Tank : Interview with Cliff Evans

Tank are on a roll again, and after the success of their War Machine album and the resulting live dates hopes are high for the follow-up album. Cliff Evans took some time out of the recording process to update us on Tank 2012.

2012 Tank Promo by Enda Madden_0393

Tank getting back together was a reunion many hoped for but few believed would ever happen, how did the decision to regroup and start recording again come about?

It wasn’t really a reunion. Tank have never officially split up. We just used to take very long breaks in between recording and touring. Algy had pretty much lost interest in Tank and he had some serious health problems to deal with. We were getting so many offers to play shows in Europe and several labels wanted to put out new albums so Mick and I made the difficult decision to keep the band alive and carry on without Algy. Mick has been in the band for nearly 30 years and myself for 28 so we thought we’d earned the right to carry on doing something we’re passionate about. The fans have been with us all the way and their loyalty and support has got us through a difficult time.

I guess the most obvious question, and one you’re probably fed up with, but what is the situation with Algy at the moment? there’s reports of a new album soon from him under the Tank name ?

I haven’t spoken to Algy for sometime. I’ve seen updates on some guys facebook that Algy is releasing a new album but I listened to the tracks that were posted and they are just old demos from years ago.

For a while there were threats of legal action flying around at one point, has that all been resolved?

No legal action was taken against us at any time. We were determined to keep the Tank name alive and carry on producing quality British rock music so nothing would have stopped us anyway. We’ve recorded two good albums with this line up now and we’re very proud of the music we are creating and have no intention to stop now.

Was there ever any doubt in your mind that the reformation would be Tank, and would be able to honour the legacy that the band built up at the forefront of the NWOBHM?

Because Mick and myself have been in the band for so long, we are recognized by the fans as being a major part of the Tank sound. We’ve always stuck to our no nonsense Les Paul and Marshall stack combination which is the power behind the band. When we put the new line up together we decided that if the fans were not happy with what they saw we would call it a day and go no further. Fortunately the reaction to this line up has been amazing. I think the fans have respected our decision to keep on going and they love the new songs and direction the band is going in.

The comeback album War Machine got some great reviews, were you nervous about how it would be received beforehand?

We were very pleased with how the War Machine album turned out but I must admit we were a bit nervous about what the press and fans would think of it because of Algy’s non involvement. It ended up getting album of the month in several major European magazines and absolutely amazing reviews around the world. A couple of the songs from that album have now become new classics in our live show.

Doogie’s vocals certainly give the band a new dimension, how did you persuade him to sign up?

Mick was working with Doogie on his solo album and suggested to me that we try him out on a couple of demo songs to see what he can come up with. I wasn’t convinced with the idea but thought to give it a try anyway. I think we were all pleasantly surprised with the results we came up with. It’s given Mick and me the chance to write and play the style of music we really enjoy which was not possible before. The band had to move forward musically to survive and compete in an ever increasingly difficult time for rock music.

What has been the highlight for the band since you got back together?

Just getting back together is a major highlight. Playing shows with these great musicians is a real pleasure and being so well received by the fans is priceless.

The reunion has been garnering some rave reviews, you must be happy with how well things are going?

I think we are producing great new music in the studio and delivering the goods live on stage. We are a well disciplined band and do whatever we can to be as good as we can be. We have a lot of experience between us, both on stage and in the studio and a pedigree that speaks for itself.

Were you surprised that there is still such an appetite for “proper” heavy metal across Europe?

Europe has always been the stronghold for metal. i don’t think it’s as big as it was in the 80/90’s but the demand is still  there. Other territories like the USA and UK have   seen the demand for rock and metal diminish over recent years. There are several reasons for this which I won’t go into in depth now but illegal downloading and X Factor are two of them.

You’re working on your new album how’s it going so far?

The new album ‘War Nation’ is finished and ready for release on June 4th by Metalmind Productions. As with the ‘War Machine’ album, the songs are all very different which makes the album interesting from start to finish. Again it covers many different styles and influences but sounds very British. That’s what we do.

You’ve been spoiling the continent with live appearances, when can we expect some UK dates?

We’d love to tour the UK, it’s been such a long time. Unfortunately for some reason we’ve never had a good relationship with the British press and no promoters have been interested in booking UK shows for us so we remain relatively unknown in our own country which is quite upsetting really. I think the UK is totally fucked up musically at the moment. It’s all run by a handful of greedy people. Shame on them.