Tankard (Frank Thorwarth) – EN


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TANKARD – Another beer please!

There are 18 records by the German thrash outfit that has borne the Tankard name for 40 years. Our brewery friends have overcome the pandemic and are back with a record with the strange title Pavlov’s Dawgs. We intercepted Frank Thorwarth, bassist of the lineup since the early days. Here is our chat about their latest work and the evolution of their historic thrash metal.

 

Hey Frank. Nice to talk with you. Let’s start from your last album. PAVLOV’S DAWGS it’s a title with a double meaning as usual, I guess.. What’s behind this title?

Yes. Sure like in every Tankard album there’s a double meaning in the title. It’s a funny story about a russian scientist called Ivan Pavlov. He was using to do experiments with dogs and we conditioned lyrics of this song about this story. He was used to show food to dogs and he noticed that they started to be hungry more and more. It’s an experiment based on unconditioned reflexes of the dogs and you can compare it to the desire of beer. So every time you see it or try it, the more you get thirsty. This is the only song with true funny beer story. The others are all much different.

18 albums and your sound didn’t change at all. Maybe production a little bit, but you are a band very dedicated to your roots. So how you can describe your evolution or your not evolution in all these years and specially if we want to compare the other works with this last one?

Well.. First of all we don’t plan a new album or how it should sound. We produce or create songs on the moment we need to prepare an album. No masterplan behind it. For sure this album is a development and you can compare it to last albums. At the end the influences are the same we had through last years and so it sounds more or less like last our works

There are different meanings in your lyrics and people thinks you always talks about beer, alcohol or parties but there is so much social too. Like Ex-Fluencer. What can you tell me about this song and others where you leave messages probably important for whom who understand?

I can make a short description of every lyric song:

Ex-Fluencer is about the current situation with social media. Every influencer looking usually very beautiful and it is all surrounded by young girls who try to look like influencer but it never works. You need to understand there is a big business, a management behind who grows bigger and bigger. And this is what the song talks about

Beerbarians is also a funny story. Nojust funny but somehow serious too. A scientist told that people who invented beer was for sure very smart. It is required high intelligence to make a chemical process to transform ingredients into beer – moreover this liquid make people have a good behaviour and socialize together. So he for sure should has taken some advantage from this.

Diary – it is about a satanic guy. He is so evil and watching to real life with war and pollution he started to think that real life is more bad than hell and he decide to become a Christian.

Veins of Terra.. is really about a serious theme and talks about pollution and water problems. Veins of our planet are polluted and pollution is a very huge problem. Next war will start for sure for water. Politicians will go on by stocks it and deals for it. All humans should change behaviour since now to be more sure to have a planet where to live.

Memento – It’s just about memory and what’s stucked in your memory.

Metal Cash Machine is a song about merchandise sales. Like all other bands we also sell something about us and it’s a little bit ironic and we just kidding and joking about when people wants everything from a band. We know it well as we also are collectors ourselves.

Dark Self Intruder – really I can’t remember this one!

Lockdown Forever is about the covid situation and the quarantine where we started to getting boring after the first month and we started to wonder on what we did or what people would do in that situation? Things like to play games or eating, tv and yoga or karaoke. This is also ironic because in this situation the guy in the end is happy for it and long that lockdown could last forever.

On The Day I Die it’s one of my favourite. The one I would be played on my funeral. It talks about a person that realize he have only one day to live. Many times I stopped thinking about this. Did i payed my dues, is everything solved, did I payed all my debts. So this song face the theme about how you feel and what you will do when you will die very soon.

I saw you playing in Parma last may in Italy.. finally after covid time. How was for you to come back on stage and playing again near to normal times?!

It was really great. Really really great. As corona situation started in 2020 in the beginning it was ok and we could just relax; playing and travelling around the world so long was stressing. Then in a moment we had so much time free and we were happy. We didn’t realize it could take so long and then it started to get very boring soon and we missed tours and travelling and playing. We started to be nervous and it was a blast to be on stage and play again after so long time. After the first show I remember that it was like to be free again. We travelled again and we had back our normal life!

Over 2 years without live concerts can be a lot. You have your job so probably it can be worst for those bands who just live by tours and albums or technicians and people who works only with music and tour. How did you live this pandemic with Tankard?

If we did sold more albums during this period I don’t know. But at the end the income was less for the live we didn’t played. However we are not belonging to money and we have our jobs so we could pay our bills and that was good for us. Other people who work for the band like technician and sound guys they had more hard life. For them it was tought and they suffered a lot. So as well for bands who just live only with music and tours. We hope that something like this will never come back. Government is still talking about what will be in autumn and we really tremble only with the idea it can happen again.

I saw you released a boxset of vinyls.. so as Overkill and Skid Row did, so… what can you tell me about physical copies? Are you going to sell again more like in past or it is just a passenger fashion in your opinion?

For a thousand beers has been released for our 40th years anniversary. The record company did it and we liked the idea. We were involved and it was funny to release this because we needed to search for old pictures and old shows in DVD and VHS so we needed to see a lot of old stuff and we brought out all the NOISE records stuff! I think this thing of the physical music will get more and more successfull again. I got the feeling that it is not a fashion but a new trend. I’ve heard they restart with release of music cassettes as well, not only Tankard but it seems to be a business again. People started to be bored with download and they need something in their hands again. Now there are still problems in production as not so many companies produce vinyls and materials to produce them so it is not that easy today! It’s really good to be back to physicals.

And what about the liquid music? Is this the future or no chance for the metal fans to use it apart from discover just new music before to buy it?

It depends really on the music and not only for the heavy metal. So in the jazz or other kind of music where there are real fans, I think that the download started to be boring.. Sure in metal music people buy more than younger guys that use more liquid music!

It’s very hard to find young people at metal concerts.. do you think we are living the end of heavy metal or it is still alive?

I see totally different. I don’t really know how it can be in Italy. Looking back in other countries or Germany I see lots of young people and young bands playing the 80 stuff. There are lots of people in the crowd that are younger than our instruments. Elder people have more money to go to concerts also so I guess that it should not be that easy for younger people to assist to concerts and buy music today.

What about the promotion for the new album? Do you have already any plans for new live concerts? We are still waiting for the big four german thrashers to come back!

I am not sure if this will ever happen. We played at a festival with the other band for case, but there are no plans for a common tour. We talk a lot about this but there are problems with scheduled it with the other bands. It’s not that easy. We will play next year for sure and we made a short list of shows. We have lots of plans but this not include a full tour like for 4 weeks. We always go out in weekends as playing in midweek days is more difficult as we all need to go to work on the next day like the whole audience!

40 years in music. What and how changed the thrash metal scene in Germany and worldwide?

We had good times in 80ies and 90ies.. we played only one show in 2000 where thrash was not so popular. We had no reason for a reunion because we never stopped and we played also for few people – then we came up and now it’s again good time for thrash metal with young bands and lots of people at our shows. There are lots of different styles and bands and there is a new energy for the whole metal scene.

A lot of music videos today are lyrics video or something where they show how to play an instrument on a specific song (playthrough) – do you think that the Era of the videoclip is over?

No.. frankly spoken , I am 54 years old and maybe I am old and don’t follow all the trends, but we did already 3 video and we will keep going on. I think it is still important doing videos. On Facebook and Instagram and anyway in the other social media the video is the first contact with the band and it’s for free. It still allow you to discover the new single and give you the chance to choose if to go to buy the album or not…!

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