Classic Rock - - Live! -

There’ll be plenty of oldies and nos­tal­gia at a spe­cial gig in Not­ting­ham.

Gui­tarist Jay Pep­per checks in as the Welsh glam­met­allers com­mem­o­rate the pass­ing of their co-found­ing bassist Pepsi Tate (in­set, above) with a one-off char­ity gig at the Res­cue Rooms in Not­ting­ham.

Does it seem like a decade ago that Pepsi Tate passed away? We’ve just pulled to­gether a video for Fall In Love Again from our first al­bum, and most of the avail­able footage was quite old – my God, how the ill­ness [pan­cre­atic cancer] dec­i­mated him. So no, I can’t re­ally be­lieve it.

Tell us about the Pepsi you knew. He was bom­bas­tic and full of life, a plea­sure to be around. He only had forty-two years but he filled them to the brim. Pepsi and I shared a very silly sense of hu­mour, but he was also very mo­ti­vated and fun to be with. A re­ally ex­plo­sive char­ac­ter.

Out­side of rock’n’roll, un­der his real name, Justin Smith,

Tate worked for BBC Wales and di­rected a weekly pol­i­tics pro­gramme called Dragon’s Eye. Yeah, all of us did dif­fer­ent things once the band fiz­zled out [in 1996]. Pepsi went into video pro­duc­tion. He was sharp-edged and cre­ative and he ap­plied that to every­thing he did. When­ever we did an al­bum, Pepsi would write more songs and lyrics than any­one else.

As the son of Dempsey & Make­peace ac­tor Ray Smith (who played Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Gordon Spik­ings) could he be ‘show­bizzy’ at times?

He had a bit of an ego [laughs]. In the video for Love Bomb Baby [1990], Kim [Hooker, front­man] looks at him as if to say: “Let some­one else get into the shot.” It was like be­ing in a box­ing ring – but not in a ma­li­cious way.

Would Pepsi be shocked to learn that, a decade on, Tiger­tailz still ex­ist and are into their thirty-fourth year? Of course he would. I’ve had lots of crit­i­cism for the many line-up changes, and there were times when it all be­came a bit of a car crash, but that’s what hap­pens when you lose key mem­bers. With the last al­bum [Shoot To Kill, 2016] we went back to the big pro­duc­tion thing, and I know that he’d have loved that.

Given the up­com­ing spe­cial show’s sig­nif­i­cance, will it fea­ture more oldies than usual? Yeah, we’ll be pulling out tunes that were either writ­ten by Pepsi or that he had a great al­le­giance to. It’ll be a very warm evening.

Might there be any spe­cial guest ap­pear­ances on the night?

I doubt it. I don’t have much to do with Steevi [Jaimz, singer],

Ace [Finchum, drum­mer] lives in Amer­ica and I haven’t spo­ken to Kim since he left the band five years ago.

“I think Pepsi would have at least ad­mired our per­sis­tence.”

What’s next for Tiger­tailz in the grand scheme of things?

How much longer we can go on I re­ally don’t know. But I think Pepsi would have at least ad­mired our per­sis­tence against the odds. DL

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