10 Years On, Miniature Tigers Celebrate Their Debut Album

The Miniature Tigers perform at Rebel Lounge in 2016.EXPAND
The Miniature Tigers perform at Rebel Lounge in 2016.
Angelica Cabral
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When I first heard music from the Miniature Tigers, I had recently turned 14 and I was filled with hope about love, life, and the future. I was listening to One Direction while working on math homework during class and the boy sitting behind me pulled out my headphones and said he was going to “show me some actually good music.” As it turns out, he was right: He proceeded to show me “Cannibal Queen,” arguably the most popular song off of Tell It to the Volcano, the band’s debut album.

Now, 10 years after they released that album and seven years after I discovered them, they’re going on an anniversary tour to celebrate.

Charlie Brand, the band’s lead singer, says the band went into the making of that album not knowing anything about anything.

“It was the first album we ever made, and we were just trying things and experimenting and going into the studio and having fun and not overthinking,” he says.

They try to maintain that same energy through touring as well by not getting worked up or stressed when something goes wrong, choosing to highlight mistakes instead of shunning them.

“I’ve never been a perfectionist or found perfection in art to be that interesting,” Brand says. “I like when I see a band having fun on stage rather than trying to be perfect or put forth this airtight performance.”

Brandon Lee, the bassist for the band, is someone who manages to stay very creatively busy. He does graphic design, visual art with painting and mixed media, and has been making handbags for the past few years, which he makes out of leather; he is currently working to take that from a side project to his main focus. He’s looking forward to the tour because the band hasn’t been on a long one in a while.

“Performing has always been one of my favorite things to do in general,” he says. “I’m definitely looking forward to just getting on stage and playing some music with these guys.”

Although he wasn’t really playing shows with them when Tell It To the Volcano came out, Lee had known Brand for a while and even helped design the album covers for their first two EPs. He feels that first album has been able to stand the test of time.

“It really started off as a project that was just Charlie playing songs in his bedroom before the first album came out,” Lee said. “Now we’re able to tour around the country and other countries, too, and have people come out and see us. I think that was kind of the dream all along, to do this thing for real.”

His two favorite songs off that first album are “Anne Oakley” and “Tchaikovsky and Solitude,” which he said has an otherworldly and magical feeling.

Rick Schaier, who plays keyboard, says his two favorites are “Like or Like Like” and “Hot Venom,” which draws him in because of the melody and harmony. It has a cute quality that makes him feel innocent, he says.

While recording that first album, Schaier says they wore suits in an attempt to have a style like The Beatles. He says that since the beginning they’ve always kept the same vibe, despite experimenting with different music styles. He’s looking forward to getting back on stage this upcoming tour.

“I look forward to bonding with them mainly, especially because we’re doing it without promoting a new album or trying to do something,” he says. “It kind of even makes it more about having fun, having a good time with people I love.”

Miniature Tigers. 8 p.m. Thursday, September 13, at The Rebel Lounge, 2303 East Indian School Road; 602-296-7013; therebellounge.com. Tickets are $20 to $25 via Eventbrite.

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