Tragedy are touring the UK for the next two weeks promising a slew of Bee Gees classic and more – all given a suitably metal makeover.
Having cut their teeth alongside the Wildhearts and Electric Six, this month’s headline tour sees the band billed as the star attraction.
And the tribute act to end all tribute acts will also mark the passing of disco diva Donna Summer as they deliver the ultimate in musical mash-ups. RUSHONROCK editor Simon Rushworth caught up with Tragedy as they touched down in the UK.
rushonrock: Metal and the Bee Gees aren’t obvious bedfellows – what inspired the mash-up?
Tragedy: We tried a bunch of other combinations first. The Klezmer/Tony Orlando combo was a big hit in Palm Beach during the 2005 South Florida Bat-Mitzvah Band and Compression Hoisery Convention, but we weren’t quite sure it would fly in NYC. By NYC, of course I mean lower Manhattan and western Brooklyn. We actually played two gigs as the Tony Ozmatics in Riverdale, but we’re contractually barred from speaking about that in print. When that project folded it was around the time a lot of new music venues were opening up in Brooklyn and I thought: What are the biggest kinds of music associated with that borough over the years? And I realized: ’70s=disco. ’80s=metal. ’90=hip-hop. ’00s=indie rock. Well, none of us are boring nerds or black, which ruled out the last 22 years. So we had to go back a little further. Barry Glibb voted metal and I voted disco. So we arm wrestled to pick a genre and after 40 grueling days and nights with our wrists locked, we declared it a tie and chose to merge the two!
rushonrock: Do you feel the Bee Gees could have been hair metal legends in another lifetime?
Tragedy: We proved that their songs are pure gold and sound even better as hair metal songs than they did as 60s folk and 70s disco. So sure, had they debuted in the 80s they woulda made Bon Jovi look like Engelbert Humperdink.
rushonrock: Why choose Tragedy as the name of your band – the name smacks of tears, sadness and a sorry end…
Tragedy: As much as some people figure that the concept of our band was just us taking the piss we are all massive fans of the Bee Gees and chose to do this tribute out of love and respect. Tragedy was the most metal sounding song title they had. Of course, with the news of Robin’s passing, it’s a real fitting name. His loss is the real Tragedy. As of today, maybe the name Too Much Heaven would have been more appropriate.
rushonrock: You’ve expanded your repertoire for this tour so what can we expect in terms of new tunes?
Tragedy: Buy our new album (available on iTunes and any one of the four CD shops that still exist!) and find out. Or better yet come to the show!
rushonrock: Will there be a tribute to Donna Summer in there somewhere?
Tragedy: We included a version of Hot Stuff on our new album. And it will in full effect on this tour.
rushonrock: Which bands would you like to support in the future?
Tragedy: We’ve already toured with the Wildhearts which was a dream come true. So next we would like to tour with Rammstein and show them what a real stage show is all about!
rushonrock: Why aren’t Tragedy so much bigger – is a metal tributa to the Bee Gees still an acquired taste?
Tragedy: We actually make a pretty serious effort to remain under the radar. We all have full time jobs as policemen in New York City and would be in pretty serious trouble with our captains if word of our secret identities got out!
rushonrock: Do Americans actually get what you’re doing?
Tragedy: In America we only play the super obscure 60s folk-era Bee Gees songs. We save the hits for the mighty motherland of the Bee Gees, the UK!
rushonrock: Are you endorsed by, or supported in any way, by anyone or anything to do with the Bee Gees?
Tragedy: Oddly enough our booking agent in the UK has a friend who was friends with Robin Gibb and he showed some videos on youtube. Robin told him that he didn’t usually like to hear bands covering their songs but that we ave him a good laugh.
rushonock: Finally if you were to turn Tragedy on its head and deliver a 70s disco tribute to a metal band which band would you choose?
Tragedy: AC/DC – because their drum beats are already 4 on the floor and so many of their songs are about shaggin’!