Metal Forces Uk - 22 1987
MASTERS OF REALITY
Interview taken by Dave Reynolds
Manowar are back! Joey DeMaio gives Dave Reynolds an account of the Band's plans for 1987. A renewed crusade against False Metal?…. read on….
I have a great deal of time for Joey DeMaio, a man who should be treated with the utmost respect. Many mock the man and his band for their image and gothic metal direction but, when all's said and done, MANOWAR have refused to compromise, have NOT died a slow death at the hands of their critics and have, therefore, just hit back this year with a brand new album on the mighty Atlantic label worldwide. A couple of months ago Joey was in London for talks with representatives from the UK side of the label but also found time to visit his supporters within the British metal press for a couple of 'unofficial' interviews, but, and I take this as a compliment, asked that I do a full scale pre-album release feature for Metal Forces, probably knowing full well that, because of our erratic publication dates (Hey it's tough doing this as well as we do on a limited budget), that it wouldn't appear until around the time the album was due. But Firstly…
"Who's the guy at Metal Forces who doesn't like us?" booms from the lips of the New Yorker.
"Probably cowering behind the counter in Shades from the infamous MANOWAR 'Black Wind'." I reply.
It's safe to say that MANOWAR have not enjoyed a good deal publicity within these pages. Apart from a Bernard Doe written feature in MF2 and a couple of album reviews there's been sweet F.A. (I have actually interviewed Joey and the boys before, after the monumental "Hail To England" album was released, but the feature wasn't run) and it was the last album review, for the "Sign Of The Hammer" album, penned by MFs 'semi-demiGod' Dave Constable that Joey is referring to because it was hardly complimentary but, to give Dave his due, it was honest and an honest report or review is something MF has always given to our readers. Anyway, the new MANOWAR album should be out by the time you read this and it is, in short, stunning! The tracks that Joey, and Sue at WEA, played me are quite awesome with an unbelievable Scott Columbus drum sound that hasn't been heard since KISS stomped all over "Creatures Of The Night" - only 100 time more powerful. And so, in the words of Mr. DeMaio, here's the story behind this record (titled 'Fighting The World" by the way).
"Well we always try and stay on top of what the latest technology is and we always try and make the best records we can using it so long as it doesn't interfere with the power and the sound that we create. We recorded this album using a digital process and we can capture more sound using this method without overloading, regular analog tape just can't compare with it."
This album looks set to blow a few heads off!
"Yeah, that's the thing Dave! You know when you put a record on and, if you don't change your stereo, some records are louder than others. This album will have maximum loudness, because besides recording it digitally we'll also be using the direct metal master process on top of it. So, the album that the kids will hear will sound exactly like it's right off the master tape. And the CD version, well, forget it! It'll be AWESOME!"
As you know this release will be through Atlantic. What happened to MANOWAR's last major deal with 10 Records (a subsidiary of the Virgin empire) that they released "Sign Of The Hammer" with in 1985 ?
"Everybody's been asking me that question. Firstly though we haven't been inactive during the period between "Sign Of The Hammer" and the new record. We've been writing, we did a tour with MOTORHEAD, it's just at the end of our last tour that we stopped doing interviews because we're not about to take advantage of our fans who love MANOWAR and what we're about by inventing things to put in the press, because we either have something happening or we don't. Basically we got dropped by 10 Records and therefore we no longer had a record deal.... it was like EMI all over again (a reference, of course, to the events following the release of the debut "Battle Hymns" album in 1982 when they were dropped by the Liberty label who didn't know quite how to promote the band), when we got dropped by EMI the fans stuck by us and we knew that they'd stand by us again. I didn't think it would take us two years to put the ship right but now we're back again and so therefore we've got something to say. We've had two years to think and to put an album together that our fans want. We take notice of what they tell us when we meet them after the show. I know guys, fans like yourself, want to hear double bass drums, burning'n'screaming guitars and there's other fans who wanna hear sing-a-long style MANOWAR anthems like "Kill With Power" or "Metal Daze and others who like the epic tracks such as "Mountains". So I think to myself, "My God, if we've gotta really please our audience then we've got to give each bit of the crowd their own track." It's so hard to do that but because of the time we've spent away I've been able to do that with the rest of the lads (the MANOWAR line-up is, of course, completed by the previously mentioned Scott Columbus on drums, Ross The Boss on guitar and Eric Adams on vocals) and I think we've got a great album and that'll make everybody happy."
From the sound of things MANOWAR certainly haven't wimped out.
"No, and I'll tell you another thing Dave, Atlantic have never tried to make us wimp out or change our sound. They said that we should go and do whatever we wanted to do. We produced the album ourselves and Atlantic never once interfered with what we were doing. We know we're not a big band, we might never play
Hammersmith Odeon for seven consecutive nights but it takes seven of a bands fans who do to make one of ours! The fans that we've got, I mean, if you're into MANOWAR then there's definitely something different about you because not everybody's into it (rather like being an ANGEL fan eh?!). If you're into MANOWAR then you're totally into us and you're pretty much an individual because you're not following the crowd."
But don't MANOWAR want to progress into the major league
"Not if we have to change our music change our style or change what we're all about - NO. We will do it on our own terms with the fans that we've got behind us and no other way. It's now five albums and if we were gonna change we would've done it after EMI dropped us. We only went heavier and we've gone heavier with every album."
You're certainly still the loudest band in the world!
"Yeah, always. It's loud, no doubt about it. I've always wanted to be in the loudest band in the world ever since I started playing. I don't wanna be seen as noisy, because if something's giving out noise I just want to turn it down. MANOWAR is about giving out a good quality sound rather than running things up to distortion."
Speaking of distortion, you did a tour in Europe with MOTORHEAD last year. Why no UK appearances?
"That was pretty much a last minute thing. We got a call to ask us if we'd like to do a five date tour with MOTORHEAD headlining and so we did it because we'll never miss a chance at playing in Europe. We didn't do any UK dates because there were none on that tour - and it was MOTORHEAD's tour. If there had been any UK dates we would've played them because we'd never miss a chance to play here and never will.''
Europe and the UK seem to be where your biggest support lies rather than in the States.
"Indeed. America is now where the UK used to be three years ago for us. Now there's a big swell for MANOWAR in all the major U.S. cities because we've been able to break ground in Europe. But having said that we've always had friends in the press over here and haven't had much press in the States, because, quite frankly, we've never had an American record deal and it's pointless for American magazines to write about what's happening in Europe because it doesn't sell magazines for them."
Now you've got a bigger record deal (Stateside too this time) is the crusade against false metal still going on?
"Definitely, don't you still have to fight against it?
To some extent, such as certain bands jumping onto certain trends.
"That's right. To me, false metal is all about bands who are doing something that they really don't believe in. You've seen these bands who wear guitars but can't play them."
MANOWAR themselves have been accused as something of a joke due to the animal skin stage wear.
"You've got to understand Dave that Britain has seen so much mythology because there's such a great history to Britain that you people that live here can get a little sick of it. But to us, being American we love all that imagery. It's all really a question of taste really. This is our image and we're sticking with it. Why should we change? What would we have to go to? We'd just look like everybody else and that's not our style. People either love us or they hate us."
For those who love MANOWAR what's the new show production going to be like?
"Power, Burning and everything everybody else doesn't do."
Like holding swords?
"Oh, we'll be throwing a few on stage at the end of the show like we always do. It wouldn't be a MANOWAR show if we didn't."
The tour, a worldwide assault starts in February to promote the release of the gargantuan, new "Fighting The World" album.
As Joey told me "Let's fact it, does any band signed to a major label sound like what I played you? I mean, think about it. Who else would've had the balls, after getting dropped twice, to go in and produce themselves and finally make a record like that?"
Maybe SLAYER .......
Yeah, SLAYER's attitude is a lot like ours. We are what we are and if you dig it that's great, and if you don't that's too bad. If they're five albums down the line and they've still got that attitude then that's gonna be dynamite."
Dynamite is a word that could be slotted in quite neatly next to the "Fighting The World" album. And if you think I'm talking bullshit just see what you think of "Blackwind, Fire and Steel" the first time YOU hear it' Heads will, undoubtedly, roll.