Tapiman-Hard Drive.

During the seventies, the hard rocking Spanish power trio Tapiman, released a trio of albums between 1972 and 1979. This includes Tapiman, which is a cult classic, that nowadays, changes hands for over £800. It was, without doubt Tapiman’s finest hour. Sadly, these three albums amount to everything that Tapiman recorded during their seventies heyday. Recently, it became apparent that that wasn’t strictly true.

The three albums released by Tapiman during the seventies, were recorded by what was the second lineup of the band. Recently, it transpired that the original lineup of Tapiman had recorded ten tracks in 1971. Very few people were aware of these homemade recordings, which include a cover of Black Sabbath’s Planet Caravan. That is why they’ve lain unreleased for nearly forty-six years

Recently, the  recordings by the original lineup of Tapiman made their debut on  Hard Drive, which was  released by Guerssen Records on ’28th’ April 2017. It features Tapiman at their hard rocking best, as they switch between, and combine, hard rock, proto-metal and even a hint of psychedelia and the Canterbury Scene. These eleven tracks on Hard Drive are reminder of the original lineup of Tapiman in 1971, as their career began,

Tapiman were formed in Barcelona, Spain in early 1971 by drummer Joseph María Vilaseca “Tapioles” and guitar virtuoso Miguel Angel Núñez. The pair struggled for a while to find the right bassist. They auditioned a few different bassists, but the chemistry just wasn’t right. Things changed when Pepe Fernández auditioned. Suddenly, the nascent band had found its bassist. Now the power trio had an enviable lineup of experienced musicians.

By then, Joseph María Vilaseca “Tapioles” was regarded as one of the best drummers at the time. He had previously been a member of Máquina, and played on their legendary 1970 debut album Why? Máquina looked as if they were destined to become one of the biggest rock groups in Spain. That was until lead singer Jordi Batiste left Máquina.

This was essentially the end of the road for Máquina. While different line-ups of the band were tried out, it was never the same band. The end came for Joseph María Vilaseca “Tapioles” when three other members of the Máquina formed a new band. This Joseph decided the time for him to found his own band.

Not long after this, Joseph María Vilaseca “Tapioles” met Miguel Angel Núñez. The pair soon formed a friendship, and realising that they worked well together, decided to form a new band. This was the basis for a successful band, as they were both experienced and talented musicians.

Previously, Miguel Angel Núñez had been already been a member of several different bands. At first he was the singer, but gradually, he began to play guitar in the some of the bands. Soon, Miguel Angel Núñez was well on his way to becoming one of Spain’s most exciting and flamboyant guitarists. He found the perfect home for his talents in the new group.

This new group didn’t as yet, have a name. Soon, the two friends hit on an idea that would provide the name for their band. They decided to take the first letters of their names and combine them. Joseph María Vilaseca “Tapioles” took the first four letters from surname (Tapi), while Miguel Angel Núñez took the initials from each name (man) and Tapiman was born. All that remained was finding a bassist.

After trying a few bassists, Tapiman discovered Pepe Fernández, who was the final piece in the jigsaw. Not only did his playing style suit the new band’s, but he well known with Barcelona’s progressive rock scene. Pepe had also previously been a member of the psychedelic blues band Vértice who recorded the single Take Me Away in 1970. Given his experience and track record, Pepe was the perfect addition to the nascent power trio. Sadly, Tapiman would only be together less than a year.

Despite only being together such a short time, Tapiman certainly made their mark on Spanish music. The rise and rise of Tapiman was certainly rapid. After Tapiman had honed their sound, Barcelona’s newest power trio started playing on live. Soon, Tapiman were a familiar face on the local music scene. Unlike most new bands, Tapiman soon became a popular draw. However, it wasn’t just music lovers that arrived at their gigs. 

Three months after Tapiman were formed, an A&R representative from a local record label, Edigsa arrived at one of their concerts. They wanted to sign Tapiman, and for the group to record and release their debut single on Edigsa. 

This wasn’t going to be just any single though. No, Claudi Marti who owned Edgisa, had very specific ideas about the single. It had to last a certain time, and have a “unique” sound so that record stations would play the single. 

Having signed a contract with Edgisa, the three members of Tapiman got to work, and penned Hey You, where Miguel Angel Núñez’s vocal and Pepe Fernández’s play lead roles in the sound and success of the song. For the B-Side, Miguel Angel Núñez penned Sugar Stone. These two songs became Tapiman’s debut single, when it was released in 1971. For Tapiman, this was the next part of a musical adventure.

Not long after the release of their debut Hey You, Tapiman entered the First Trocadero Music Festival. While Tapiman were one of the favourites, the competition was fierce. Two Barcelona based prog-psych bands, Máquina! and Pan and Regaliz were regarded as the favourites. Both were experienced campaigners. Despite their experience, it was Tapiman that triumphed. They proved to be the favourites of what was an enthusiastic audience. 

This was just one of many enthusiastic audiences Tapiman played in front of. Others included their morning shows at the Iris and at the Barbarella club in Mallorca. This was just one of the many top clubs that Tapiman played at during what was one of the busiest periods of their short career. However, one of the highlights came when they played at the Granollers First Festival of Progressive Rock. 

Tapiman who were one of the newest groups on the bill at the First Festival of Progressive Rock. Despite this, they stole the show with their acid rock sound. Suddenly, the Spanish music press were heaping praise on Tapiman. They were hailed as one of the rising stars of Spanish underground rock, who had a bright future in front of them.

It certainly looked that way. Suddenly, Tapiman were receiving offers from far and wide. This included from Jim Inman, who managed American bands. He wanted to take Tapiman to America, where they would spend a month touring San Francisco and the West Coast of America with major bands like Jefferson Airplane. This Jim Inman hoped, would Tapiman to the lucrative American market. That never happened though.

Instead, Tapiman were meant to start recording their debut album. It was hoped that the album would capture Tapiman’s live sound. Tapiman live shows were raw and energetic. To capture this sound, a decision was made to record the album live. After Tapiman encountered technical difficulties, they had to rethink their approach to recording the album.

Eventually, Tapiman decided to record the album at Gema Studios, in Barcelona. Rather than a closed session, Tapiman decided to record the album with members of the public present.  This method had been used in America, but never before in Spain. The lucky members of the public that arrived at the studio got to hear Tapiman in full flight, on what was a musical first in Spain. Once again, Tapiman were breaking new ground. Things were looking good for Tapiman.

They were regarded as one of the rising stars of Spanish underground rock. Tapiman were a popular live draw, who were starting to play further afield. This included a concert in Andorra, that took place not long after Tapiman had recorded their debut album. For Tapiman, this should’ve been a time to celebrate, as soon, their debut album would be completed and ready for release. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

By the time of the concert in Andorra, there had been was some arguments between members of the band. This isn’t unusual in bands. Especially one like Tapiman, which featured three talented and creative people, who over the last few months had spent much of their time together. It was only natural that there will be the occasional disagreement. What nobody was prepared for, was Miguel Angel Núñez’s announcement that he was leaving Tapiman. For the other two members of the band this was a huge body blow.

Tapiman had just recorded their debut album. All that remained was to do some overdubbing, and then the album would be ready for release. That wouldn’t be possible without Miguel Angel Núñez, whose guitar playing was a crucial part of the album. Without him, the album wouldn’t be finished. It was imperative that Miguel Angel Núñez changed his mind, and the album was completed. After all, this album was what Tapiman had spent the last few months working towards. Now it looked like it would all be for nothing.

Despite the best efforts of Joseph María Vilaseca “Tapioles” and Pepe Fernández, Miguel Angel Núñez wasn’t willing to change his mind. Even Claudi Marti who owned the Edgisa label, couldn’t convince  Miguel Angel Núñez to change his mind about leaving Tapiman. It was the end of an era.

The ten tracks that were recently released as Hard Drive were never released, and since 1971, have lain in the Tapiman vaults. That was a great shame, as they showcase they combined and considerable talents of the original lineup of Tapiman.

Opening Hard Drive is the title-track, which is one of the songs recorded at Tapiman’s rehearsal space. Drum rolls and Miguel’s searing guitar riffs give way to Pepe’s bounding bass and soon, Tapiman are in full flight. As the drums provide the heartbeat, the bass and searing, scorching guitar play leading roles in this hard rocking track. They’re soon joined by Miguel’s urgent rocky vocal, which sounds as if it’s been inspirited by Black Sabbath, Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin. When the vocal drops out, Tapiman unleash a raw, rocky jam. Their playing is tight, inventive and briefly, pays homage to The Who, before reaching a glorious rocky crescendo.

No Control was meant to feature on the B-Side of Tapiman’s sophomore album No Control, which was never unreleased. As is often the case, B-Sides prove to be hidden gems. A searing, psychedelic guitar sets the scene for a vocal powerhouse. Meanwhile, Tapiman’s rhythm section lock down a groove as Miguel struts and swaggers his way through the lyrics. Behind him, drums pound, the bass bounds and cymbals crash. Miguel unleashes a fleet fingered, bristling guitar solo, before spraying machine gun riffs across the arrangement as hard rock meets psychedelia. If ever a song deserved to fare better than a B-Side, it’s No Control, which is a tantalising reminder of what the ordinal lineup of Tapiman were capable of.

Eight is the third of five tracks Tapiman recorded in their rehearsal rooms. This instrumental is like hearing the original lineup of Tapiman live. As the rhythm section lay down a groove, the bass bounds and snakes around the drumbeats. Soon, Miguel steps up, and delivers an effects laden solo. Behind him, Joseph continues to works his way round the kit, sometimes relying upon the ride, before pounding the drums enthusiastically. It’s a much more restrained performance, which results in much more mellow and melodic track. Latterly, the arrangement is stripped bare, when a drum roll, gives way to wailing feedback. Miguel’s searing guitar ensures the psychedelic rock of Eight reaches an impressive crescendo.

Time On Space is another instrumental, and is a showcase for a guitar masterclass from Miguel. He unleashes a blistering solo,  while the bass cuts through the arrangement and drums power the arrangement along. Although Tapiman are a talented power trio, it’s Miguel that steals the show with another scorching, fleet fingered solo from a musical wizard. 

Joseph’s drums take centre-stage on No Title as he powers his way round the kit. Soon, Pepe’s bass and Miguel’s Hendrix inspired guitar join and the tempo rises. The rhythm section power the arrangement along, with the bass matching the guitar every step of the way. Meanwhile, Miguel’s playing is fast, fluid and flamboyant, as the bass provides the heartbeat. Soon, the drums enjoy their moment in the sun, with flamboyant flourishes of guitar adding the final touch as Tapiman reach new heights. As astounded studio audience gasp in disbelief, before a walking bass and effects laden guitar power the arrangement along as No Title reaches a dramatic ending. It’s one of the highlights of Hard Drive.

Having counted the band in a tack piano plays on Before Last Minute. Soon, it’s joined by quivering effects laden guitar as the rhythm section provide the heartbeat. Meanwhile, the music of two decades melts into one. Elements of sixties psychedelia and seventies rock melt combine to create a punchy, driving dramatic instrumental 

Straight away, lysergic and dreamy describes Miguel’s vocal on Long Sea Journey. Again, there’s a sixties psychedelic sound to the understated and spacious arrangement. Here, less is more as guitars and swirling, droning  organ are deployed. Along with the vocal, they play leading roles in this cinematic psychedelic song.

Just a lone acoustic guitar accompanies a wistful vocal as Tapiman cover Black Sabbath’s Planet Caravan. Soon, rhythm section enter, and Tapiman march to the beat of Joseph’s drum. Meanwhile, a prowling bass works its way across the arrangement, before a scorching, psychedelic guitar soars high above the arrangement. When it drops out, a military beat, prowling bass and acoustic guitar accompany the emotive, wistful  vocal on this poignant cover of Black Sabbath’s Planet Caravan.

Closing Hard Drive is an acoustic demo version of Eight, which features the shimmering, glistening guitars that intertwine. They’re at the heart of this short instrumental, that lasts just over a minute. That is enough to hear how the track evolved, and became the version that featured earlier on Hard Drive. However, it’s the demo of Eight that closes this chapter in the Tapiman story.

The chapter in the Tapiman story that Hard Drive covers, is one that very few people were aware of. Some people were aware that it was the second lineup of Tapiman that recorded three albums between 1972 and 1979, Tapiman, Rock ’n’ Roll Music and En Ruta. However, very few knew that the original lineup of Tapiman began work on an album before they split-up. They certainly weren’t aware that the album wasn’t almost complete. Sadly, it was never completed.

Instead,  Max Sunyer joined the band and they embarked upon a new chapter in their career. This was the most successful period in their career. However, if Miguel Angel Núñez hadn’t decided to leave the band in 1971, there’s every chance that the original lineup of Tapiman would’ve gone on to reach even greater heights.

The ten tracks on Hard Drive are a tantalising reminder of what the original lineup of Tapiman sounded like. How would the songs have sounded if they had been completed, and album released? Maybe that would’ve been the first step in a musical journey that saw Tapiman become not just one of the biggest Spanish bands of the seventies, but a giant of European music. Tapiman certainly had the talent. Sadly, their differences got in the way of a successful career.

Maybe if they a manager who could’ve helped the three members of Tapiman resolve their differences, then things would’ve been very different? Certainly Tapiman’s debut album wouldn’t have lain unreleased for forty-six years. Sadly, that was what happened.

Recently,ten homemade recordings by the original lineup of Tapiman made their debut on Drive, which was released by Guerssen Records. It features Tapiman at their hard rocking best, as they switch between and combine hard rock, proto-metal and even a hint of psychedelia. There’s even a nod to the Canterbury Scene, on Hard Drive. It features the hard rocking sound of Tapiman in full flight on Hard Drive, which is a tantalising reminder of what the original lineup of Tapiman were capable of, and the heights they could’ve and should’ve achieved.

Tapiman-Hard Drive.

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