I don’t know that I could choose the ‘best’ songs from Tiger Army – that’s probably for others to decide – but I can tell you what some of my favourites are and why…
11. True Romance (Tiger Army, 1999)
I’d like to give this song an honourable mention, even if it’s not in the top 10. It’s an example of a blending fact and fiction – you don’t have to have killed someone to know the feeling of betrayal in love, thus something transgressive is actually highly relatable. Separately, if there’s an earlier example of tattoo as metaphor in a rock lyric (“Her face is tattooed on my dreams”), I’d like to know what it is, because I didn’t copy it from anyone and it’s been done ad naseum since!
10. Hechizo De Amor (Music From Regions Beyond, 2007)
I had written a song called Lovespell and one morning awoke from a dream with the idea that it must be in Spanish. I was a huge Beatles fan growing up and the singles they recorded in German were absolutely an influence on my longtime conscious desire to record a song in another language, but the dream was the catalyst that this was the song and the time to make that desire a reality.
9. Rose Of The Devil’s Garden (III: Ghost Tigers Rise, 2004)
This was an important song for me in terms of musical expansion. Pushing the boundaries of genre was important to me as early as our first album, but I’d always wanted to make music that reflected all my musical interests and loves. Darkwave was quite an unusual influence at the time to incorporate into the type of music we were playing, but following my instincts and desires as an artist hasn’t let me down – at the end of the day I know that I’ll like it if nothing else!
8. Pain (Music From Regions Beyond, 2007)
I wrote the lyrics from my point of view, but they seemed to resonate even more than I would’ve guessed. This song is catharsis. I do love the chorus melody and live there’s a real outpouring of emotion from the band and crowd as we let it all out.
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7. Incorporeal (II: Power Of Moonlite, 2001)
Horror has been an influence throughout the years, but I always wanted to take a more subtle approach to it. This song is about being a ghost, from the ghost’s point of view. The idea came to me after reading an H.P. Lovecraft story late at night. Popular culture has trod the idea of immortality and what that would feel like in terms of loss quite a lot since it was written (although usually in regards to vampires). Apart from subject matter, I think it’s one of the strongest chorus melodies I’ve come up with.
6. Where The Moss Slowly Grows (Music From Regions Beyond, 2007)
This was a painful, but also healing song to write – it poured out after the suicide of a childhood friend. People have attached their own meanings and experiences to it related to losing someone too soon, which I wholeheartedly encourage.
5. Outlaw Heart (Tiger Army, 1999)
Certain songs can take years to complete, but some of the best come pouring out all at once, this was the latter. I was a bit ambivalent about putting this song on our first album, as it was essentially a country song and I figured our audience (which drew mostly from the punk scene at the time) would hate it. Ultimately, I’m not driven by what others will like, so of course it was included, but I can’t say that I wasn’t surprised by the overwhelmingly positive reaction it got. I’ve seen many tattoos related to it, including one where the lyrics to the entire song were written across a fellow’s torso.
3. Dark And Lonely Night (V •••–, 2015)
This is one of those songs that took years to finish. I would tinker around with it, put it down, pick it up another month. When I came up with the bridge during the writing of the latest album, I knew that it was finally done. It helps that I can sing and play the guitar part at the same time now, I couldn’t when I originally began it.
4. Cupid’s Victim (II: Power Of Moonlite, 2001)
This is a song I just like. Buddy Holly was a bit of an influence on this one. It’s melodic, it has overlapping roots in early rock’n’roll and punk. The two have always been related, at least in my view.
2. In The Orchard (II: Power Of Moonlite, 2001)
This song is about the seasons, the soil and the cycle of life… including death when it happens as its supposed to. It’s also about the moments that we hold on to during that life, however small or seemingly inconsequential. It was the second song I wrote in a country/Americana style after Outlaw Heart. Obviously these songs would point the way to my future solo work, but they’re both special to me, and to our audience, for deeper reasons.
1. In The Morning Light (V •••–, 2015)
I was reading a lot about studio techniques and gear of the past during the writing of the latest album. An amp from the late 50s called the ‘Magnatone 280’ came to my attention. Buddy Holly had one in his New York City apartment. It had a true vibrato, true stereo effect that was years ahead of its time. I tracked down a vintage one and this song came pouring out of it immediately. I think it’s the “biggest” song I’ve written. To watch it grow in the studio with the addition of various elements like a mellotron or the lovely female background vocals of Savi was a true joy.
Tiger Army’s European tour kicks off in London on November 17.