Niclas: What can you tell about the new album (Warriors of the world)? How is it different from the last one? It's been awhile. The last one came out in ´94, was it?
Eric: ´96! So it's been six years since our last studioalbum and a lot of people ask, "What have you been doing? How come it's taken so long for you guys to come out with an album?" And some people think we've been sitting on our asses all this time, which is true bullshit. Because if you think about it, years ago, journalists asked us "You've got nine studioalbums out there, why don't you come out with a livealbum?" We'd never done that, so we said, "That's a good idea". So we came out with a livealbum, but we made it a double livealbum because we always take it a step further. Manowar does everything to the limit. So we came out with a double livealbum, which the record company totally freaked over. We said "fuck you, we gotta have it anyway". So we did it and the next thing I hear is "Well how come on your livealbum, you didn't play this song and you didn't play that song?" And we said "Well you're absolutely right". So we stayed out on the road and we toured the world three times and during that time we recorded all the older songs as well and we made a second double livealbum. So now there's four other albums out there, since our studioalbum. We also added dvd, which is "Hell on earth". Part one is done and out and "Hell on earth part two" is done and out. "Hell on earth part three" is done and is in the can. We also got a project that we did with a twelve-camera shoot in Brazil. The first live taped show with Manowar from beginning to end. Everything, you know! "Live in Brazil" and it's in 5.1 sound. So there's a lot of shit that we've been doing. And in the mean time we've built a new studio. We brought all or gear in, built a new studio, we rehearsed the new album and we recorded the new album. So I don't think that we've been sitting on our asses for six years.
Niclas: Not at all! On your new album you have a couple of really different tracks. I've been listening to it all week. You've got this opera thing "Nessun Dorma" and you have "An American trilogy" and a song called "The March". An instrumental song. How did the "Nessun Dorma" thing come about? Is this stuff you wrote yourselves or is it reworked?
Eric: No, no, no! This is Puccini and it's a famous opera piece, a famous classical piece.
Niclas: Shows how much I know about opera!
Eric: Well, you know that's ok, because one of the reasons we did it was to educate our fans. It's Pavarotti´s closing piece every time he plays and it's a well-known piece throughout the world. It's like the classic of all classical music. We did it as a special tribute to our Italian fans, live in Milan at the "Gods and metalfest" in ´99. And I'll never forget it. When I looked up to the audience and I just saw grown men cry and I saw cell phones in the air. Just thousands of cell phones and they called their families during this.
Scott: Those were recording Mp 3´s on their cell phones.
Eric: Yeah! 30 minutes after the broadcast it was on Napster. It was so impressive that we went in to the dressing room after and I'm soaking wet from the stage and Joey came up to me and said "Eric! We've got to let the world hear this. We worked hard on this, we should record it and let the world hear it!" And I said, "Man, I'm there! "Because it was really an up feeling and yeah let's do it! So that's how it all got started. And the whole band plays in it and the entire drums and everything. It takes Manowar in a class by itself. Some other metal bands are gonna say "Yeah, we don't wanna do that shit. That's bullshit!" When in the truth beknown, they can't do that shit. They just can't do it. So a lot of bands try to imitate this band, but nobody can do it.
Scott: How can dogs barking sing opera, I don't understand.
Niclas: It's a good point! I must say that your voice is really good on that track and there's some heavy screaming going on at the end there.
Eric: Oh yeah! You caught that. That's cool. I decided to do a harmony scream on top of the scream that was already there.
Niclas: The song "An American trilogy", is that something that came about after the September 11 events?
Eric: No, we actually had decided and had a lot of that recorded before the 9 11 events. We've been toying with the idea of doing that particular song for a good ten years or so. We've always been Elvis fans. He's just monumentally in rock and roll, this guy. He's been around forever. Elvis was the kind of guy who, when he was on stage he did whatever the fuck he wanted to and he broke all the rules. He was an innovator. We really admired him for that and we really dug him for that. He was just a great performer and he had some cute chicks from time to time. So he was the man. He always felt that this was one of his stronger pieces of music, his performance of this song and he liked it so much that it was actually his encore at one point, so we've been thinking about doing this song for quite a long time, as I said and we thought...when we did "Louder than hell", we were thinking about doing it then, but that song wouldn't have fit on that album properly. The way that album flowed front to back. But when we started writing this album and as the songs developed and you accumulate one, two, three, four songs and you're starting to get a snapshot of what the album's gonna sound like over all. So we said this is the perfect album for this track and then we developed the song and had it recorded and the rest is history.
Niclas: The song "The March", an instrumental. It sounds just like something from a movie soundtrack. How did that one come about?
Eric: Well, the original name of that was "Wagners March" and everyone knows that we're really influenced by Wagner´s music. That triumphant, powerful sound. So Joey wrote that piece and the very first time I heard it, I sat down at Hell, which is our recording studio...I sat down there and I'm listening to it and you could hear the violins going up and down and it reminded me of Wagner and I said to him: "This is Wagener all the way, man! This is fantastic!" He said: "I'm glad you think that! Here's the name!" And he showed me... "Wagner´s March" Ha, ha, ha! And I said: "Shit, there you go!" I don't know why it got changed to just "The March, but the original name was "Wagner´s March and it's a great piece.
Niclas: So when are you coming back to Sweden to tour? I guess you're gonna tour after this promotional tour?
Eric: We're touring now! We're playing in America now and we had to leave the tour to come over and do this and then we go right back home and we have one day off at home and then we go right back out on the tour again.
Scott: We have a month of dates all through out the U.S. and then after that we come back to Europe. We have festivals lined up and some shows in the Czech Republic and Hungary as well and that's right around the end of May and early June. Check the website as the dates become confirmed.
Eric: Yeah, go to manowar.com and the tour dates will be on there.
Niclas: But you're definitely gonna come to Sweden?
Eric: There's talk about a festival date in Sweden, but nothing's confirmed yet. I´d be lying to you if I said, yeah definitely. But nothing's confirmed for the festival date, but if that doesn't happen we're still planning on coming back here in the fall. We're doing a tour in September, October and November in the area and we're gonna tour entire Europe and Sweden is a definite hit because eh...You know what's funny? The last time we played the Swedish rock festival we weren't headlining. We were supporting and the next day we got the papers and there's a big picture of me in the paper there and a big story about the Swedish rock festival. All about Manowar and how we blew everybody away blah, blah, blah.It was like...what a great article and then the fans started writing in to the website. You know...how you guys gotta get back to Sweden and the promoter ended up calling us and reminded us of what happened at the Swedish rock festival and eh...
Scott: That's how we put together the Monsters of Millennium tour. It was developed from that, from that festival we played and all the buzz came out and we were able to get the others with the promoter and we booked the shows. Got the package together and it turned out to be very successful.
Eric: So this is a major hit for us now so...every time we play, "We'll be back" and there's some fine ladies in this country of yours.
Niclas: Yeah, everybody says that!
Eric: Ohh, they're gorgeous.
Niclas: So what was it like to be touring with Dio and Motörhead? I mean they've been around for a while as well, just like you guys. You've been around for more than 20 years now!
Eric: They're good friends of ours. I mean, we run into Motörhead all the time. Festival dates, we call each other, we're on tour and they happen to be touring and they have a day off. "What are you doing Eric? Can you make it to our show?" So, we know ém really well. We get along great with those guys and Ronnie´s a personal friend of ours. We grew up in the same area, we grew up when we were teenagers. We had a really good time with Ronnie on the Scandinavian tour.
Scott: It was a blast!
Eric: Yeah, and all kinds of pictures too! He's the one guy in the industry that's actually shorter than I am. Ha, ha, ha! There's a picture he took where he stood on a chair with our security guy. The security guy is like seven feet. So Ronnie stood on a chair next to him, put his arm around him and he still wasn't as tall. Oh God, it was fucking hilarious! Yeah, Ronnie´s a great guy. We get along great with each other. Somebody asked earlier: "Wouldn't it be nice if the two of us sang together?". I´d love to do it. I don't know if he'd be ever up for it, but I´d love to do it. It would be great!
Niclas: I read as well that...Is there a book coming out about Manowar and four dvd´s coming out. Is that live dvd´s or is it gonna be historic?
Eric: There's both! There's live dvd´s and historic dvd´s. The book is coming out. It's being written now..
Niclas: Is that gonna be a tell all kind of thing like Mötley Crüe´s "The Dirt"?
Eric: It's gonna be...I haven't read it yet, what's done yet but all the babes...it's an unleashed version of our life on the road and what's happened in the early years and we're still together so it's gonna be like a part one.
Scott: It'll be entertaining if nothing else!
Eric: Ha, to say the least!
Niclas: Who's writing it?
Scott: Vinnie Ciccolinie (reservation för stavning) but we have a collaboration of people working on this together.
Niclas: Do you know when this stuff is coming out?
Eric: As soon as it's done. I don't know. We've been busy.
Scott: It's funny cause on this press tour, one of the top three questions... inevitably comes: "Well it's been since 1996 since you guys put out a studio record and it's now 2002!" And then we go on and answer that question and by the time we're finished answering that question, I think they're sorry they ever asked.
Niclas: You had your own and still have your own record label, Magic Circle. Are you putting out stuff?
Eric: Yeah, we're signing bands now and we give em the opportunity to be creative and do what they wanna do, because that's something that the record companies always try to limit...try to limit what you can do and they always tell you what you should do or how you should sound and that's something we have struggled with...with record labels and that's why we've been with so many. So we decided to come out with our own label so people could be creative in their own right. Without any bullshit and Bludgeon is the first release. A band from Chicago. That's released now on Magic Circle Records or very soon.
Scott: I think it came out the week that we left.
Eric: It had a five star review in one magazine so it's being accepted really well and Rhino, our old drummer, He's got a project that's coming out on Magic Circle Records and Dave Schenkel, our old guitar player, is working on a project now so we've got a line-up of a lot of different bands out there and we're looking for talent all the time.
Niclas: And you're in total control of that of that label?
Eric: Absolutely. Total control of everything we do.
Scott: Anybody who's out there and who's loud and creative, unique and talented, send your stuff into the website and we'll give it a listen.
Niclas: How do you feel about the new kind of metal scene? Especially in the US, where you have all this nu-metal with Slipknot, Limp Bizkit and they're mixing it with rap and stuff. How do you feel about that? Is that innovative or...?
Eric: No, I think it's gonna be like grunge. It came and went and I think this is gonna come and go as well. Look at our career. We play true metal, you know. No bullshit! Our stage set is 60 feet by 40 feet and a wall of speakers. That's our stage set. We don't put on a mask or anything at all. All though, I gotta be honest. Some of the things that Slipknot does for example is pretty good. Everyone's got their own talent, their own crowd and their own thing and it's all good. It's all good at the end of the day. But we've been around 20 years and we're gonna be around for a while longer. I think these bands that come out, they're in and they're out and they're on to another project.
Scott: It's cool that metal's kind of, or music is now getting heavy again. Over all it's heavy again and that's very good.
Niclas: Yeah, cause there was a couple of years when nothing was happening and nobody listened to hard rock.
Scott: Jesus! In the late 90´s it seemed like the year of the tit. Every song you heard on the radio was a girl singing, but now it's becoming heavy again and which is good.
Niclas: I think it's the same thing in Sweden now. There's like a bunch of bands coming out, real heavy metal bands that are influenced by more classic heavy metal like NWOBHM and a lot of bands are influenced by the whole German scene, like Helloween, Gamma Ray, Accept and all that stuff. It's cool that it's coming back and people are getting into it again and coming to the shows.
Eric: That's important! Because that's how we're supported, when fans come to the shows. We've got the strongest fans in the world and we know it. We treat our fans like they're true brothers and sisters. I leave my family to go on the road to be with my family and that's just what it is. I don't know what other band in the world allows their fans to come right up on stage and play with you on stage. Get up there and strap on a guitar and play, you know! What other band stays after the show is over and signs autographs if we can. The only time when we can't sign autographs is when we've got a 10 hour trip and we gotta make it to the next show, so the other fans can see us. We really believe in our fans and we really listen to our fans.
Niclas: I think that's what all the fans want and they really look up to artists that do that, and take their time even though it's tiring. But still, that's what matters to a lot of people and that's the reason why they keep on buying the records and stuff like that.
Eric: Without the fans you're nobody. People have to realize that. Just believe in yourself and do what you have to do and the fans will come.
Scott: Speaking of Sweden. Whatever happened to that band Drain STH?
Niclas: Good question! The last thing I heard was that the singer was dating Toni Iommi.
Eric: Maybe that's how he lost his fingers.
Niclas: Probably! That's probably the end of the story. I haven't got a clue. They put out two or three albums and they were on the Ozzfest and they were getting a lot of good reviews and stuff like that and then they just kind of disappeared.
Eric: Hot looking babes!
Scott: Heavy songs too! But wait a minute, weren't you supposed to be interviewing us and not the other way around.
Niclas: Yes, that's true! How do you feel about the whole internet thing? You were talking earlier about when you did your classic piece, the opera piece, people were holding up their phones and two hours later it's on Napster.
Scott: I think it should be like in some of these countries where if you get caught raping someone you get your cock cut off and if you get caught stealing something they cut your fucking hand off. I think that when people start downloading mp3´s they should chop their fucking ears off. Stealing is stealing! Look, I'm a techno junkie like anybody else. I love the latest technology. Mp3 is a great technology. You can put a lot of music in a small amount of space and these players have no moving parts. The concept is great, but the bottom line is; stealing is stealing. Record companies and bands can't survive. But there is a positive side to this. Let's say there is a young band that cannot get a record deal or whatever and they want to get their music out to different people, then it's great if they can give their mp3´s away. That's like free exposure you know, but for bands that are making a living off this...it sucks.
Niclas: But it seems to be like the music industry is divided. A lot of bands are totally for it and a lot of others are totally against it.
Eric: Here's what I'm totally for! I like the idea of fans being able to hear the songs before they come out. I like the idea of that, but not the whole song. Like when Napster had their thing going on...I don't know if Napster´s still around, I have trouble keeping up with things. Let's not include that, there's a ton of them out there that are thieves and my idea is to play them 20 seconds of each song and then stop it. Then you get an idea, "do I like that album or is it bullshit?" Give then 20 seconds of each song. "Holy shit that's fucking great. I gotta go out and get it!" That makes sense. Your album gets out on the internet, where people are down loading it before it's even released. It's ridiculous!
Niclas: And at the same time I feel like...cause I buy tons of records, that's what I spend my money on. And I've never gotten into the mp3 thing cause I want the real actual record. I want the real thing.
Eric: Yeah! The mp3 thing is cool because you can take all of Manowar´s albums and put them on one mp3. So once you own the album it's a different story. Throw ém on your mp3 and go out and jog or something and do what you gotta do. At least knowing your supporting the band that you believe in. It's a different story if you're just out there stealing it.
Niclas: How do you think Manowar has changed? You've been around now for 20 years. How do you think you've changed besides being older and wiser?
Eric: And distinguished! Ha, ha, ha!!!
Niclas: And distinguished, exactly!
Scott: Who the fuck´s wiser? Ha, ha,ha!!!
Eric: I've changed my approach for picking up chicks. Ha, ha, ha!
Niclas: Yeah, you learn along the way!
Eric: Ha, ha, ha! Yeah I don't play the game anymore. I just grab their hair and walk off.
Scott: Me Tarzan, you Jane!
Eric: I think we've learned...I think we've grown in our ability to write music and we've learned that less is always more on an album and keep more of it for a live performance and less of it when you record. Because it just makes it sound bigger when...you know with the chorus. I think we've learned not to let the cameras go flashing at every 5 minutes without okeying the picture. There's a few things we've learned down the road. Just from being on the road. It kills me...the lines" No, this picture is just for me!" Ha, ha!
Scott: It reminds me of...you remember ever having a Christmas dinner when grandma comes by and you've got a mouth full of turkey and no, no don't take the picture. Bam, flash!
Eric: Yeah, so we're pretty careful of what gets out and what we allow to get out there.
Niclas: So, you're more in control now?
Eric: We're in control of everything we do. We count on our people, our managers, agents, record company people to take care of this for us, so we can concentrate more on just the creativity. And we've found out that that doesn't work, because it doesn't get taken care of or it gets taken care of good enough. And we've always stressed that if it has Manowar´s name on it, it can't just be good enough. It's gotta be the very fucking best quality that we can come up with and anything we do, in the t-shirts we sell, it's the very best quality shirts you can buy. In the pictures that go out there, they're the very best quality. We really are concerned about quality in the sound we have, in the live performance right down to our speakers and the wires that we use on stage. It's a crystal clear powerful loud fucking sound. But you don't get that if you buy cheap shit. We really pride ourselves in coming out with the very best quality. The fans get value for dollar at the end of the day and that's who were thinking of.
Niclas: Because you always read about the record industry being full of bad people and you read about every single band when they're starting out, how they're getting screwed by lawyers etc. It seems like a really dirty business.
Eric: It's extremely dirty. You gotta be a businessman, a musician, an accountant. You gotta wear a lot of hats in this business. You really do. You know, every hand you shake...you're shaking the right hand and the left hand is in your back pocket. So you gotta be careful. We've learned not to sign anything without taking the paper home and reading it. There's just a ton of things we've learned and by starting our own record label we hope we can avoid that.
Scott: Here's another thought: "The do´s and don'ts in the music industry by Manowar!" It'll be a multi volume set.
Niclas: Yeah, makes sense! What kind of music do you listen to these days? Are you influenced by anything or...? Do you mostly listen to old stuff, like 70´s stuff or do you listen to a lot of new music?
Eric: I don't have a lot of time to listen to music. I listen to classical music a lot, because it influences me. I listen to ideas that Manowar has that we haven't developed fully yet. I listen to Scott´s personal stuff that he has written, I listen to his stuff. I just listen to a lot of...whatever sounds good I have with me on the road. It's not just metal. It's mostly metal, but it's not just metal.
Scott: Same thing. I listen to everything. Ethnic music, cultural...you know...whatever country we're in to some of that music. Classical music obviously, soundtracks are very interesting, classic rock/metal. Stuff that was our influences years ago. Everything, even some pop music. Because you know why? A good song is a good song whatever genre of music it is. A great song is a great song.
Eric: And you also listen to the engineering of the song. How it was recorded. You go: "Listen to that effect, that's kind of cool how they did that." That kind of thing, you know. So you kind of go to school on a lot of the things you listen to.
Niclas: What about the new album, you did everything by yourself right?
Eric: We do everything by ourselves.
Scott: But this was the first time we did have an "real engineer", who was by our side every step of the way. It was a great experience and I think we learned what to do and not to do.
Eric: Scott and Joey engineered this whole album. I was busy. My mom was sick during this album, so I was busy most of the time and quite frankly I don't have the patience to deal with listening to the song for the hundred and fiftieth time. I really can't do that. I just can't fucking do that. Scott and Joey have the ears for that and they spent every day listening to the songs and engineering the songs. I just had my cell phone with me, in case I had to be there. Which worked out great. I hope the next time they still have the same patience. Ha, ha, ha!!!
Scott: This is one job you go home from at the end of the day and you don't turn on your radio in your car. 12 hours is enough.
Niclas: Where do you guys live in the US?
Eric: New York!
Niclas: Were you there when the September 11 attacks happened?
Eric: We were in New York State at the time, but not on Manhattan. I was driving on the road, listening to the radio and all of the sudden they break in and say a plane just hit WTC. And I was like: "How the fuck can that happen?" Really, how can an accident like that happen? Jesus Christ, you see the building and you know. I thought maybe a mechanical failure and they lost steering control and I'm thinking all this stuff and 10 minutes later another plane hit and I knew we were at war. I know something happened and we're at war. It's fucked up! And then 20 minutes later you hear there's a plane crash in Pennsylvania and you're thinking; holy fuck, here we go...
Scott: And then the Pentagon...
Eric: Then the Pentagon and it was like Jesus Christ...
Scott: Then you started looking out your own window. It's so surrealistic, it's like you're in the middle of a movie.
Eric: And you hear a plane going and you're looking up like...where is this plane heading to. And it was the most eerie thing in the world, I remember when they stopped flights in America right after that and...
Scott: Especially for me, because I live 5 minutes from the airport up in New York. And every fucking morning (härmar ett plan) and for two or three days, nothing. It was really quiet.
Eric: I mean you saw no jets in the sky ever and when they did let the planes fly again, you were like watching them; where is this fucker going...
Niclas: And then you had that other crash, a plane went down in Rockaway Beach.
Eric: Immediately you thought; those pricks are at it again...I think it woke up not only America but the whole world and I don't think the world is gonna take that kind of shit. That's just the way it goes. I don't know who these fucks think they are, but it ain't gonna fucking change how we live. It's not gonna change anything. It's just gonna wake up a sleeping giant like they said in WWII. It's the same thing. They just started this whole ball of wax and it's not just the United States that's involved. It's everybody that's involved and I think it united the whole world against these pricks. It's a good thing.
Niclas: I wish you all the best with the new album and your tour and I hope to see you guys back in Sweden rocking and rolling!
Eric: We'll be back in the fall, so ladies I expect you to be there.
Niclas: Thanks a lot!
Eric / Scott: Thank you! Great interview!