Sarah Firebrand - Tigertailz Print E-mail
Written by Gaz E   
Thursday, 21 January 2010 14:28

With 2010 marking the twentieth anniversary of classic album 'Bezerk' - how old do you feel right now?! - Tigertailz promised something special as they strode, or fell in some cases, into the new decade.1afirebrand


After wiping the floor (again) with pretty much all of the competition at the Hard Rock Hell festival, the Tailz rumour mill went into overdrive with claims of line-up changes and other nefarious deeds doing the rounds. Via their own Tailz TV website, the band released a video teaser of a new photo shoot that ended with the blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance of a mysterious female.....


While the country came to a virtual standstill under extreme weather conditions that Nadir D'Priest may well describe as a Russian Winter, shadowy figures worked around the clock to ready the rock 'n' roll world for the confirmation that Tigertailz were about to announce the recruitment of a new bass player. The phantom four-stringer was Sarah Firebrand and we were delighted when she agreed to talk to Über Röck while the ink was still wet on her cock rock contract.....



Let's start with the basics - you're in Tigertailz, how does that feel?!?


Pretty damn special! It's still rather new and surreal at the moment and I don't think it will properly hit me until I walk out onstage with the guys to play a show, but so far, it feels great! I'm very excited about being a member of Tigertailz and looking forward to a very mad 2010.

Tell us how your recruitment to the Tailz actually happened - what was the process of you getting asked and then accepting their offer?


1anewtailzI recently discovered that I have the fabulous Matt Blakout to thank for recommending me to Jay and Kim. Their manager Mikey contacted me and I was invited down to Cardiff to play with the band. I learnt the 'Bezerk' album and we played it through. I thought it all went well but, at the end, Kim left and Matt wasn't far behind and I was left slightly bemused and wondering if I was in the band or not ... it turns out Matt had a gig to rush off to and Kim just mysteriously vanishes every so often. Jay told me later I was in the band. When I shared my thoughts with Matt recently, he said the same thing happened with him at his audition - he said to Pepsi Tate "Do you want my number then?" to which he replied "Nah, it's ok ...."!

Were you a fan of the band previously?


I was yes, but not a hardcore fan. I'd only seen them live three times, which is shameful by most Tailz fans' standards! I was only a little girl when 'Bezerk' came out, so I've joined the fan base a little late on.

You have some pretty big shoes to fill, with Pepsi Tate being legendary not only for his role in Tigertailz but also as a poster boy for a whole UK music scene. How do you feel about this?


Well, to be honest, it's rather daunting. The day I met the guys to play through the songs, I was very nervous - not only because I didn't want to make any mistakes, but also because I still don't really know what the fans will make of me. You only need to look online to see the number of fan sites and tributes dedicated to his memory. There's no way I can ever have the presence and the persona that Pepsi Tate had, but I can do my best to show everyone me -  Sarah Firebrand as the new bass player in Tigertailz. He wanted Tigertailz to continue as a band, and I am here to help the guys make him proud. I won't be trying to fill his shoes, but hope that people will accept me in my own.

Since Pepsi's sad passing the band have continued with a temporary bass player but would I be right in saying that your recruitment is a permanent one?


Well, providing I don't make a monumental cock-up, yes, I believe so! Since the tragic passing of Pepsi Tate, Tigertailz have been lucky to have the extremely talented Nailz on bass guitar, but to the best of my knowledge there was never any intention on the band's part or his part for him to be a full-time member. He helped them out at a difficult time. Nailz is a great musician and was happy to hand over duties to someone like me. Come to think of it, Nailz was very highly regarded by the fans too, so I've really got my work cut out here haven't I?!


First female member of Tigertailz - pretty special, right?!?


Well of course, but I think any new member of Tigertailz would feel pretty special. Judging by the amount of hairspray and eyeliner I witnessed at the recent photoshoot, I don't think I'm going to be too blown away by testosterone just yet.
The news of you joining the band has been very mysterious with covert video footage and secret photo shoots in snowy Welsh wastelands........


That's right, I was actually flown in via helicopter with my own security team. Even the band weren't sure who was going to be arriving as the new bass player. I had no idea where the heck I was going, all I know is it took ages and we went past a Lidl.

So what can the hardcore Tigertailz fans expect from Sarah Firebrand? Tell us a little of your background, your greatest musical influences....


When I was about 9 or 10 my Dad used to get me to listen to his old records with him. Now for most kids that would be a nightmare but, luckily for my Dad, I loved it. I'd also get a bit of a history lesson from Dad behind bands like Motorhead, Iron Maiden and Deep Purple which I 1avixfound really interesting. One day he put on 'Ace Of Spades' really loud and when the bass kicked in, I was hooked. I asked him to play it again and again, and then wanted it taped onto a cassette so I could listen to it in my room. It was that song that made me want to play bass. My Dad bought me my first bass aged 14, a 1978 Aria Pro II and I taught myself, firstly from a book and then by learning one of my albums per weekend. As for influences, I love bass players who let you know the bass is there. Show-off bass players like Geddy Lee, Steve Harris. So often, bass lines are there to just do the job of filling in the low end and keeping the rhythm with the kit - I like bass lines to really hit the listener, adding in nifty little riffs that make you go "Woah, hello!"
What can you tell us about your time in ViX N The Kix with the former 80's pop legend Vix from We've Got A Fuzzbox And We're Gonna Use It?


I was playing a gig with my band in Birmingham and ViX was playing top of the bill. The next day, she emailed us asking if we wanted to be her new backing band in ViX N The Kix. Five months later we were playing below The Wailers and Paul Weller in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and1avixweller Bahrain. It was incredible. ViX is a lovely woman - talented, professional, yet very modest. She's taught me a lot and is a great pal.

You also have another musical combo - The Hell I Am featuring Chris Reed from New Generation Superstars on drums. Details please!!!


The Hell I Am started out life as Firebrand (hence my moniker) back in 2004. I answered an ad in a music mag from a singer wanting to start an all-female band. After spending my teens playing in metal bands with lads, the thought of an all-female band sounded like just the ticket. A real breath of fresh air. When we started out, we really were awful, but in a kind of defiant and inspiring way. It was proper 90s Riot Grrl stuff, but unfortunately 10 years too late. Then, as the years went on, we became more thoughtful about our songwriting and we got better as musicians. Last year we asked Chris Reed to drum for us - he was the first male member of the band, but strangely, people still call us a girl band. Maybe it's his hair, I don't know. Chris has 1ahellbrought a real new dimension to our songs and with him in the band we decided it was time to close the door on the madhouse that was Firebrand and become The Hell I Am. 

2010 marks the 20th anniversary of the release of legendary Tigertailz album 'Bezerk' - you've certainly joined the band at an exciting time....


That's right! Twenty years is a long time but the songs still sound incredible. 'Bezerk' really is a fantastic album as there's not a bad track on there. So many albums have a few naff numbers on there, but 'Bezerk' really is all killer no filler. There's all the original Tailz fans who love it, but there's also a new wave of fans like myself who were too young to have heard it at the time but discovered it later on.

So, when 2010 has come to an end and you look back, what are you hoping to have achieved during your first year with Tigertailz?


Oh, but it's only just started! I hope that by the end of 2010 I have played the best I can and I1atigertailz-bezerk hope that the fans will have welcomed me to the fold. I hope I've not had any showbiz fallouts with my bandmates. I hope I will have played some cracking gigs and met some Tigertailz fans. It would be fricking awesome to have my name stencilled onto a flight case. I hope that I will have had a successful first year and be gearing up for a mental 2011. 

The Tigertailz fans of old did their best to look as fantastic as the band but, with the happy exception of a nu-breed of younger, better looking fans, the hardcore Tailz fans appear to be balding, middle aged men - are you ready to have these frustrated denizens of Action City gawp at your fresh meat like a horde of the undead?!?


1atigerheadWell, I happen to be rather partial to balding middle-aged men ... I doubt they'll be gawping long after witnessing my "concentrating bass face". All bass players have one, and it usually ain't pretty.

Finally, last chance to impress - what is the greatest album of all time?! An easy one to finish!!


Am I only allowed one? Jeez ... Apart from 'Bezerk' of course?! Well, remember earlier about that all killer no filler thing? I have a lot of top albums, but very few of them have brilliant songs throughout the entire album so, on that basis, I'd go with 'Slave To The Grind' - Skid Row or 'Total 13' - Backyard Babies. 


There she is, Sarah Firebrand - Tigertailz bassist. All at ÜRHQ consider the Tailz to be extended members of our R'N'R family so I guess that we now have a sister! Huge thanks to Sarah, Jay Pepper, Kim Hooker, Matt Blakout and Josh Kane, horns raised to Glen 'Nailz' Quinn and a glass raised in memory of Pepsi Tate.