Interviewer: I've got to ask... how does it feel to be "The Kings of Metal"?
Eric: Well, the fans gave us that name. And whatever the fans say, that goes. But it's good to be king. We kick fuckin' ass all night long, every night. One night leads into another, and then another, and then another.
Interviewer: Well you guys really are The Kings of Metal. You came before METALLICA and all these other bands, and you're here after all of them too. You're here now.
Eric: I think I read someplace where METALLICA claimed they're not metal themselves anymore. They're not proud to carry the flag now. But we, on the other hand, are very proud to carry the flag of metal.
Interviewer: Yeah, I mean, what the hell? I mean, you've got "metal" in your fucking name. What do you mean you're not metal?
Eric: I don't know, those are their words and not mine. But we're proud to be metal, and to play metal. And we'll keep making some great albums and kick some butt on the way.
Interviewer: At what point in your career did you guys become as big as you are now? I mean, over in Europe you're just enormous. Over here, it's not quite as great, but at what point did it all come together? Second album? Third album?
Eric: Well, with the very first album, we played in Dallas in front of 20,000 people. The first show we did at the Hammersmith Odeon was a sold out show. So right from day one, it's been pretty big. It's been a cool ride.
Interviewer: I do remember hearing how you opened for Ted Nugent and then got kicked off that tour. Hell, where is he now?
Eric: He went and told us right to our face, "Hey listen boys, I'm going to be around ten years from now." But we went and did our thing and it worked out.
Interviewer: Why do you think you never caught on the same way in the States that you did over in Europe?
Eric: Over here, people are brought up on MTV or on radio, and that's all they know. Whatever's hip, that's what they're into. In Europe, they know all about the bands, they know all about us. It's like a religion to them. They know all about each individual in the band. They know every song, all the words, every riff. But here, you've got MTV that plays nothing but rap all day long and game shows. What the fuck is that? What's that all about? Radio today has no balls to play metal. They've got no fuckin' nuts. So they play this dance stuff or hip-hop bullshit. In America, it will switch back to metal. Metal's not going away. I predict that by next year metal will be big again in America. I saw in this one mag that there's like six or seven metalfests, not including the Milwaukee Metalfest. There's a trend going on here, and it's real obvious.
Interviewer: Yeah, the guy that does the Metalfest [Jack Koshick] is going to have one in each corner of the US now. Hopefully that will work out.
Eric: Well there's one in Jersey, and there's one in Texas that I know of.
Interviewer: Yeah, there'll be one in LA sometime in May too.
Eric: Yeah, I read that too. But I think it's a cool thing. I think it's kind of funny. It's been said for years that metal's dead. And we've been saying for years, "Fuck you. Metal's not dead. Fuck you." As long as MANOWAR's here, metal's not done. And fuck, we've kept this thing going, and now finally in America it's coming around.
Interviewer: I know you don't want to slag anybody, but but what do you think of these so-called "metal" bands like KORN or DEFTONES or LIMP BIZKIT and shit?
MN: Actually, those guys are all in town tomorrow down in Anaheim.
Eric: They've been following us.
Interviewer: So you have the real metal show one night, and then you've got the false metal!
Eric: [laughs] Yeah, but I don't want to slag anybody. It's not professional to do that. I've been doing this a long time, you know? I think those bands are good musicians in what they do. But I don't think they should call the vocalist a singer. They can scream, but they can't sing.
Interviewer: That's coming from the God of Singers.
Interviewer: So what are you doing touring with SIX FEET UNDER? I mean, on the European tour you're going to have DIO and MOTORHEAD, and here, I was like "fuck."
Eric: SIX FEET UNDER... they're actually a great bunch of guys. They're a good band. They're good musicians. Have you ever heard them? They're really good musicians. They've got their own thing going, their own group following them. And it's been a great tour with these guys. We're asking them to come back with us when we come back in January too. They're on the same label as us, and it makes sense to just go out and do it. They're the best opening act since I can remember. A really great bunch of guys.
Interviewer: Even better than... VIRGIN STEELE?
Eric: Yeah.... VIRGIN STEELE was cool, but they weren't too cool about opening after a while. Sometimes bands start taking advantage of their spot. They want more lights, more equipment, more money. That's just the bullshit that goes on in the industry. And it's just not necessary. Especially with MANOWAR. Just take whatever you want. The bottom line is, you're up on that stage performing for all those people out there, and you've got to prove to them that you've got the balls, and you've got the nuts, and you've got the power and the willpower. And if you haven't got it, then get the fuck off the stage. That's our attitude. Do what you want on that stage. Get up there and play. It's what you've got to do. We don't have any bombs going off, any smoke or fire. Fuck all of that shit. I don't think we need it.
Interviewer: You guys have always had the originality factor in your music. But you've also progressed. That sounds like a "big magazine" question, but....
Eric: You also need to take a look at our stage set. A lot of bands, they spend their money on cars. But we'd always put our money back into the backline. All the money that comes in, goes right back into the band and the equipment.
Interviewer: Yeah, that's the same thing VENOM does. Everything that comes in, goes back into the show.
Eric: Exactly! It's for the fans. At the end of the day, it's for them. And there ain't nobody, including VENOM, that cares more about the fans than us. Nobody. I mean, we're the ones who started bringing fans up on the stage. We're the ones who call the fans. When I'm home, I'll look through the fanmail, and I'll call people. I'll call people all over the world and say, "Hey, what's up? We're about to go in the studio and work on our next album. What did you like about the last one?" And people really appreciate that shit. I don't see any VENOM tattoos on this guy [pointing to Anthony].
Interviewer: [laughs] No way man....
Eric: There's tattoos of us from all over the world. Even on chicks. We've got a video coming out in January. It's over two fucking hours long. And it's all the backstage shit. And shit from on the road. Live performances, fuckin' shit's a blast, man. And it shows tons of people with tattoos of us. Really fucking cool.
Interviewer: I don't want to incriminate myself, but I have a bootleg of you guys in Germany at this big-ass fucking show.
Eric: Well you had to! I'm not pissed about that, you're not the Lone Ranger. There's a lot of people out there with bootlegs. There's never been a live fuckin' album. You wanted to see us live and couldn't get to Europe, it was all you could do. You had to get a bootleg of us. They're all shit quality, and we're pissed off about that, but the only thing we could do is come out with our own live album. And when you have eight albums of songs to pick from, you can't fit them all on two CDs. We had to do four CDs. And that's another first. We're the first fuckin' metal band... actually first band period... in history to come out with two back to back double CD live albums.
Interviewer: And I'm hoping for a third, to get the rest of the songs out there. Call it like Hell on Earth or something.
Eric: [laughs] Yeah, really. Who knows? Maybe. Who knows?
Interviewer: Yeah, it's like, "Oh, I'd like to hear that one. Or that one."
Eric: Well, you can't please everybody, you know. The first show on the last tour we did, we played four hours worth of songs. We got done, and the first interview I did, I was asked, "Why didn't you play this or that?" [laughs]
Interviewer: You can only do so much in four hours.
Eric: [laughs] No shit.
Interviewer: Is there any word on if Battle Hymns will ever see a US release?
Eric: You're the second person that's asked me that on this round of interviews. I don't want to say too much, but I did just hear that there is a deal to get it released.
Interviewer: He doesn't want to lie to us.
Eric: Right. I've heard there's a deal, but I can't confirm anything about it. It's just what I've heard.
Interviewer: Yeah, I've actually got a copy.... I had a friend pick up one for me while he was home in Germany. I'd really like to see it released here though. You see copies every once in a while, but it just doesn't seem right for an American band not to have their albums available in America.
Eric: Yeah, that's really a messed up and fucked thing.
Interviewer: I paid twenty bucks for Battle Hymns and thirty seven for Hell on Wheels before it came out here.
Eric: There you go.
Interviewer: When I saw Metal Blade put it out, I was like, "Aw, man...."
Interviewer: But it was worth it. Totally worth the money.
Interviewer: What's it also like being the loudest band in the world?
Eric: What's it like? It's funny, because people tell us they read that we're not the loudest, that some other band is. And that's just fuckin' bullshit. We broke the record three times. And the last time we broke it, the logistics of it were just ridiculous. Nobody could possibly break the record again, because it would be a question of how much gear you would have to have on stage in order to do it. Nobody could possibly have that much gear. We had a wall of Marshalls flown in on top of our other gear. It was just piled sixty feet high and forty feet wide. A huge wall of speakers. So come on... there's no way somebody can break that record.
[As it turns out, Eric was wrong.... At the Gothenburg, Sweden gig on November 16th, 1999, during the "Monsters of the Millenium" tour with Dio and MOTORHEAD, Joey DeMaio hit 131.7 db during a soundcheck. The old record was at 129.5 db. While no one from Guiness was there to officiate (nor will they, as they no longer support this kind of record), the monitor level was witnessed by Dio's monitor man as well as the MANOWAR roadcrew.]
Interviewer: Is that record different than having the loudest concert ever? I know that when THE WHO held the record, it was during the concert, and yours was done before the show.
Eric: You know, I don't know. We didn't give a shit about that, we just wanted the world's record for the loudest fuckin' band in the world. And we got it, and that's all there is to it. You come to our show, and it's a fuckin' powerful show. Is this your first time seeing us?
Interviewer: I was supposed to see you back at the Milwaukee Fest, but shit happened at that one.
Eric: Well, that guy [Jack Koshick] tried to fuck us, so we said, "No, fuck you." And we didn't show up. But that wasn't our fault.
Interviewer: We were actually downstairs here during the whole soundcheck. We were singing along even then.
Eric: Well hold on to your balls, because they're going to be blown right off. It'll be a good show.
Interviewer: How's Scott [Columbus, drums of doom] doing? I heard about his accident on the motorcycle. I was like, "oh shit!"
Eric: Yeah, and right after he ate it, Karl [Logan, guitars] busted himself up motocross racing. He did the tour on crutches.
Interviewer: How long has it been since you guys did a full US tour?
Eric: This is the first. The very first supported United States tour. We played one show in Dallas, with Ted Nugent and got kicked off the tour. That was the very first show. And we went out ourselves and played a few dates in the States. And it cost us a fortune. This is the very first time an American label has had enough nuts to send us our on a tour and play. They know what it's all about. Our company is really into the band, and they know what's going on.
Interviewer: Yeah, I mean, I was at school and I pulled up your website just to see if there was any news. And then I saw the tour schedule and saw the LA date. Is this the first time you've been out here?
Eric: I've been around. This is like my sixth or seventh time in LA. But it's the first time playing.
Interviewer: See, I would have figured you'd have come out years ago. I mean, we've got the big tall blonde bitches with the big titties.
Eric: [laughs] Well, we play Sweden and there's a lot of tall blonde bitches out there. So we're going back there soon!
Interviewer: Hell, if you want flesh, play in Hawaii.
Eric: There you go, but nobody ever plays there.
Interviewer: Actually, last time I was at this club [The Whisky] for a show, there was this band from Sweden here. DARK FUNERAL... I don't know if you've ever heard of them. Anyway, I was up here hanging with them, and this chick with huge fake tits shows up. So the guys were checking her out. I mean, her breasts were as big as her head! And the next thing I know, she's in that bathroom over there giving everyone knobbers! I was like, "Fuuuuuck!!"
Eric: Nothing wrong with that, I wouldn't have a problem with that. [laughs]
Interviewer: [laughs] Yeah, well, me, I didn't really want to be the tenth guy in line or anything. "Can you spit a few times, please?" [we all laugh] Have you ever run into any bands that sound kind of like MANOWAR? I can't really think of any.
Eric: There's a lot of European bands. It's a form of flattery when somebody tries to copy you. It's funny, we came out with the ideas about the album covers, like with the swords, and then these bands came out with the same thing. You know the warrior we have on our album covers now? A lot of people have the same kind of thing now too. But it's cool. A lot of people are copying our songs now too.
Interviewer: OVERKILL actually just put out an album of cover songs, and they do "Death Tone" on it.
Eric: I'd like to hear it. I'd like to hear how they did it.
Interviewer: Do you run into a lot of bands or people in bands in New York? Like [Bobby] Blitz [vocalist] from OVERKILL?
Eric: We've played with OVERKILL. Played with them a few times. But yeah, you'll see bands. You go out, you'll run into some guys from bands. Some are assholes, some are great guys. Everyone's an individual. If they're a bowhunter, they can't be all that bad.
Eric: [laughs] Well.... [more laughs all around]
Interviewer: Now you just mentioned the warrior on your album covers. Have you ever had a name for him?
Eric: No, and there's no face for him either.
Interviewer: I've always thought of him as representing us, the fans.
Eric: That's right, that's exactly right. He's the hero.
Interviewer: He's the whole faceless mass of us out there.
Eric: You got it. He could be anybody, and that's the whole idea. That's what's cool about the whole thing.
Interviewer: Yeah, and if you look at all the album covers, even back to Battle Hymns, there's bits and pieces of things, like the same sword.
Eric: Yeah, you'll see things from all the album covers that are somehow incorporated together.
Interviewer: I get asked a lot of questions about my tattoo, from people who don't know anything about MANOWAR. They'll ask, "Who the fuck is that? Is that you?" And I'll say, "No, not really."
Interviewer: Well, actually, it is. That tattoo is representing us there on your arm. That's all of us there.
At this point, we were told to wind things down, so I had to pick a couple of final questions from my long list of questions.....
Interviewer: Did you guys teach yourselves to sing or play your instruments? It's almost like each of you are gods at what you do.
Eric: Well, we're individual musicians that have worked hard, and I think this is the best fucking lineup there has ever been for MANOWAR. When you see us live, you're going to see us play songs exactly how we play them on our albums. There's no bullshit. If there's a place on the first album where I scream, I'm screaming in that spot. What Karl plays on the album, he's playing here. It's just a bunch of good fuckin' musicians who have been to the school of hard knocks and worked together, and rehearsed hard and long because this is what they believe in.
Interviewer: Uhm... what can you tell us about the upcoming album?
Eric: [with a secret, amused smile on his face] The upcoming album, all I can say is going to kick fucking ass. And I'll tell you why. Because it is a MANOWAR album. Because it's our ninth album. And because all of our other albums have done exactly that. And I can tell you that it'll be done when it's fucking done. And if it's not out yet, that means we're still working on it. We're not sittin' on our fuckin' asses, we're working on that fuckin' album, because that's what it's all about. Because then we can go out on tour again and meet you people. And that's what we want to do.