MANOWAR have kept the faith and now they’re back on a major label with some great tunes. There are a couple of almost ballad type songs. I’m sure everyone can relate to the tune «Outlaw» since most bikers not unlike the early cowboys consider themselves outlaws. Two great, I mean great, songs come together in «Today Is A Good Day To Die» which comes from the great chief Crazy Horse. It’s what he told his warriors when they went into battle.»My Spirit Lives On» represents the ascendance of the warrior spirit and the transcendence of everyday life. These two songs paint a larger-than-life picture to all of us. I love this band.
Q&A with Eric Adams
Sheila Rene’: Welcome to my interview line.
Eric Adams: I know this is Texas. You’ve got a Texas accent.
SR: I’m Texas born but I don’t think I have a big accent.
EA: Do you have blond hair?
EA: Then you’re a Texan. That’s all there is to it.
SR: I’m happy you all still have your long hair.
EA: That’s absolutely right.
SR: ‘And if you like metal you’re my friend’ from cut one, side one, «Return Of The Warlord.» This is such a wonderful album and it takes me back to the beginning of the whole rock thing. Metal still rules!
EA: Oh, yeah. Let me tell you, Sheila, we can’t change.
SR: Neither can I.
SR: As a matter of fact, metal is more of a life style than a genre of music.
EA: You’re absolutely right.
SR: I’ve had to take a lot of guff over the years for my metal habit.
EA: That’s why metal will never die. Never. Like the song says…
SR: Any album that talks about heavy metal in the lyrics has me liking the music right away. I love that anthem stuff.
EA: That’s great.
SR: Help me out with some years here. You were on Capitol in ’82 for «Battle Hymns;» on Geffen for ’83’s «Into Glory Ride» and ’83’s «Hail To England;» one record for Virgin, «Sign Of The Manner» in ’84; then on to Atlantic for four albums, ’87’s «Fighting The World,» ’88’s «King Of Metal» and ’92’s «The Triumph Of Steel» and now back on Geffen. Whew! Is the boxed set that features «Into Glory Ride» and «Hail to England» still available?
EA: It sure is. It was on Geffen, but it’s available on import.
SR: Somehow I lost touch with you with all the label changing. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about this?
EA: It’s that we’re doing something right. We’re still around. Every place we play there are more and more people out to see us. So, the record companies don’t know what they’re talking about when they try and change you.
SR: The impressive thing to me is that we’re getting back to escaping all the things that the angst bands have been writing about. I love it that the lyrics are about serious matters and I find them refreshing. However, I do miss my metal lyrics.
EA: You know we firmly believe this and we live like this. If you believe something is right, then go for it. We believe this music is right for our band. Regardless of what any record company might say to us, we’re not going to change our style.
SR: That’s what I like about the Foundations Forum, MusicFest conventions. Everyone you meet is into the same music you’re into. It’s so much fun and the biggest party on earth.
EA: We’re booked in Europe this year when that takes place.
SR: I called Geffen today to find out where the MANOWAR website was?
EA: They said it’s not up yet.
SR: So I asked them when they thought they’d get it up? She’s was hoping that it would be up by the time this album hits the streets.
EA: We do have a guy who has put us up on the Internet. Do a search for our band and it’ll come up. It gets updated with new information all the time. You can also pull up our European websites with a search.
SR: I think I’ve always interviewed Ross the Boss over the years. It’s nice to be talking to you since you were an original member.
EA: Yep, I’m still rockin’.
SR: I really love the song «Courage» on this album.
EA: That was written a long, long time ago. I’ll say around ’85 or ’86. We originally recorded it when we were on Virgin. We never released it in the States, but we did a French version. We thought it would be best to hold on to that song. We already had a slow track on that particular album. When we did want to release it we were on a different label. Virgin said it was their song, they paid for it and we couldn’t record it and they couldn’t release it. It was in limbo until this year. We’ve since added a new bridge section and a new chorus section. It’s a great track.
SR: John Kalodner, who signed you to Geffen, is now with Sony. How has that impacted you and your dealings with the label?
EA: He’s working for Sony but he’s still behind us. He’s there for us. He represents us at Geffen and attends our meetings. He’s a dear friend. This is his baby all the way.
SR: That’s great to hear. He’s certainly always appeared to be a man of principle and honor. You write a song,»King» for this album which pays tribute to him.
EA: He certainly is the best, and he worked on all these tracks with us. We show him what we’ve done, he listens and then advises us what we should do. He’d come back in a few months and listen again. He’s a god in this industry, well-respected and sincere. When he walks through the halls at Geffen and Sony everyone acknowledges his prescence.
SR: What kind of studio did you put together in New York? You’re calling it Haus Wanfried after Richard Wagner’s house?
EA: That’s right. It’s really cool and we have a lot of space. We have an office for the fan club, a work space for the electronic genius who works on all our gear. The actual recording room itself is absolutely huge.
SR: Isn’t it a real high when you take control of your career again?
EA: It is really great because it works out really well for us. When it comes time to record the album it’s a creative process. If you’re too creative that day, you’ve had too much on your mind and it’s not coming off on the tape, it’s no big shake. You’re not paying by the hour so you can just go home and call it a day. It’s a very comfortable atmosphere here and it’s also our rehearsal hall.
SR: I think you’re set. Are there any other songs you brought back from years ago?
EA: (laughter) Actually «Brothers Of Metal Pt.1» was written in ’85 and stored away. When it came time to re-do the track we ripped it apart and it’s funny, the record company suggested that we come up with an album of just brothers of metal takes. We recorded the song in many styles, but we finally came up with the one on this album.
SR: There’s nothing like anthem metal.
EA: We try to get our fans involved. It’s part of the magic of a live show. It gives us the power and the energy for the next song.
SR: Are you still at 129.5 decibels? I think you’ve been given the mantle as being the loudest ever.
EA: Loudest band, most powerful band in the world is MANOWAR. We broke the Guinness record for the loudest band in the world.
SR: I used to think Motorhead was. I remember leaving the music and going out to the courtyard at The Old Waldorf only to have my clothes still vibrating from their sound.
EA: They used to think they were too until they opened a show for us in New York.
SR: Have you ever taken any voice lessons?
EA: I went to the school of hard knocks. That’s where you learn that you can’t continue to sing if you have a sore throat after one night.
SR: The way you sing, well, if you weren’t doing it right you wouldn’t have a voice left.
EA: No, you couldn’t do it. I sing from my diaphram. That’s the only way to go. I learned the scream technique from Ian Gillan. I was a big fan of his and I would follow Deep Purple everywhere they would play. I was there. When I heard that scream I said to myself, ‘I have to do that somehow.’ I just kept working on it and I developed a style all my own.
SR: Joey is still hitting it on every note. What a legacy to grow up as a bass/pyro tech for Black Sabbath.
EA: He’s absolutely insane. (laughing) He has to be insane to come up with all these songs. He worked with Black Sabbath years and years ago. Now he’s just a workaholic. He got his feet wet with Sabbath and got into this industry. He’s band spokesman half the time, he’s our manager. He’s our producer on the albums. Today he’s down in Ithica editing our video.
SR: What tune?
EA: We did «Return Of The Warlord» as the first video. There are four or five videos that are planned for this album.
SR: Your comments on the Harleys?
EA: Have you seen them yet?
SR: I’m looking at the pictures right now. I like the way you mixed the actual sound of the Harley with the guitar sound.
EA: It’s my bike as a matter of fact. We brought it right into the studio.
SR: What model?
EA: They’re custom made for us with 240 engines. They’re really, really happening. We’re driving them to the record store in Chicago soon for an autograph session. Wait until you see the video.
SR: Who produced this time?
EA: We did it ourselves. Then they told us they didn’t think they should spend the money on a video. We told them that we thought it would happen with the motorcycles. It’s part of what we are.
SR: I hear the Latin MTV is having a ball with metal these day, unlike the U.S. gutless wonders.
EA: You’ve got that right. All you need is a passport, Sheila. Come on get a passport and come on the road with us.
SR: Damn that sounds good. What’s the scariest thing a fan has ever done? Your fans are well known for traveling thousands of miles just to see you play. Can they top your signing a record contract in blood as you guys did?
EA: Well, I don’t know. We signed a contract in blood, that’s true. It was just a sign that meant we mean what we say. We’re behind this with our lives. We’ve had a lot of fans do some crazy things. That’s what we like about our fans. One person came down to Munich, Germany, from the northern tip of Scandinavia and hitch hiked to do it. To me that’s nuts. It’s snow, it’s cold and a long trip. We put him on the bus and he rode with us a few days. The kind of devotion we still get is sensational. I’m looking at a picture of a fan who has had his back tattooed with the «Triumph Of Steel» album cover. It covers his whole back.
SR: What’s Ross the Boss doing these days?
EA: Ross is living in New York, married with one kid. The last I spoke to him he was going overseas with The Dictators.
SR: I remember interviewing him when he was in the Dictators before MANOWAR.
EA: In fact, the Dictators will be playing around Europe while we’re there.
SR: You have always been known as much for your artwork as the music. I’ve got an advance copy that doesn’t have any artwork. What’s it like?
EA: We’re serious about our artwork. (laughing) Well, I’ll tell you so everyone on the Internet can know. It’s a picture of the warrior chief with no face, simply because the hero who’s the warrior is anybody who believes in themselves. He’s smashing two pillars with his fist. The pillars are breaking apart as he hits them. There’s the bolt of lightning that comes off his fists. The graphics are incredible. There are signs that true fans will recognize. There’s the sword, the hammer of Thor which is also on our motorcycles. I have the sword on mine, I think Joey’s has the hammer, Scott has another weapon on his. There’s a snake on the cover with a crown and a ring. Little things that are back from previous albums. We all have symbols. Joey’s symbol is a circle, mine is a triangle and somewhere carved in the stone you see all our symbols. Very eerie and very cool.
SR: What do you think about music today. Do you really feel that metal is ready to become #1 again?
EA: In America, I hope so. Geffen surely believes it and that’s a good sign. They’re behind this project big time. They’ve been to Europe to hear us play and they know how crazy our European fans get for this band. There’s no reason why our American fans won’t go crazy too. We just have to get out there and start playing.
SR: Has there ever been a MANOWAR comic book?
EA: There have been some comic books. We’ve had them sent to us. It’s really weird to read a comic book with someone with the name Eric Adams in the comic strip..and Joey. It was a cool thing.
SR: I would think that with all the recording done, you’re ready to roll.
EA: We’re biting our lips.
SR:»Nobody controls our god damned lives, we’re wearing leather on a silver horse…» some lyrics from»Return Of The Warlord.»
EA: You said it. We’re roaring and ready.
SR: Any idea when you’ll get back to playing some U.S. dates?
EA: Well, we’re doing some warm up dates in northern Pennsylvania and Ohio. We’ll go for promo next week and we get back from Europe in late October — then we’re in France on November 4 and South America on November 14. We’ve got a lot of fans over there. In December we want to hit the big clubs across the country. We could hit Austin in December. We’ll see what happens.
SR: The Rolling Stones have done us all a favor don’t you think. They’ve made it so fashionable to be old and still cranking out the great tunes.
EA: It’s surely a test of their spirit. Let me tell you they love what they’re doing and it’s still happening for them with great songs. They’re making their fans happy and that’s what it’s all about.
SR: There have been more than one occasion that rock and roll has been prounced dead. Wrong, bullet breath, we’re not giving up. Look at all the Blues guys who’re still playing in their 90’s.
EA: Don’t worry Sheila, it’s never going to die. As long as there are fans out there, the bands have to give it their all. They owe it to the fans.
SR: Thanks for your time.
EA: When are we going to see you?
SR: When you hit Austin I’ll be in the front row.
EA: Get there early so we can visit backstage.
SR: You got it darlin’.
EA: Take care and we appreciate your help.
(Austin-based Sheila Rene’ conducted this interview.)