Chain Of Command - 1987 - Azra
Dissident Alliance - 1994 - Rising Sun
The Fourth Judgement - 1997 - Century Media
The Age Of Mastery - 1998 - Century Media
Thane To The Throne - 2000 - Century Media
Mechanized Warfare - 2001 - Century Media
Casting The Stones - 2004 - Century Media
Scourge Of The Light - 2011 - SPV
The Deviant Chord – 2017 - SPV
S= Harry Conklin>>Riot, Titan Force, Satan’s Host - Teacher’s Pett, Gothic Slam, Raising Kain, Lizzy Graham>>Daniel J. Conca - Riot, Titan Force, Satan’s Host>>HARRY CONKLIN>>Titan Force, Satan’s Host
G= Solo, Gravity, Hardline>>Joey Tafolla>>Solo, Alice Cooper, Hardline, Gravity, Leatherwolf, The Graham Bonnet Band - Karen Kenedy>>MARK BRIODY>>Karen Kenedy - Chris Kostka - Solo, Gravity>>Joey Tafolla>>Solo, Gravity, Hardline - Industrial Eden, Ballistic, Nevermore>>Chris Broderick>>Industrial Eden, Nevermore, Ballistic, Megadeth, Metal Allegiance, Act Of Defiance - Christian Lasegue
B= Karen Kenedy>>JOHN TETLEY>>Karen Kenedy
D= Rick Hilyard - Reynold Carlson>>Joey Tafolla, Driver, Rob Rock, Sahara - Salem’s Parade, Ballistic, Karen Kenedy>>RIKARD STJERNQUIST>> Karen Kenedy, Ballistic, Benedictum
Schoolmates Harry Conklin, John Tetley, Mark Briody and Rick Hilyard under the tyrant monicker formed Jag Panzer in 1981 in Colorado Springs. At first playing covers the band soon recorded its first demo, Tower Of Darkness. This session would be followed by another in a better studio where the band recorded the songs Battle Zones and The Crucifix. The band played many local shows and soon obtained interest from both Azra and Metal Blade Records. Simultaneously, the band had to change names in order to avoid confusion with the other tyrants seeking to dominate the metal scene. Having chosen a new name inspired by a tank the band duly signed with Azra Records of California. The band entered Startsong Studio in order to record a debut EP. Following the recording the band relocated to Los Angeles to be nearer to the metal scene. It was here that the band auditioned and recruited future guitar phenomenon, Joey Taffola. The Tyrants EP was released in 1983, but the band moved back to Colorado a refugee from poverty and the glam scene. The band soon recorded Ample Destruction at Startsong Studio. Canada’s Banzai Records issued this album with a new cover. Azra also issued a limited run of the album with the License To Kill title. Denver drummer Reynold Carlson soon replaced drummer Rick Hilyard. The new line-up began the process of demoing new material in search of a new deal. With the search not going well Conklin would soon join Riot. Next to depart were Carlson and Tafolla who would work on the guitarist’s solo outing. A guitarist called Christian Lesegue and a drummer called Rikard Stjernquist were soon drafted. For a while, a Bob Parduba fronted the band. With no contract in the offing the new singer and guitarist soon left. The band had recorded an album called Chain Of Command that did not have a home. The band would go on hiatus at this point. It was not until the '90s that the band resurfaced and signed to the German label/store Rising Sun. The band’s new sound was thrashier and influenced by new singer Daniel Conca and the metal bands of the day. A single called Jeffrey preceded the CD which itself was adorned with a red case. Reviews were generally poor, but America’s Pavement Music would license the product nonetheless. Conca would be let go and would go on to work for Pit Magazine as an advertising salesman before dying soon thereafter. All was not lost however. Heavy metal was undergoing resurgence and the band managed to secure a new deal with Century Media. The band had also brought graphics work in-house and built itself a studio making things easier. Most importantly, Conkin 'The Tyrant' was back and the band had a demo called The Return it was shopping to the labels. The band’s first album for the new label was called The Fourth Judgement and like its follow-up featured older material. It even featured guitarist Taffola. Many shows followed on both sides of the Atlantic. Thane To The Throne was based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth and, once again, produced by Jim Morris. Jag Panzer issued a compilation of older material called Decade Of The Nail-Spiked Bat in 2003. The band had sought permission from former guitarist Taffola for the right to the music and having failed had opted to rerecord the material. Century Media would also re-issue the bootlegged Chain Of Command with a new cover. Chris Broderick, once again, was tapped to fill in for Nevermore in 2006. Nevermore’s guitarist Smyth was unavailable due to a medical emergency. Chris Broderick joined Megadeth as replacement for Glen Drover in January of 2008. That band returned guitarist Chris Lasegue to his old position. Jag Panzer, in the meanwhile, was trying to record a live album, but was limited by a frugal Century Media budget. 2009 brought news that the band has picked The Scourge Of Light as the title for its next album. The band was playing a couple of European festivals simultaneous to its search for a new label.
Jag Panzer was back with a new label and album in 2011. Scourge Of The Light was tentatively due in February through SPV. Early guitarist Christian Lasegue was back with the band. After losing guitarist Christian Lasegue to school Jag Panzer threw in the towel in July 2011. The band reformed in 2013. High Roller Records would release a 4-LP vinyl box set by Jag Panzer, entitled Historical Battles - The Early Years, on April 19th, 2013. It was limited to 500 copies and featured much of the band’s early material. The band was scheduled for Keep It True festival, on April 25-26th, 2014. Jag Panzer would release a new album, called The Deviant Chord, through SPV on September 29th 2017.
JAG PANZER - THE FOURTH JUDGEMENT - CENTURY MEDIA
JAG PANZER - THE AGE OF MASTERY - CENTURY MEDIA
JAG PANZER - THANE TO THE THRONE - CENTURY MEDIA
JAG PANZER - MECHANIZED WARFARE - CENTURY MEDIA
JAG PANZER - DECADE OF THE NAIL-SPIKED BAT - CENTURY MEDIA
JAG PANZER - CASTING THE STONES - CENTURY MEDIA
It is normally appropriate to offer some background information or introduce a band before writing a story on it. Even better is to remark on the band’s abilities and/or attitude and stand on different topics. The preceding is not applicable to the Colorado quintet Jag Panzer, comprised of Daniel J. Conca (vocals), Mark Briody and Chris Kostka (both guitars), John Tetley (bass) and drummer Rikard Stjernquist. For having contacted Daniel in order to find out more about the band and Dissident Alliance, Jag Panzer’s first album in eight years, I noted that the man has a lot to say and says it without holding back - a most refreshing attitude. So I let Daniel fill you in. - Ali “The Metallian”
DANIEL: in the early '80s John originally started (a band called) Tyrants, which contacted Azra Records. Azra said they better find a new name; between Mark, John and this guy from Azra they found Jag Panzer, which is the name of a series of German tanks. Azra was a smaller record company in east LA where you had to go down an alley and dodge the bullets (laughs) to find the record company. They wrote and recorded Ample Destruction in 1985 on Azra. At the time the guys actually had a choice between Azra and Metal Blade, which sucks because Azra never developed into anything. Shortly after Joey Taffola (noted guitarist who went on to a struggling career) decided to leave the band. They were talking to some labels like A&M Records. Everyone wanted Jag Panzer to do Ample Destruction II and that is what Chain Of Command (released in 1986) is. But Mark and John said 'fuck this.' This isn’t what we want. This is what every goddamn sell-out motherfucker who wants to make a dime off this band is expecting us to do. This is bullshit. After a while they hooked up with this singer from Germany who didn’t work out. At the time I’d come back from LA to Colorado, and I’d heard that a band here was looking for a singer.
METALLIAN: Were you in any bands in LA?
DANIEL: I didn’t record anything. I was in Teacher’s Pett, Lizzie Grey and Raising Kane. Actually with Raising Kane we signed a subsidiary deal with Metal Blade, but it didn’t work out. So back in the mid-west I listened to Ample Destruction, and I thought this is just too dated - too '80s-ish.' Then again when the guys listened to my demo tape, they thought 'this guy’s into Bullet Boys and that kinda shit.' The first meeting we had John and I looked at each other and said this won’t work. What happened is they gave me some material like The Clown and I went back that night and worked and re-wrote some of it and came back the next day.
METALLIAN: The very next day?
DANIEL: Yeah. I came back and said let’s give it another try. We did it and looked at it each other and it was like 'wow.' They threw me a T-shirt and said we’d love to have you become part of the band. I was like 'this can’t be the same band.' They had gotten so much heavier. We actually did the Carcass and Life Of Agony show this last week.
METALLIAN: How did you guys hook up with Rising Sun (the label which grew out of the major mail-order service in Germany and currently works with Metal Church, Riot and Dead Head among others)?
DANIEL: What happened is we released a demo and we distributed thirty copies of it. We got a lot of literature from all over Europe - from Italy to Moscow - yet in this country the people we approached said ”˜it’s too fucking heavy.’ If it’s not some kind of a Seattle grunge band or a fly-by-night pussy band that sucks dick for a living no one wants to talk to you. We were talking to Wolfgang at GUN Records (the new home of Forbidden) then out of the blue Rising Sun asked our fan club in Germany for a tape. They said 'let’s sign a deal and we will do everything for you.' They just cut through the bullshit. Once people see the packaging for our new CD they’ll know what I mean.
Now we have submitted material to Pavement, Megaforce, Roadrunner, et cetra in the US. So we will see for America. But what concerns me is that you have to go to Europe. Only when they say it’s cool will America take it. It’s terrible. In Europe they don’t care for the status quo or what junior says.
METALLIAN: Tell me about your lyrics.
DANIEL: Jeffrey - Behind The gate is about Jeffrey Dahmer. When he was younger he would stand on the roadside fantasizing about walking up to them and fucking them. But we are not trying to capitalize on that. Spirit Suicide is about the Indian plight.
METALLIAN: Is anyone in the band Indian?
DANIEL: Yeah, me. My wife is from the Pine Ridge Indian reservation and my family is from Southern Colorado. You know people talk about the third world and the situation there is horrible, horrible, horrible. But in our own backyard Indian babies are going hungry.
METALLIAN: What does the future hold for Jag Panzer?
DANIEL: Well, we are going to tour either with Metal Church and Riot or we may do it with Forbidden. We need a tour as Jag Panzer has been out of circulation for a while. You know in the one and a half years that we’ve gotten together we’ve done so much. We are writing new songs which we will record next spring. They will be more towards the 'Jeffrey' sound. Finally I would like to tell everyone, Canadians, Europeans, etc. thank-you. People, please don’t take advantage of any position you are in. People who buy our album and come to our shows: thank-you from everyone in Jag Panzer. The band is going to be around for years to come. Get used to it.
This interview initially appeared in Pit Magazine No. 12.
If you enjoyed this, read Symphorce