Interviews / Presse

Titel: Sex, Beer and full Volume
Datum: 6 Dezember 2002
MANOWAR go for the most thundering metal tour that will be seen in Germany in 2002. HAMMER spoke for you directly before the dress rehearsal exclusively with boss JOEY DEMAIO.

Pure gigantomania! Manowar prepare for a material battle and promise the most exciting, most expensive and largest tour they ever presented in Europe. The numbers speak for themselves: 3 trucks full to the brim with equipment, 4 additional busses with musicians, management, technicians, roadies, catering and merchandise. Alltogether 36 people have the aim to provide some great time to the fans. So no wonder that the boss of Manowar and bass-player Joey DeMaio is pretty strained short before the tour. Nevertheless, he took the time to explain HAMMER exclusively all important details of the upcoming shows and provided us some interesting insights into the life on tour. Therefore, we can tell so much already, the following sites will deal with a lot of sex, strictly controlled alcohol consumption and the true philosophy of heavy metal.

Matthias M.:Joey, whole Germany is in Manowar fever. Are you just as excited?

Joey:Oh, yes. It will be the craziest, most exciting time of my life.

Matthias M.:Can we compare your current tour with the former ones?

Joey:Touring becomes more and more difficult for us because it means a growing responsibility. The number of fans coming to the shows is increasing, we travel with so many trucks and busses like never before, the equipment gets bigger, the staff grows. Because this year we proceed with the same motto: the fans get what they expect and what they paid for plus a lot more.

Matthias M.:Do you have any influence on the admission prices, which after all lie around 35 Euro?

Joey:No, unfortunately not. I know that some bands claim that over and over again. But this is complete nonsense. In reality they have no control about it at all. So what can we do as musicians? Quite simply: we make sure that each fans will get 1000 percent power every evening from us. We give him the best possible light show, the best PA, the best songs. This way the fans will be remunerated more than twice, no matter how much they payed for the tickets.

Matthias M.:One part of the remuneration is your monster-stage. Can one beat that?

Joey:I don't know if the stage is the optimum. I can only say: as usual we tried the best possible and we are very proud of the construction. Jojo Tillmann (Manowar's stage designer, who got a word in our November issue) is a genius who perfectly realized our visions.

Matthias M.:So the basic concept came from you, not from him?

Joey:Yes, the concepts came always from me. I don't want to reduce Jojo's work though. He did an incredible good job. But I know myself best what the band wants and what the fans need. But Jojo and the many helpers gave everything. We will as well, every evening!

Matthias M.:A matter which costs a lot of power...

Joey:Right, but that's what I live for. Tour trips are the best. When musicians claim tours to be boring then they are a big piece of shit. Gigs are exciting and mean a lot of responsibility. Every day I have to take care of everything, each tiny detail. You will never experience that there is something broken on a Manowar show. I check every speaker, every little lamp in the light construction. Every day I walk through the hall, take a close look at everything, how the audience places are conditioned, if they can hear and see everything from their places. Should there be a place somewhere in the hall where you could not hear well I would let modify the PA. From the first moment of a day until the last minute before going to sleep I take care of every essential thing, to deliver a perfect Manowar show to the fans.

Matthias M.:And what do you concentrate on when the concert begins?

Joey:On the monitor equipment and on that everything in the audience runs safe and withouth harm. Fans have my biggest attention. I look if people in the front rows are jammed, if somebody is in danger to get hurt. Then I watch out if my band comes along with the sound on stage, so that we can give our best. In case something would not work we had to interrupt the show and fix the technical side up. So I ask myself: "Are the monitors for Eric and Scott working properly? Do they come along with my bass sound?" When all this is done I think about myself and the chronology of the evening: "Should we play a rather quiet song next or should we accelerate once again? Could the fans sing along now?" So to speak I control the chronology.

Matthias M.:And when do you arrange the setlist?

Joey:Everything starts with an assumption, what the fans might want to hear. We look into the Internet and analyze for what the fans called during the former shows. Then the one or the other song is added or taken out respectively. The chronology is very important for a succesful evening.

Matthias M.:Are there songs which you cannot play live for technical reasons?

Joey:If you mean that we would not cope with something then the answer is: No. But of course there are songs which we are not going to play on the current tour. I am talking about songs like "The Crown And The Ring", which is based on orchestra, choirs, an organ and Eric's voice. Maybe in the future, when we'll record an album with an orchestra.

Matthias M.:After all the years of live experience, you should be able to play some of the songs standing on your head, right?

Joey:One thing is for sure: I have to concentrate during each song. I don't want to reach the point when people would think: "Oh, man, he does not care for the song at all." I have lot of fun on stage, but I am still trying to play as good as possible. Of course you hit a false note from time to time, because I may be shaking the hands of the fans or slide with wet fingers from the fingerboard. But that's the reality. I prefer to have contact to the audience and play a false note rather than standing there like a statue to play the perfect concert and to refuse shaking the hands of the fans. I don't want to leave back disappointed spectators, who held their hands up for me to shake, but have been ignored. Like: "Sorry, I did not shake your hand because I wanted to play the perfect note." This is shit, and we are not like that. I prefer the people to say afterwards: "Man, did you see how he blew it when he shook my hand. Cool!"

Matthias M.:After the exhausting shows you need time and silence to recover. Do you get it being on the road with the nightliners?

Joey:No, because the traffic and the weather mostly keep you off from getting some good sleep in the busses. It's not easy to be conveyed in a kind of sardine box. The alternative would be to stay in hotels and then to fly from place to place. This in turn brings up other problems: you are forced to wake up early in the morning, because you need at least two hours for the check-in before the flight and you have to go through all the security checks every day.

Matthias M.:So that would be tantamount to acute lack of sleep?

Joey:Exactly. Usually we go off stage at around 23:00, we recover a bit, take some drinks, calm down, have a shower. Then it's 1:00 o'clock. Thereupon we eat something at 2:00, that followed we meet the promoters and people from the record label, to discuss stuff. It takes often till 3:00 o'clock, after that we go outside to the bus. There the fans are waiting who want to talk to us or get some autographs. One thing is for sure: we would not arrive at the hotel before 5:00 o'clock. So we would have two till at the most three hours for sleep, because we had to be early enough at the airport. You could not keep up with such a rhythm for longer than one week, especially since we make a soundcheck every day, give interviews and so on. No, I prefer to travel in a nightliner and take care of a healthy schedule and sleep as much as possible.

Matthias M.:"Healthy" in this context also means that it is not allowed to smoke in the tour bus?

Joey:Only women may do that.

Matthias M.:Really?

Joey:Yes, only women may smoke in my bus. It's difficult for me to refuse something to a woman.

Matthias M.:And your colleagues?

Joey:They don't smoke in the bus.

Matthias M.:And what about alcohol?

Joey:People have the wrong picture when they think about how musicians live in tour. There are so many things that need to be discussed, so many organisatory issues to clarify that there is no much time left for excessive carousals. Although it would be no problem to drink something at the meetings with the representatives of the record label or the journalists. Nobody would bother. But on the next day I would be completely deranged, a complete wreck. The fans in the concerts would have to pay for it indirectly. On the tour I drink only before free days, so when I know that next day there is nothing pending. But then I get liguored up completely.

Matthias M.:Are there any restrictions concerning alcohol for the crew?

Joey:Fortunately we work with the same people for years already, you can rely on them. There are a lot of new helpers, because the production is bigger as it was in the past. The PA came from Germany, also the light equipment, accordingly many employees are Germans. But I know: if there is someone who can work and drink at the same time, then the Germans.

Matthias M.:When you party with your band and the crew, what do you prefer then: beer, wine or whisky?

Joey:Doesn't matter. I drink everything what comes on the table. Or what is stuck between the legs of a woman.

Matthias M.:Oh yeah, right. You don't say "no" to the girls, at least concerning groupies.

Joey:Stop! I would like to say one thing at first: I don't like the term "Groupie". It sounds disrespectful, denunciates the people, classifies them as if they were of minor value. But it's not reprehensible when women visit our shows, climb up the stage, show their tits and want to party afterwards. Is there anything more exciting? As a matter of fact there are many girls who come to our shows and want to have fun. And why not?

Matthias M.:And how many of them may join you in the nightliner afterwards?

Joey:As many as we can house. Sometimes we rent a special bus for the women. A great fun! If I had the time I would fuck every girl on this planet. Unfortunately I do not have the time, I am trying to find a way, however. (smiles) But don't get me wrong: it's not about women only. Of course, we like to bonk and party. But a fan is a fan, man or woman, brother or sister. There is this special familiar relationship between a band and its fans. For me it's the same fun to drink a beer with the guys or to sleep with a girl. You can't claim that men are more important than women, or vice versa.

In this moment the telephone rings. Joey picks up the phone: "Hey, right now I have no time to speak, I am making an interview with brother Matthias. I'll call back later." I see, brother Matthias! So do I belong to the "bar fraction"? Although I can't drink beer? Nevermind, back to the interview. Joey goes on...

Joey:You'll never see me abandoning a male fan just because I want to bonk with a girl. Never! It's not my style. However. If a girl offers herself, we're not going to say "no". We live the same life of true metalheads like our fans: loud music, beer and fuck.

Matthias M.:You don't eat?

Joey:Sure, of course we do. My philosophy is: meal is the most important factor on a tour. From the first handle in the morning till the last one late in the night the guys in the crew have to work hard, for we have 3 trucks full to the brim with equipment. And the responsibility is huge with all the things that dangle at the hall roofs, all the equipment that has to be installed properly. So the people have to be healthy and contented, to accomplish all this. Sometimes the only luxury they have throughout the day is a short break with some good meal.

Matthias M.:Do you have your own cook on tour?

Joey:Even two. An oriental chef and one who is specialized in German cuisine. You have to satisfy all the different tastes. Some are vegetarians, other don't eat fish et cetera. Most important is that everything is fresh and substantial.

Matthias M.:What do you prefer?

Joey:I like both. The eastern cuisine is very healthy, with many nutrients, vegetables, rice, everything is cooked very sparing and easy to stomach. But there is the German chef who cooks all the things I also love. At least twice a week I'm addicted to a real Viennese Schnitzel.

Matthias M.:From bloody food on the plate to bloody sounds for the ears: as support act you chose Bludgeon, a death metal band. Why?

Joey:These guys are just like us. They make their music without commercial intents. Therefore they've been the first ones on our new founded label Magic Circle Music. They're some great guys, who live together like brothers in one house and who share everything. Bludgeon, in the truest sense of the word, have nothing but their music. I have big respect for the fact that they believe in their dream. The are not commercial, they don't have the chance to appear on TV or to play at a music fair like the Popkomm. And that's why they play as our supporting act. You cannot imagine how grateful they are for that.

Matthias M.:The band Disturbed you discovered would be that surely, too.

Joey:With Disturbed it's different, since they sound by far more commercial. A good band which will make their way even without us. We are talking about a band here which already sold 4 million records. I don't know if these guys really would feel up to fight for every single fan. Bludgeon in contrast are coming straight from hell, every evening they will give everything. Let's wait and see how the fans will decide. I am optimistic.

Matthias M.:We will see if you're right. At least they have an easy start, for you begin your tour in Czechs, in a country from the former Eastern Bloc, where the fans, according to experience, accept you very enthusiastically. Was this also the reason why you chose Prague as the location for the prelude of the tour?

Joey:No, it's actually a matter of the tour routing. The show there was one of the first that have been booked and so it's at the beggining of the tour. Besides, it makes sense to kick off in Prague, since our dress rehearsal takes place in the nearby Zlin and furthermore we can organise a video shooting there. That followed we go over Hungary, Austria and Switzerland to Germany.

Matthias M.:There is no other country where you played as many shows as in Germany. What associates you with the local fans here?

Joey:The German fans have been the first ones who discovered us. When you play often in a country then you start to understand the people better. You know what they think and how they feel. It's a normal process. Sometimes I have the feeling to be almost a half German. The people don't address me Mister DeMaio but they simply say Joey to me. Isn't it great? They know me!

Matthias M.:Last but not least because of Stefan Raab who helped Manowar a lot with his invitation to TV Total. There are rumours that either at the show in Cologne at the Santa Claus Day or at December 16 in Dortmund he will appear on stage...

Joey:Stefan is a great guy, I would appreciate to meet him again. He introduced us to an audience that didn't know Manowar yet. Furthermore, he is doing his own thing, has his own kind of humour. I think he's great.

Matthias M.:Does it mean he will come to one of the gigs?

Joey:I hope I will have the opportunity to welcome him on stage. Did you get it now?