I have a theory behind what ‘Tango Umbrella’, the title of the forthcoming album from American Head Charge, could mean. Pardon me, if this has already been answered or explained; as a fan of the band for many years, this is just my take on it.
I noticed that quite a few people have been posing a similar question, even Axl Rosenberg of MetalSucks.net asked in a recent article, “If anyone knows what the fuck that phrase even means, let me know.”
A few have attempted to solve the mystery:
In the past the band has made use of themes and imagery referencing combat, war, and military. Their second album was called ‘The War of Art’ and featured a tank on the cover…
I did a little research/internet digging and found some interesting things…
The ‘Tango Umbrella’ cover features an obvious warplane or fighter plane that is positioned upside down and is on fire. The title of the album is also written upside down.
It turns out that a similar expression, “Tango Uniform”, is military slang; the phonetic alphabet for letters ‘t’ and ‘u’ are used as an abbreviation for ‘tits up’, ‘inoperable’, ‘dead’.
Further investigating led me to some interesting information on military aviation… Apparently, the flight attitude indicator on the aircraft instrument panel contained a miniature representation of an airplane. One style of the indicators was shaped with ‘v’ forms – representing the body and the ‘dashes’ – representing the wings. The ‘v’s were frequently referred to as ‘tits’; the term referred to the potentially hazardous inverted flight condition – ‘upside down’ – where the ‘tits’ would be seen as being ‘up’. I found the information on military aviation on Urban Dictionary, surprisingly enough, so who knows… but it seems legit. I read a few other things that seemed to back this up.
As far as why it is “Umbrella” and not “Uniform”, I can’t be sure. I found a forum online where two army vets were bantering back and forth, stating that different time periods and locations give way to variations in the military phonetic alphabet… but that’s as far as I’ve gotten with it.
I checked out the new single American Head Charge just released this week, entitled “Let All The World Believe”. It was heavy and had that classic AHC sound that long time fans of the band will be able to appreciate. I’m looking forward to the new record, which is being released by Napalm Records on March 25th, 2016. Also looking forward to some tour announcements from the group… Cheers!