TIGER ARMY // When Armies Change Their Stripes

Nick 13 Tiger Army

In the nine years that followed the 2007 release of Music from Regions Beyond, Californian psychobilly crew Tiger Army turned a corner. When they returned to the scene and triumphantly dropped V last year they showed the world that they were a new band, one that was deftly able to balance energy and mood, and aggression with dynamics. As the trio gets ready to step onto Australian stages in support of their latest record, frontman Nick 13 explained to Hysteria the genesis of the band’s metamorphosis, and how it has helped transform the Tiger Army live show.

“I remember reading an article many years ago and it was Danzig talking about the end of the Misfits,” Monsieur 13 says when pushed about the evolution of Tiger Army.

“He was saying how towards the end of their life everything they were playing was extremely fast, and the effect was playing at that speed actually lost its power because it just becomes one dimensional. At least that’s what I took from it. Because like if you watch a great hardcore band the first five or 10 minutes are the greatest thing in your life, but then after the first two songs and you realise ‘this is it. Nothing new’s going to happen for the next hour’ it can get kinda boring.”

Unless you’re a teenager who still bothers to see support bands at shows, you’ve probably shared similar feelings of disengagement out at a show. Just how commonplace that feeling of boredom is at shows steeled Tiger Army’s resolve to do something a different. Not just for the sake of fans, but for themselves as musicians.

“To be able to play a ballad from the new record it’s a completely different feeling in the room, so then when you pick the energy back up it feels great.”

“It’s funny how just having a few new songs in the set can make it feel completely fresh when you’re playing it. If you come see a Tiger Army show you’re always going to get the full history of the band, but I think the new record means we have a lot more moods we can take people through during the set. Now we can go from older, pretty fast and aggressive songs and then take a breather with the audience and play a more sombre ballad. V has really given us a lot more hues that we can paint with.

“I think in the early days of the band the sets were full on the entire time, but I personally think it’s a lot more effective and fun to play those blistering tracks when they do stand out. When there’s a midtempo song and then a hillbilly song and then maybe a fast song. That’s going to make it stand out so much more. .. The goal for the set is to take the crowd on a journey through a whole different range of emotions.”

By all reports, the band’s North American tours where 13 brought his new philosophy on the Tiger Army live show to the stage have gone down a treat. And you can hear the enthusiasm in Nick’s voice as he discusses what it means to present some of the left-field material off V to receptive crowds.

“To be able to play a ballad from the new record it’s a completely different feeling in the room, so then when you pick the energy back up it feels great.”

As much as Nick is excited to talk about how V has helped Tiger Army emerge from some kind of punk rock cocoon as a beautiful, multi-coloured butterfly, the frontman also wants to reassure that a Tiger Army show is always going to be a pretty intense experience.

“If someone’s coming to a Tiger Army show to pit, they’re going to get what they paid for. But it’s more diverse now, so if someone’s just coming to sit down, have a few drinks and listen to some good songs, they can get that as well.”


Friday 17 February – Prince Bandroom, Melbourne 18+

Saturday 18 February – Metro Theatre, Sydney 18+

Sunday 19 February – Max Watts, Brisbane 18+

Tickets available via Destroy All Lines


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