JAG PANZER - “The Biggest Achievement Is How There Is Still An Audience For Our Entire Catalog”
October 16, 2017, 6 months ago
With 30 years of music, nine studio albums (including the classic debut Ample Destruction in 1984), Jag Panzer are back with their tenth - The Deviant Chord, out now via Steamhammer/SPV. They have already released to lyric video for 'Foggy Dew' and 'Far Beyond All Fear'. Long time guitarist Mark Briody recently commented on the track 'Foggy Dew' - was a song I grew up with. My Father used to sing it often. He also told me stories of the Easter Rising in Ireland, the same stories his father told him. It was a challenge to record a classic song that has already been covered many times. But I think we were able to bring a different flavor to the song."
In the following interview Mark Briody gets everyone caught up on the band's lineup, album's artwork and its connection to a song(s), efforts to record a live show for DVD, and plans for the new album.
BraveWords: Jag Panzer have been active on and off since the band started. Who is in the current lineup for the new album The Deviant Chord?
Briody: “The lineup is Harry ‘The Tyrant’ Conklin – vocals. Joey Tafolla – lead guitar. Mark Briody – rhythm guitar. John Tetley – bass. Rikard Stjernquist – drums. It’s the same lineup as our album The Fourth Judgement. It’s also the same as Ample Destruction, with the exception of drummer.”
BraveWords: The cover artwork is very creative. Is there a story to it, and is it connected to the album as a concept, or a few individual songs?
Briody: “I’ve wanted to do a mad scientist themed cover for a few years now. I wanted a Dr Jekyl / Mr. Hyde feel with also a tribute to Nikola Tesla. Our band studio is a few miles from where Tesla had his laboratory. We all grew up with stories of his experiments. So I set the cover in the time period of Tesla (late 1800s). The song ‘Far Beyond All Fear’ documents the story of the scientist on the cover. Our lyric video for that song tells the story.”
BraveWords: Over the course of ten albums, how does The Deviant Chord fit into your history? Do you feel it relates to more recent or older albums?
Briody: “There is a lot of variety on The Deviant Chord. In fact, I’d call it our most varied album. There are songs on the album which sound like old school Jag Panzer while others sound like our more recent recordings. So I think it’s album that characterizes our music throughout our entire career.”
BraveWords: Reactions from fans and press to the lyric video for ‘Far Beyond All Fear’ and ‘Foggy Dew’?
Briody: “They seem to be pretty good. Of course there are always people that don’t like one thing or another, but in general the response has been positive.”
BraveWords: Thoughts on touring plans? Maybe pairing up with one of your peers?
Briody: “We’re looking into touring options now. It’s tough to make things work in today’s market, but we will figure something out. I’m dying to get on the road.”
BraveWords: For a band such a Jag Panzer, with the status of having a classic debut, Ample Destruction, yet with an underground following over the years, what are your feelings of the band’s place in heavy metal history?
Briody: “Our older albums continue to be relevant and people still listen to our entire catalog. I’m very proud of that.”
BraveWords: While bands such as Helloween, Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, Blind Guardian, etc are the godfathers of the European power metal sound, what are your thoughts on Jag Panzer’s place as one of those foundation bands from the American sound and stylings?
Briody: “We’re certainly one of the early American bands to follow the NWOBHM trend. There were a few of us back then playing classic metal here in America. It was cool being one of the pioneers. The scene was very different back then.”
BraveWords: Along with Attacker, Virgin Steele, Riot, Omen and Manilla Road…who else would you say belongs to the family?
Briody: “I would add Savatage and Manowar. Manowar blazed the trail for having international success without U.S airplay or any of the other typical routes to music success here in America. They created a blueprint for many other bands to follow.”
BraveWords: Plans to record a concert for DVD?
Briody: “I’d like to, but that’s proven to be tough. Hiring a pro mobile recording truck is very expensive, far more then we could ever budget. We often get people that offer to record shows and I do appreciate the offer. But I haven’t had much luck with these things working out. I need to find a reasonable way to record a series of concerts.”
BraveWords: What are the three biggest achievements, or highlights, of Jag Panzer’s career?
Briody: “It’s hard to narrow down three specific things, so I’ll give you the general overview as to what is our biggest achievement. For me, the biggest achievement is how there is still an audience for our entire catalog. Our song from ’83 ‘Harder Than Steel’ was featured in the film Dark Places, it was hand picked by the director as a song that represented 80s underground metal. Our mid period songs, like ‘Iron Eagle’ or ‘Black’, can get a whole crowd singing along. And there’s been in audience for our recent material as well. As an artist, this is a big achievement.”
"Fire Of Our Spirit" lyric video:
"Foggy Dew“ lyric video:
"Far Beyond All Fear" lyric video: