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|Origin||Bristol, England, United Kingdom|
|Genres||Heavy metal, speed metal, thrash metal|
|Labels||Neat, Roadrunner Records, Majestic, Angel Air Records|
|Website||NWOBHM Jaguar official website|
Jaguar are an English heavy metal band, formed in Bristol, England, in December 1979. They had moderate success throughout Europe and Asia in the early 1980s, during the heyday of the new wave of British heavy metal movement.
The band was formed in December 1979 in Bristol, England, through an ad published in a local newspaper by Jeff Cox and Garry Pepperd looking for a drummer. The original line-up consisted of Garry Pepperd (guitar), Jeff Cox (bass, vocals) and Chris Lovell (drums). The same year they went straight into Sound Conception Studios to record their first demo, which was finished on 22 March 1980. The songs recorded on their first demo were "Feel the Heat", "Battle Cry" and "Piledriver". In April 1980, they put out another advertisement for a vocalist, to which Rob Reiss answered joining the band. In December 1980 the band went into another studio, Studio 34, and recorded another demo, which they later put together with the previous demo tracks. The band added now three new demo tracks to the previous ones. The new tracks were "Stormchild", "Ain't no Fantasy" and "War Machine".
Now the completed work consisted of six songs on a demo track tape. The songs were "Stormchild" (Cox); "Ain't No Fantasy" (Pepperd); "War Machine" (Pepperd); "Battlecry" (Cox/Pepperd) "Feel The Heat" (Pepperd); and "Piledriver" (Cox/Pepperd) . The demo was sold to the public through an ad in the music magazine Sounds, starting in February 1981. The band sold about 540 demos this way, a tremendous amount for a demo at that time.
The Sounds ad put Jaguar in contact with the Dutch fan and promoter Frits Gijsbertse, who arranged multiple gigs for the band in the Netherlands. The local metal magazine Aardschok often featured Jaguar in its pages and the magazine's owner, a man named 'Metal Mike', became later the band's promoter in that country.
Jaguar in 1980 sent their demo also to a Battle of the Bands competition and eventually a letter came through saying: "Congratulations, you've made it through to the Bristol heats!" Their first performance at that contest was on 2 May 1981 and they arrived to the final. Jaguar got a good reaction from the judges and they came fourth. This result and their demo earned Jaguar the chance to contribute with the song "Stormchild" to the compilation album Heavy Metal Heroes, released by Heavy Metal Records. The same label released in the second week of November 1981 the single "Back Street Woman", which went sold out within two months of its initial pressing of 4,000 copies.
At the beginning of 1982, after an appearance at a Dutch rock festival with Raven, Jaguar were noticed by Raven's manager and also owner of the indie label Neat Records Dave Wood, who proposed to release the band's next single through his label.
Jaguar signed the deal with Neat Records and replaced Reiss with Paul Merrell, former vocalist from the band Stormtrooper, just in time for the recording of the single "Axe Crazy", which was released later in 1982. The single sold really well and now Jaguar started to purr into a higher gear.
After intensive touring, the following year in June 1983 Jaguar released their first debut album, Power Games, which was a success with its no-nonsense high-speed approach. The band received great reviews from critics and fans and the album is regarded as the best ever made by Jaguar.
Their follow-up album This Time was released in 1984 by Roadrunner Records and marked a change of musical direction for the band, towards a more melodic and AORish sound. At this time they were supported by Motrheads management, but by the end of the year Jaguar disbanded as Roadrunner did not fulfil the contract deal with the band.
After a revival of interest in the new wave of British heavy metal in Europe and Japan, and the successful re-release of their first album in those regions, Jaguar reformed in 1999, with the modified line-up of Pepperd, Jeff Cox, Nathan Cox on drums and the new vocalist Jamie Manton. An appearance at Wacken Open Air Festival the same year proved the new line-up was capable of recreating the energy of the early years.
The album Wake Me followed in 2000, after which Jeff Cox left the band to concentrate on solo material and family life. Jeff was replaced by Darren Furze.
The next album, Run Ragged, appeared in 2003. In 2007, the band released two live albums. The first release was a recording from a show the band performed in the Netherlands in 1982, which originally saw only a limited release. The second was the first of three planned releases covering early, unreleased recordings. Entitled Archive Alive Vol.1, it covered the period of the band's successful period, the birth of the band and their rise to NWOBHM prominence. Sleeve notes were written by the band's guitarist, Garry Pepperd, and the album cover included rare photographs.
Jaguar released their latest album, "Metal X", in 2014. It was their first new material since 2003's Run Ragged. Jaguar did their first Sweden debut at Sweden Rock Festival in the summer of 2014.
In September 2014, Jaguar parted company with their previous vocalist Jamie Manton following their appearance at Sweden Rock Festival in June the same year. The band In November the same year 2014 the band released its long-awaited album "Metal X" on GoldenCore Records/ZYX Music, mixed by Mike Exeter (Judas Priest, Black Sabbath).
Already in Nomember of the same year, Jaguar had to announce that Lars couldn't keep in the band as all the other member live in U.K. and only him in Sweden.
Now Jaguar keep looking for a new singer.
Jeff Cox has recently formed a new progressive metal band called This Raging Silence, which have an album entitled Isotopes and Endoscopes due for release in early 2015.
Jaguar played faster and more aggressively than any other band during the early days of the NWOBHM movement and, according to the band's history, they are considered among the inventors of the speed metal and thrash metal subgenres. They were influential for many other bands in later years, including US bands such as Metallica.
In an interview Garry Pepperd talked about Jaguar and their music style:
I suppose you could say we were thrash metal and speed metal before there was such a thing, (...) we were part of the second generation of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal I suppose, ourselves and Raven were playing music a bit faster than bands like Saxon and Tygers of Pang Tang. We were really playing something that is gonna be influential, although we never knew it at that time.