Promethean Crusade Usa - Winter 1999/2000
MANOWAR: ETERNALLY FIGHTING FOR GLORY
Interview taken by Mark Morton
"True Metal." What does it really mean? Is it a term that defines a band that is more talented than any other band? Is it used to distinguish the heavy, Underground Metal from the New Jack/Mainstream garbage? Or does it describe a pompous attitude that has been greatly misinterpreted within the realm of the Power/Melodic/Progressive circle? My vote would have to go with "None of the above!" You see, to me True Metal characterizes those bands that seem to have an unseen, yet tangible bond with its audience bands that go above and beyond the call of duty to please no one but the fans,by fusing such HUMAN elements as hope, dreams, desire and individuality with aggressive and melodious music, thereby inciting a universal harmony among the fans with each other, as well as with the band How many Metal bands in the world can claim such a powerful (and oftentimes omnipotent) label? Think about it. Imagine a band that possesses fans so devoted that they would rise above the herds of mere listeners and swear total allegiance to it and its endeavours? In the world of Metal terribly few can be graced with this description, since most are competing with each other for the fans' adoration. There is one band, however, that embodies the glowing trait (and pretty much invented the term) known as "True Metal." That band is none other than America's own Manowar. Many believe Manowar to be a European act, due to their unique brand of powerful, melodic Metal, as well as their attitude regarding the Metal lifestyle. But alas, they are American through and through, and despite the corporate regime that monopolizes what the US consumers "should" be listening to, Manowar still shines through the carbon-copy muck, like a blade of sunshine slashing through grey storm clouds. But as more eloquently expressed by vocalist Eric Adams in this very brief conversation, Manowar is simply here to "Kick Your Ass"!!
Promethean Crusade: Are you in the process of working on a new album or are you still riding out Hell on Stage?
Manowar: We're finishing up an extensive tour that began when Hell On Stage came out, then we're heading home for a bit then right back on the road.
PC: Something that's always bothered me is that Metal is more widely accepted and appreciated in Europe than in the US. Which side of the Atlantic are Manowar fans more enthusiastic?
M: It's the same on both sides, Brother! All true Manowar fans know the lyrics, buy the albums, come out to the shows and sing along with us!
PC: I was wondering, because on both live albums, no songs were recorded in the States.
M: That's because we're just now touring the US. We haven't been over here since '96. We finally have a record label behind us that knows what we're about and believes in what we're doing.
PC: That's another question I had. How did you manage to remain on major labels all these years without really being pushed by said labels?
M: Oh, we were pushed by the labels, man. But we never listened to them that's whywe were with 17 different record companies. Because believe me, the only people we listen to are the fans! They're the ONLY people we listen to. Yeah. We write our material, we think about our material, but what we play live is demanded by the fans. They write us at the ManowarKingsOfMetal.com official site and tell us what they want, man. Everything we do is for the fans. So to hell with THOSE record companies. They're not the people who stand out in the fucking rain or snow waiting for us to sign their tickets, waiting to buy our t-shirts and videos. Those are the people who are putting bread on our tables!
PC: What sparked the fury inside you guys to take it upon yourselves to get together and embark on this lifelong crusade to open people 's minds and get them to think for themselves?
M: Well, we were out there in the early days just playing as a band, playing out with other bands, and it just became time to call out the shit, say what we have to say, and believe in ourselves! That's why we started writing songs about people believing in themselves and fighting for what they feel is right!!
PC: Do you think Metal as a whole has been downplayed by misconceptions by the media in recent years?
M: No, I don't think that it's being downplayed at all. At least it hasn't affected any of our shows. When people conic out to one of our shows, the response is as intense now as it was ten years ago. And we feed off that energy!
PC: That's probably the most important and reputable aspect of the band. Manowar: the live performance. When I saw you on the Louder Than Hell Tour, there was a total connection between the fans and the band, both being enraptured and enveloped in the performance which resulted in a constant powerhouse of energy.
M: Yeah, it's a big party. It's a big fucking party! You guys know the words to the songs, you can all sing along with me. If you know how to play the guitar, come on up on stage and play with the band! We've got a homecoming out soon that was shot all around the world, and we had consistent interaction with the fans. At some point, we usually have like 20 or 30 fans on the stage at once! That's wild. Brother, that's a trip!
PC: How did you manage to stay so anti-business and remain on these major labels? Atlantic was the longest stint wasn’t it?
M: Yeah, Atlantic was the longest! Again, I hate to harp on the same thing but the music business is a business. Manowar is a band and a party; it doesn’t matter what label we’re on if it’s Atlantic or not, we won’t stop. Right now, we’re on Metal Blade.
PC: Now, were you approached by Metal Blade or did you seek them out?
M: They approached us. A friend of mine called me up, we had a meeting in New York, and it was just a marriage man, a total marriage. Metal Blade is probably the first label that is 100% behind what we do, and they appreciate us for who we are. They let us do what we do, and they promote our product. It’s just great.
PC: That’s really incredible, especially here in the US, where most labels only give bands certain freedoms only if they can keep producing those hit singles. Another thing (of many) that I truly admire about Manowar is that the band really has no “hit singles.” If you play any song from the catalogue any song at all, it will be loved and appreciated equally.
M: That’s absolutely right man, that’s what true fans are all about!
PC: Which leads me back to the live albums. It’s really great to see at least a couple songs from every album represented in the live setting on these discs!
M: Yeah, we tried to do that; that was our intention, to incorporate every album. I mean, there were some people who’d come up to us and say that we never play “Guyana” live or something like that, so we went ahead and proved it. It was our way of saying, “Hey, man, we’re not a studio band. Everything we do can be reproduced up on stage.” Everything’s fucking real!
PC: This fight for Metallic freedom, does it ever become painstaking at all?
M: Not on any stage we’ve played, man! Are you referring to those “people” who just claim that it’s just a lot of fucking noise up there?
M: Okay, now that kinda shit bothers me, when they come up and ask what kind of music do I play, and I say Metal, they think “gra-r-ra-ra-ra!!!” Hey, we play fucking Metal, and we’re in a class of our own, and we play Symphonic Metal. We’ve got a guitar player who can fucking burn, we’ve got a bass player who can fucking burn, we’ve got a drummer that just fucking smokes!! We have the culminated ability to do anything, anything at all. There are bands out there that claim “Metal”, but they don’t have anything to show for it. We’ve got the goods, and we love to show it!
PC: Since Metal has become somewhat of a dirty word over the years, does this make your fight more difficult?
M: No, it’ just makes it longer, Brother. It just makes it longer!!
PC: Now what do you have to say to those “professional” magazine outlets that claim to be “experts” in the Rock industry? I recall a world-renowned trade magazine that reviewed Louder Than Hell when it was released, and they said they were shocked that the album was selling well, because the music was too “typical and gimmicky” and the lyrics were absolutely ridiculous.
M: FUCK THEM! Nobody who writes for those magazines know anything about this band. FUCK THEM! Come out to a show and witness it for yourself or go fuck off! This is why I like interviewing with guys like you, you know all about the band; you’re into the band. It’s obvious that this guy didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about, so fuck him!
PC: Does this carefree “Fuck off” attitude hinder the battle at all? From reading these reviews and whatnot, Manowar seems to achieve more negative press than positive.
M: In the US it was negative, but in the rest of the world it was glowing. I don’t know what those publications’ problems are. But it doesn’t really bother us that much. When you see our new album, I can guarantee it will blow everyone away, and it won’t take another 4 years to do it!