Metal Cd Uk - N°2 volume 1 1992
MANOWAR A TO Z
Interview taken by Ian Winwood
Over the years, Manowar have found themselves at the butt end of more jokes than possibly any other band in history. When we first saw the pictures of them dressed in loin cloths, laughter peeled from the balconies; when we first heard 'Blow Your Speakers For Rock 'n' Roll', well, tears just streamed down those faces; and when the band, with a straight face, proclaimed 'Death to False Metal'...ha ha haaaa! Oh my God, stop, I'm gonna puke! One thing, however, has been overlooked among all this mirth and mayhem: the strength of Manowar's music. Yes, Manowar did sign a contract in blood; yes, they did enter the Guinness Book of Records for the world's loudest gig (a record they intend to break again in the near future); and, yes, they do proudly proclaim that "Other bands play, Manowar kill!" But what do we learn from this? That Manowar are a sad bunch of eccentrics, with egos the size of small planets and mouths to match? Or that within the band lies a passion, intensity and belief that you're just not going to find on the new Bon Jovi album? Laughter may still abound, but songs like 'Wheels Of Fire (from 1988's 'Kings Of Metal) or 'Power Of Thy Sword (from 'Triumph Of Steel) is not music made by amateurs. This interview was conducted with bassist Joey DeMaio. Sitting in a London hotel, sipping tea, Joey is articulate, humorous and candid. Sure, there are times here when he's clearly not in Earth's orbit, but at no point did he try to dish up the old 'hard sell' bullshit we've all read a thousand times before, and for this he should be applauded. Manowar may be considered a joke in many circles, but get them onstage before all but a handful of established bands and then see what happens. Drum roll, please...
"A is for absolutely the loudest band in the world. Heavy metal I should be loud, if it's not loud then it's not heavy metal - period. It should be loud, but it should also be value for money loud. It shouldn't be noise loud, and distortion. You shouldn't make people pay for noise, you should make them pay for metal and pure sound. We seek the ultimate in everything we do because we are the ultimate heavy metal band. Our equipment exceeds other bands, so if we were to play with them we would just blow them off the stage. Usually we cruise at about 120-125 decibels, but we spike it. We've spiked it up to 160 before."
"It's like being in your family when you come to a Manowar concert. When we play for these people they know everybody's name - 'Oh, it's Joey; it's Eric', and it just makes you feel like you're being welcomed into your own home. They are brothers and we're a family banded together for metal: 'You're a brother now, because you believe in the band and you believe in true metal.' It's just people who believe in something and are real. They make themselves known, you can look straight into their hearts, and people that are full of shit make themselves known immediately too."
"We have no competition, so that's the end of that question. You can move on to 'D'."
D Death to False Metal
"False metal is false people who play false music because they can't play. They're pretending to play and they're pretending to be musicians. They're taking money unfairly from people - charging them for tickets, charging them for CDs or records or what have you, and they're not giving value for money. They're in it for the money. They're there to make money, not to make music, and that's false. It's upsetting to watch people bill themselves as a metal band when they're nothing more than a bunch of pop poseur fucking jessies, you know what I am saying?"
"England was really the first country that recognised Manowar. They took us in and said, 'Hey, we don't care if your record company in America dropped you, this is good music, this is a good band and we want you here'. It was quite an important moment in our career to have that happen, it gave us a feeling of legitimacy, it really did. To be accepted here, to play the Hammersmith Odeon the first time we came to the country was very touching and something we'll never forget. We'll always play England"
"The fact that you know that you're going to walk out on stage and see the greatest fans in the world, the most loyal fans in the world, is the motivation that really keeps us alive. It's a touchy subject because a lot of bands get offended, and fans get offended too. I know there's a lot of bands out there that have good fans and they have loyal fans. But I'm sorry, the Manowar fans really are the most loyal. They've stuck with us for 10 years, and Manowar is not the biggest band in the world, and there's the proof right there. If there wasn't something special there then they would have fucked off a long time ago. It's just the greatest to have the greatest fuckin' fans in the world."
"We're having a tour bus for the groupies this time. If they had their own way they'd stay for the whole tour, but that would be too problematic. So we're selective, a week or two where we give these girls a good time. Let them get out there with their own bus, stock it with their own booze, let them do their own thing and then that way they can have their own scene. We take care of these girls, a holiday with Manowar, it's the only way to go. We have more girls at our concerts than any other heavy metal band."
H Hammersmith Odeon
"Hammersmith is the first place we played when we came to London. That's where the band started out and that's where we'll finish. If we don't play the Hammersmith Odeon we don't play at all, that's just the way it is. Our fans put us there and that's where the fans will - hopefully - see us go. I don't care if we have to play Hammersmith 50 nights in a row."
"I don't see what people say when they talk about an image. We are who we are, we're the four people who make up the band Manowar. When we made our first record, we said, 'Well, we have got to look exactly the part of what we are doing here'. It can't just be playing a part; we have got to look like we feel, so naturally it's a war-like, aggressive vibe that comes out when we play. We knew that in 1982, when we were using swords and furs and whatever, it was to show people how we felt, not to put up an image. We wanted people to look at those pictures and go, 'Hey, I wonder if those fucks can play?' 'Cos when you put on one of our records, the talking's over."
"The fans that we have. When I'm feeling down, and I rarely ever get down, I'm in Manowar so I have everything to live for. I just pick up a piece of fan mail and I'll see it signed in blood, from girls; I'll see pictures that fans have sent in with fuckin' Manowar tattoos. It's amazing some of the things people say: 'I was at a horrible time in my life; you helped me through it', or 'Don't ever give up', or whatever. I'm fortunate to know that I'm in the greatest heavy metal band ever."
K Kings of Metal
"We always knew we were better than anyone else. We put the band together to be better than anyone else. We did what needed to be done to earn the title 'Kings of Metal', which, by the way, was given to us by our fans, not by ourselves. We set out to do the best we can possible do and at the end of the day, no matter what, we won't give up. It's pedal to the metal, I'm a dragster, and if the engine blows, then so be it."
"How do you describe when you fire-up through as much gear as we've got? I mean, it's amps the size of that fuckin' wall! How do you describe that? I mean, when you fire-up through that, that sound hits your body! There's a word for that sound and there ain't fuckin' many. One's got to be 'fire', one's got to be 'death', you know what I mean? It's got to be what it really is. It's not, 'Hey, honey, I love you, let's walk to the beach and scratch each other's ass'. That's not what comes to mind when we fire-up. It is what it is and what it is is loud as fuck."
M Manowar's new album - 'The Triumph Of Steel'
"It was the sort of record where we had to take the time to be able to make a worthy follow-up to 'Kings Of Metal.' People have said to me, 'Aren't you worried, taking four years off, about your fan base?' Why should I worry? Where the fuck they go gonna go? They haven't gone anywhere in 10 years! I mean, this album's already sold 70,000 in its first week in Germany. This time round we built our own studio so we could do things just the way we wanted. This way, if we got going on something we'd just keep it going for two or three days without sleeping. We've had a lot of feedback about this album. We're fuckin' nuts, and people dig that."
N New York
"No place is like you think it's going to be, you have to visit it and form your own opinions. I could say New York's a wonderful place and somebody might go there and have a bad experience; or I could say it's a horrible place and you could go and love it. Home is wherever home is, and you'll always love home. Some people love LA, I can't imagine why."
O Orson Welles
"We sought the ultimate speaking voice (for the narration on 'Battle Hymns' and 'Fighting The World'). We seek the ultimate in everything, that's one of our mottos. We wanted the ultimate speaking voice because the words were a narrative that demanded that. We submitted a text to Orson Welles and he was blown away and impressed with the lyrics and decided to get involved. Perhaps he knew what a struggle we were going to have being a different band, because he was a different film maker. Perhaps he equated us with his own personal experiences. He was a gentleman, he came along, took us under his wing, worked with us and it was just a magical experience. It was one of the greatest things I can remember in my life and I'll always remember it."
"That's a disgusting word, I don't come into contact with these people much because I don't hang out in LA, or go to bars or any of that shit. Occasionally, though, I'll look at a magazine or someone will play me a record and I'll nearly lose my dinner. If you enter music only to make money, then go into something where you will make money. They're kidding over their audience by saying, 'Hey, they just sold 10 million albums, I can do that', and they're pretending to be musicians. I think they're worthless human beings."
"Quality is everything, it's the only word we live by. It sums up the essence of the belief of everything we do. Everything we do has to be of the finest, utmost quality - everything. Most people think they can sum up quality through quantity and that's bullshit."
"I negate that right from the offset. People are taking the piss out of us? That is just jealousy, born out of what, I don't know...sexual frustration, maybe. I can't really explain why people do that. I can only think that they are jealous because the band has remained true to what its cause is - heavy metal. We've never wimped out. I mean, somebody will say, 'I've never listened to this record but I can tell you it's rubbish', and that tells you right off the bat that that person is closed-minded and unintelligent to begin with. Anybody who will form an opinion about something without delving into it or researching it is just, really, talking about nothing."
"I don't know what that means. What is 'sexist'? What does that mean? Degrading to women? If anything, we're into glorifying women. Now, you've got these frustrated, sexually-uptight chicks who are going to say, 'Well, these guys are negating women and playing them down in society', you know what I'm saying? Now that's not true at all. Nobody treats women as good as we do, nobody ever has and nobody ever will. We treat these girls like gold, and we've had to prove it this time just to shut up the sceptics, by giving these girls their own tour bus."
"Oh, it's great, it really is. It's the reward for all the gruelling hours we spend perfecting our recording. In itself, the stage part is the reward for the other 23 hours of grief getting it right. Travelling, setting up the gear, preparing all the gear that blows up every night and just the meticulousness of it all. There is a lot of grief involved, but if we didn't love it, we would never be able to go through with it. Anywhere we play is a great place. We're fortunate enough to have great fans every where. A Manowar fan is a Manowar fan, we're all brothers - or sisters."
"It's great feeling to know that we strike fear in the heart of these fuckin' wankers. It's great to know that if we get on stage before other bands all we offer them is humiliation and defeat. It's a beautiful feeling, it really is. A couple of bands have stood it: Motorhead have had us on sage few times, they're a killer band; and Ted Nugent way back when. But that's all in 10 years. If a 'name' band were to call us up and offer us a tour, then we'd say, 'Great, we're ready for it'. But if it doesn't happen it won't bother us - it hasn't happened in 10 years, I haven't lost much sleep over it, and we're still alive."
"All the bad stuff we do is good because we like it. We're no different to anybody else, with the respect that at the end of the night there's nothing better than to have a good laugh, a good drink and a good fuck. No! - a few good laughs, a few good drinks and a few good fucks!"
W World's loudest-ever gig
"That gig was at the Hammersmith Odeon, and it was just tremendously loud. Krusher Joule (former GLR DJ) stood on the stage with a decibel meter and he saw us blow the meter off its limit, and he said, 'I can't believe it! You've exceeded the meter' I said, 'Well, it's documented, you saw it, there it is'. What we're going to do is exceed the limit we exceeded last time. On the first of the year we're going to set it to a level where no-one is ever going to be stupid enough to challenge it. We're having special equipment built, and we may have to test it at the salt flats in Nevada, where they test nuclear gear.
X Xmas with Manowar
"Oh yeah, we celebrate, sure. Actually, what we used to do was have an annual New Year's Eve party, a private party for the band, the crew and girlfriends, and go crazy. We've done that as a tradition every year so yeah, we definitely celebrate. Every day is like Christmas on the road, that's for sure. We believe we're here to give to the audience, we believe we're here to give to the girls. We believe that's what we're supposed to do."
"For me, I've looked back at some of the great gigs we've done, some of the places we've been to, and thought, 'Yeah, that's great'. But there's just so much more to do. Even though we've been together for 10 years we're not a big band yet, so it's only in the middle of our career, just starting at that middle part. Looking back, though, the Orson Welles thing was certainly an achievement; being in the Guinness Book Of Records was an achievement; playing Hammersmith was an achievement... There's just been a million things. Our first trip to England; to Europe...and, you know, every night is a gig to remember."
"I am a zealot. As far as Manowar, this is my life, this is my blood and i this is what I do. This is the way I feel about heavy metal, this is the way I feel about our audience, I love these people. Yeah, I'm a zealot about heavy metal and I'm a zealot about the audience, because there is nothing else. Heavy metal is my life. I built my life around heavy metal and I wouldn't want anything else. I've got all the riches I need when I walk out on that stage and hear the crowd sing 'Kings Of Metal' or 'Kill With Power' so fuckin' loud. And anyone who has any doubts about the band, when they stand in that audience...boom, they can just go have a fuckin' wank as far as I'm concerned. It just dispels any doubt. Fuck the world!"