R.I.P Usa - June 1993
THE MAJESTY OF MANOWAR
By Joey DeMaio for "Idol Chatter Section"
Nonstop touring tied in with manic releases has made Manowar so big in Europe, they could easily have a board game based on them - we're talking legions of extremely rabid fans. Their 1982 debut release, Battle Hymns, broke them overseas, but lack of American interest led them to another label in '83 which they dramatically signed on with in blood before recording Into Glory Ride. In 1984 they made two fierce albums, Hail to England and Sign of the Hammer, supporting them with two and a half years of touring to build on their mega Euro status. Their 1987 induction into The Guinness Book of Records as the world's loudest band came during their Spectacle of Might tour. They then switched record companies once again and put out the LPs that garnered them a following in the U.S.Fighting the World, 1988's Kings of Metal (what they are hailed as by their fans) and, most recently, The Triumph of Steel. At present Manowar are once again labelbut unconcerned, as their European shows draw 20,000 or so devotees each night. After a decade of music and madness, Manowar bassist and founder Joey DeMaio tells RIP how he has survived the rock 'n'roll roller coaster so many others get lost on.
The Majesty of Manowar
by Joey DeMaio
Manowar was conceived in 1980. The goal was to pound our way to the top by showing people we had something called "superior firepower." At the end of the day that has to win out. Put a good guitar player on the stage and a bad guitar player on the stagedifference has got to sell itself to the listener. That was really the idea: to get out there, assemble a band that would make great records, play great live shows, be consistent and have it together in every respect, so that we'd be putting on a full, highconcert and letting everybody see the difference between what we were doing and what those bozos were doing. We always had that in mind, because we respected bandsLed Zeppelin and AC/DChad been together, stayed together and really created their own following. The other way to go is, you try and hop on somebody else's bandwagon by being Metallica Part II or Motley Crue Part II or whoever. That's never been our intention. Our intention was always to be unique and to play our own style of music and cultivate our own following.
We always thought we'd do fine starting from Europe, because that's where all the great classic bands have started. That's where they broke first. For instance, the Scorpions' first market was not Germany, even though they're German. The first market they really blew the lid off was Japan. Metallica, who are a contemporary classic band of sods, broke Europe first, Germany, and then later broke America. Same with Deep Purple, Led Zeppelinthe way to the Beatles. There's an understanding of heavy metal in Europe in the truest, deepest sense; so we always planned to take Europe first, because that's where the real headland of heavy metal has always been.
In Europe there's a real understanding of heavy metal along the lines of AC/DC and Zeppelin that, I think, we fall in with stylistically, having the same sod of bigger following they had. A lot of groups have great fans and great followings, but their followings don't border on religious fanaticism or have a real deep insight into the groups because the groups aren't making the kind of music that creates that kind of following. It's not epic stuff. It doesn't create an epic feeling in the listener. It just creates a "Yeah, man, I went and rocked" feeling. Well, this isn't an "I went and rocked" feeling. This is "If you didn't strap your nuts to your leg, they'd f**kin' get blown oft." That's the type of thing we do onstage. We don't get out there and just f**kin' play. Like the song says: "Other bands play. Manowar kill." It's more than just going to see a band play. You go there with a feeling, and you certainly come away with a feeling. We're used to that type of reaction because that's the type of reaction we seek to extract from the audience. If we don't get that type of reaction, then we can't really put out that kind of energy. It's an extreme.
It's hard to avoid the trends of American music, but we've been victorious after ten years. We were the first ones to stand against glam bands ten years ago. Seattle didn't do it till this year. The Seattle thing finally made all that go out of favor, but we were the first people to point out that glam is shit and that those guys can't play. They're poseurs, and they're, covering up a lack of talent with pyro, hairspray and ridiculous clothing to take the focus of the fact that they have no talent. Everybody's to blame: the jerks who play it, the jerks who sell it, the people who promote it. They're writing moronic music because that's all they're capable of writing. I mean, you wouldn't think those people would write a symphony in their spare time, would you? They're doing what they're capable of doing, and that's why now what they're capable of doing is looking around for what the next trend is, so they can try and jump on it. Whenever one achieves success, whether you're fortunate enough to achieve it or clever enough to contrive it, as soon as you try to repeat itthat is your goalultimately fail. It's a beautiful thing, because these are people who are preaching art, talent and something unique, but it's really crap. It's good to see bad things failas it's good to see great things succeed.
I don't say we write songs as great as Robed Plant wrote. What I'm saying is, we hold these people in high esteem and these are the people we respectthe crap you're hearing today, the talentless, mindless gibberish out there. I don't flatter myself by saying we're doing as great as Led Zeppelin or that we're better than Led Zeppelin. What I'm saying is, those are the people we aspire to be, the people who have created something. I mean, there's more Led Zeppelin being played on the radio now, ten years after they broke up, than there is music by most popular bands of today.
The problem is, everybody manufactures this crap, and so people think you can go to Gazzarri's (a nightclub in Los Angeles) and get signed. Go to the Strip, get signed. "Uh, well, who's hot?" "Well, Guns N' Roses." "Let's dress like them." Every band that was signed after Guns, not one of them had a gold record. That's my point: This recycled crap thing doesn't work. You're seeing it with the Seattle thing. Now they're starting to recycle that shit. God, give me a break! At some point in the game you've got people who are successful because they're innovators. Look at Guns N' Roses. Say what you will about them, but Guns N' Roses came out of the scene. They were completely opposite from stuff like Cinderella. When Guns N' Roses came on the scene, it was at a time when Bon Jovi had his hair ten feet tall and Cinderella had their hair twenty feet tall, and these f**king guys came on looking the way they look. It was refreshing. Really.
We have never changed. We started out to be the heaviest heavyband, and the most diverse. If you listen to the music, it's not all loud. There's a lot of soft moments, a lot of orchestral moments. There's light/ dark shade. There's also a little bit of humour. We have to have a good time onstage, or there's no sense being there. The audience has to enjoy it as well. It's a little bit of this, a little bit of that, but at the end of the day it's metal that kicks your f**king ass, period. If you don't get your ass kicked by a metal concert, what the f**k did you pay money for? You got f**ked.