What better way to celebrate the life and times of the late disco king Robin Gibb than in the company of Tragedy – the all metal tribute to the Bee Gees? SIMON RUSHWORTH caught up with the band
IT’S one of the least likely musical mash-ups but in just five years Tragedy’s heavy metal take on the Bee Gees has become a must-see show for fans of tribute bands the world over.
It was on one of Tragedy’s earliest visits to Tyneside they sold out their first UK show. Subsequent trips to the North East have seen Barry Glibb, Robin Gibbens, Andy Gibbous Waning and their colleagues open up for the Wildhearts and Electric Six and Friday sees the quintet return as a headline act in their own right.
“We’re honoured that the people of Newcastle chose to come out and see us over the thousands of other heavy metal tributes to the Bee Gees that they could have chosen,” said Glibb.
“It really means a lot for us to be big news in the city as we consider ourselves honorary Geordies because Newcastle was the place of our first ever sold-out headlining UK show.
“And Newcastle is also the town where I had my first one-night stand with a groupie. It’ll always have a special place in my heart.”
More Steel Panther than Def Leppard, the comedy element to Tragedy’s act is an essential part of the overall package.
However, the death of Robin Gibb earlier this week demanded an atypically serious response from a band that genuinely admires the work of its parent act.
“It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Robin Gibb,” added Glibb.
“Obviously, he was a huge influence on us. Robin was instrumental to the success of the Bee Gees. He co-wrote virtually every Bee Gees song, his lead vocals were singular and, of course, there were those harmonies.
“During the 60s Robin sang lead on some of the Bee Gees’ greatest songs, such as Massachusetts, Lamplight, and I Started a Joke.
“It is bittersweet we’re spending two weeks in the UK playing the songs Robin wrote.
“His music has enabled the members of Tragedy to enjoy some of the greatest musical adventures of our lives.
“Our condolences go out to the Gibb family. Robin, may you rest in peace.”
But if Tragedy have found it hard to come to terms with Gibb’s passing their determination to celebrate his lifetime in style is stronger than ever.
“Oddly enough our booking agent in the UK has a friend who was friends with Robin Gibb and he showed him some videos on YouTube,” added Glibb.
“Robin told him that he didn’t usually like to hear bands covering their songs but that we gave him a good laugh.
“That’s the thought we’ll be taking into our Newcastle show on Friday. We want to put smiles on faces and have fun.”
For now Tragedy remain, to many, an obscure underground act peddling the kind of songs found in Tokyo’s least attractive karaoke bars.
“We actually make a pretty serious effort to remain under the radar,” he added.
“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!”
Tragedy play Newcastle O2 Academy on Friday. Box office: www.o2academynewcastle.co.uk or 0191 260 2020.