Interview - Manowar Undisclosed

MANOWAR UNDISCLOSED
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Interview

Illitterature Usa - 16 1998

MANOWAR

Interview taken by Gery Nible

“Ladies and gentlemen, from the United States of America, all hail Manowar.”
For no less than fifteen years I waited to hear that sentence majestically intoned by the graniose voice of the late, great Orson Welles. I was 16 when a cassette of Battle Hymns fell into my hands and I can still remember the nearly overwhelming rush I felt upon my introductory listens to “Fast Taker”, “Metal Daze”, “Dark Avenger” and the triumphant finale “Battle Hymn” – songs that were all powerful enough to, well, make you remember the first time you heard them fifteen years later. Due to Manowar’s notoriously limited touring of the U.S., it wasn’t until the ripe old age of 31 that I decided enough was enough and hopped a flight to Chicago to catch the band in a two-show Labor Day Weekend performance. An exclusive interview for these pages was shakily conceived and after numerous delays that included less-than-helpful security personnel, the flooding of the Mano-offices in Syracuse, and the sudden departure of potential interviewee Joey DeMaio (bassist and founding member) for Germany. The following banter finally took place after vocalist Eric Adams graciously allowed me to ruin 40 minutes of his evening. Read on, enjoy, and all hail… MANOWAR!

You've  been doing this since 1980. How does it feel?
We’ve been together eighteen years now, just kickin’ ass and doin' metal. We haven’t changed at all, that's the way it is. Metal in the beginning and metal is now We ride bikes, we live and breathe and eat metal. I don't wanna sound cliché at all, because it’s not cliché, it’s just fuckin metal, man.

Is Manowar your first band?
My first real hard, I’ll put it that way.

How do you define "Manowar"?
To me “Manowar” means “power”. Manowar is the fastest horse. Manowar is a fish that can sting and kill. That's the way I look at it, personally. Everyone in the band has their own personal belief about the name. Mine is that if we have to play fast, we are the fastest. If we need to have more power, we are the most powerful. We are the loudest band the world. We broke the record in Hamburg Germany. Some assholes tried to break it and couldn't do it. Quite frankly, it just can' t be done. All the gear we brought, all the power we use, it just can't he done. The power will just kill you.

So how loud?
Louder than a jet engine taking off, I can tell you that. We each had individual tests as well. I know CNN and MTV were there recording the whole thing. I do know the Guinnes Book Of World Records wouldn't list it because they thought it would be dangerous, encouraging people to break it. That's right. It was gauged, metered and listed. I wished to hell I could remember our readings. If I'd known you were going to ask that I'd have had that ready for you. It’s pretty powerful shit.

129.5, 130 decibels comes to mind for some reason. Maybe I'm remembering an old Geffen press release or something.
I think that's right. I know Joey's was 120 for just bass, alone

Only two American shows this year Why Chicago?
Why not? Chicago has a special place for us. We did Kings Of Metal there. We recorded a couple of albums there and have a lot of  friends out there. We just thought it'd be great to get out there and just do it.

Why are American dates so sporadic with Manowar?
Well, that's not up to the band. Believe me, we want to play everywhere we can but we've been so damn busy overseas that we haven't had a chance to play here. In between recording, writing material, and heading out to do tours after tours after tours over in Europe, we haven't had very much time to do anything over here.

So it's no holdon Manowar's part?
No, absolutely not, man.  I'm ready to play any time, anywhere. It 's just one of those things that we haven't  had the opportunity yet. Hopefully that's gonna change. We just came from France three weeks ago, we went out to Chicago for those two gigs, and in nine days I go to South America. Then in November, it's Spain, back to Germany and then over to France again just to give you an idea (laughs).

Have you ever had an offer on the table to do the Milwaukee MetafFest?
I think we were offered once, but couldn't do it. I've gotta think it’s because of a tour of E urope at that time. I really can't remember.

Having watched Joey at your hour-plus soundcheck, I think the crap sound at the MetalFest would make a perfectionsit like him quite insane.
(Laughs) Speaking of Joey, how would you describe the characteristics of the others in the band? (Laughs)

How are you going to describe Joey?
To start with, is he a perfectionist? It was an hour-long soundcheck. He is very much a perfectionist, as we all are about our instruments. Joey watches over everything. Every detail. That’s just the way he is. The sound has to be absolutely right. He does have an ear for it, he does a lot of the producing on the albums. He has a great ear for music, and that’s why he belongs out there checking it. I wouldn’t trust anyone else, to be honest with you. We can’t fuck around when we’re dealing with our fans, particualrly when we play in the United States, where people like yourself fly in for the show. There were people that came from Denver, Massachusetts, all over the whole U.S., just to see the show, so we can’t fuck our fans off at all. If we have to hold the doors (to do a soundcheck), then we have to fuckin’ hold the doors. We’re not going to do anything half-assed. We never have.

What about Karl (Logan-guitar) and Scott (Columbus-drums)?
Well, Scott’s the guy in the band who seems quiet, until you talk to him. He’s just crazy. (laughs). He’s a perfectionist. He hears things in his own kit that no one else can hear, but demands that it be absolutely right before we play, which is the way it should be. Karl’s the quiet one, he doesn’t say much. He lets his guitar do all the talkin’ and it certainly has as far as we’re concerned. He just burns on the guitar.

Your former guitarist Dave Shankle joined you onstage in Chicago for “Kings Of Metal”. What was that experience like and what caused his departure after the release of “Triumph of Steel”?
He decide he wanted to go back to college and study classical music, which is what he did. Matter of fact, he told us backstage that he’d just gotten his degree. He asked us about coming onstage and we just said, “What (song) do you want to do, man?”. Let me tell you somethin’, we’re all brothers in this. That’s one thing I can say about Manowar, you’re onstage with us and you’re a brother ‘till the end. I had a good time when Dave got up there with us. It was his hometown and it was great. It brought back a lot of good memories. Somebody even said, “Hey, Ross (the Boss – Manowar’s first guitarist) is back here, too! (laughs).

That’s who I was going to ask about next.
We saw Ross in Madrid (Spain). We were doing an in-store and so many people showed up that they had to close the street off. The television cameras came down because the traffic was so backed up. Ross happened to be in Madrid at the time, doing a gig with Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom and happened to have on the news and saw us signing autographs. He hopped a cab and came down. We laughed and joked around and later he came back to the hotel and we had a few too many drinks. It was a good time.

What about music outside of Manowar? Are you well versed in other forms of metal or do you listen to different stuff altogether?
I listen to early Metallica. I think new Metallica’s shit, I just can’t get into it.

Hear, hear!
I listen to classical music a lot. Wagner. I listen to the Best of Wagner a lot. It gives me that triumphant feeling, something that Manowar’s all about. We’re actually influenced a lot by Wagner.

Hey, this comes out of nowhere, but after I spoke to Joey and got accustomed to the sound of his voice, I later recognized him as the father on the intro to “Warlord.”. “Hey! What’s this s’posed to be?!”
Yeah! (laughs) We had a good time recording that. We always have a good time. You should be at a recording session -chicks running around- a good time from when we get there ‘til we leave. I was the kid and Joey was the father. (for the unenlightened, we are discussing the intro that opens Into Glory Ride, involving a rambunctious young couple caught in the act by the girl’s parents). We had one whore going, “She’s only sixteen!” and another chick doing the heavy breathing. Actually, part of the beginning was done without the chick knowing it was being recorded.

(Laughing) Say no more. I was surprised that your closing trademark, “Battle Hymn”, was left off both Chicago shows. Any reason why?
Well, I was kind of surprised, too. The first night I knew we weren’t (going to play it), but the second night I thought we would, but we didn’t. we never know what we’re going to do. You saw it, it’s real laid back and we play whatever we want to play or maybe something special somebody hollers out. I was surprised I even remembered the lyrics to “Thor” on the second night.

Why was “The Power” the only thing from “Louder Than Hell”?
Nah, we did “Metal Warriors”.
Yeah, but that’s not on “Louder Than Hell”, is it?
Hold on (scrambling for the CD)
Man, if I have to correct you on your own album…
(Laughs) Hey, when you’ve got nine CDs out…(Laughs) Here it is (reads off song listed)
you do “Courage”?
No, we did not. (I finish the list, which does not include “Metal Warriors”) It’s not on there, you’re right! We did “The Power”, but we did do “King” at sooundcheck. All right, ten bonus Man-o-points to the journalist! (Laughs).

While we’re at it, are you t-shirts considered Man-o-wear?
(Laughs) That’s not a bad idea.

You can have it for free. All your equipment is custom-made, yes?
Everything you see on that stage. There’s nothing you can find in a store, right down to my microphone. Dawk (John “Dawk” Stillwell; sound designer) is a genius when it comes to taking stuff apart and redoing it. All the speakers have been taken apart, the microphone has been adjusted for my voice, the drums, everything is special. I couldn’t begin to explain what is what and I can’t give away any secrets. We don’t even let people backstage look at it.

You’ve got a double live CD out, “Hell On Wheels”, which is not that easy to obtain. Any plans for domestic distribution?
You know what, I heard just today that they are planning to distribute it in the States which would hopefully mean we’ll be touring the States.

Anything you want to say about the live album?
If you haven’t heard it yet, strap your nuts to your legs ‘ause they’re gonna be blown off. The double album is as close to live Manowar as you can get.You’ve got a double live CD out, “Hell On Wheels”, which is not that easy to obtain. Any plans for domestic distribution?
You know what, I heard just today that they are planning to distribute it in the States which would hopefully mean we’ll be touring the States.

Anything you want to say about the live album?
If you haven’t heard it yet, strap your nuts to your legs ‘ause they’re gonna be blown off. The double album is as close to live Manowar as you can get.You’ve got a double live CD out, “Hell On Wheels”, which is not that easy to obtain. Any plans for domestic distribution?
You know what, I heard just today that they are planning to distribute it in the States which would hopefully mean we’ll be touring the States.

Anything you want to say about the live album?
If you haven’t heard it yet, strap your nuts to your legs ‘ause they’re gonna be blown off. The double album is as close to live Manowar as you can get.You’ve got a double live CD out, “Hell On Wheels”, which is not that easy to obtain. Any plans for domestic distribution?
You know what, I heard just today that they are planning to distribute it in the States which would hopefully mean we’ll be touring the States.

Anything you want to say about the live album?
If you haven’t heard it yet, strap your nuts to your legs ‘ause they’re gonna be blown off. The double album is as close to live Manowar as you can get.You’ve got a double live CD out, “Hell On Wheels”, which is not that easy to obtain. Any plans for domestic distribution?
You know what, I heard just today that they are planning to distribute it in the States which would hopefully mean we’ll be touring the States.
 
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