Explicity Intense - 10 2002
THE KINGDOM OF STEEL
Interview taken by Jay Gorania
THE KINGDOM OF STEEL – MANOWAR
“We aren’t one of these bands who gets on the band wagon and exploits an event or a trend for the sake of selling records”.
Their fans worship them as the “Kings of Metal” while their detractors deride them for being Spinal Tap, for real. Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying Manowar’s profound influence and impact on the world of Metal. Explicitly Intense caught up with Eric Adams, Manowar’s powerful front man, to discuss their latest offering, “Warriors of the World”.
E.I.: the legendary black metal band Immortal recently opened up for you in America, an unconventional pairing to be sure. How did the crowd respond?
Manowar: We’ve played festivals with Immortal in Europe. They’re a great act. And they’re a bunch of real good guys too. We knew that some people didn’t know them, (and) some people didn’t know us, but it was a real good show, and the crowd loved it, man.
E.I.: So why’d you cover Elvis Presley’s medley, ‘An American Trilogy’?
Manowar: We’ve wanted to play it for a while. And with all the symphonic music and the choirs behind it, it kind of blended in with everything else that was on the album. If we did it on “Kings of Metal”, lets say, it would have stuck out. But with Warriors Of The World, I think it fits like a glove.
E.I.: You’ve self-produced your albums for quite some time now? Do you feel that outsiders would dilute your creative vision?
Manowar: We hate it when people try to tell us what we should sound like, so we produce ourselves. I think Warriors Of The World has the best production we’ve ever had. I can honestly say that. And Ronald Prend, the engineer, really made it sound magical when it was all done.
E.I.: Manowar has always been ambitious with its recordings, but why did you challenge yourselves by tackling the operatic “Nessun Dorma” in particular?
Manowar: I thought we needed to do something for our Italian fans, since we recorded ‘Heart of Steel’ in German and ‘Courage’ in French. Joey wanted to do ‘Nessun Dorma’. It’s Pavarotti’s signature encore piece, a classic of all classical music. So I said, ‘fine, let’s do it’. I mean, what other heavy metal band could do it? There it is brother! We took the best of classical and heavy metal music and married both in that song.
E.I.: Did the tragic events of Sept 11 influence the writing of Warriors Of The World? I can’t help but assume so, considering that Ken Kelly’s cover artwork depicts the Manowar warrior triumphantly hoisting up the American flag. And behind the warrior, others are holding the flags of the United States’ allies, in an apparent display of multilateral support.
Manowar: We dedicated one song, ‘Fight for Freedom’, to the victims and their families. But I can be honest with you, Jay, the songs were already written before 9-11 happened. Our image has always dealt with heroism. (Look at) an old song like ‘Courage’, for example. The warrior on the front cover has been there forever. He’s a staple for Manowar, everything we stand for. And with no face, it’s to let you know that anyone could be the hero. It could be you, your girlfriend, (or) a guy down the street. It could be anybody. Our message has always been: ‘believe in yourself, and have the courage and strength to carry on. Be a leader, don’t be a follower’. I think that’s important. But like I said, the songs were already written before that.
E.I.: Your songs and theme of heroism just readily apply to the situation.
Manowar: Yeah. If you look back at the history of Manowar, it’s always been like that. We aren’t one of these bands who gets on the band wagon and exploits an event or a trend for the sake of selling records. We play for the love of metal. For the last 23 years that’s what we’ve done. We’re a band of brothers, and we’re all pretty close. We’ve been together through the hard times, and we’ve stuck it out. And when other bands just decide, ‘screw this, Metal’s not fashionable anymore, so we’re not a metal band’. That’s bullshit! We’re happy to carry that flag! And it doesn’t matter how many people we play for, the fans that are there are into it 100%. That’s why we’re here.
E.I.: There are still many who claim that metal is passé. Yet Warriors Of The World debuted at #2 on the top 100 album charts in Germany, coming second only to rap-reject Eminem. That’s not to say that high sales figures are what it’s all about, but it does clearly illustrate that metal’s here to stay.
Manowar: You’re exactly right, man. You hit the nail on head. This album has really done well, not only in Germany, (but) all over the world. Everywhere, the response has been incredible, (including) Brazil, Japan, Greece (and) England.
E.I.: Is Manowar still “the loudest band in the world”?
Manowar: yeah man, people have got to be crazy to try to break that record! We’re a loud, powerful band. We believe that heavy metal means heavy power, (requiring) heavy gear.
E.I.: No holding back.
Manowar: Yeah! No holding back, man! A heavy metal crowd should not only see the band, they should feel it. When that bass drum or bass hits, you should feel it in your chest! You’re not listening to Kenny Rogers here. That day in Germany, we played ‘Blood of My Enemies’. We had a 60 by 40 foot wall of gear. It was just nothing but speakers, and each one was on and turned up. The crowd was outside, CNN was there, (and) the officials from Guinness Records were there to measure the sound. There was a count down every minute saying, ‘the band will break the record in 5 minutes, please wear you ear protection,’ and so on. Then we did it, we played. They had the meters going and it was just unbelievable, unbelievable thunder up on that stage! There’s no blow up doll to get the biggest applause of the night. Our stage is nothing but wall-to-wall power! And that’s what metal should be: nothing but power!