top of page

Tragedy's Mo'Royce Peterson - Interviewed

by Mitch West

If ever there was a testimonial about a band it's from legendary rocker lead singer Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden who said "Tragedy rocks sweet balls and can do no wrong! They are great fun!" Tragedy takes disco, soft-rock, and pop classics, and completely reimagines them as glorious, red-hot heavy metal. They’re sure to get your head bangin’, your booty shakin’ – and put a smile on your face and your fist in the air.

We got the chance to do a little Q&A with lead vocalist and lead guitar player Mo'Royce Peterson about music, the art of a tribute band, the latest album, touring, and more before they share the stage on 3.31.23 with Crobot and Steel Panther during the Lincoln, NE date at The Bourbon Theatre with the On The Prowl Tour.

Break it down for us, how did Tragedy get assembled/come together in the beginning? and what was that first jam together like?

"It started simply as an idea on paper - some may say a horrible, ridiculous idea: disco-era Bee gees done in a hair metal style. The concept alone got us our first shows before we even played a note. But it went from being kind of a joke to something deeply inspiring, with a creative surge working within the concept, then bringing it to audiences. We made a couple of demos and then put a set together. Our first show was at a sold-out BB Kings in NYC, supporting the Aquabats. We walked on stage and our jaws dropped because we looked so sexy and absurd in our satin, spandex, and leather. Then the faces turned to smiles as we unleashed the musical concept - and the smiling has continued to grow into a worldwide sensation. Headbangin’ booty-shakin’ good times, everywhere we go."

Cover Art: Abrar Ajmal

Tell us about the badass cover for your latest album "I Am Woman", who did the art? Where did you guys record it?

"The cover art was done by the British artist, Abrar Ajmal. We put a lot of thought into how to portray the many themes of these songs, the band, and womanhood in general. The multi-armed goddess is a warrior, a lover, and a mother. A badass. I’m a recording engineer and studio owner and have always recorded and produced the band’s albums. On this record, each song started with a demo made by one of the guys, then we started fleshing it out in the studio."

What is it about Disco and Metal that mixes so damn well together?

"Both disco and hair metal took over the culture, then totally flamed out. We seek out the commonality - we find the inner metal in these disco and pop songs. Even though disco and metal were bitter rivals, they have some things in common: big hair, tight, flashy outfits, and octave-scraping vocals. But metalizing a disco track is never automatic. It takes a lot of deconstruction and inspiration."

How does one get such a rad testimonial from rock legend Bruce Dickinson?

"Well, you just have to rock sweet balls and do no wrong! Yeah, he enjoyed playing us on his radio show."

Out of all of your tribute songs, which song(s) tend to melt faces the most?

"Raining Blood / It’s Raining Men is an instant attention grabber. It’s funny on many levels and rocks so hard. Live, we get the whole crowd to chant “men!”, then just the women, and after that, just the non-binary. Everyone gets to play in our glorious, glittery, sandbox."

Speaking of tributes, how many of those artists/bands you've met in person/have seen you perform your renditions of their songs? Have you had a chance to meet many of them?

"A bunch of the Bee Gees’ children are musicians and they’ve been supporters of the band since our first album. Barry’s son Steve is a metalhead. We’ve talked about collaborating. We did a show with Randy Jones of the Village People. Super fun performing with the cowboy! Both Tragedy and The Village People have roots in NYC cabaret/vaudeville bohemia."

Bucket list bands to tour with or share the stage with?

"Two of them we get to tour with this year! Steel Panther and Nanowar of Steel. Both are fantastically talented and entertaining bands in our micro-genre of comedy metal. I’d love to tour with Tenacious D. I spent some time with Jack Black after a show and he’s as funny and sweet as you’d think he might be."

We can only imagine the stories you've all had through the years. What are some of the best?

"Yeah, we’ve had some crazy times! One of my favorite memories was playing Motocultur Festival in France. We were playing Summer Breeze Festival in Germany for like five nights in a row. After the last show, we immediately had to jump in a van that took us to the eastern border of France in the early morning hours. We took a high-speed train across the country and made it to our stage at Motocultur just in time. We had played France only once before. And this festival was a very serious metal festival. We had no idea how our glittery bombast would connect with the whole scene. Well, by the end of the set, we had 10,000 metalheads doing the YMCA dance with us. A triumph!"

Of all the places you've played, which regions/countries have the crazier crowds and why?

"While we still haven’t played a ton of shows in France, the “fuck ‘em, we have champagne” spirit is right in line with Tragedy. In the UK we have amazing fans - some of them follow us on tour, going to every single show. But it’s been amazing touring with Steel Panther in the US. I always say that with Tragedy, you have to be smart enough to get it and dumb enough to like it. And we’re hitting the bullseye on our target audience here."

For the kid learning to slay for the first time, what advice would you give them?

"I hope you don’t care about financial stability! When honing your craft, don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself. Our shortcomings make us unique artists. Create your path and others will be drawn to it. Have fun. Have fun. Have fun! "

*Updated 4.30.23*


bottom of page