Karl: "Hello Clark!"
Clark: "Hi Karl!"
Karl: "Hey, what's up man!"
Clark: "Not much how ya doin'"
Karl: "Good how ya been'"
Clark: "Not too bad"
Karl: "I'm ready when you are"
Clark: "Ok…uh…well first…congrats on the rising success of the new album."
Karl: "Thanks man!"
Clark: "I just saw the news on the chart listings and stuff so….gotta be happy about that"
Karl: "Definitely….um ya know, it took us all by surprise I mean really and I mean what makes this album any different from any of the other ones, ya know we put our heart and soul into every record but this one's just really taken off so…"
Clark: "That's good…"
Karl: "We're definitely thrilled with that, we don't know why but uh….Hallelujah ya know…"
Clark: "Metal is on its rise"
Karl: "I hope so!"
Clark: "So is it getting boring answering all the same questions over and over again?"
Karl: "No, you'd be surprised just how diverse the questions are really."
Clark: "That's cool… So what are your thoughts on the whole status of the US metal scene."
Karl: "It's not really good uh….to be honest with you, I can't make a definitive comment on that because I don't really listen to the radio and I don't really keep up with the metal scene in America because it just left me to be so uninteresting that I just stopped even following it or even caring about it….ya know there are a couple of good bands with some good songs out every now and then but I'm not necessarily crazy about all their work but for the most part I really don't follow it because it, there is nothing that really jumps up and grabs me, ya know what I'm sayin' ."
Clark: "That kind of answers my question about the nu-metal movement."
Karl: "Well…I don't consider it new metal…I think people are tacking a name onto it because uh metal is traditionally a genre of music that really has a loyal fan base and I think people are trying to tap into that by calling something metal but people aren't stupid, ya know we know what is real metal and what is true metal and I am not saying that the only true metal is metal like Manowar I mean ya know because of our lyrical style and our music style and ya know…I mean I am not saying there aren't other forms of true metal but…the rap metal and all that stuff and techno sounds in it and all that shit it actually leaves me cold, these people who rap and sample and shit like that…ya know…any band who has a guest rapper on their record like to me that's just like kill these mother fuckers please ya know."
Clark: (laughing like a hyena) "I can understand that."
Karl: "Yeah, I'm a bit passionate about that"
Clark: "It seems it's a very common feeling ya know in the whole metal underground and stuff."
Clark: "I wanted to get your opinion on what you think about all the metal bands that when the whole grunge, in the early 90's and the whole little pop punk scene started to come out and a lot of metal bands seemed to cut their hair and try to go for the whole alternative look and conforming into this whole new image just to try to make a dollar instead of sticking with the music that they believe in?"
Karl: "Well ya know, I hate to get too deep here but in order to understand the progression of music styles you really have to look at society and culture and the way that the overall economic shape of the world um I mean that sounds like a grandiose statement to make but really what led to the downfall of metal was the recession in 1990 and a couple of technological advances along the way helped that um…Karaoke systems really became very sophisticated, DJ systems became very sophisticated and there was ya know a lot of new models on the market that allowed DJ's to do things that they never could have dreamed of before."
Karl: "And I saw it happen myself cause I was in a kind of cover/original band at the time. There were a lot of clubs that were hiring bands just quit hiring bands and turned to DJ's because they were cheaper and they were more compact ya know and self contained, cheaper and easier to set up and get out of the club and played music people liked and what started happening in the 1990's is people…also because of the rise in technology and the availability of a lot of small portable studios a lot of bands just started deciding that doing cover music just wasn't cool and started doing their own music and the problem is that a lot of these bands are kids a couple years out of high school and learn how to play a couple of chords on their guitar and all the sudden they think they are song writers….they go into a studio and record a CD and they think they are a band and songwriters ya know and that their music is really something and I am not cutting anybody down I am just saying you can't be so cavalier about your approach to music"
Karl: "Music is an art and music demands study and it demands dedication and discipline, to study song writing and learn your instrument and then you put together a band and start writing songs when you know how and I think that is one of the things that have really contributed to the downfall of music in general I mean if you look at all of the bands out there, boy bands and girl bands and groups like Destiny's Child and N'Sync, bands that were put together by producers. The reason for that is because there is a shortage of young talented people that really know music and know how to write songs and know their instruments and instead we end up with plastic people, pretty faces and songs with nothing to them while playing playback and tapes on stage rather than just playing their instruments and it's all just this mass consumable merchandise driven by pretty people ya know and controlled from behind the scenes by people who really have very little interest in the music they really have more interest in just the money…"
Clark: "Right, that whole assembly line kind of thing."
Karl: "…there's cultural and societal reasons, sociological reasons rather why metal is where it is today…I mean metal was really the music of partying, havin' a good time, not really worrying about the future just livin' for today and now I mean there is so much concern about the future and now there is so much international conversation and trade going on with the internet and everything like that that there it is hard to find that feeling of Hey…fuck the world just have a good time ya know and so I think also is a statement of why Manowar is so relevant now because were just ya know we're all about having a good time, we are not a political band we're about music and fun and fighting for what you believe in and in a way we are also reflecting things that are important to society right now but by and large our music really just says have a good time, forget about these problems for a while that is what heavy metal and music is supposed to be all about, it's the escape ya know…
Clark: "Right, that is why I was kinda asking cause of the…uh in the United States it seems kind of taboo to say you are in a metal band but yet you guys have always had success in Europe"
Karl: "In order to sell a new style of music, you have to declare an old style dead…and this is what's done by the media…by MTV ya know who likes to ridicule metal but they usually do this….you ridicule something then you open peoples minds up to well, here's what's cool and here's what's new and you're only hip if you subscribe to this."
Karl: "I mean that's one of the reasons I mean really if you talk to people in the street metal has never fallen out of favor that's something that people really consciously like dislike I mean. I can't tell you how many people I know that are still driving down the street blaring out Judas Priest, Kiss and some things like that, the media controls it, the media does these things to basically stimulate growth and stimulate sales and once ya know once a type of music sort of slows down in sales they bring something new along, they change it economic reasons, it's really a complex system but uh basically it's people telling you what to like. It's a weird cultural thing here in America that's really a lot more prevalent than it is in Europe. Europeans are not really so influenced by the media…they're really more, I dunno, loyal I guess to what they like."
Clark: "Right, yeah obviously since you've done the entire United States, I know everything you've just described describes Seattle to a tee ya know and uh…slowly it's gaining ground and coming back."
Karl: "It never really went away it's just kind of being suppressed and almost ignored by the main stream media it never really went away to be honest with you I can't think of a time when I ever polled my friends and found out that all of them they threw away their Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath records I mean Christ everybody still has them and everybody still listens to them so…It never really went away, it's just being ignored for the most part by the media. People tend to look at the media and say whatever is playing that's what people really want that's what's hot…not really, that's what they are puttin' money behind.
Karl: "That is what they are shoving down your throat I mean if someone shoves something down your throat long enough, you got two choices, you either choke or swallow it ya know…most choose to swallow it."
Clark: "So how did the New Jersey Metal Fest go?"
Karl: "Um…the Metal Fests are always good for us I mean ya know, we had a sold out show I remember and uh…we really didn't see much of the other bands but uh…all of those that we headlined I mean they were really crazy and I remember that one was as well."
Clark: "So did you guys enjoy playin' Seattle?"
Karl: "Uh yes…Seattle was nuts I mean the club wasn't great but the audience definitely was."
Clark: "So how it is that Immortal and Manowar managed to come together for that tour."
Karl: "The guys from Immortal first should say like, Abbath is a huge Manowar fan and uh…I mean what they are doing is not what we are doing but their commitment and their dedication and their sincerity about what they are doing is no different than ours….I mean they really believe in what they are doing and we respect that…I think that they are actually a very tight, very melodic band and they carry on with conviction so uh…we just thought it would be great to get them on a bill with us and shift it around ya know it was cool ya know cause it was almost had kind of a cross pollination of the audience, ya know we had metal fans there listening for Manowar but they heard Immortal ya know and then we had black metal fans come in and stay for the Manowar show. It was really cool and the whole thing was a really fun experience to be honest with you there were no conflicts and no sort of problems that you might expect there to be between two bands in the different major ya know."
Clark: "That was definitely the most diverse tour I have seen come through here…I thought that was really cool because you have purists from both sides ya know, so to speak, ya know and to get them all in the same room is quite a feat ya know.
Karl: "Cool, I really enjoyed it!"
Clark: "A friend of mine said that Manowar was on Nickelodeon in the early 1980's…is that true?"
Karl: "I think it is probably true…I don't know for sure because I was not in the band then but uh I have head other people talk about that…I don't know what the format was or the reason for it ya know I mean safe to say that Nickelodeon is a kids channel now but I don't know what it was when it started but I mean they might have had a different format at that time I don't know."
Clark: "Do you guys have anything in the works for the United States as far as television goes?"
Karl: "Nothing so far as I know. No I mean I couldn't imagine a situation where we would be on a US television show except for the possibility, slight possibility of us playing like the American Trilogy or something like that."
Karl: "Ya know what I mean which is relevant to Elvis and his death which is coming up August 16th I believe it is so but other than that no, I can't imagine a scenario where you would see us on television here."
Clark: "OK….um…what are your three greatest metal albums of all time in your opinion outside of Manowar?"
Karl: "Uh, number one my absolute favorite is Nazareth's Hair of the Dog, number two would be Heaven and Hell by Black Sabbath and number three probably would be the Judas Priest Live because it just has all of their greatest songs ya know and I am a really big Judas Priest fan."
Clark: "Great, thanks. A lot of bands on the extreme side of the metal scene state Manowar as a major influence…what is your opinion on the extreme side of the metal scene?"
Karl: "Such as?"
Clark: "Such as well we already talked about Immortal but lets say like Cannibal Corpse, more of your Carcass, Pestilence those sorts."
Karl: "Hey ya know I mean if they consider it sinful then I think that as a compliment I mean I am not really into a lot of that stuff. I don't listen to a lot of that stuff simply because I don't want to be influenced by it I don't want to wind up sounding like anybody else but ya know it all depends on what you mean by influence. Inspired by music that is a real sincere compliment and I know a lot of those bands have careers and spent many, many years and uh so obviously ya know their fans see them as doing something just as valid and just as real and just as authentic so ya know…I think it's a wonderful thing and ya know…a lot of these bands like Cannibal Corpse and all of that I think we played with them on several festivals overseas so, ya know…It's always neat to play them kinds of festivals where we get to meet other bands and all of that and I think it is the coolest thing that metal is really a big brotherhood."
Clark: "I understand that. What has kept Manowar going over the years with the whole media turning Metal into something that's not cool?"
Karl: "That's easy…the fans have…the dedication of the fans, the love of the fans, the letters, the e-mails, the pictures they send us, the letters written in blood, meeting them, them calling us the Kings of Metal, giving us our name I mean ya know…really the fans. I mean what else keeps a man going it's certainly not for the money ya know I mean people have this impression that we are super rich and all this stuff and I gotta tell ya…it's not for the money. If it were for the money I'd be insurance or something it's really for the love of the music, love of the fans and that has to be the reason, you have to live for the fans because they are who give you relevance."
Clark: "Yep. The photographer for our web site I guess he was disappointed he wasn't able to get a photo pass I guess my question was, is there a reason Manowar is restrictive when it comes to photography?"
Karl: "We have become only because we have seen the internet and we've seen…ya know we actually went searching one day here and looked at some web sites and saw photos of some bands and stuff ya know…the image of a band is a very carefully cultivated thing and what you don't want…you don't want to get off of stage and look like a complete scummed out sweaty piece of shit…take a photo with someone and it gets out on the internet or somebody screams your name, Hey Karl and you turn around like Huh and they snap a photo of you looking like a deer in a headlight then they put that on the net and then they think…Hey this is cool…it looks and shows that I was there with this guy then someone else looks at the photo and it says Oh man he looks like shit doesn't he….ya know what I mean…It's a hard thing…a protect thing…protecting…I guess protecting the image of the band the look of the band and ya know…we are a band who has very carefully through 20 years cultivated an image…a look and that is the important part of what the band is. Otherwise if it wasn't you'd see us in jeans and tee shirts and just hangin' out like normal natural…ya know…we have a certain look…a certain style and that is important because music should be about entertainment and a show and you have to cultivate an image in a show ya know….we don't go up on stage dressed in shorts and jeans and base ball caps ya know what I mean like some bands do they look like they just got out of McDonalds. So that is one of the reasons we control the look of the band and the photos of the band that go out and ultimately it's unfortunate in some ways that the internet has changed things like that but in the end ya know really it's just about protecting the band but uh it's unfortunate that we have to abide by that policy but each one of us is bound to it I mean even if someone comes up to me after a show and says oh can I take your picture…I have to say no even if I look good because if you do it for one person you have to do it for everyone…and there may be situations where you look fine and ya know the situation is ok but if you do it then, then you gotta do it for other situation, you can't just tell people oh well no…not tonight…well you did it the other night for this other guy well maybe so but not tonight…well how come, I wasn't there at that show I am only here at this show…I want a photo…well you have to either stick to your policy or not so…that's what it is."
Clark: "That makes sense…you'll get sued like the ball players."
Karl: "Well ya know…it's like an actor or an actress…who gets…they…the paparazzi gets photos of them ya know jogging or eating dinner and they're all scummed out and they don't look like their normal image I mean I hate to say it but that is the reality of show biz and entertainment…that's what it is ya know, you cultivate your image and it's important that your fans know that and they expect that of us ya know…it's just an outgrowth of technology of change in society and the use of the internet."
Clark: "Right…So will Manowar ever…do you guys still use some of the old costumes at all?
Karl: "No they get put into the archives. I mean they are all preserved. Like I guess Kiss would have their old outfits ya know now of course they did a retro tour but they had to, I mean come on. No, we like to update the image and keep things current ya know, I mean the whole days of the warrior stuff ya know, the loin cloth and shit like that I mean there was a day for that."
Clark: "Never just for the heck of it?"
Karl: "What's that? I want to remind you brother that was twenty years ago. I mean twenty years ago we might have looked great in loincloths (Sound of Clark laughing hysterically) I mean I can't see myself now wearing a loincloth ya know what I'm sayin'."
Clark: "Hey nothing wrong with that…"
Karl: "Ya know…something special…for a girl…I don't know about on stage."
Clark: "You're going to save it for the special moments."
Clark: "How was your experience with Geffen records?"
Karl: "A nightmare!"
Clark: "A nightmare?"
Karl: "Well pretty much when we joined Geffen. Right after we joined they reshuffled the company and everybody that was in our corner was shuffled out the door and so it was very hard to get the level of commitment that we believed we would have there in the end so um…I'm really not at liberty to go into details but it was a disappointment I guess you could say."
Clark: "Manowar are the defenders of true metal, that's what people say, how would you describe that and I know that is a big discussion within the online metal groups of what exactly true metal is because everybody has their bands and they say that's true?"
Karl: "I mean the short answer is true metal is metal that's not written for false reasons in terms of writing a song for the sake of getting on the radio to be commercial to sell out…basically bands that deny their heritage, and deny their history like Metallica saying, no, quoting on the front of the largest heavy metal magazine in Europe saying don't call us a heavy metal band anymore. Turning their backs on what made them who they were and the fans that made them who they were...bands that bring in outside songwriters because they don't have any ideas left or they just want a hit song to get on the radio I mean that's not being true to yourself and that's what true metal means being true to yourself, playing from the heart. Learning your instrument, respecting your instrument, respecting your craft, ya know what I mean, not using samples form other groups or bands or not using rap on your record because it happens to be popular, a trend, or a fad all of this stuff is just bullshit, it's transparent commercialism and selling out for the sake of financial gain that's what it is I mean we would be a lot more financially happy if we had a hit song on the radio and just did everything that the spin doctors told us to do and that would be denying and fucking our fans and were not going to do that."
Clark: "Well do you have any other words of wisdom?"
Karl: "Yes…Ladies…please shave (Clark laughing hysterically) …that's it…you know the saying you have to shave the forest to see the trees."
Clark: "That's great…I heard you guys were fans of the adult industry so…"
Karl: "Absolutely…Hey what is there in life besides metal and porn."
Clark: "That's my motto…that's my motto…I got a great sticker the other day…it says Porn, it's cheaper than dating so…"
Karl: "That's true…not as fulfilling sometimes but…"
Clark: "Yeah, yeah I know…it's not as good as the real thing but ya have to make two you have to make two…well great talking to you Karl…"
Karl: "Yeah it's been real…"
Clark: "Thanks for your time"
Karl: "Allright brother I hope to see you soon"
Clark: "Same…I hope you guys come back to Seattle."
Karl: "I'm sure sooner or later we'll get there."
Clark: "Sounds good!"