Was wurde aus TYGERS OF PAN TANG Sänger John Deverill?

Veröffentlicht am 18.02.2017

Our new feature "Whatever happened to... ?" is dedicated to those musicians who currently are no longer in the limelight. Our first interviewee is former TYGERS OF PAN TANG singer John Deverille, who now (under the name Jon De Ville) has fulfilled his dream of becoming an actor.


Do you sometimes still listen to your records with TYGERS OF PAN TANG?

Not often. But when I do I enjoy them. I’m 21 again.

What sort of music do you like to listen to nowadays?

I like a variety of music from Opera to hard rock. Singer-songwriters old and new. Pop and R+B.

Who were your main influences as a singer?

Robert Plant. David Bowie. Peter Gabriel. Glenn Hughes.

How did you become a (heavy metal) singer in the first place?

I used to sing along to my records and soon realised I could hit the notes, so I formed a band in school. It developed from there.

Do you know whether it was a deliberate decision by the other guys in the band to get a completely different sort of singer for TYGERS OF PAN TANG after Jess Cox [singer on their debut album "Wild Cat"] left? After all, you did have a different range and style as a singer, with your bright, powerful voice as opposed to Jess Cox's more limited and less polished voice, which in its way went well with the raw sound of the first record.

Yes. It was a deliberate decision to change singers. They wanted a bigger sound. More commercial I suppose.

Looking back, what's your favourite album with TYGERS OF PAN TANG?

"Spellbound”. I feel it’s got an incredible energy.

You've also been singing for PERSIAN RISK before their first release. Do any recordings of you with them exist?

No. There’s unfortunately nothing. We were a good band and had some great songs.

Did you release a music video before "Love Potion No. 9" or was this your first piece of acting on film?

Yes. That video was my first film performance if you like. It was great fun to make.

Speaking of "Love Potion No. 9", is it true MCA wanted you to record more cover songs and that this eventually led  to the first break-up of TYGERS OF PAN TANG?

Yes. Totally true. MCA wanted hit records. It was a factor in our discontent with the label.

You reunited (with a different line-up) in 1985 for two more records. What caused the band to break up again?

A number of reasons. They failed to make up the ground we’d lost. I decided I wanted to pursue an acting career when I was still young. I felt the time was right to follow a different path.

You certainly experienced some of the downsides of the music business, but I am sure you also must have some fond memories. Do you have an anecdote you would like to share with us?

Coming on stage at the start of a gig and shouting hello Birmingham to a sold out crowd...unfortunately we were in Sheffield. They weren’t pleased.

When did you decide to pursue your career as an actor? Is this something you've always wanted to do, or was there one event that made you want to become an actor?

I’ve always wanted to be an actor. Way before I started singing in bands. I felt I was acting a part in the TYGERS. The rock star; like Bowie’s Ziggy. I was never totally comfortable with it. I feel much happier as an actor.

When you became an actor you changed your name from John Deverill to Jon De Ville. Did you do this in order to distance yourself from your former career, or because it has a better ring to it for an actor?

I wanted to keep my proper name which is Deverill. But there was an existing actor with the same name registered with Equity. The actors union. So I couldn’t use it. The nearest to Deverill I could use was Deville. So I became Jon Deville.

One other thing you got rid of, most likely because of practicality, were your long locks. Did you just get them drastically cut, and get a neat short hairdo instead? Did it take some time to get used to the short hair or was it something you felt comfortable with straight away?

Yes. I went from very long to very short very quickly. It did take some getting used to I have to say. I had long hair for many years.

You're currently starring in "La Cage Aux Folles". Which character do you play?

I’m playing Francis. The stage manager at the La Cage Club. I love the show. So funny and with an important message. People should be free to love who they want.

Would you have ever imagined 35 years ago that one day you might be on stage doing "La Cage Aux Folles"?

Yes actually. I kind of knew I was going to be an actor.

Who are your favourite actors (male or female)?

So many but...Daniel Day-Lewis...Ralph Fiennes...Meryl Streep...Julie Walters...Ruth Wilson...to name a few.

Do you have a favourite playwright and/or a favourite play?

I love Peter Shaffer..."Amadeus" and "Equus" are two of my favourites...also Shakespeare...I love his plays.

So far, you have mostly been a stage actor. Do you prefer the stage or would you like to star in a movie? Or perhaps even a TV show?

I tend to think of myself as a stage actor. I would like to do TV and film. But the opportunities haven’t come my way...yet? In this business anything can happen. It’s one of the reasons I love it.

You have also done pantomimes. Pantos are very popular in Great Britain, but not so well known in German speaking countries, where people think of mimes like Marcel Marceau when they hear the word pantomime. How would you describe pantos to someone who isn't familiar with them and what do you like about them?

A panto is a variety show. Held together by a tradition fairy story. It involves a lot of audience participation and is great fun.

How does being onstage as an actor compare to being onstage as a frontman of a heavy metal band?

The same. All about communicating with an audience. A shared experience.

What is your favourite part you have played so far?

Benedick in "Much Ado About Nothing" by Shakespeare.

Is there any particular character you haven't played yet but would like to?

Many. Salieri in "Amadeus". Claudius in "Hamlet". Javert in "Les Miserables".


Seite 1: Einleitung
Seite 2: English version