot promotion; they have a lot of power, so it was a good step forward for Tankard. I think it was in the Tankard history, there was a drag, in the middle of the 90’s to the end, thrash metal wasn’t popular. It wasn’t gone, but it wasn’t popular anymore. We had less shows and less sales, but there was something like B-Day, changing the record company, working with a new producer. B-Day was not us reborn, but a cut in the history. Since the B-Day album in 2002, everything has always been a little step forward with Tankard.

We’ve found a good mixture of the production on one hand. We have a really heavy sound, and you can hear every instrument very clear. I think we’ve found our way and comparing to A Girl Called Cerveza, I’d say they’re a little bit harder and the songs are more to the point. We only have two songs on this album that are longer than two minutes, but I still like A Girl Called Cerveza, but I think the new album kicks a little bit harder.

Dead Rhetoric: You’ve always been a part-time band. Does that make things easier; a little less pressurized even?

Geremia: Yeah, I think this is one very important in this band that we don’t have to play 150 shows in a year. We don’t have to sell many records to survive, so we are totally independent and free. We can do what we want. It’s a very positive aspect in this band. On the other hand, we can’t play every offer we get. We get offers all over the world. Sometimes, it’s a little sad, but we try to spend our free time with activities in the band. This year, for the first time we’re going to Australia. We’re really looking forward to it. We’re going to miss some football games, but that doesn’t matter. [laughs]

Dead Rhetoric: Is Nuclear Blast okay with the schedule you keep? They had to of known what they were getting when they signed you.

Geremia: Yeah, they are totally 100% okay with us. Before we signed the contract, we talked with them and are situation that we are not able to play 150 shows in a year, but they are 100% okay with us. It’s really great that they push Tankard so much, especially in Europe, we have a lot of great fans. They do everything to push the band. I have so many interviews for this album; that’s really amazing. We are really satisfied and hope to do another few albums with them.

Dead Rhetoric: In the press release for the album, you stated “Never break up a winning team.” So, working with (producer)  Michael [Mainx] again, what’s the atmosphere like?

Geremia: This is our third album working with Michael and it’s a good relationship. He’s 100% professional, so he really kicked our ass again. You have to imagine, especially for the vocals, it’s like three takes a song and you choose the best part. It’s really hard work and he really takes care of every word and what the word means and how to express the word. It was more hard work, but we are really satisfied with the results.

Dead Rhetoric: You are a fantastic singer. Most thrash singers lack personality, but you’ve always had your own sound and/or style to your vocals. How have you developed it over the years?

Geremia: We’ve never really changed our style. There’s one album that maybe is a little bit different, The Tankwart from 1995, which is maybe a little more melodic. But we’ve never really changed our style and when you see Tankard on the cover, it’s Tankard. We still have a lot of fun to play this kind of music and we still the spirit and I think we really love the combine thrash metal and fun. It fits to us as person and also, we also have a lot of serious lyrics since Chemical Invasion. On the new album, we tried to do another mixture of serious stuff like “War Cry.” Then we have the typical, funny lyrics like “R.I.B.”

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