Dedication, loyalty, and staying true to what you believe in, is what I think of when I listen to Manowar. I’ve been a fan of the band since their first album Battle Hymns, and always loved what they stand for. After eight studio albums, they recently released not one, but two live albums. Hell on Wheels Live, and Hell on Stage Live. I recently spoke with Joey DeMaio about the live records, the new live video Hell On Earth Part # 1, former guitar player Ross The Boss and about metal in general. The bands official web site www.manowar.org is packed with great information, and is a great site to bookmark and visit frequently for all band news, and merchandise. Thanks go out to Alan and Joey DeMaio for making this opportunity.
Hail And Kill
CF- Congratulations on selling 17,000 units so far for the new Manowar video, Hell On Earth Part 1 in Germany alone.
JD- Thank you bro. Were pretty proud of it.
CF- The major artists that you have out sold so far is incredible.
JD- Thank you, I really appreciate it. I feel really good about it, but the real credit goes out to the fans. I’m not just saying that to be cool or to be humble, I’m saying it because it’s a fact. Without our fans the band would be know where. Our fans have made us the kings of metal, and they have stayed with us. It takes one hundred of another band’s fan, to make a Manowar fan.
CF- That’s very nice to hear. I know the band has been very passionate about their fans. There are a lot of bands out there, and Manowar really give a hundred percent to their fans, so the fans really love the band for it.
JD- That’s the most important thing that people miss. They just don’t understand it. They don’t understand it, because they don’t go to the concerts and see the interaction between the band and the fans. It wouldn’t be much of a show if the band played to an empty hall. But when you come to a Manowar show and see the camaraderie between the band and the fans. You could walk into the hall and nobody says » hey you’re from Long Island, you’re from Germany, France or Spain». Hey you’re a f***in brother, or sister of metal, whatever the case may be. We’ve been able to do that, and no other band has been able to that, and I don’t think any other band will. It’s a very unique experience. The audience is 50% of what’s going on at a Manowar concert, where as with other bands, They’re not (the fans) one percent.
CF- Is there a release date for Hell On Earth Part II?
JD- Not yet, I’m working on it at the moment.
CF- Is the band working on a new studio album now?
JD- Where getting ready to start really soon. I’m building a new studio in my house. That way I can work at home, at our studio. I can work whenever I want to.
CF- Will you be recording at you home?
JD- No. We will record it at our studio. As we have on the past two records. Time is a very valuable thing. If I get an idea for a song. and roll out of bed at two in the morning, I want to be able to record.
CF- Can you tell us about the new material?
JD- I haven’t started yet bro, but I can give you an idea of what it will be like.
JD- Pull down your pants, put lighter fluid on your balls and light it.
CF- (Laughing) sounds great.
CF- In the states, the band doesn’t really tour much here. Is there a reason why?
JD- Up until recently, we didn’t have a record company that we felt good about. And probably they didn’t feel the same way about us (laughing). Now that we are working with Metal Blade, we did a half U.S.A tour last October, and it went very well, so I’m sure you will see us tour more in America.
CF- That’s great. In Europe, the band is legendary, so it’s understandable that you spend so much time there.
JD- Europe, South America, the whole world.
CF- I don’t recall a band ever releasing two live albums in a row. Was that planned or did you have so much material that you decided to do it.
JD- We do what honestly needs to be done. And according to what the fans want, and what feels right. You never heard of a band signing there record contract in blood, being with seventeen different f***in record companies, putting out two live records in a row or two live videos in a row. Where doing what we want for our fans. Giving them the best of what we got to give. Other bands don’t give a shit.
CF- That’s great Joey. Your honesty means a lot, for a person like myself who has been listening to the band since Battle Hymns. I always loved the music and what the band stood for.
JD- Well thank you. That’s one of the things that people can look at, even though we don’t always get a fare shake from the media or whatever it is. We have been fortunate in that I’ve seen reviews where the reviewer had the balls to say «Look, I can’t stand Manowar’s music. It’s too loud, too heavy whatever, but, I went to the concert and saw 10,000 people happy, screaming, going f***in mental, whatever. The sound was clear, the lighting was good, and the band played from the heart. And that’s ok, as long as someone gives us a fare shake. It’s wrong, when someone says » I hate this music, It f***in sucks» come on, that’s not fare shake to the band or the fans. Those people should die.
CF- Does the band still hold the Guinness Book of World Records for being the loudest band ever recorded?
JD- Always have, and always will.
CF- What was the decibel level?
JD- 127.9. That was for the band. For myself 131.7.
CF-That’s incredible and I’m sure the sound was clear.
JD- That’s the object. You want to be able to play loud and have it sound good.
It’s not volume that hurts people’s ears, it’s noise. A lot of bands try to be loud, buy just playing as loud as they can and not giving a shit if its noisy. All they’re doing is pumping a bunch of shit through a PA system. They think there cool, but there not. There a bunch of f***in idiots who don’t know what there doing.
It’s just loud shit.
CF- Are there any current metal bands out there that you like? Old or new?
JD- I hear a lot of bands and see a lot of bands that we play with at festivals. Everybody is trying to do the best they can. But who gives a f**k. I only care about our fans. Those are the only people that matter to me. I don’t want any assholes at our concerts. I want people to leave immediately if they don’t dig the f***in show. I don’t want anybody who doesn’t belong there. I want the people who are there to be undisturbed in having a good time. I don’t want our fans f***ed with. I don’t want some asshole hall manager trying to shut down the power. I don’t want any bullshit to get in the way of that guy or girl who walks into the hall and buys a ticket. That’s the end of their problems, not the beginning. That’s where were coming from. If someone doesn’t like it, get the f*** out. Don’t disturb our fans. That’s what were all about.
CF- How did you go about picking the songs for both live records?
JD- When we finished the first live record, we realized just how many songs we had that needed to be recorded. It was kind of funny that we waited after eight records before we recorded a live album. After mixing the first one we had to make another record. In answer to the fans that wanted a lot of the earlier songs, and songs that weren’t on the first one, we just followed it up. Hell On Stage Live was the logical part two to Hell On Wheels Live.
CF- Both records are great.
JD- Thank you bro. They are both different. The first one was done with the perspective that we played in big, big halls that sound like shit. I didn’t have the audience mikes as loud on the first album. It has more of a studio live album feel, even though it is a completely live performance. Where as on the second record we played different size rooms and some theaters that the acoustics were great, so I was able to push live room mikes a lot more. So you end up with two different perspectives of what the band sounds like live. On the first one is like if you walked into our rehearsal room and hear the band play live, and the second one sounds like you saw the band play in concert.
CF- Do you have a favorite out of the two live records?
JD- Nah, Father loves all his children.
CF- (Laughing) How about a favorite record or song?
JD- Father loves all his children. No, it’s true I don’t. These songs are my children, my blood, my sweat, my life, they are everything I believe in. They are everything I am and the rest of the band members are. It’s what we believe. To say do I have a favorite is like looking into that audience of 50,000 and saying whom do I love best? I love all of the crazy motherf***ers that have the balls to walk into the door and be apart of our concert. That’s what it is for us. The fans are a part of the concert. You don’t go to the Manowar show, you are part of the Manowar show. That’s why this video was done, edited and captured the way it was. It was done with the perspective of If I was a fan, what would I want to see? So I tried to capture as much of the fans as possible, because were not like the rest of the douche bag bands out there, who can only put the camera on there own f***in face. With us it’s just the opposite, I don’t want the camera just on me. The show is out in the crowd also.
CF- Was there any shows that stand out in your mind?
JD- They were all great. Every Manowar show is different. Different venues, different people, different situations, different struggle’s to overcome that day.
All the shows were great.
CF- When it comes to picking material for a show, were there certain songs that were picked because of where the band played?
JD- It doesn’t really matter. The songs are really well known. When we play a festival we try to pick a song that will relate to that part of the country a little more, to thank the fans. But pretty much when we play live we just grab the songs we think the fans want to hear and just play them. If somebody yells out a song we will play that to.
CF- Is it a frustrating for you, since the band has been around for a long time and doesn’t get the recognition here in the states compared to over seas, while other bands that haven’t been around for that long are having big success?
JD- Brother, they come and go. Were still here, and will be here when there gone. If somebody had offered me big money, big success and three years, or the career that I have and will continue to have, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I don’t want to be no f***in flash in the pan, here today gone tomorrow band.
CF- I would do the same thing also.
JD- Every year we sell more records and more tickets. We play or music our way. Nobody tells us what the f***k to do. We don’t change our hair style every year to try and look like some other f***in band from Seattle, We don’t take our makeup off and put it on again or paint our nails. We do what we do. We sing songs about life and about real f***in shit that goes on whether it’s in peoples souls, mind or dreams.
CF- The Warriors Of The World track, that was on Hell On Stage Live was really cool. Who came up with that idea?
JD- I did when we were in the studio. I said, we have to find a way to thank all the f***in fans that were on this record. Let’s cut a little piece together of every f***in show from every country. So that’s what we did. We went back and listened to all the tapes from Belgium, and looked for something cool that the crowd did, so that they could be on this record to. It was nice ways for us to say » This record will be around a long time after were dead, well those f***in people can say that I was there that night. That’s me. (Laughing). I get e-mails from people who saw themselves in the video. It’s f***in great.
CF- Does the band handle the web site, or do you have someone else do it for you?
JD- We have some one do it with us. I encourage all the fans to go to the site because we are going to be adding all types of different stuff that people want. A lot of personal archive’s, live CD’s, videos etc. at the best prices we can give them.
CF- Going back to the early years of Manowar, What type of band influences did the band have?
JD- Well we wanted to put a band together that kicked f***in ass. Just totally melt peoples faces. We wanted to be louder, heavier, wilder than anybody else.
CF- Were there any bands that influenced, as well as bass players?
JD- For me, music is part of life. Good music just blends into you life. I’ve heard a lot of bands and bass players. Black Sabbath, was always a big influence on me and I’ve always loved their music. I could sit here and name band’s all day, but the name of the game is, is it in your heart to play metal? Do you do it because you love it?, do you do it because it’s who you are and what you are. Any f***in idiot can go out and buy a guitar, buy a wig and jump around stage like a f***in idiot. That’s not being a musician, and that’s not dedication. You live for a cause.
CF- How did you find Eric Adams? Was he a gift from the gods? He’s amazing.
JD- Childhood friend. We grew up together.
CF- Was his voice always that way?
JD- He always had the greatest voice in heavy metal and always will.
CF- How does he keep it going over a long tour?
JD- He’s a trained singer. He takes care of himself. He doesn’t abuse his voice. He does abuse himself with girls and booze, but he doesn’t abuse himself to the point where he can’t go out and sing, and perform his best for the fans every night.
CF- What does it feel like when your on stage, and the crowd is singing you song back to you, like on the Hell On Stage Live when the band was doing Heart of Steel.
JD- It’s tremendous. There are times when I stop playing. I just stop. There’s just no point in playing. Because they would drown me out. I just stop playing and listen. It’s amazing.
CF- It must feel good that the songs that you write, can mean so much and touch so many people.
JD- I received a letter from a guy, whose president of one of the Hells Angels chapters, who was dying in the hospital, and he asked that they keep playing Master of The Wind for him and he felt that it brought him back.
CF-When you write, do you write on the bass or the guitar?
JD- It depends. Never on the guitar. Mostly on the bass or keyboards.
CF-What is the difference between a Piccolo bass, and a regular bass?
JD- The difference is its tuned up to the octave of a guitar, but it’s still a bass guitar.
CF- Do you use a specific brand?
JD- All my stuff is custom made. Store bought stuff is junk. My friend makes my stuff for me.
CF- Do you have to be in a certain mood to write music.
JD- There’s days when I grab the guitar and I start to play and I go «don’t F***kin even think about it» and I just put it down. You wouldn’t pick up a sword or a gun and dick around with it. You would have too much respect for it. Same goes with my guitars.
CF- Are you the sole song writer for the band, and do the other members bring in ideas?
JD- Well, pretty much an idea is fabricated, then we get together and hash it around. Manowar’s a band, not just Joey DeMaio.
CF- There was a rumor that Ross the Boss was coming back to the band. Was this true?
JD- That’s not happening. It was just a rumor.
CF-Do you still speak to him? And why did he leave?
JD- I speak to him all the time. I spoke to him last week. Ross is a very diverse guitar player. He played punk rock with the Dictators, but he grew up on metal. He grew up on classic hard rock music, which branched off into metal. After being in Manowar, he felt that he accomplished what he wanted metal wise. Remember we went around the world together many times. We drank a lot of beer, f***ed a lot of girls, wrote a lot of songs, played a lot of shows and had a lot of fun. He just got to point where he felt that he made the statement that he wanted to make. He wanted to start playing some blues. He’s a great blues guitarist. Ross is kind of guy who can play pretty much anything he wants.
CF- How difficult was it when he approached the band about leaving?
JD- Naturally, it was a sad experience to think that this guy has to go, It was like breaking up a good marriage or relationship, but we realized that if he was going to be happier playing another type of music, that’s the right thing. He did get married and had a child. He wanted to do some other things. You’ve got to be happy for someone, who’s going to be happy. It was honest of him to be that way and it was honest for the fans. It wouldn’t have been honest to the fans.
CF- Is the band on Metal Blade?
JD- At the moment we’re not signed to Metal Blade.
CF- Are you going to go back to them?
JD- We haven’t finalized what’s going to happen for our next record, but so far were happy with them.
CF- Do you know how many units Hell On Stage Live sold in the U.S.?
JD- No, I don’t actually. I know its quite a few. The band sells a lot of records here to. Don’t be fooled by the fact that you don’t we the band on MTV or on the radio. As far as heavy metal goes, where there’s metal there Manowar fans.
CF- Do you have any messages for your fans who will be reading this?
JD- I just want to say we have the greatest fans in the world. I’ve always said it, and I will die saying it. Everybody knows it, that’s why they’re jealous of Manowar. It does take 100 of any other band’sfan, to make one Manowar fan.
CF- Thank you for your time and for staying true to the fans.
JD- Thank you, brother and stay strong.