TYGERS OF PAN TANG was one of the probably most impressive and, to this day, most lasting bands of the so-called New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. With their three legendary albums “Wild Cat” from 1980, “Spellbound” from 1981 and especially “Crazy Nights”, from 1981 as well, they created a legendary cult status for themselves. The most prominent member should be John Sykes, whom many will know from WHITESNAKE, THIN LIZZY and BLUE MURDER.
Around 1977, guitarist Robb Weir, who hardly was of full age, played in a Punk band called TRICK. After a short time, they were fed up with Punk and published an advert to hire new members for a Heavy Metal band. The name TYGERS OF PAN TANG was brought along by new bass man Rocky, after he had read a book called “Stormbringer” by an author named Michael Moorcock. The home of the TYGERS was the area around Whitley Bay in the north-east of England. After the band had split up with their first front-man Mark Butcher and enforcedly performed as a trio, Weir & co. met one Jess Cox during a gig in a club in their regional homely neighbourhood.
At that time, the band had one (!) own song (without any lyrics), believe it or not, the rest of their set was based on tracks by MOTÖRHEAD or TED NUGENT… For the first time you could talk about a serious version of TYGARE SOF PAN TANG. They rehearsed and wrote untiringly, own songs were created within a short period of time. After releasing the single “Don’t Touch Me There”, they signed with MCA in February 1980. Shortly after, they went on tour. They did their first international concert journey as an opening act for Epic Rockers MAGNUM. In the Summer of 1980, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal had reached its pinnacle. “Wild Cat” was released, the TYGERS’ first long-player. Guided by Chris Tsangarides (“Painkiller” – JUDAS PRIEST among others) the recordings took place. In 1980, the album quickly climbed into the UK charts and reached position 18, which was surprising for a rather noncommercial newcomer.
In November 1980, vocalist Jess Cox unexpectedly left the band. His reasons remained undisclosed to the public. The follow-up “Spellbound” was sung by Jon Deverill of the Welsh band PERSIAN RISK. In my opinion, his voice was even more suitable for the band and it became a trademark. Musically, they became heavier and wilder. The third album “Crazy Nights” was off-beat due to its cool cover alone. In the vein of King Kong, we see our tiger on a skyscraper, where it defends itself against the airplanes…Musically you get a wonderful collection of fine Melodic Metal songs that were common during this time. Raw and typically British, but all bands from that era had their own style. The vocals by Deverill was kept somewhat whining and always melancholy.
Songs such as "Running Time“, "Make A Stand“, "Lonely Man“ or "Love Don’t Stay“ will probably stay in my heart forevermore. They count among the greatest stuff UK Metal has ever created. Those who want to know where the roots of their music lie should not overlook this album. It definitely counts among the Top Ten of the most important albums of the NWoBHM-era. (Online February 23, 2006)