Tygers of Pan Tang

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Tygers of Pan Tang
Tygers of Pan Tang at Headbangers Open Air 2014
Tygers of Pan Tang at Headbangers Open Air 2014
Background information
OriginWhitley Bay, England
Years active
  • 1978–1982
  • 1985-1987
  • 1999–present
MembersRobb Weir
Craig Ellis
Jacopo Meille
Francesco Marras
Huw Holding

Tygers of Pan Tang are an English heavy metal band who are part of the new wave of British heavy metal movement.[2] They formed in 1978 in Whitley Bay, England, and were active until 1987. The band reformed in 1999 and continue to record and perform.[2] 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.


Early days, 1978–1983[edit]

The Tygers of Pan Tang were formed by guitarist Robb Weir (born Robert Mortimer Weir, 1958), Richard "Rocky" Laws (bass), Jess Cox (vocals) and Brian Dick (drums).[2] They played in working men's clubs[3] and were first signed by local independent label Neat Records before MCA gave them a major record deal.[2] After several singles, they released their first album, Wild Cat, in 1980.[2] The album reached No. 18 in the UK Album Chart in the first week of its release.

Subsequently John Sykes (formerly of Streetfighter, later in Badlands, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, and Blue Murder) was added as second guitarist.[2] 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.[2]

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,[2] who had to learn the set in two days before touring.

Tygers of Pan Tang's fourth album, The Cage, was released in 1982.[2] The band then had a dispute with MCA, who were reluctant to promote the band unless they agreed to record more cover versions (following the band's hit with "Love Potion No. 9"). The band tried to terminate their contract, but MCA's release terms exceeded what other record companies were willing to pay to acquire the band. In frustration, the group chose to disband.[2]

Jess Cox released his solo album Third Step in 1983. John Sykes later achieved success with Thin Lizzy and 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 did not approve the material and, in consequence this line-up disbanded. Songs from this aborted album were issued in 2018 under the name Purser Deverill.[4]

Reformation, 1985–1987[edit]

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.[2]

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.[2]

Various compilations and live albums were produced by the band's two first labels, Neat Records and MCA. First Kill is one such compilation album, released on vinyl in 1986 by Neat Records, then re-released on CD by Castle Classics in 1992. All the songs are live demo recordings, without overdubs, made at Impulse Studios in 1979/80 as demos by the original line-up.[5][6]

Latter days, 1999–present[edit]

During the 1998 Wacken Open Air festival, Jess Cox joined on stage with Blitzkrieg, playing three old Tygers songs. The audience's response was 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.[2] 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 responded to the announcement of Meille in which Weir took aim at Wicks. Wicks responded to Weir on a Blabbermouth comment board commenting "I enjoyed my time with the band AT the time but it pains me to have to defend myself like this. I WILL NOT be judged by anyone from the TYGERS and will certainly not be labelled unprofessional by people no more pro than me!." 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.[7]

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.[8]

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 2013, guitarist Dean Robertson was replaced by Micky Crystal.[9] In 2015, Jess Cox formed "Jess Cox's Tygers of Pan Tang" and made festival appearances across Europe, as well as a tour of South America. 2016 saw the band release the self titled album "Tygers of Pan Tang" which featured the track "Only The Brave." This was followed up in 2019 with the album "Ritual." In 2020, Micky Crystal left the band.[10] Crystal stated in an interview that he had left due to poor management also claiming Robb Weir had little, to no involvement, in the band's 2019 album, ''Ritual''. It was noted that John Sykes had expressed similar feelings in a Kerrang interview from 1984. On May 28, 2021, the band released the compilation "Majors & Minors." In 2021 bassist Gav Gray left the band and was replaced by Huw Holding.[11]


Current members

  • Robb Weir – guitar, backing vocals (1978–1982, 1999–present)
  • Craig Ellis – drums, percussion, backing vocals (2000–present)
  • Jacopo "Jack" Meille – lead vocals (2004–present)
  • Francesco Marras – guitar (2020–present)
  • Huw Holding – bass (2021–present)

Jess Cox Tygers of Pan Tang

  • Jess Cox – vocals (2015–present)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Popoff, Martin. "The top 25 NWOBHM records". Goldmine. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Colin Larkin, ed. (2003). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. p. 471. ISBN 1-85227-969-9.
  3. ^ Christe, Ian (2004). Sound of the beast: the complete headbanging history of heavy metal. HarperCollins. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-380-81127-4.
  4. ^ "Purser / Deverill – Mighty Music". Mightymusic.dk. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  5. ^ Tucker, John (2015). Neat & Tidy: The Story of Neat Records. Iron Pages Books. pp. 315–316. ISBN 978-3-940822-04-8.
  6. ^ Stratmann, Holger. "Tygers of Pan Tang First Kill". Rock Hard. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
  7. ^ "Richie Wicks (voiceoflucifer) on Myspace". Myspace.com. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ "Dean_Robertson_Leaves". Encyclopedia_Metallium. Retrieved 16 January 2013.
  10. ^ "New Guitarist 2013". Tygersofpantang.com. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  11. ^ "TYGERS OF PAN TANG Introduce New Bassist HUW HOLDING".
  12. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 572. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  13. ^ "Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. 27 March 1982. Retrieved 13 July 2020.

External links[edit]