Metal Fury Uk - 19 1983
Interview taken by Paul Palmer
MANOWAR tells Paul Palmer why they believe in the trumph of good over evil Holy War
If you think that Sabbath can whip up a frenzy, then you should listen to these guys. WOW! Powerful stuff. No. Not that, but PPOOOWWEERRFFFUUUUL! That's better. A more precise description, would be to imagine San Francisco crumbling in an earthquake. No, to think of it, even that isn't close but I think you get the message. And apparently you British headbangers have caught the message right between the eyes. And why the hell not. At the time MF went to press their album has just gone into the British HM charts at Number 5, knocking everything else by the wayside. This is just another indicator that Manowar are most definitely a band who intend to remain on this earth and conquer another stretch of this God-forsaken place until they have it all in their grasp, and when that happens you'll have no wimps or posers then, and that's for sure. But to conclude, I thought I couldn't leave these guys without at least having one dig at them. And anyway their PR is now in the room, so I must be safe, or so I hope... So Joey my friend, what would you do if someone laughed at you?
"Well let me put it this way. If someone laughed at you, how long would you let them continue? If they laugh then that's OK, but I would hope that they would take us seriously and listen to what we actually have to say, and what we plan to do. People have a very simple choice and it's this. We can either be their best friends or their worst enemies. They can take their pick."
I left quickly, assuring them that I would ensure that the album did really well over in England. So readers (No-one who buys this magazine can read-Ed.) I'm pleading with ya. Please go out and buy it. I don't think I could face another sword wielding session with this group. I mean, I'm still young. I don't want to have to die. Why couldn't they have sent Pippa to do this interview...? Slowly the mist began to clear. In the distance, beyond the small cluster of trees, four horsemen were approaching. Clad in furs and leather, they made their way carefully through the murky waters, avoiding those spots where the heaving brew contained unknown evils...The sun, still faint, was reflected in the brilliant steel of their enormous swords and at times the bubbling waters magnified their decorated torso. By the aura of power and strength which surrounded them, it was possible to tell that these men were here for business... As they drew nearer one of them rode forward. Raising his sword, he galloped towards us at a terrific pace. In unison with the monotonous chant of his comrades, this lone rider began to speak an oath, his voice piercing through the sinister quiet of the dawn.
"We fight to the death. To the last man. To the last breath. Death to false Metal. INTO GLORY RIDE."
and with this he spun his heaving stallion around saluted his assembled comrades, and together they disappeared into the mist from where they had so mysteriously emerged... As the fog enveloped them, the one who had spoken seemed to turn and look back. In the half-light he stood, god-like, waiting for whatever fate would bring, ready to fight whatever enemy dared cross his path... From the chilling look in this man's eyes I knew we would be seeing him again... A few weeks later, and your intrepid writer is on his way to what must be the most frightening interview of his life. Oblivious to the evil which is about to erupt in their city, the average New Yorker carries on as if nothing is going to happen. But I know different. Little do they know, but the two gentlemen sitting in this office on Broadway are not ordinary guys. No. That is most definitely true. For Joey Demaio and Ross the Boss are two of the furry quartet which unleashed their terror campaign on the cold morning a few weeks back. Joey now dressed in 'ordinary' clothes, is the leader of a new American hard-rock outfit called Manowar; he's the guy who began that glorious chant about True Metal. That spine-chilling, toe-nail reducing, head-erupting chant which scared even the sheep. Sweat now dripping like Wisconsin rain-drops from my forehead, I turn to Joey and ask him what all this talk of Real Metal really means?
"It's quite simple", he begins. My god, his voice is normal. No unusual tone though I could have sworn that by the end of the interview my tape-recorder was beginning to smoke. "As a group we really believe in what we are doing. We now have a purpose and a unity which none of us has ever had before. That is special, to all of us. Now what that does to a band is fairly simple. It unites us completely, like an army. For too long now we have stood by and watched people get ripped-off, and that stinks. So we decided to do something about it. Now for the first time I'm playing with people who know their music, who can play their instruments and bring together a whole new sound. At times in this business we were really suffering watching all these amateurs and how the audiences would just soak the music up like sponges instead of becoming involved in what was really going on. So that's what our motto is all about. We must get rid of the posers, of those who peddle the rubbish. All this expensive lighting and effects that some bands have is a travesty. We don't want that. Unlike most bands we can play our instruments, and that's it."
Fierce words indeed and from where I'm sitting Joey looks a pretty fierce guy. When he shook hands with me I thought my writing days were over such was the power of his grip. Bulging muscles I know, are in, but on these guys they are more 'beat-you-up' than 'work out'. So what's all this dressing up for like a drag act? Surely Manowar are sinister enough without all the furs?
"There is nothing evil about Manowar. That is what I want to make quite clear. A lot of bands are very much into the darker side of legend and myth but we're not. Of the various forces which are present in our world today, we do not represent any dark force. We believe in the supremacy of good against evil. As for the costumes, people here in the States accused us of copying the film 'Conan'. That simply isn't the case. We had the idea of assuming these characters long before makers of that film did. What these costumes lead us to is a wider view of what our music is about. The costumes represent pure inner feelings. We all must work, we must all join together and benefit from the force of our union. We must find heroes within our ourselves and express our belief in good through the music or through whatever medium is easiest for that particular person. We want to get closer to the animal. Closer to a strong form of justice. For example, do not doubt that we would use our swords if we had to defend ourselves or our families. The justification for this is the Biblical phrase, 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.' What could be fairer than that? We are not negative in our outlook, for that would cloud what we are trying to do. We are the people who save the day, who use their swords in the defence of good, use our power to intervene where and when we have to. There are no weak links anywhere in the Manowar concept."
By this time I was a little stunned. No longer were these guys the bunch of glam-rock posers I had expected, but there was something different, something special from the classic mould of rock 'n' roll fantasy. In a flash of terrible insight, I suddenly saw what Manowar were all about, how they came to be so different, and so frightened. Jesus, I thought. These two really believe in what they are doing. Mother help me. They are actually serious. The New York sky seemed to cloud over, and the air grew heavy. I was getting concerned. One does hear some terrible things... As we began to talk about their album, 'Into Glory Ride' it became clear that Joey takes that piece of plastic very seriously indeed, and with some justification I should say. For whatever you may think of Manowar, their music is chilling stuff. When I played the record in my apartment, the neighbours complained, the City Council made plans to evacuate the street, and even now police have to mount a 24 hour guard over my record desk to stop the desperate attempts of hysterical Metal Maniacs trying to seize it before it hits the reluctant record stores.