with new Tygers of Pan Tang guitarist, Francesco Marras
We’re in a fast moving situation with a pandemic that changes daily – nothing is certain resulting in no hard planning. Live events have been cancelled or tour dates rescheduled for later in the year, or in some cases 2022. The entertainment industry is being starved and left in the red.
Bands are waiting for a message to ping – it’s back on, off you go and normal life resumes – or maybe not. Like being stuck in a holding pattern waiting for permission to go. Forever on amber?
But the Tygers are preparing themselves for the green light. After the departure of guitarist Micky Crystal in April 2020 – a member for seven years and releasing one of their best albums in Ritual – time has come for someone else to step up, and into the cage.
Welcome Francesco Marras originally from the warm Meditteranean island, Sardinia, but now based in Germany… Yes, I live in Germany now. I love my country but it’s not the best place to live for a musician. Everything happened for me in Sardinia, I was born and raised there. I got into music at first because of my older brother. I started to listen to heavy metal with Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind album when I was only 8. The music inspired me to learn to play guitar at 11. I’ve been playing for 27 years now.
Francesco started playing guitar by jamming with friends then formed a band….I always wrote my own music and founded a classic metal band that later became Screaming Shadows and we recorded four albums.
So you know your way around a studio ?
Yes the first album Behind the Mask was released in 2003 and was self-produced.
Both In the Name of God (2006) and New Era of Shadows (2009) came out for the Italian label, My Graveyard Productions, and were recorded mainly in my recording studio in Sardinia. Night Keeper was recorded between my studio and Mattia (drummer), Elnor Studio. We mixed the album and it came out in 2011 for Jolly Roger Records.
Then in 2011 I started my solo career where I recorded two more albums and worked as a session musician.
Now you’ve joined the Tygers will you be looking to use that studio experience ?
Yes in the last few month we have worked very hard writing new songs for the next album and I can say that we are very happy about the results. We will start the production soon and we are going to release an EP to open the road towards the new album.
How did the job in the Tygers come about ?
Growing up listening to English heavy metal I knew of the band, and thanks to a dear friend of mine, who told me they were looking for a guitar player, I read the post on the Tygers’ official Facebook page and sent in a video of the two songs they requested – Don’t Stop By and Hellbound, both from the Spellbound album.
For a long time I didn’t get any answer so I wasn’t expecting to get the job – but here I am in the end.
How do you feel about following in the footsteps of Sykes/Purser/Robertson/Crystal, and what will you bring to the table ?
It is a great honor for me to follow them, the band has a long tradition of great guitar players and I’m here to keep the tradition alive. The basics of Tygers music are great solos and powerful guitar riffs, and that is what the fans will have with the new album.
At this time I am recording a lot of new material as I have the possibility to work from home but the thing I miss most is playing live. I really can’t wait to share the stage with my new band mates and meet all the Tygers’ fans around the world – Rock’n’roll!
Check the official Tygers website for new releases and news:
Interview by Gary Alikivi January 2021.