Tiff Tantrum of No Anger Control
"Mary Poppins Meets Joey Ramone: Tiff Tantrum is the Fiesty, Sweet Darling of Charlotte Punk Rock"
by guest reviewer: Becky Huskins
“I’m actually a pretty fiery individual.” When asked if she was an angry person, that’s how Tiff Tantrum describes herself. For a person who labels herself as the singer and “screamer” for a local Charlotte punk band called No Anger Control the quick assumption would be one of the angry female, but after talking with Tantrum’s friends and fans and with Tiff herself, that assumption would be quickly squelched.
“I focus on happiness and being positive now. I do still get angry, but I direct it all into my music now, so that when dealing with the individuals or situations that anger me......I can just smile and treat them the same as I would anybody else. With love.”
Fronted by Tantrum on vocals, Levi Erickson on guitar, Jason Damiano on bass and John Ehlers on drums, No Anger Control is a punk rock band with a lot of buzz in the underground music scene of Charlotte playing at venues like The Chop Shop, The World Famous Milestone and various clubs in the Plaza-Midwood neighborhood having recently taking part in the 8th Annual Punk Rock Picnic at Tremont Music Hall.
When asked about women in the local music scene, Mark Lynch of the band, The Chalkies, had this quick response, “do you have a specific question or should I just tell you how great Tiff Tantrum of No Anger Control is?” And that answer was given, by the way, without even mentioning Tantrum’s name. “I really like No Anger Control. You should check them out,” was another don’t-think-just-answer quip from Robert Childers at Snug Harbor. Even with all the fans coming out to shows and the support of her friends, Tantrum still can’t seem to believe her luck.
“Honestly, it's still hard to wrap my head around comments like these. I always get embarrassed when my friends tell people we have just met to check my band out or that we are awesome. I guess I will always see myself as just another person in the crowd, enjoying the music, and sometimes being lucky enough to be the one making the music.”
Described by friends as “an amazing lady with a big heart” one of the most surprising things to learn about Tantrum might be that she has earned a Child Development degree, interned at Wake Medical Center as a student, and has a day job as a nanny here in Charlotte.
“To see her get up on stage and belt those lyrics like she owns that stage … I have never met anyone like her before!” says fan and close friend, Sarah Reinhart, who books shows for The Common Market. For a woman that has been playing music in various bands and on many stages for the past twelve years, the ultimate goal would appear to be a major label contract or national tour. With influences ranging from The Ramones and The Cramps to David Bowie and The Psychedelic Furs, big-time success would appear to be on the agenda. “I used to want fame. To be known by everyone, everywhere. I wanted to literally spend my life touring and creating new music. I can still tour and create new music without being famous though. I think now I just want to have fun, to spend time creating incredible music with my bandmates, to learn from their talent, and to grow from all of these experiences. I am very lucky to be working with some very gifted guys, and writing and working with them is amazing.”
And that talent is, in fact, amazing. But the stand-out ferocity of Tantrum can’t be denied in the band’s live shows. It’s ironic that a performer who sees herself as a “nerd on stage like Joey Ramone” could bring forth the kind of power needed for songs like “Mom’s Basement” and “Slut Shaming” on their self-titled first album.
“I once mentioned that I wanted to become famous by talent, and not by how much skin I could show off. I had somebody tell me I was a slut shamer for saying this, and it angered me. I have never had a problem with how others live their lives, and in that statement I spoke of nobody but myself. I figured if I don't care how you live your life, than you shouldn't have a problem with how I want to live mine either. Unfortunately people will find any reason to get angry at you, so I bit my tongue, and wrote a song instead. If that person were to ever show up at a show; I would secretly be smiling when I sang that song.” Even though Tantrum may be enjoying telling someone off in a song, no one could deny her sweet nature off the stage as evidenced by her swath of friends and supporters. Particularly, female supporters in other bands or who see No Anger Control’s shows and become instant fans.
“The women in Charlotte are incredible! I have never felt any competition, and constantly feel like I have nothing but support. I have had many females approach me out at our shows, or just at shows in general, to let me know that I'm inspiring. I have actually been told before that seeing me on stage allows other females to feel like they can be in a band too, particularly punk.”
“When it comes to women in the music scene I get so pumped,” says Reinhart. “’F*** yeah, girl power!’ is what runs through my head when I see females make a huge impression in the punk scene. It melts my heart and makes me so proud.” However Tantrum and No Anger Control have plenty of male friends and fans, too, and Tantrum says “I’m out there for everybody.” According to Mike Benson, a long-time rock guitarist in bands like 1three4, Queen City Rejects and From the Gun, “Tiff is like a caged animal pacing the stage, ready to pounce, while the band blares out riff after riff of punk rock mayhem. Then, out of nowhere, she attacks!”
Maybe what makes Tantrum such a great performer is that she’s such a big fan herself. “If anything, I just know I love music, and will get my hands on more local bands’ stuff and touring bands’ stuff nowadays before ever going for "bigger" bands. I want to hear the dirty, underground, hardworking, blood sweating, sleeping on floors kind of bands.”
Even with all the anger, sweat and sleeping on floors, Tantrum’s positivity and energy just can’t be tamped down. Maybe it’s all that nanny sweetness in her downtime. “I'm very blessed. I guess if anything I just want to be remembered. I just want to make a difference to somebody, even if it's just one person. I'm just happy to be able to be in a band. It's the best thing I ever did for myself, having the guts to pick up that mic and sing in front of people. I don't think I'll ever stop.”
photography provided by Elizabeth Perkins (color) & Gene Lazo (b&w)
• Tiff's band No Anger Control will be playing Saturday, December 19th at the last show at Tremont Music Hall as they prepare to close their doors for good after a twenty year run.
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