Why is it, whenever I have a preappointed phone interview with some band, every mutha in the world wants to ring me at exactly that time? It’s some kind of cosmic conspiracy, I know. Joey DeMaio (officially the loudest bass player of officially the loudest band in the world, MANOWAR — source — Guiness Book of Records) has just answered the phone. Within nanoseconds, the beeps start. «Look just hold on there Joey, I’ll get rid of this call» and so it goes, ultimately ignoring the pesky blips, I manage to accumulate 8 goddam messages, then the phone is silent for the best part of the rest of the day. Go figure!
When I come back to Joey, he’s jumping up and down about my accent and how he’s just the biggest fan of ‘Once Were Warriors’ «What a fucking movie!» he says. In fact he’s got a fucking laser disc of the movie, thinks Lee Tamahori is God and wonders if he’d be into shooting a vid with MANOWAR.
«I grew up in South Auckland where most of that movie was shot» I say impressively.
«Look do me a favour will ya?» pleads Joey «We need you to spread the word about MANOWAR down there ‘cos we’d really love to come play New Zealand and do some riding around the country.»
Harley riding is what we’re talking about. Back home in the USA, the whole band have racing Harley’s although they’re not likely to be bringing them along so…all you promotion hungry Harley Dealers out there, if you wanna see MANOWAR riding YOUR bikes through ‘Once Were Warriors’ territory on TV, it can be arranged. I’ll need one with trainer wheels if that’s ok.
X: From my standpoint, MANOWAR seem to be very much the European style of Metal rather than American.
Joey: Oh, definitely ‘cos that’s where classical music was created. That’s our inspiration but the band is a world band, not an American band, our fans are everywhere and there’s a real close bond there with our fans, it’s like a fucking family reunion with our fans, we don’t put ourselves above our fans.
X: You’ve broken your own Guiness Book of Records record as being the loudest band in the world. It must be quite an incredible vibe being in charge of so much power, especially with those subfrequencies coming from the bass.
Joey: Oh yeah, in fact one girl said to me in Germany, the reason there’s so many girls at a MANOWAR concert, more than any other Heavy Metal band in the world, is because the vibration of the bass travels through the floor, up their toes, up their ankles, up their legs and hits their fucking clit and they’re just cumming through the whole concert!
X: Your latest album ‘Louder Than Hell’ has a positive message in all the lyrics with song titles like ‘Courage’, ‘Number 1’, ‘The Power’. This is not typical of most modern Metal.
Joey: The whole message is believe in yourself and you can win at the end of the day. As long as you do whatever you do with heart and passion and feeling then it doesn’t matter if you pick up garbage for a living or play pool or are a biker, it doesn’t matter as long as you’ve got heart.
X: The American Indian thing also dominates. Having said your influence comes from Europe, here we have two songs dedicated to the memory of Crazy Horse.
Joey: Well why do you think I related so much to that movie? I mean the natives got fucked again. It’s just the way it is. I just don’t understand it. It really sucks. You’ve got native people who live with a sense of atmosphere and feeling in their heart then you’ve got all these business types who come in and fuck everybody over. That’s the way it is in the music business, in the whole world. It’s the people living with heart and for art doin’ battle with all these other muthafuckas who think they’re going to create fashion and trends.
X: Does a band like MANOWAR command a certain level of your own input into the process of making music.
Joey: It’s not a matter of commanding a certain level, we are in command of everything we do and that’s why we have our fans and the following we do. We have never fucked our fans like other bands who have turned around and changed their style with grunge, glam, thrash and shit.
X: Now that the original ‘Kings of Metal’ METALLICA have given it all up for Country and Western, what have…
Joey (interrupts): Well they’re not the original ‘Kings of Metal’. We had the title before they did. We made a record before they did. In fact, we did a little tour of music stores in Germany recently and about 300 kids came up to us and said «I just want you to see this» and ripped off their METALLICA patches. It was fucking unreal! I’ve got better things to do than sit around and bash other bands but I have to say, as a METALLICA fan, I felt exactly the same as their fans felt. I couldn’t wait for the record, I bought the muthafuka, I got the same kick in the head their other fans got. I’ll tell you how bad it is Commander, in America a writer came up to me and said, «Joey, I don’t like MANOWAR, I don’t like you, I don’t like the band, I don’t like your music, I don’t like what you’re all about. But after hearing this new METALLICA record, if my choice is these muthafukas wearing makeup and playin’ Country music or MANOWAR, I can see where you have stayed true to your promise of Metal and now I am a MANOWAR fan because you never fucked your fans.» The thing is, it’s like buying a shot of whiskey and then putting water in it. Why would anybody do that? Our Metal is pure Metal. It revolves around power, melody and having all the musicians in the band being equally competent and the only kind of Metal you can do that with is classic metal, true metal.»
X: Tell me, who have you been influenced by over the years?
Joey: I’ve always been influenced by classical music. Classical music is the first and then classic bands of the rock style. You know, LED ZEPPLIN, BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE, THE WHO, great bands that wrote great songs and played great shows for their fans. I like alot of Death Metal, I like anything that’s played from the heart, PANTERA, I used to like METALLICA, I’m sure if they write another good record then I’ll like them again.
X: So what’s on the cards for MANOWAR now that the albums out?
Joey: Touring! The World Tour starts next week in South America.
X: Are we likely to see you down here in New Zealand?
Joey: I would fucking give anything to fucking play there in New Zealand! I’m dying to go there. Dying to. I blew my mind over this fucking movie and I can imagine what the fans are like down there. We get mail from New Zealand but we really need to get some publicity down there to get a ground swell of support. We don’t look at touring as difficult. We live to go to different places. Anyone who wants the band, that’s where we wanna go. This is what we live to do. It’s not a part time job, it’s our whole life. Man I’m dying to see that country. What are the girls like down there?
X: They’re all beautiful (hey, it’s my story!)
Joey: Well our motto for MANOWAR is, we’re born to rock (and I want you to print this clearly), we’re born to rock, to drink and to fuck. Do you think we’ll be able to accomplish those missions when we’re there? Do you think you can assist?
X: Will 2 outta 3 be ok?
Joey: You gotta get ahold of Geffen and have them send you a copy of our new video man. It’s the band on our Harley’s partyin’. We just love to ride. I’m sure you can show us the sites there in New Zealand. When we hit New Zealand, you’re the man, we’re gonna fuckin’ go crazy. Let me tell ya, this band is so down to earth, it’s just the way we are, we live for the fuckin’ music, there’s no negativity. We love to do this and have fun.
X: How long did it take you to get the songs together for ‘Louder Than Hell’?
Joey: About 2 and a half years. That’s quite a long time by todays standards, this fucking shit people turn out, it doesn’t make any difference if it takes a week or 2. It’s crap.
Elizabeth (Geffen Records Rep interrupts): Hello, are you guys still…doing it?
X: Yeah, we’re probably done, I guess.
Elizabeth: We need to wrap things up in the next 5.
Joey: We’re havin’ a blast Elizabeth. You gotta do me a favour ‘Liz, will you see they get the Commander a copy of the video?
Elizabeth: Yeah sure, absolutely. I’ll get off the phone (hangs up)
Joey: She’s cool. The label are fucking cool. In the past, whenever a record company have tried to change our style, we split. It’s never happened and it never will.
X: Finally, Joey, what have you got to say to all your fans down here who might be able to help raise the support you need to see MANOWAR play New Zealand in the near future?
Joey: First of all, thanks for YOUR support, say Hi to all the MANOWAR fans down there and we just can’t wait to get fucking down there and party down hard. Stay Strong!
by COMMANDER X