Following “Disco Destroyer”, 2000’s “Kings of Beer” is number two in a long list of exclusive Tankard vinyl re-releases on High Roller Records. It was released during a difficult time for the band, as singer Gerre remembers: “Our guitarist Andy Bulgaropulos had left us after ‘Disco Destroyer’ and we didn’t have an immediate substitute for him. At the time, Thrash Metal was not the ‘in’ thing at all. Month after month passed and nothing really happened. We placed a couple of small adds and eventually Andy Gutjahr heeded our call. What a catch he was!”
“Kings of Beer” once again had a brilliant cover, whose idea was it? Andreas Geremia knows: “It was Buffo’s idea one more time. Of course it is a pun on Manowar’s ‘Kings of Metal’.” Somehow Gerre compares the overall quality of “Kings of Beer” with “Disco Destroyer”: “Both records have some really cool songs, on ‘Kings of Beer’ I am especially proud of ‘Dark Exile’ and ‘Tattoo Coward’. The influence of our new guitarist, however, did not come into play until ‘B-Day’. As goes for ‘Disco Destroyer’, the sound of ‘Kings of Beer’ could have been slightly better.” So was “Tattoo Coward” and autobiographical number, that’s what I have always wondered’? “You’re dead right”, says Gerre. “Up until then, this was indeed the case. However, I have overcome this paranoia and today I have a nice tattoo on my biceps: our flying alien on the fridge.” “Talk Show Prostitute” was another interesting song on the album: “The lyrics deal with all those crap talk shows on TV which were all over the place in the late ‘90’s, especially on private channels. Legions of idiots talked bullshit and no topic was stupid enough not to be featured. That was worth a Tankard song, ha, ha.” Did anybody ever help Gerre with the lyrics, as he is not a native speaker of the English language? That was and still is the case: “Our former guitarist Andy Bulgaropulos as well as roadie Harald Maul help us out, which means they actually write the lyrics and we supply all the information regarding topics, melody, rhyming and so on. They are a big help to us, we probably wouldn’t be able to work without them anymore.” Gerre had some health problems in 2000: “We only played a single show in 2000 because I had to get rid of my tonsils and therefore had big problems with my voice. However, quitting was not an option for me. In 2001, we were back on track, playing weekend gigs and appearing at festivals.” “Kings of Beer” was once again released on Century Media and Tankard never had a problem with the label at all: “No, they were cool and did a lot for ‘Kings of Beer’. It was a pity we could not promote the album with a tour.” The press reactions for “Kings of Beer” were also really good says Gerre: “No bad reviews. Rock Hard awarded us 8.5 out of 10 points and compared the album to ‘The Meaning of Life’ and ‘Two-faced’ – that was a bit too much ...”
“Zombie Attack” was released in 1986 and when “Kings of Beer” saw the light of day in 2000 Tankard were already celebrating their 14th year in the music business. Was that the time when older fans started to quit and new faces appeared at gigs? Gerre explains: “From the mid to the late ‘90’s more and more older fans disappeared but we did not get enough new blood either as Thrash Metal was not that popular anymore. Since 2001/02 this has changed, thank god, and even old farts like us are still allowed to make some noise. Today we have a very cool mixture of old guys and new Metalheads at our gigs.”
Manager Buffo worked for Tankard fom day one and still holds the flame. Tankard without Buffo? Gerre can’t see the day coming: “Not possible. He is the inofficial fifth member of Tankard. I can’t picture Tankard without Buffo. He is our friend, not just our manager. We will carry this through together until the end ... we will rock until we drop, ha, ha.”
As usual, the High Roller release will be something special, “Kings of Beer” will have one bonus track, namely a cover version of Metallica’s “Damage Inc.”, and will feature tons of exclusive photo material.