Tiger Army Biography
Last updated: 08/29/2011 12:00:00 PM
Formed in California's East Bay in the dying embers of 1995, Tiger Army played their first show in March 1996 at the legendary 924 Gilman Street in Berkeley with AFI. More shows throughout Northern California that year saw them on bills with various touring and local punk/rock'n'roll bands, even playing a gig with English psychobilly legends The Meteors. 1997 saw a little more playing and recording, as well as the band's first release, a three-song vinyl EP.
A period of unwelcome dormancy followed, at least as far as most knew -- but behind the scenes frontman Nick 13 never stopped writing songs or working to make the band's first full-length album a reality. With the belief and help of Rancid's Tim Armstrong who'd signed the band to his label Hellcat Records (a partnership with Epitaph’s Brett Gurewitz), the perseverance was not in vain.
Days before Halloween '99, the band's self-titled debut CD/LP Tiger Army finally hit the stores and the band returned with a vengeance. The first album's lineup was led by Nick 13 on guitar and vocals, with Rob Peltier (of seminal U.S. psychobilly band The Quakes) on stand-up bass and Adam Carson of AFI on drums. Dark, melodic and aggressive, the songs were a hybrid of modern psychobilly, hardcore punk and 1950's rockabilly/rock'n'roll that the band simply dubbed "American Psychobilly."
After the first album's release, Nick 13 joined forces with longtime friend Geoff Kresge (stand-up bass). The pair did a California mini-tour to promote the first record's release in late '99 with the help of drummer and friend Joe Fish. Shortly thereafter, Geoff moved to Tiger Army's new home of Los Angeles where he became a permanent member. With the addition of London May (ex-Samhain) on drums the band began to gig on a regular basis, continuing to establish a reputation for fiery, hard-hitting live sets. As their loyal following of psychobillies, punk rockers, skinheads, greasers, hardcore kids, deathrockers and other misfits continued to grow, Tiger Army began headlining various sold-out shows at Southern California venues like the Troubadour and Galaxy Theatre, as well as sharing stages with such renowned bands as Social Distortion, X, The Polecats, TSOL and AFI.
In early 2001, the band entered the studio to begin work on their second album for Hellcat, entitled Tiger Army II: Power of Moonlite. The album was released that summer and its nocturnal energy, aggressive stand-up bass and spine-chilling melody further defined the American Psychobilly sound, bringing Tiger Army many new fans. May left the band shortly before the second album's release and was quickly replaced by the newest member of the Tiger Army family, drummer Fred Hell (formerly of NorCal punk rock’n’roll outfit Union of the Dead). Hell's solid, powerful style and visual flair immediately became an asset to the band onstage.
With the release of TAII and a strong lineup in place, the band embarked on a period of relentless touring that began in late June 2001 and concluded in late November 2002, during which the band played almost 170 shows (including two visits to Europe, one to Japan and Canada, and multiple U.S. tours, both regional and full). Highlights include supporting or opening slots on tours with bands such as Dropkick Murphys, The Damned, Reverend Horton Heat, TSOL, playing part of the 2002 Warped Tour, headlining portions of Hellcat’s “Punks vs. Psychos” tour (with labelmates the Nekromantix and the Distillers), as well as appearances at various festivals devoted to psychobilly, punk/hardcore or roots music such as the Tokyo Big Rumble and Kentucky’s Krazy Fest 5 in 2001, and California’s Hootenanny and the 10th Satanic Stomp in Germany in 2002. Particularly memorable among the band’s headlining shows was a sold-out performance on Halloween night 2002 at the Hollywood House of Blues.
Most recently Tiger Army has released a six-song EP entitled the Early Years, a reissue of the band’s much sought-after and long-out-of-print first vinyl release that’s been remixed and augmented with additional unreleased material from the band’s early recording sessions in 1996 and ‘97. The band’s also recently completed a video for the song “Incorporeal” from Tiger Army II: Power of Moonlite -- their second, and the second to be directed by frontman Nick 13 (the first, “Cupid’s Victim,” was a stylish black-and-white piece that was even played several times on MTV2, a small coup for a low budget, self-directed video from a band on an independent label).
After the extensive touring of the previous two years, Tiger Army took a break from the road in 2003; their focus shifted from playing live to practicing new material for the next full-length album (the working title: Tiger Army III). In a horrible turn of events, drummer Fred Hell was shot four times on March 10th, including a wound to the chest and a bullet in the brain, yet he miraculously survived. After multiple surgeries and a several-day stay in the hospital, he was released to home care and is now recovering at an amazing rate considering the severity of his injuries. So far it seems that a full recovery will be possible with time. Songwriting for the new album was not complete at the time of the shooting and still continues as the band awaits the day that they can enter the practice room as a whole to resume preparations for entering the studio later this year.
Welcome to Tiger Army’s official website! There’s a lot of material here for you to see, hear and read. Anything you want to know about news, touring, and so on, just check out all the different sections of this site! Remember -- if you're with us, you are one of us -- TIGER ARMY NEVER DIE!!!