With under two years to the band’s credit, Tigernite has already made a mark on stages throughout the city. The Milwaukee glam-rock quartet—propelled by a steady diet of chunky, arena-ready guitar licks and the infectious hooks provided by powerhouse oft-jumpsuit clad frontwoman Molly Roberts—is as much an act to be experienced as it is to be heard. With their long-anticipated debut full-length on the way by summer’s end, Tigernite will whet Milwaukee’s appetite for energetic and fun songs with a heft of spring and summer shows. The band’s busy itinerary begins this weekend, as they’ll open for The Offspring at The Rave on Friday night and play a noon slot at PrideFest Saturday.
Before Tigernite roars onto the local festival circuit and releases it great eight-song debut, Milwaukee Record spoke to Roberts and Tigernite bassist Eric Arsnow about this weekend’s outings, the importance of how and when their music is presented, and the “spectacle” that is a Tigernite show.
Milwaukee Record: I want to get right into The Offspring show first. That’s an awesome opportunity. How did that come about?
Eric Arsnow: I wrote their local talent buyer a while ago just to kind of let him know we existed. Every year, we do—more or less—a fundraiser show for Movember at Cutting Group Salon and he happened to be there for the last one. He contacted me out of the blue and said, “Hey do you want to open for The Offspring.”
Molly Roberts: That [benefit] happened to be an extra-weird show. Like Eric said, we were doing a fundraiser and we were having difficulty getting people to participate. So I threw out there, “Hey, if we raise such and such amount of money, I’ll shave my head for you guys on stage.” They did and this guy happened to be at that particular show.
MR: But this seems like a really good fit in terms of sound. I assume The Offspring is at least a band you have some awareness of. What’s it like knowing you have the opportunity to play in front of what’s likely to be a very large audience in a huge room with a band that’s been playing since the late ’80s.
MoR: It’s kind of like being a baby and having keys jingled in your face. We’re thrilled about it. We’re really excited.
EA: They were a group that was pretty inspirational with all of my high school groups, so it’s pretty wild.
MoR: And part of what we’re really excited about is to play a stage that, for years, we’ve gone to watch our heroes play on. We’re super grateful.
MR: Yeah, but once it’s over, you probably won’t even be able to enjoy it because you’ll have to load up and get ready to play literally the next morning at PrideFest. How did that come about?
MoR: It’s just an event that I’ve always gone to and loved and really, really wanted to be part of. We’ve been moved to the Miller Stage at noon. We were initially on the Women’s Stage and they said they wanted to have a band with some noise to really kick off and open up the day, so we’re fine with it and excited to play another big, awesome stage. We’re just excited to be part of it. We could be playing behind a dumpster and we’d be excited to be on it.
EA: The thing that’s really exciting for me with these next few shows is—we’ve always been really big into presentation, so to perform on these stages is going to help present ourselves to more people and in the best setting possible.
MR: That’s something that I wanted to get into. In the roughly two years I’ve been aware of you, you’ve played some big shows but you’ve yet to release anything. Some bands put out two or three releases a year. You said you took forever on the video for “Witch” and it turned out amazing. It seems like you’re also taking your time on your first album. Is that something you intentionally did to make sure it was perfect instead of just rushing to get something out there so people know who you are?
MoR: We edited ruthlessly. There were a lot of songs that were going to be on this record that aren’t. We wanted to make sure every single one of them was a jam. We didn’t want and B-sides on the first one. We took our time and I think it was totally worth it. We got to work with some really talented, generous people who really pushed us to make it a new level that I think none of us had every gotten the opportunity to get to before. The engineer we worked with to the artists who is hand-drawing all the album art for us, it was really worth it. We really hope people enjoy it. We put a lot of energy into it.
EA: We consciously went into it knowing we wanted to make a bigger statement up front with the full-length. For things in the future, I know we discussed more EP-length stuff.
MR: With the shows you take, the frequency you play out, and the presentation, it seems like the band is a spectacle of sorts with high energy performances, and jumpsuits that thrive in a live setting.
MoR: Yeah, with the spectacle of the live shows, a lot of that just comes from wanting to make the kind of shows we would want to go see. I don’t think we really set out to do anything different. We realize we’re not reinventing the wheel or doing anything super-inventive. But for me personally, this is the first band I’ve been in where I don’t have to pretend to be, you know, the wounded warrior or the desperate artist. We can be whatever we want. We didn’t really plan for our band to look this way or sound this way, but it’s been a ton of fun.
Tigernite opens for The Offspring Friday, June 5 at The Rave. Saturday June 6, they play a noon set at the Miller Lite stage at PrideFest. Tigernite will also play the Summer Soulstice Music Festival (June 20), Summerfest (July 3), Brady Street Festival (July 25), and will release its debut full-length at Cactus Club on August 1.