Tygers of Pan Tang

Tygers of Pan Tang
TygersOfPanTangVorselaar.jpg
Background information
OriginWhitley Bay, England
GenresHeavy metal, biker metal[1]
Years active1978–1984, 1985–1987, 1999–present
LabelsNeat, MCA, Music for Nations, Zebra, Spectrum, Spitfire, Z, Angel Air, Communiqué, Hallmark, Castle, Livewire
Associated actsPersian Risk, Lionheart, Blue Murder, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Official website
MembersRobb Weir
Gav Gray
Craig Ellis
Jacopo Meille
Micky Crystal

Tygers of Pan Tang are a heavy metal band, part of the new wave of British heavy metal movement. They formed in 1978 in Whitley Bay, England, and were active until 1987. The band reformed in 1999 and continue to record and perform. The name is derived from Pan Tang, a fictional archipelago in Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melniboné fantasy series whose wizards keep tigers as pets.

Biography

Early days, 1978–1983

The Tygers of Pan Tang was originally formed by Robb Weir (guitar), Richard "Rocky" Laws (bass), Jess Cox (vocals) and Brian Dick (drums). They played in working men's clubs[2] and were first signed by local independent label Neat Records before MCA gave them a major record deal. After several singles, they released their first album, Wild Cat, in 1980. The album reached No. 18 in the UK Album Chart in the first week of its release.

Subsequently John Sykes (formerly of Streetfighter, later in Badlands, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, and Blue Murder) was added as second guitarist. Jess Cox had a falling out with the others and quit, to be replaced by Persian Risk vocalist Jon Deverill. This lineup released Spellbound in 1981.

Sykes quit after the release of the third album, Crazy Nights, to audition for Ozzy Osbourne's band. He was replaced by ex-Penetration guitarist Fred Purser who had to learn the set in two days before touring.

Tygers of Pan Tang's fourth album, The Cage, was released in 1982. The band then had a disagreement with MCA, who were not prepared to promote them unless they agreed to play more cover recordings (following the band's hit with "Love Potion No. 9"). They subsequently tried to break free from their contract, but MCA's demands exceeded the willingness of any other record company to pay to free the band, and the band broke up in frustration.

John Sykes later achieved success with Thin Lizzy and then Whitesnake.

Songs for a new album were demoed by the same line-up which completed the previous album. It was supposed to be called "Square One". The label didn't approve the material and, in consequence this line-up was dismembered.

Reformation, 1985–1987

In 1985, Jon Deverill and Brian Dick reformed the band with Steve Lamb (formerly of Sergeant) on guitar, Neil Sheppard on guitar, and ex-Warrior, ex-Satan member Clin Irwin on bass. Dave Donaldson later replaced Clin Irwin. Meanwhile, Robb Weir and Jess Cox formed the spin-off band Tyger-Tyger.

The reformed Tygers of Pan Tang released The Wreck-Age in summer 1985 through Music for Nations, and Burning in the Shade in 1987, through Zebra Records. Burning in the Shade received poor reviews and they disbanded again.

Various compilations and live albums were produced by the band's two first labels, Neat Records and MCA.

Latter days, 1999–present

During the 1998 Wacken Open Air festival, Jess Cox joined on stage with Blitzkrieg, playing three old Tygers songs. The audience's response was very positive, and a year later, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Tygers of Pan Tang and the 10th Wacken Open Air, the band was invited to play on the main stage. Brian Dick and Rocky were unable to join the band, but the Tygers (now Jess Cox and Robb Weir, backed up by Blitzkrieg guitarist Glenn S Howes, bassist Gavin Gray, and drummer Chris Percy) did perform. Recordings of their performance resulted in the Live at Wacken album.

In 2000, Robb Weir reformed the band as the only original member. The other musicians were Tony Liddell (vocals), Dean Robertson (lead guitar), Brian West (bass), and Craig Ellis (drums). They released Mystical through Z-Records. They toured in several festivals, but eventually were dropped by Z-Records in 2002, due to poor record sales.

The band went on to produce the split album The Second Wave: 25 Years of NWOBHM with Girlschool and Oliver/Dawson Saxon on Communique Records, and in 2004 released Noises in the Cathouse with new singer Richie Wicks who although a singer by trade was at the time still playing bass in Angel Witch.

Later that year, Richie Wicks left and was replaced by Italian vocalist Jacopo Meille. Wicks later joined Shadowkeep, appearing on their 2008 album The Hourglass Effect, before leaving in 2009. As of 2010, he was the vocalist in Heavenly Hell, a Dio-era Black Sabbath tribute band, and in 2013 he commenced fronting the band Black, White & Purple with fellow ex-Angel Witch guitarist Keith Herzberg and current Praying Mantis drummer Gary MacKenzie, along with Shadowkeep's ex-bassist Mark Fielden.[3]

Jon Deverill went on to work as an actor under the name of Jon De Ville, and as of October 2007 was performing in 'The Sound of Music' at the London Palladium with television star Connie Fisher.[4]

In October 2007, the band issued a limited edition five track EP titled Back and Beyond, which featured reworkings of three Tygers songs from the early 1980s, along with two new tracks taken from their forthcoming album. Animal Instinct was released on 19 May 2008, the first with vocalist Jacopo Meille. On 2011 bassist Gavin Gray return in the band to replace Brian West. On 15 July 2011 it was announced that Tygers Of Pan Tang have signed an agreement with Rocksector Records for the worldwide release of their next studio album, with a current working title of "Ambush", provisionally planned for February/March 2012. The album came out on 24 September.

In January 2013 the band announced via their official website that guitarist Dean Robertson had left the band and that they had begun the search for a replacement.[5] The following month, the band announced Micky Crystal as their new guitarist.[6]