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tailgunner2021 byRedTailsInterview with

Tom Hewson (Bass) from Tailgunner

TAILGUNNER is a brand-new Heavy Metal outfit that will release its first sign of life in January 2022. As I was quite outspoken about liking their predecessor MIDNIGHT PROPHECY I did get an email from them that gave me some nice opportunities… this is the first one I was happy to capitalize on…

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Hey guys, thanks for taking the time for this. When MIDNIGHT PROPHECY disbanded in 2020 many people were really shocked (I was one of those people). If I may ask: what happened and how did you guys come together for TAILGUNNER?
Tom: With MIDNIGHT PROPHECY, the band and their bassist Pete firstly made the decision to part ways. Craig had at that time already joined TAILGUNNER, and called me to ask if I would play bass on their upcoming UK tour. Before rehearsals began, Danny (guitar) left the band to focus more on the management side of the industry. I suggested TAILGUNNER guitarist Zach fill in. That put the line-up for that tour as: Craig as a member of TAILGUNNER and MIDNIGHT PROPHECY, Chris and Sam as members of MIDNIGHT PROPHECY and Tom and Zach as members of TAILGUNNER and MIDNIGHT PROPHECY.

However due to Covid the tour was cancelled, and at that point Chris left MIDNIGHT PROPHECY to concentrate on other things in life. We did chat about myself and Zach joining MIDNIGHT PROPHECY, however their style of music wasn’t on the same track as what I wanted to do with TAILGUNNER, and I didn’t want the two bands to share three members. Craig and Sam made the decision to end MIDNIGHT PROPHECY as they did not want to continue with just the two of them. This left Sam needing a band, and TAILGUNNER needing a drummer. I’d already played with Sam during MIDNIGHT PROPHECY rehearsals and I knew he’d be perfect. I called him the day they announced their split, we spent four hours on the phone making sure we were on the same page - and thankfully that was the case! That completed the TAILGUNNER line-up after two years of searching.

RoD: Where did you find the guys?
Tom: I formed the band over the course of two years using social media and demos I’d made. I spoke to people across Europe and jammed with a lot of musicians. I met Patrick at a Heavy Metal club in London and told him I wanted him on guitar, but he said he was too busy with his last band, The SCREAMIN’ HEARTS. I told him if anything happened to that band, to call me. I found Craig via Instagram and it was the same story, he was too busy with MIDNIGHT PROPHECY. I travelled from Portsmouth to Liverpool to see them play, chat to Craig and show him how serious I was. I guess I pestered him until he agreed to join haha! Zach was playing in a band in Reading called SNÖW WHITE, who were looking for a bassist. They asked me to join but it wasn’t really my thing, then I turned the question on Zach about joining TAILGUNNER instead! Later on that year in 2019, I got a call from Patrick saying he’d quit his band and asked if I was still looking. He joined immediately, and once he was on board both Zach and Craig said yes. We then spent around 10 months trying out different drummers, until MIDNIGHT PROPHECY split and we recruited Sam.

RoD: Aside from obvious bands like IRON MAIDEN, what are your main influences and favourites?
Tom: In terms of influences, ‘Keeper of the Seven Keys’ era HELLOWEEN is the band that has shaped TAILGUNNER most. Obviously, we love MAIDEN, but this band is a lot faster, heavier and more technical. We also draw inspiration from KING DIAMOND, MEGADETH, JUDAS PRIEST, SCORPIONS, SAVATAGE, ACCEPT, DIO… and a lot of lesser-known bands like DEMON, RIOT CITY, GRIM REAPER, AGENT STEEL, VISIGOTH, ANGEL WITCH, RIOT, CRIMSON GLORY, BITCHES SIN, MEDIEVAL STEEL, STORMWITCH. I could go on forever!

RoD: How would you define Heavy Metal?
Tom: I would define Heavy Metal as Rock’n’Roll pushed to its extremes. True Heavy Metal is a lifestyle, a look and a sound. It’s not a collective term for different Rock and Metal genres, it’s a definite style of its own. Started in the 70s by BLACK SABBATH, in full flow around 1980 and then developing into other genres like Thrash, Death and others. I would define TAILGUNNER as a Heavy Metal band, but we flirt with Speed, Power and Thrash too.

RoD: How did you guys secure Olof Wikstrand as engineer?
Tom: I met Olof after an ENFORCER show in Birmingham in December 2019. At that point I had written around half of the album but still didn’t have a band together. I chatted to him about his engineering work and later sent him a few demos, asking if he would be interested. Having Olof engineer the album is perfect because I don’t think there’s many people out there, that understand Heavy Metal as well as he does. I was strongly against a production that sounded too modern, too compressed. I wanted our album to sound like it was a well-made Heavy Metal album from around 86/87 - That’s exactly what we have.

RoD: How much material can we expect?
Tom: So far, we have the debut album recorded. I have just started to work on the second album… I like to stay a few years ahead creatively of what the band is doing! People can expect a new single every 8-10 weeks across 2022 with the full album dropping January 2023.

RoD: Which bands would you love to tour with?
Tom: We’d love to tour with bands like HELLOWEEN, IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, KING DIAMOND and MEGADETH of course! Current bands we love and would happily share a stage with are ENFORCER, VISIGOTH, HAUNT, RIOT CITY, ETERNAL CHAMPION and SEVEN SISTERS.

RoD: Thanks for the interview, I am thrilled to get my hands on your music!

TAILGUNNER - New Single in January 2022

Picture by Red Tails

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