Interviewer: How many years does a band have to be around to be rightfully called "veterans"? I have no clue, but calling MANOWAR veterans feels appropriate enough to me. Formed backstage at a BLACK SABBATH gig in May 1980 (bass player Joey DeMaio worked as a stagehand for BLACK SABBATH at the time), the young and hungry fourpiece quickly adopted a kind of viking/fantasy-inspired image to stand out and to reflect the heavy, loud and primal "take no prisoners"-attitude and sound they had.
Since the debut album "Battle Hymns" (1982), the band has kept true to their original ideals, both visually and sonically (still holding the Guinness World Record for "Worlds Loudest Band", but more on that later on). Now, twenty-six years since getting together, the band seem to enjoy themselves immensely, and it's an obviously excited and happy Eric Adams that I'm speaking to on the phone in early October, to find out what MANOWAR is up to. Let's find out!
Interviewer: So, you're on a promotion tour in Europe right now?
Eric: Yeah man, I think we've been here for six days now, still got four more to go. We started in Germany and we've been to Czech Republic, now we're in Sweden and tomorrow we go down to Milan, then Athens and Madrid. Then we'll go home, so we're pretty busy!
Interviewer: You'll be releasing the new album, ”Gods of War” in January 2007, right?
Eric: Ah, actually, the album will be released some time after new year, I don't know exactly when.
Interviewer: Tell us some about the album, how will it sound?
Eric: Have you heard the E.P. yet? That's a glimpse of what's going on with the MANOWAR sound, that's what it is. It's gonna be powerful. It's more orchestral, but still has the power chords that go along with it. It's a marriage of orchestra and metal that you wouldn't believe. It is powerful. The tracks on the E.P. will be on the album, but in different versions. And then, next month, on November 11:th, we release a new DVD, six and a half hours long. Pretty cool! It shows the Earthshaker gig. I think it will be called, but don't quote me on this... I think it's gonna be called ”The day that Earth shook”. It's the Earthshaker Festival we did, from beginning to end. It shows the fan thing we had going there, it shows rehearsals, it's really really cool. It's a cool set-up. It's the first and only time that we'll ever have all eight members of MANOWAR on stage at the same time. That's pretty cool. It was filmed with 26 cameras, all in high definition. We had a helicopter cam up there, and at the end we had six minutes of 4:th of July fireworks blowing off the roof of the stage. I mean, it was all an incredible show – the 100 piece orchestra and a 100 piece quire with us, man it was too cool! Then, after that, the album gets released and we get released!
Interviewer: In recent years, do you think it would be fair to say that there has been ”more DVD's” and ”less albums” coming from MANOWAR? Why is that?
Eric: Yes. It's because it's what the fans want. The fans that can't ever get to a MANOWAR show, that's what they have been asking for. So we try to do what the fans want. I mean, look at this DVD from Earthshaker. This is a once in a life time DVD – that's never gonna happen again, and if you were there, then you can re-witness it again, and if you weren't there, you can see what the other fans saw and you can see it in high definition. The quality and camera work – you know, it's something that I think the fans demanded, not wanted – they demanded it. And that's why. You're right, there has been a few DVD's, but I think it's important. And the fans have a choice. They can either buy the DVD and see the show again, or if they think it's too many – don't buy it! You can't please everybody, you know.
Interviewer: Would you call this Earthshaker Festival the highlight of your career?
Eric: So far, it has been, yeah. It was the biggest stage we've ever performed on, it was our stage and we got to build it after our specifications and it's the first time that's been done for us and I think it sets the tone of what future MANOWAR shows are gonna be like.
Interviewer: Sounds massive!
Eric: Yeah, it is massive. That's a good word for it: massive! That's what it is.
Interviewer: Back to the album... Where was it recorded?
Eric: We record the album in our own studio, at Magic Circle Music. We have our own studio in New York where all recordings are done. It gets mixed and mastered in Belgium, actually. Then back to Magic Circle for final approval. And that's it man, ready to go!
Interviewer: Is the recording finished yet?
Eric: Most of it is. My vocals aren't done yet. So I'll have to wait until I get back home, hear what's going on and start out on those a little more. Most of it is done, and it's really cool. It's powerful, brother. The album is called ”Gods of war”, the title song tells a tale and the whole album will be our first concept album where we're gonna be writing songs about the Gods of war from the beginning at time, mythological time, roman time up to recent time. The story can't be told in one album so this is gonna be a concept thing, it's gonna be as many albums as it takes to finish the story and I don't know what that's gonna be – two? It might be four, it might be five. This album is gonna be the first couple of chapters in music of a story that's gonna have a beginning and an end. It's a pretty good idea; it's much like you'd listen to a trilogy or something, you have to follow all three stories. It's very similar. It's gonna be one massive story-line of music.
Interviewer: It's pretty strange in a way that after 25 years you have never thought of doing a conceptual album?
Eric: Never. And, it's our first E.P. in 25 years. Get ready for this brother – I want you to write this down, tell all your readers this, ok? The Earthshaker Festival was a once in a lifetime thing we did, right. We've got more shows coming up in March ok, and if anybody from any other country wants to come to Germany in March; bring your passport to merchandise and we're gonna give you a t-shirt. And I want you to know also, that when you buy the Earthshaker DVD, you're gonna be automatically registered, there's a registration number on the DVD. Your send that registration number in to manowar.com and you're gonna be automatically registered to possibly win one of two choppers that are being built. Made for European roads, brother. We're talking a total of 40000 dollars worth of machinery here, that are given to two lucky fans. I think it's cool. It's a cool year for MANOWAR, it's a cool year for the fans. Like you said earlier, it's massive.
Interviewer: How's record sales these days?
Eric: They have been outstanding, brother. They have been gold albums all the way. In Germany we had a platinum album, it's been really, really well for the band. The crowds have become bigger and bigger. As a matter of fact, this time, we're playing at the biggest halls possible in Germany. It's like that all over the world, the MANOWAR fans have grown, may it be from word by mouth or watching DVD's. They know we believe in them and they believe in us. It's a real metal family man!
Interviewer: So every new MANOWAR album sell more than the previous?
Eric: Yeah it does, it really does. Plus, the sound is better, the technology is better. This particular album is ass kickin', and I think it's gonna be really outstanding.
Interviewer: And next year, it's 25 years since the debut album (”Battle Hymns”) was released. How will you celebrate this?
Eric: You're the second person who told me that today, and I forgot! I have it written down already to mention it to the guys when they get back to New York. There's no plans yet, but who knows what we're gonna do – have to think of something big. I hope we're on the road, and whatever we do, we can celebrate it with our fans. That'd be cool!
Interviewer: What happened to Karl? He was in an accident?
Eric: Karl was practicing for a race with his motocross bike and slammed up against a tree I guess, and he screwed up a nerve in his funny bone. He's had this injury before. This nerve is fucked up and the doctor said that rest is the only way to take care of something like that, so that set us back a bit. But, what can you do? Bad things happen to everybody once in a while, what are you gonna do? He's fully recovered now and we're back in the saddle again, brother.
Interviewer: I guess this accident caused a delay in the recording process?
Eric: Yeah, and not only on the album. It caused a delay on the tour dates. We then decided to get back at it again while Karl was healing up. We listened to the album and thought that we have to do something for the fans. This can't just be an album, this has to be an event. That's when we came up with the idea of doing ”The Gods of War” into a concept idea. So we tore apart the songs that we had, I mean, the album was 90 percent done and ready to go out, but we decided to make it a bigger and better thing. We tore apart the songs, re-did some of the thinking in these and I think the fans are gonna be extremely pleased when they hear this.
Interviewer: About the songwriting on the new album. Who's responsible for it this time around. I guess mostly Joey?
Eric: Yeah, so far. But Karl contributes as well and they get a song together and we all talk about it and it becomes a song.
Interviewer: You have a tour starting in March?
Eric: It starts before that actually. I think we'll be playing some place in February. I know we'll be playing somewhere in the States to warm up, then we'll come right out and play. I know there's dates booked in Germany, there's dates booked in Czech Republic and in Greece. Today, we've talked to a promoter here in Sweden, trying to book dates for Scandinavia. It's a question of checking the venues and what's available, and if it's available at the right time slot for us. We have to see, man. I hope so! We're gonna be out there some place, brother.
Interviewer: How do you keep your voice in shape?
Eric: Pussy!!! (laughs) I drink a gallon of pussy juice every morning. No, I guess I'm just careful about it, I sing songs in my key, I don't try to outstretch it. I take care of myself, I don't smoke, I try to stay away from smoke filled halls, I make sure we have a break every four days on tour, so I have one day off so I can rest my voice and try to get as much sleep as possible to keep it rested. My instrument needs rest and the other guys can play when they are exhausted, but if I'm tired, I'm done! I've been conscious about that and the guys have very conscious of it too, so it seems to work for us. If a promoter tells us ”No, you gotta play five or six nights in a row” we'll say ”fuck you, it's not gonna happen. You're still in business promoting – we're gonna be out of business”.
Interviewer: Did you ever take voice lessons?
Eric: You know, I took one voice lesson in my life. (laughs) He taught me the correct way to breath and from there I took off and I went to “the school of hardknocks” and took the rest of my lessons myself! I learned tricks of the trade, I learned how to breath and how to control the diaphragm. It's a muscle, and you need to work it out, just like any other muscle. And to be able to control your muscle, how much air you release is how well you can sing. So I was fortunate enough to get that in an early part of my career. I stuck to it.
Interviewer: Which singers inspired you to start singing, from the beginning?
Eric: I think, I gotta say Ian Gillan was the only singer that inspired me in the early days. When I was young I used to go to these shows, I used to be the guy out in the audience with the sleeping bag and a tent waiting for them to play, And after I watched them play, I left. It was that kind of thing. He just blew me away when they did ”Child in Time” and I told him so personally, I did. I met the guy in New York and I told him ”Brother, you blew my ass away”!
Interviewer: What about the ex members of MANOWAR, do you keep in touch with them?
Eric: All the time man! I received an email from Donnie today. We send jokes back and forth and we're in contact all the time. Ross (the Boss) is busy in a MANOWAR cover project someplace in Europe.
Interviewer: Yes, I read that he's jumping in on a festival.
Eric: Yes, and that's ok, that's cool you know. They do something to listen to waiting for the real MANOWAR to show up! (laughs)
Interviewer: What's Donnie up to these days?
Eric: He's busy with his own business, he has his business down in Florida. He's in the film industry, I think. He had a ball doing the Earthshaker thing, that was a blast for him and it's fun for the fans too.
Interviewer: And Ross – is he still in THE DICTATORS?
Eric: They get together once in a while when they need a few gigs. So that's good...
Interviewer: What about the famous record in Guinness Book of Records?
Eric: It's still there and will always be there because it was so loud that Guinness decided never to try that again – they took out the category. When you're in 129 db, or 135 or whatever it was, you're in danger of hurting anyone sharing it. We didn't want that and neither did they, so…
Interviewer: Was there any audience present?
Eric: No, they were outside. We did it in Hamburg, they were outside the gig waiting to come in. We did it before they got there. We had people from CNN in there and we had the people from Guinness there to record it, and we were filming it at the same time. After it was done and they'd measured it, they measured each one individually and then they measured the band playing a song and it broke the record with no problem and that's where it stays!
Interviewer: Your have made a DVD on hunting and fishing?
Eric: I did! It's not for everybody but it was a good time. It was something I did and continue to do. It's controversial of course, it's not for the ”squeamish”, you've got to know what you're gonna watch – you're gonna watch me shoot animals. I bring them home and I eat those animals. That's my dinner. I guess I have a choice of doing that or going to the store and buying chicken or a steak or some other chemically infested piece of meat. I choose to go natural and shoot and clean my own, cut it up myself and eat it. That's what this whole thing was; we did some fishing and some hunting with a bow and arrow. A little bit with a gun when it came to some birds, but most of it was all bow and arrow. It's really cool, you've got to see it! I wrote the music for it. There's ten tracks on the DVD, just instrumental tracks, but it's all me playing except for some lead guitar parts that Karl played and another guitar player played for me. The rest I did myself, it was a good time!
Interviewer: But you did all the music yourself?
Eric: I did. Gotta get it bro!
Interviewer: According to the official TWISTED SISTER biography...
Eric: Haha, I know it's coming, I know what's coming! (laughs)
Interviewer: ... rumors say that TWISTED SISTER challenged you, MANOWAR, and HANOI ROCKS for a street fight back in '83 - was it in the UK?
Eric: (giggles like crazy) Here's the deal. At this time I think TWISTED SISTER just needed some press and they came up with this – this never happened! (laughs) I've never met those guys! I don't know what they're talking about. The optimum word here is ”rumor”, but it's a good one – it's been around for years!
Interviewer: But, wasn't Ross the Boss and Animal (TWISTED SISTER) friends back then?
Eric: Yeah, they were. I think they still are! As a matter of fact, I think he has been to a few of our shows. That makes the whole thing really stupid! (laughs)
Interviewer: Since you guys are American – where did your fascination with the Vikings came from?
Eric: I think, when we first started out, we wanted to play music that was powerful – more powerful than anything out there. And we started to think about image – what was more powerful than anything out there, we thought. Jesus Christ, look at the vikings, look at those guys! How they dressed and took their ships around the northern sea, conquering the world, in their day! I mean, think about it! That was pretty bad ass, and we thought ”that's what we wanna portray. That type of man, that type of image”. And you know, the fans dug it, and it took right off. And that's what the premise of the whole new album is; ”Gods of War”, ”Sons of Odin”.
Interviewer: Have you heard the classic Swedish HM outfit HEAVY LOAD? They were pretty inspired by the vikings as well…
Eric: Yeah, I have! Not in a while, but I heard them, yeah.
Interviewer: What kind of music do you listen to?
Eric: I don't. I'm just too god damn busy with MANOWAR projects right now. You know, when you make music for a living, you don't listen to it in the car, 'cuz I'm listening to old MANOWAR songs, songs that we will be doing on tour, I have to get used to them, I listen to final cuts of what we just recorded, I listen to ideas we're working on and my ears are fried with MANOWAR stuff…
Interviewer: Sure, but if I re-phrase: what's your taste in music? Do you only listen to metal and such?
Eric: I listen to metal, and I listen to hard rock. And I listen to classical, that's probably about it, yeah. I like anything that has really great vocals, I gotta tell you that. I can appreciate that.
Interviewer: And your buddy Joey. He happily speaks about women, both on and off stage. What about you, are you a married man with children?
Eric: Next question! (laughs loudly)
Interviewer: Then I have to tell you a fun story, and it's also true… There is this guy, he lives here on the Swedish west coast, and he has been in a MANOWAR cover band called DARK AVENGER since the early 80:ies. And every time MANOWAR releases a new album, these guys freak out, they get together to practice the new songs and so on…
Eric: Cool, yeah… (listens carefully)
Interviewer: …this guy is also a heavy drinker and likes to party, and about ten years ago, he was having a party in his rented flat, in the middle of the week. Windows wide open and MANOWAR cranked to the max on the stereo. So, his landlord pays the guy a visit and tell him that he's evicted!! The guy has nowhere else to go, so he has to move back to his mothers place – and he's like 37 years old!
Eric: Oh nooooo!! (laughs)
Interviewer: …and a friend of mine met the guy right after this event. The guy was sitting outside a record shop, looking really bitter and my friend walks up to him and asks him how he's doing. The guy looks up and says ”I regret nothing!!”.
Eric: (laughs) He is a true brother!! What a true brother! Oh, my god! That's fantastic! That's a great story. Well, tell him I said hello. Do that, will ya?
Interviewer: Sure, I will. And this story says a lot about some of MANOWAR's fans. Some seem pretty hardcore. Are there any stories of fans going maybe too far?
Eric: No, you know what, the fans are pretty cool. They know how far they can take it and you know, no fan goes too far as far as I am concerned. If they are MANOWAR fans, let them do what they want, it's cool.
Interviewer: If you could round up... what is the essence of metal, and the metal life style to you?
Eric: Power, motor cycles, leather, pussy, fans. And that's the life style, brother. Maybe not in that order though… maybe if you include pussy three of four times… (laughs)
Interviewer: Yeah, but preferably everything at the same time, right?
Eric: Yeah, that's right, there you go! (laughs)
Interviewer: Any last words to our readers?
Eric: Brother, you tell me. Get ready man, 'cuz the ball is rolling! It's rolling downhill, and it starts tomorrow (with the release of the new E.P./editors remark). It's rolling faster and faster, starting with this E.P., to a DVD, the release of the album, the release of MANOWAR live, and who knows what comes after that; a continuation of ”The Gods of War”. You tell them all that!
Interviewer: Ok, nice talking to you, Eric.
Eric: You too brother, take care!