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Published on : June, 2002
What the hell is an interview with Manowar doing in GAK? Thereís a very good explanation, but it is contained in the interview. Since releasing their first album in 1982, the New York quartet has regaled Europe with its macho metal while remaining virtually unknown in North America. Their latest opus has already stormed to the top of the charts in Germany, Spain, Greece, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Sweden. Considering how thick they lay on their odes to heavy metal, the virtues of slaying thy enemies on the battlefield, and Conan the Barbarian-style album covers the question has oft been asked, ďAre they serious?Ē You bet they are. Singer Eric Adams, conversing over the phone from New York, said there is not a shred of irony in Manowar, even if they were pals with Orson Welles.
Bob: Did you just finish your American tour?
Eric: We did an American tour, then we went over to Europe and did two weeks of press over there. Then we went back to Europe and did some summer festival dates. Thursday I leave for Denmark to do another festival out there. Then I have to go to Spain to do a festival there. Then back to Germany. So Iím pretty busy.
Nice! Something thatís always fascinated me about Manowar is how revered you are in Europe, yet in the States, youíre really in the underground.
Yeah, thatís true. I donít know why that is. Fans are fans all over the world and when you go to a show you see the fans go crazy at every show. Thatís one of the reasons weíve called the single ďWarriors of the World UnitedĒ. Manowar fans are united all over the world. Itís an amazing thing that over in Europe we can have gold albums and in America, a lot of people donít even know the bandís name.
Do you think that might be a cultural thing?
I think itís a question of promotion. Heavy metal is not well-accepted here in
the States, so record companies, consequently, donít want to spend the money
for promotion. Itís unfortunate for fans that are really into heavy metal, but
thatís just the way it goes. I guess that makes it cooler, you know what I
mean Bob? After you get out there and play, the fans see that itís not an easy
road for you. When they see that youíre still doing it after 20 years they
show you respect because youíre out there and youíre doing it. And it
hasnít been easy.
I hear youíre in Canada?
Did you see us when we played up there?
You played in Montreal, right?
We played in Montreal and then in Toronto.
Iím in western Canada. Iím in Calgary, on the other side of the country, so I didnít see you. Actually Quebec is quite interesting because apparently that province has the biggest metal audience in all of Canada.
It was pretty cool. It was screaminí! It was the first time we played there and itís only three hours from our house. We played in Vancouver before. Isnít that amazing when we played there before Montreal?
Now, what is the secret to jousting?
[Pause] To jousting?
[Pause] What is the secret? I wouldnít know. [Chuckles]
Well, how would I know that?
I donít know, but you tour Europe a lot.
And Manowar is sort of like the battling metal band. [Pausing and waiting for a response.] Iím assuming that you guys joust.
No. Never have.
What about the jousting festivals in Europe? Do you go to any of the jousting tournaments?
No. Weíre talking about the jousting on horseback?
No, Iím not into that.
Well, whatís your preferred means of battle?
[Pause] My preferred means, personally, would be a bow and arrow.
Why do you prefer that to jousting?
Because Iím extremely proficient with it.
Do you just shoot or do you hunt?
I do both. I target shoot and I hunt. Iím a big-time hunter.
What do you normally go for?
Whatever season is available. I mean, where I go itís white-tail [deer], turkeys, that kind of thing. I had a journalist get a hold of me and Iím going down south to Texas to hunt some rams with my bow. Iíd like to hunt some elk. I love hunting. Iím out in the woods all the time.
So youíre into venison, then?
Big time! Big time.
So, say a jouster came after you. How long do you think it would take you to take him out with the bow and arrow? Do you think he would be a difficult target?
Not at all. I mean, Iím pretty proficient at 50 yards. Thatís quite a shot. Thatís quite a long way with an arrow. I donít think heíd have a chance with a ten-foot pole. [Bursts into hearty laughter.]
On your first record you had Orson Welles do some narration. Did you get to meet him?
Joey (DeMaio, Manowar bassist) and Ross (ďThe BossĒ Funicello, former Manowar guitarist and alumnus of punk-metal legends the Dictators) met him, but I was busy in upstate New York at the time.
When he recorded his parts in New York City, they met Orson.
What sort of impression did he leave on them?
I think itís the same impression he would have left on anybody who met him. He was this huge, huge guy, so he had to go up in this freight elevator. He brought his dog with him. Thatís pretty amazing. What an amazing voice he had, for him to do ďDefenderĒ and ďDark AvengerĒ for us, then also announce the band. We still use that every night. We use that tape where he says, ďLadies and gentlemen, from the United States of America, all hail Manowar!Ē
Thatís fantastic. Of course, Orson Welles goes down in history as being one of the great pranksters. Now, considering that you donít joust and you had Orson Welles on your first record, are you playing a prank on the metal fans of the world?
Not at all, brother. Not at all. Weíre giving them the very best that we can. Originally, I was supposed to do the narration and it didnít sound as good as it possibly could. We went to our record company and we said, ďWe need a voice like Orson Welles. Heís the king. Heís the man with the deep voice, great for narration.Ē Look what he did when he made people believe ďThe War of the WorldsĒ thing. Címon, what a voice heís got!
And thereís also that movie he did about forgeries.
OhÖwhat was the name of that?
I forgot the name too. You know the one Iím talking about? Itís like a documentary.
I canít remember the name of that, but, anyway, heís very convincing and very straightforward. Heís the best and Manowar needed the best. I donít think itís trickery or trying to pull one over on the fans. Weíre very honest with our fans.
Did he challenge either Ross or Joey to a duel?
To a duel?
Who? Orson? Nah, not at all. In fact he was behind the band, one-hundred percent. He knew that we couldnít get the time of day in America, but over in Europe we would do well. Same thing with him. He couldnít get the time of day in America so he had to make it in Europe first, then come back to America. His heart and soul were into it. It was a very cool thing.
So you were kind of like kindred spirits.
Part of the Manowar mantra has always been ďdeath to false metalĒ. Metal, of course, over the last 20 years, has undergone a significant evolution. Especially with new forms like death metal and extreme metal that seem to lean more towards industrial music than what used to be metal. So where is the line drawn between false metal and real metal? Do you think there has been more real metal in those years?
First, I think we need to define what false metal and real metal are. To me, false metal is when a bunch of bastards get together and play games and play tricks in the studio to make it sound great. Then they go to play a live performance and they canít do it. That, to me, is false metal because if a personís gonna play live, now heís taking the fans Ė the ones putting bread and butter on his table Ė and heís saying, ďListen guys, hereís the deal. Go buy my record, pay for your ticket to come to the show, buy the t-shirt, do all the things that put food on my table an now Iím gonna fuck you because I canít play.Ē Thatís bullshit. Thatís when bands depend on their fuckiní stage set instead of their fuckiní talent.
Do you mean not being able to play live in the studio and give an accurate representation of what they do?
Thatís exactly right. If youíre going to piss on someoneís back and tell Ďem itís raining outside, please, tell the truth where it is. If you canít play, you canít fuckiní play.
Would you challenge any of those bands to a joust?
[Pause, broken by hearty laughter.] What is it with you and jousts? We asked all the so-called metal bands that are well known in America to open the show for them, but nobody would let us do it.
You should have asked them to open for you.
You know, they got no nuts. And now they gotta open for us.
Fuck, you should just joust Ďem, man.
Weíre very happy to carry the metal flag. Bands that used to call themselves metal Ė when their names have metal in it Ė then they say, ďWe donít do metal anymore because itís not selling.Ē Thatís bullshit. Okay? Thatís really bullshit.
You know what? With the jousting thing. Two weeks ago I had this very bizarre dream. One aspect of it was I was reading a guitar magazine and there was an article on Manowar. The entire article said nothing about the band or its music, but all it talked about was medieval chivalry military tactics.
(laughing) Christ almighty!
So when I woke up in the morning, I was pondering it and I thought that I would really like to ask Manowar about jousting. Then, several days later Ė I write for some other magazines so I receive Metal Blade updates and so forth Ė I get an e-mail saying there are going to be Manowar interview slots available. I figure I canít pass that up Ė having that dream, and getting this opportunity. So, what do you think of that?
[Again laughing heartily.] I think itís out there, brother. Maybe your dream was because of our medieval image we had when we started in 1982 and still carry in our lyrics on the Warriors of the World album. Maybe that was in your head or something. Maybe you read some place that we donít take shit from people and we live the heavy metal lifestyle. Itís not bullshit. Itís true. Maybe thatís why weíve been through so many record companies Ė because we donít take any shit from them. The only people we listen to, the only people we believe in are our fans.
Did you ever duel anyone though?
Iíve done arm wrestling competitions.
Oh yeah, man. I work out, brother. I lift weights all the time.
Itís been a pleasure talking to ya, Eric.
Eric: You, too, brother.