Tygers of Pan Tang's Ambush by Rodney Matthews

Ambush (2020 Reissue)

Ambush (2020 Reissue)

Just recently I've noticed a fair bit of activity in the "Tygers" camp (or should I say cage), culminating in the arrival of a box of albums for my signature.  Yes, that's right, the release of the Tygers of Pan Tang's 'Ambush' reissue is imminent - it's out on Friday, 18th September!

Newly remastered at Medley Studios, Copenhagen the reissue looks great, available on CD, vinyl and a limited edition orange coloured vinyl.  It comes with extensive sleeve notes from all of the band members. Plus, there are four bonus tracks including two live tracks featuring the line-up that recorded the album.  Head over to the Tygers of Pan Tang Bandshop to find out more.

I painted the cover artwork for Ambush back in 2012 when the album was originally released.  I recall being contacted to design the cover and set about in my usual way making preliminary pencil sketches.  I came up with two ideas, which were presented to the band (see below):

Ambush Preliminary Pencil Drawings | Rodney Matthews StudiosThey opted for the one with the tiger balancing on a shard of rock as a fiery skull planet orbits ominously in the background. 

Ambush Painting | Rodney Matthews Studios

Of the artwork Tyger Robb says:

"Ok, when a new album is in the making, thoughts turn to what is probably one of the most important features of the whole process ... the cover!  The cover provides the eye contact to the potential buyer, if the cover is killer, the purchase of the album is well on its way and we needed a 'killer' cover for Ambush. It was always going to be a landmark album for us as we had reunited with our old 'hit making' producer Chris Tsangarides to record and produce Ambush. It was suggested that we contact Rodney Mattews, iconic rock cover artist and seek his expertise. Rodney had previously produced the iconic album cover for our 'Crazy Nights' album in 1981, which received worldwide acclaim. I remember we were in the middle of a take in the studio when over the headphones we heard Chris's voice say, "You might want to come into the control room and see this ..."  It was the cover art work for Ambush, we were speechless, it was and is truly fantastic ..."

As Robb says, I did of course previously design the cover for the band's 1981 album 'Crazy Nights'.  I came up with four different ideas in pencil for this one.  The members of the band and their manager agreed upon the design featuring the tiger atop London's GPO Tower (now known as the BT Tower) as you can see below:

Crazy Nights Painting | Rodney Matthews Studios

The original sketch (see below left) was different in that the tiger had exaggerated ears and eyelashes - like the one that would later appear on 'Ambush' - and was surrounded by swarms of oblivious dunce-capped city suits seated on hovering mini-saucers.  They were of course replaced by two tiger moth biplanes and strafing searchlights.

Crazy Nights Pencil Drawings | Rodney Matthews Studios

As a final note of interest, the name 'Tygers of Pan Tang' originates from the Michael Moorcock novel Stormbringer.  You can see (above left) that I originally got the spelling of the band's name wrong - I corrected it by the time I moved onto the second stage in the process (see above right).

So, back to 'Ambush', click here to head over to the band's shop and get your hands on a copy.  If you've already got  and loving the music, then you might also like to have a look at the two artwork prints available on this website for £38+pp each (click the images to find out more):



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