Rip Uk - May 1989
THE KINGS OF METAL
Interview taken by Steffan Chirazzi
Although I never really have been 100% on this one, l think that Manowar marches across your stereo threshold, pillages your ears and rapes your senses. Manowar aren't for the weak, the limp, the unthought, the un-mighty or (in my case) the easily humoured. Because it isn't a joke. And Manowar does not appreciate it if you think it is. You may have thought that Valhalla was simply a town just northeast of Trenton, New Jersey, but I'm here to tell you otherwise. It's the land that Manowar comes from; a land where the horses are white thoroughbreds, the armour pure steel, and the muscles tine, fully greased specimens of manhood bulging and ready for use in the fight against the false in metal. Another important point: Manowar hates pussies. Not worshipers or fans, but wusses who do not know how to take their true metal: Kings of Metal, the latest Manowar 12-inch long-player, is not in any way or shape false, pussy or wuss. It's hard, tough, strong and fast. Joey DeMaio (bassist/leader/producer/wimp-hater) spits out a four-string Rickenbacker version of "Flight of the Bumble Bee" calling it "Sting of the Bumble Bee". Manowar proclaim at one point in a chorus that "Manowar are gonna kick yer ass!" Mighty stuff, I'm sure. And Manowar wear it like they walk it, like they talk it, like they play it. Fur loincloths and sashes adorn the greased muscle action, although optional winter stage wear has seen leather chaps take their rightful place on Manolimbs, which, however strong, still get chilly in the NY cold. These boys used to wave broadswords and promise marches and death to false metal. Oh, and I can't forget this: On the new album there is an all - male German choir that lends itself to the cause of Manovocals. Yeah, Manowar even got the late and great Orson Welles to narrate the opening of an early track titled "Defenders". . . yes, that Orson Welles. But enough dives into the Mano-annals. On to my conference with the men in New York City, a place fitting for such a gigantic meet as ours was to be. I was set to talk to main man Joey DeMaio, a fellow not given prizes for subtlety in public speech, having lambasted at least five colleagues in as many years and gently picked at countless more. Judging by Joey's amazingly bushy and slightly hostile eyebrows, I was expecting a confrontation of interest and might-y'know, a professional trade-off that would end with us clasping fists and gaining respect for each other. Alas, it wasn't to be. Joey couldn't join me for lunch, but singer Eric Adams, drummer Scott Columbus and new guitarist The Death- Dealer were happy to dine with me. Important point for those who have a clue: You will have noticed that there has been no mention of Ross The Boss, the legendary legend of legends who was the guitar behind the sound. He has (aggghhh!) quit the band. My first breath to Adams concerned this travesty
"We did the album, sent Ross the tapes and told him to get back to us," explains Adams patiently. "We waited and waited without hearing a word from him. We figured there must be something up; so we got in touch with him and got him to come back to Chicago, as that was where the album was done. So me, him and Joey had this meeting to find out what was goin' on, and the stuff just wasn't what Ross was into any-more. I think he's more into mellower stuff now, a light rock thing. He was prepared to tour for this album if we'd asked him, but in this band you really can't do things if you don't wanna do it no more. He and I both knew just how false it would've been, because Ross just wasn't into the music that much anymore."
Maybe the whole Manowar thing was getting a little bit too much for Ross. After all, some of the lyrics are rather hilarious and tacky. Check this from "Pleasure Slave": "Woman be my slave, chained to my bed. Woman be my slave, begging to be fed. Woman take off your garments. Please kneel before me. . . ."
You get it, anyway: Lyrics that don't show an iota of tact in an age where tact may just be necessary. Eric is a touch disappointed that I don't like the lyrics a bundle.
"Really? That's a real shame, because I think that they're pretty damn good, y'know. They're real good for a singer like me to sing, because I can really get into them and do great things with them. Joey writes all those lyrics, and I like the way that Joey makes 'em good and strong enough to carry through to the crowd. I don't really give a shit what anyone thinks. l love to get the crowd going, and songs like 'Kings of Metal' are great for that sorta thing."
Weird old deal, really, with Eric having to answer a whole bunch of questions tailored for Joey, and Joey slowly being revealed as the real head honcho of this whole band.
Joey also produces the band's music, something that Adams is quick to point out as useful.
"Joey really is great with all that, because his musical ear is excellent. He doesn't hog it all; he just gets on with what there is to get on with-namely, making a great record. He's highly constructive too. We really don't stick around the studio too much other than to do our parts, but Joey's the one who loves to be in there doin' it, and he's great at it. He, of course, comes back for our opinion, but usually that isn't even a problem, as Joey has it down."
With Eric and I hitting it off, it's time to ask whether Joey really is all the man that he seems. Isn't he just a touch too aggressive?
"That's just the way Joey is, man. He really does believe in all this with such passion that he hates anything to be false. He knows and truly believes our music to be real and genuine. I guess sometimes he may get into it a little too much, but that's just a product of what he lives and breathes. Of course there are other real metal bands-I love Judas Priest-but mine and his total belief is that Manowar is the best. Look, man," Eric gets really serious, "I really couldn't get out every morning, run a few miles, come back and pump weights and eat on a diet if I was just in it to be in it. It's a really tough thing to have to watch your friends diggin' into cheeseburgers when all you have is your tuna-fish sandwich and a salad. But I love this band, and that's the type of commitment you have to have if you love something that much."
Eric currently has a Swiss cheese baconburger in front of him.
"Man, I'm gonna really enjoy this. It's the first one I've had in a long, long time."
All of which is in preparation for the forth-coming Manotour that is bound to hit your town sometime soon, although probably in a club and not a large hall.
"Yeah, no one will let us support them," Adams flatly announces. "It's not really our fault. Bands seem to be scared. It's very, very frustrating for us, because the difference between selling out a club of 500 who are into you and playing an arena of 15,000 is obvious. I really can only think that it's because people are afraid that we're gonna go and blow them away. All we are really looking for is the chance, and surely that isn't too much to ask for, is it?"
Eric Adams is proud as Punch to tell me that live Manowar wouldn't dream of a falsity of any sort.
"We are proud of the fact that not one of our amps is a fake. It's not like some of the bigger bands, where the amps are mostly fake. I saw Judas Priest, and while I don't wanna put them down, man, they had a lot of fake amps up there. When he comes through on the motorcycle, it's through fake amps. Now, I just don't think that's being very fair to the kids at all."
Manowar are bad ass. Kings of Metal will; see young 'bangers using their beds as trampolines while chanting the chants and catching the general Manowar thing. And the band itself stands ready-muscles rippling, loincloths bulging - to take on all pretenders to their throne.