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Published on : August, 2002
the day before I was set to move into a new apartment, I landed an interview
with both Karl Logan and Eric Adams of Manowar. Unfortunately, when I checked
the tape after hanging up the phone, neither interview had recorded. So, I
promptly took my stereo home and smashed it. Itís now in many pieces in some
Los Angeles dump. However, thanks to the awesomeness of Jen Graham at Metal
Blade (who is perpetually on a pedestal in my book Ėnot just for an awesome
last name) I was able to repeat the interview with Karl Logan. So hereís my
4th interview with Manowar:
Karl: Hey Ed, whatís up man?
Ed:Not too much. How ya doing?
Karl: Pretty good. Yourself?
Ed:Pretty good. I ..uh.. talked to you yesterday
Ed:I rewound both tapes, I interviewed Eric too, and neither interview got recorded
Karl: Oh really? Thatís too bad
Ed: Yeah, I was a little bit unhappy about that
(Edís note: I smashed my stereo in frustration that it had failed)
Karl: Well, letís do it again
Ed: Yeah, I remember some of the stuff you were talking about, but Iíll just go over the questions again
Ed: SoÖ youíve played guitar with Manowar since 1994
Ed: And before that, you started playing guitar in 1980?
Ed: So youíve been playing guitar for 21-22 years?
Ed: But this is the first band youíve done any recording with?
Karl: Right, exactly
Ed: So, howíd you get started playing guitar and developing your style and sound?
Karl: Well, my guitar was my way of rescuing myself from obscurity, yíknow. It was a lot of desire, and dedication and self discipline. When all my friends were out partying and running around, cruisiní the streets and drinking and stuff, I was home, yíknow, playing guitar for 8-9 hours a day. Eventually I got into a cover band, started learning all the hot songs on the radio, Van Halen licks and Randy Rhoades, Yngwie Malmsteen and everybody in the 80s that I had to learn in order to go up on stage and no look like an idiot. So I put a lot of time into it, making sure every lick, every solo was exact. I learned all the tricks, learned theory, and a lot about songwriting, yíknow, copying other peoples licks, copying other peoples music is the only way to learn.
Ed: Okay, but you never actually got signed, got recordings done?
Karl: Well, no, I mean, a couple bands thereís demos floating around on cassette tape maybe in some teenage girls, or former teenage girls (laughs) cassette case, but nothing that was in anyway marketable. It was a different world back then, man, nowadays everybody has a cd, put it on the internet, make copies and pass it out, but it was a different world back then. Back then you made a demo tape, you basically send it out to a music lawyer or to your agent, try to get somebody to listen to it, do a showcase for the record company at a club and thatís the way things were back then. Nowadays, itís everybodyís a rock star, everybodyís got a cd.
Ed: HmmmÖ how about your style for soloing? How do you go about creating the solos and various licks that you use?
Karl: Well, I listen to the song first of all, analyze the chords, see what modes are available, yíknow, what I could play that might be a little bit different or avant-garde and just listen to the song, listen to the lyrics, decide what thatís saying, yíknow, pretty much approach it like Iím adding a chapter to a book or a paragraph to a story, thatís my time right there to speak and to sing. It has to go along with the song, it has to be interesting, and sometimes itís a little bit unexpected and sometimes itís predictable, itís what the song needs. SoÖ it comes from experience, from playing and learning so many solos and leads, itís kinda something you get a feel for, youíve done so many of them, absorbed so much knowledge from the masters before you.
Ed: What about for My Spirit Lives On? And Today is a Good Day to Die?
Karl: Well, that was, I think I talked to you about this yesterday?
Karl: Well, the first part, it was about flipping through the channels on TV one night and I came across a violinist, fiddler, country fiddler actually, standing in the spotlight at some awards show, just burning on the violin, and I was inspired by it, the style of his playing, and thatís how I wrote the first part of it. The second part of it is an arpeggiated classical section. Arpeggios are fun to play and theyíre a really great technical exercise so I put a little bit of that in there, I expanded to just speed picking scales, string skipping scales, again based on classical chord patterns. Yíknow, wrap the whole thing up with a lot of enthusiasm, playing like a crazy bastard, thatís how it came out to be what it is.
Ed: HmmmÖYou mentioned a lot of technique and technical exercises. How do you think that compares with the emotional side of music? I mean, how do you combine the two?
Karl: Itís a fine line to walk, itís definitely a fine line. I have to admit, on the first record, Louder than Hell, I was more concerned with playing technically, and making my mark on the world, showing everybody what I could do, but on this record I was able to step it back, play more for the song and not overplay as much soÖ I think thereís a certain amount of passion involved in playing technically and playing fast as well. I donít think playing emotionally is exclusive to playing slow, so it depends on your ability and your conviction and passion in your playing.
Ed: Yeah, I saw, when you guys played in LA, back in June I think it was, I just remember the solo you did, I was in the front row, you were like five feet from me, you were doing this really fast double tapping section, and your eyes were closed.
Ed: You were so totally into the music, it was breath taking, I donít think
Karl: Thank you
Ed: I donít think there was a jaw in the audience that wasnít dropping
Karl: Thank you man
Ed: So I was wondering, was there ever a time, I mean, everyone always starts off just working on the basic technique, but how did you develop into combining the blinding technique with the emotion, or is that just
Karl: Practice, practice, practice. I hate to give a clichťd answer like that, but thatís the only answer there is, practice. Practice and Sacrifice. Those nights when you want to go out and get laid, stay home and practice. Those nights you want to go get drunk with your friends, stay home and practice. Thatís the only way to do it.
Ed: Wow. Okay, hmmmÖequipment. Youíre using Matisko guitars, all custom built stuff?
Karl: Yup, Matisko right
Ed: What about pedals and stuff for live shows?
Karl: Nothing. The only I have actually, well, you might see me hitting a pedal every now and then but thatís just simply a program switch, between a lead sound and a rhythm sound, or a clean sound. But I donít use any pedals or effects.
Ed: Interesting. What about on the recording for Hell on Stage, Master of the Wind. Was that an acoustic guitar?
Karl: 12 string
Ed: 12 string, wow. I always wondered how you got that sound
Karl: Thatís a 12 string, they have a sound all their own, beautiful instrument
Karl: Thatís actually on the next video
Ed: Oh really?
Karl: That whole song is basically on video, us playing it live
Ed: Sweet. So thatís Hell on Stage Pt 2? (Ed note: Hell on Earth Pt 2)
Ed: Cool. That was the one that had the fan submissions?
Karl: Iím not sure, thereís quite a few of them, Iím not sure which one thatís on, I havenít seen the whole thing finished yet
Ed: What kind of stuff can we expect on it?
Karl: Itís more song oriented, more concert footage, less back stage footage, less goofing around. Just a different format, more musical
Ed: Any idea when those will be released?
Karl: Right around Christmas
Ed: Sweet, I canít wait, Iím getting a dvd player this weekend
Karl: Playstation too?
Ed: No, itís a new computer
Ed: Sweet, so going back to the new album, Warriors of the World, this is more of an orchestrated album, like Swords in the Wind, starts out with Harp and classical guitar and French horn. How did you go about creating this wild arrangement?
Karl: Again, that comes from listening to all types of music, and really studying arrangements, you have to study arranging the way to study cooking, songwriting is the same thing, you have to study it, naturally itís an art that you learn, and when youíre arranging, a lot of the time itís not important what you add, itís important what you take away. The song originally started with the band coming in on the second verse, and it just wasnít satisfying to hear the first chorus with the band crashing in, to hear it basically unchanged for the whole song, so we said, we gotta do something different. The more shit you add, the more you gotta start taking away, taking away guitars, taking away electric instruments, we wound up with an orchestra and the nice texture that you hear, and a lot of that is just experience and experimentation
Ed: Do you have a major classical influence?
Karl: Not really, classical music is classical music. I canít single out anyone who I think is particularly better or worse, um, I love classical music and I love orchestrated film sound tracks and anything thatís emotional. An instrument is basically a substitute for the voice. Thatís what you hear something singing or crying, I think subconsciously you hear a voice. Thereís so much good music out there, anything thatís been recorded that I listen to influences me.
Ed: HmmmÖare there any main bands that you listen to, that influence you?
Karl: No, I listen to a lot of different styles of music, every different style of music from contemporary to classical to orchestrated film soundtracks to heavy metal to rock and roll. Thereís a lot of good music out there. Good songs are what Iím all about.
Ed: Also on the new album, on songs like Swords in the Wind or Call to Arms, thereís a bit of a different rhythmic pattern to the vocals. When you were writing the song, did that just happen, or were you thinking about trying something a bit different?
Karl: No, I donít think theyíre that much different from previous records. We just wanted to make an album that was very dynamic and expressive and different, without betraying or selling out what heavy metal is.
Ed: Thereís a lot more ballads on this album. Was that intentional or did that just happen?
Karl: No it just happened, I mean, it was written in a way, the songs just shaped themselves.
Ed: Cool. There have been rumors that you guys have been working on film scores. Are there any set plans for that?
Karl: On what?
Ed: Film scores. Movie sound tracks.
Karl: Oh, people always bring that up, and thatís a question thatís always been thrown around butÖ no, thereís nothing that I know thatís in the works. If the right offer came up, then weíd consider it, but nothingís currently on the table that I know of.
Ed: Okay. On the new album there were a couple guest artists, Joe Rozler and Mary Breon. Whereabouts did you find these folks?
Karl: Theyíre just old friends of the band. Maryís a talented singer that Joey discovered and sheís doing some work, youíll be hearing from her in the future. Joeís actually been on a number of Manowar albums, heís a very talented keyboardist up in the Rochester area, a good friend of the band. Heís actually been to Europe with us, played on a number of television shows
Ed: Eric said something about Mary having a band on Magic Circle Records?
Karl: Yeah, thatís what Iím talking about. Eventually, youíll hear of that project too.
Ed: Any details on that?
Karl: Itís called Holy Hell
Ed: Cool. What style is it?
Karl: Ummm, symphonic heavy metal
Ed: Okay, cool. Any other good stuff coming up on Magic Circle Records?
Karl: Yeah, David Shankle will be having a record out, Rhino will be having a record out, a couple other bands weíre looking at, keep watching the website, any other information will be updated.
Ed: On the various album covers, thereís four symbols, a circle, square, triangle and two sticks. How did that come about?
Karl: Those are the playstation symbols
Karl: (Laughs) No! No, no theyíre just runic symbols, basically things that Joey just discovered through reading and studying the Viking cultures, theyíre Celtic or Viking or something, some kind of runic symbols. Iím not actually sure what they mean
Ed: So you donít really know why they were chosen or used?
Karl: No, well, I guess itís just that bands have symbols and they have trademarks, just something that people know when they see our motorcycles with them, itís something personal to each member of the band
Ed: Okay, cool
Karl: Got time for one more bro.
Ed: Say again?
Karl: Got time for one more I think.
Ed: Okay, whatís the future hold for Manowar?
Karl: Well, tour coming up in the fall, a new album next year or shortly thereafter, and weíre just going to keep playing heavy metal till we die.
Ed: Outstanding! I for one canít wait.
Karl: Thanks for your interest bro. Itís been a good interview.
Ed: And thanks for doing this again. You have no idea how much I appreciate this.
Karl: Sure man, no problem. Iím glad we got it this time.
Ed: Could I get you to redo the station Ident, or do you have time for that?
Karl: Sure man
Ed: Okay, Penny Dreadful Radio, KSCR, 1560 AM
Karl: What was the name again bro?
Ed: Penny Dreadful Radio
Karl: Penny Dreadful, KSCR, okay uh, whatís your number
Ed: 1560 AM
Ed: yup, 1 5 6 0
Karl: Okay, ready?
Karl: This is Karl Logan of Manowar, youíre listening to Penny Dreadful on KSCR 1560AM, your home for Heavy Metal!
Karl: Cool, alright bro, glad we got it this time.
Ed: Yeah, itís on a 4-track, I can see the levels going, so I know Iíve got it on tape.
Karl: Sounds good. Alright, thanks for your interest, and weíll see you next time weíre passing though your area.
Ed: Hey, next time youíre in town, drinks are on me.
Karl: Alright bro, sounds good. See ya later
Ed: Take care