Tygers of Pan Tang

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Tygers of Pan Tang
Background information
Origin Whitley Bay, England
Genres Heavy metal, biker metal [1]
Years active1978–1984, 1985–1987, 1999–present
Labels Neat, MCA, Music for Nations, Zebra, Spectrum, Spitfire, Z, Angel Air, Communiqué, Hallmark, Castle, Livewire
Associated acts Persian Risk, Lionheart, Blue Murder, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Shadowkeep
Website Official website
MembersRobb Weir
Gav Gray
Craig Ellis
Jacopo Meille
Micky Crystal

Tygers of Pan Tang are a heavy metal band, part of the new wave of British heavy metal movement. They formed in 1978 in Whitley Bay, England, and were active until 1987. The band reformed in 1999 and continue to record and perform. The name is derived from Pan Tang, a fictional archipelago in Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melniboné fantasy series whose wizards keep tigers as pets.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

The new wave of British heavy metal was a nationwide musical movement that started in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s and achieved international attention by the early 1980s. Journalist Geoff Barton coined the term in a May 1979 issue of the British music newspaper Sounds to describe the emergence of new heavy metal bands in the mid to late 1970s, during the period of punk rock's decline and the dominance of new wave music.

Whitley Bay seaside town on the north east coast of England

Whitley Bay is a seaside town on the north east coast of England. Historically in Northumberland, it is administered as part of the borough of North Tyneside in Tyne and Wear. It has absorbed the village of Monkseaton.



Early days, 1978–1983

The Tygers of Pan Tang was originally formed by Robb Weir (guitar), Richard "Rocky" Laws (bass), Jess Cox (vocals) and Brian Dick (drums). They played in working men's clubs [2] and were first signed by local independent label Neat Records before MCA gave them a major record deal. After several singles, they released their first album, Wild Cat , in 1980. The album reached No. 18 in the UK Album Chart in the first week of its release.

Neat Records

Neat Records was a record label based near Newcastle, England. The label was established in 1979 by David Wood, who was the owner of Impulse Studios in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, England. After musician Conrad Lant began working at the studio in 1979, he convinced the studio to begin a label for rock and metal bands. The Neat label only had two other releases by a club band called Motorway and an 11 year old girl singer named Janie McKenzie, so the label decided to employ Lant as Artist liaison and invite bands to contact the studio. The label quickly signed a number of bands and the Neat catalogue began to grow quickly with EP releases and subsequent albums. Conrad Lant {aka: Cronos] later also signed to the label with his own band called Venom, and releasing several prominent singles and albums up until 1985. Another key figure in the establishment of the label was Steve Thompson. Thompson was house producer at Impulse at the time and helped set up Neat, became the A&R manager and produced all the initial recordings, as well as managing the publishing arm, Neat Music. The label was sold in 1995 to Sanctuary Records.

<i>Wild Cat</i> (album) 1980 studio album by Tygers of Pan Tang

Wild Cat is the debut album by the British heavy metal band Tygers of Pan Tang. It was released in 1980 on MCA Records,where it reached #16 on uk album chart. The album was re-issued in 1989 in a double-LP package with Spellbound, and on CD in 1997 with bonus tracks.

Subsequently John Sykes (formerly of Streetfighter, later in Badlands, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, and Blue Murder) was added as second guitarist. Jess Cox had a falling out with the others and quit, to be replaced by Persian Risk vocalist Jon Deverill. This lineup released Spellbound in 1981.

John Sykes musician, songwriter

John James Sykes is an English rock guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter who has played with Streetfighter, Tygers of Pan Tang, John Sloman's Badlands, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, and Blue Murder. Sykes shared composing duties for all songs on Whitesnake's 1987 self-titled album with David Coverdale. Sykes is also a successful solo artist.

Thin Lizzy Irish rock band

Thin Lizzy are a hard rock band formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1969. Two of the founding members, drummer Brian Downey and bass guitarist and lead vocalist Phil Lynott, met while still in school. Lynott led the group throughout their recording career of twelve studio albums, writing most of the material. The singles "Whiskey in the Jar", "Jailbreak", and "The Boys Are Back in Town" were major international hits. After Lynott's death in 1986, various incarnations of the band emerged over the years based initially around guitarists Scott Gorham and John Sykes, though Sykes left the band in 2009. Gorham later continued with a new line-up including Downey.

Whitesnake British hard rock band

Whitesnake are a hard rock band formed in England in 1978 by David Coverdale, after his departure from his previous band Deep Purple. Their early material has been compared by critics to the blues rock of Deep Purple, but they slowly began moving toward a more commercially accessible rock style. By the turn of the decade, the band's commercial fortunes changed and they released a string of UK top 10 albums, Ready an' Willing (1980), Come an' Get It (1981), Saints & Sinners (1982) and Slide It In (1984), the last of which was their first to chart in the US and is certified 2x platinum.

Sykes quit after the release of the third album, Crazy Nights , to audition for Ozzy Osbourne's band. He was replaced by ex-Penetration guitarist Fred Purser who had to learn the set in two days before touring.

<i>Crazy Nights</i> (Tygers of Pan Tang album) 1981 studio album by Tygers of Pan Tang

Crazy Nights is the third studio album by British heavy metal band Tygers of Pan Tang, released in November 1981 on MCA and is rumoured to be the last ever album to be recorded at Trident Studios before it closed the same year.

Ozzy Osbourne English heavy metal vocalist and songwriter

John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne is an English singer, songwriter, actor and reality television star who rose to prominence during the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, during which he adopted the nickname "The Prince of Darkness". Osbourne was fired from the band in 1979 due to alcohol and drug problems, but went on to have a successful solo career, releasing eleven studio albums, the first seven of which were all awarded multi-platinum certifications in the United States. Osbourne has since reunited with Black Sabbath on several occasions. He rejoined the band in 1997 and helped record the group’s final studio album 13 (2013) before they embarked on a farewell tour which culminated in a final performance in their home city, Birmingham, England, in February 2017. His longevity and success have earned him the informal title of "Godfather of Heavy Metal".

Penetration (band) band

Penetration is a punk rock band from County Durham, England formed in 1976. They re-formed in 2001 with several new members.

Tygers of Pan Tang's fourth album, The Cage , was released in 1982. The band then had a disagreement with MCA, who were not prepared to promote them unless they agreed to play more cover recordings (following the band's hit with "Love Potion No. 9"). They subsequently tried to break free from their contract, but MCA's demands exceeded the willingness of any other record company to pay to free the band, and the band broke up in frustration.

<i>The Cage</i> (Tygers of Pan Tang album) 1982 studio album by Tygers of Pan Tang

The Cage is a 1982 album by British heavy metal band Tygers of Pan Tang, released on MCA Records. It marked a move in a more commercial direction, selling over 200,000 copies and giving birth to two top 50 songs in the UK, namely the covers of Leiber & Stoller's "Love Potion No. 9" and the lesser known RPM song "Rendezvous". Another single charted at 63: the Steve Thompson song "Paris by Air". It is shortly after producing this album that the band split for the first time, due to tensions with their record company. Robb Weir and Brian Dick then formed the band Sergeant.

Love Potion No. 9 (song) 1959 single by The Searchers

"Love Potion No. 9" is a song written in 1959 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It was originally performed by the Clovers, who took it to number 23 on the US as well as R&B charts that year.

John Sykes later achieved success with Thin Lizzy and then Whitesnake.

Songs for a new album were demoed by the same line-up which completed the previous album. It was supposed to be called "Square One". The label didn't approve the material and, in consequence this line-up was dismembered.

Reformation, 1985–1987

In 1985, Jon Deverill and Brian Dick reformed the band with Steve Lamb (formerly of Sergeant) on guitar, Neil Sheppard on guitar, and ex-Warrior, ex-Satan member Clin Irwin on bass. Dave Donaldson later replaced Clin Irwin. Meanwhile, Robb Weir and Jess Cox formed the spin-off band Tyger-Tyger.

The reformed Tygers of Pan Tang released The Wreck-Age in summer 1985 through Music for Nations, and Burning in the Shade in 1987, through Zebra Records. Burning in the Shade received poor reviews and they disbanded again.

Various compilations and live albums were produced by the band's two first labels, Neat Records and MCA.

Latter days, 1999–present

During the 1998 Wacken Open Air festival, Jess Cox joined on stage with Blitzkrieg, playing three old Tygers songs. The audience's response was very positive, and a year later, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Tygers of Pan Tang and the 10th Wacken Open Air, the band was invited to play on the main stage. Brian Dick and Rocky were unable to join the band, but the Tygers (now Jess Cox and Robb Weir, backed up by Blitzkrieg guitarist Glenn S Howes, bassist Gavin Gray, and drummer Chris Percy) did perform. Recordings of their performance resulted in the Live at Wacken album.

In 2000, Robb Weir reformed the band as the only original member. The other musicians were Tony Liddell (vocals), Dean Robertson (lead guitar), Brian West (bass), and Craig Ellis (drums). They released Mystical through Z-Records. They toured in several festivals, but eventually were dropped by Z-Records in 2002, due to poor record sales.

The band went on to produce the split album The Second Wave: 25 Years of NWOBHM with Girlschool and Oliver/Dawson Saxon on Communique Records, and in 2004 released Noises in the Cathouse with new singer Richie Wicks who although a singer by trade was at the time still playing bass in Angel Witch.

Later that year, Richie Wicks left and was replaced by Italian vocalist Jacopo Meille. Wicks later joined Shadowkeep, appearing on their 2008 album The Hourglass Effect, before leaving in 2009. As of 2010, he was the vocalist in Heavenly Hell, a Dio-era Black Sabbath tribute band, and in 2013 he commenced fronting the band Black, White & Purple with fellow ex-Angel Witch guitarist Keith Herzberg and current Praying Mantis drummer Gary MacKenzie, along with Shadowkeep's ex-bassist Mark Fielden. [3]

Jon Deverill went on to work as an actor under the name of Jon De Ville, and as of October 2007 was performing in 'The Sound of Music' at the London Palladium with television star Connie Fisher. [4]

In October 2007, the band issued a limited edition five track EP titled Back and Beyond, which featured reworkings of three Tygers songs from the early 1980s, along with two new tracks taken from their forthcoming album. Animal Instinct was released on 19 May 2008, the first with vocalist Jacopo Meille. On 2011 bassist Gavin Gray return in the band to replace Brian West. On 15 July 2011 it was announced that Tygers Of Pan Tang have signed an agreement with Rocksector Records for the worldwide release of their next studio album, with a current working title of "Ambush", provisionally planned for February/March 2012. The album came out on 24 September.

In January 2013 the band announced via their official website that guitarist Dean Robertson had left the band and that they had begun the search for a replacement. [5] The following month, the band announced Micky Crystal as their new guitarist. [6]


Tygers of Pan Tang's line-ups
  • Jess Cox – vocals
  • Robb Weir – guitar
  • Rocky – bass
  • Brian Dick – drums
  • Jess Cox – vocals
  • Robb Weir – guitar
  • John Sykes – guitar
  • Rocky – bass
  • Brian Dick – drums
  • Jon Deverill – vocals
  • Robb Weir – guitar
  • John Sykes – guitar
  • Rocky – bass
  • Brian Dick – drums
  • Jon Deverill – vocals
  • Robb Weir – guitar
  • Fred Purser – guitar
  • Rocky – bass
  • Brian Dick – drums
  • Jon Deverill – vocals
  • Steve Lamb – guitar
  • Neil Shepherd – guitar
  • Clin Irwin – bass

Tygers of Pan Tang disbanded

  • Jon Deverill – vocals
  • Steve Lamb – guitar
  • Neil Shepherd – guitar
  • Dave Donaldson – bass
  • Brian Dick – drums

Tygers of Pan Tang disbanded

  • Jess Cox – vocals
  • Robb Weir – guitar
  • Glenn Howes – guitar
  • Gavin Gray – bass
  • Chris Percy – drums
  • Tony Liddell – vocals
  • Robb Weir – guitar
  • Dean Robertson – guitar
  • Brian West – bass
  • Craig Ellis – drums
  • Richie Wicks – vocals
  • Robb Weir – guitar
  • Dean Robertson – guitar
  • Brian West – bass
  • Craig Ellis – drums
  • Jacopo Meille – vocals
  • Robb Weir – guitar
  • Dean Robertson – guitar
  • Brian West – bass
  • Craig Ellis – drums
  • Jacopo Meille – vocals
  • Robb Weir – guitar
  • Micky Crystal – guitar
  • Gavin Gray – bass
  • Craig Ellis – drums

Current members

Past members


  • Richie Wicks (2002 - 2004)
  • Tony Liddell (2000–2002)
  • John Deverill (1981–1987)
  • Jess Cox (1978–1981, 1999)


  • Glenn S. Howes (1999)
  • John Sykes (1980–1982)
  • Fred Purser (1982–1983)
  • Aynsley Merritt (1985–1985)
  • Steve Lamb (1984, 1985–1987)
  • Neil Shepherd (1984, 1985–1987)
  • Dean Robertson (2000–2013)


  • Brian West (2000–2011)
  • Dave Donaldson (1985–1987)
  • Colin Irwin (1983–1985)
  • Richard "Rocky" Laws (1978–1983)


  • Steven Plant (1999–2001)
  • Chris Percy (1999)
  • Brian Dick (1978–1983, 1985–1987)
  • Jeff Armstrong (left), Freddie Purvis (right) (late ‘80s)


Tygers of Pan Tang


Studio albums

Compilation albums

Live albums



source: Roberts, D; "British Hit Singles & Albums", 2006 [7]

See also

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<i>Spellbound</i> (Tygers of Pan Tang album) 1981 studio album by Tygers of Pan Tang

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  1. Popoff, Martin. "The top 25 NWOBHM records". Goldmine . Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  2. Christe, Ian (2004). Sound of the beast: the complete headbanging history of heavy metal. HarperCollins. p. 49. ISBN   978-0-380-81127-4.
  3. Richie Wicks at Myspace
  4. "Jon De Ville – Franz". The Official Sound of Music London Web Site. The Really Useful Group Ltd. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008.
  5. "Dean_Robertson_Leaves". Encyclopedia_Metallium. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  6. "New Guitarist 2013". Tygers Of Pan Tang Official. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  7. 1 2 Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 572. ISBN   1-904994-10-5.
  8. 1 2 "Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives – Tygers of Pan Tang". The Metal Archives. 23 July 2002. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  9. Tygers Of Pan Tang Reveals New EP Details