Interviews / Presse

Titel: Joey RockHard 1996
Datum: 1996
Interview with Joey DeMaio
Published by: Rock Hard Magazine Germany
Interviewer: Unknown
Published on: 1996

It’s the best true metal album for metal brother Götz since Priest’s “Painkiller”, it’s MANOWAR’s hit in the bulls eye for his colleague Jan Michael Pils since “Hail to England”, and it might be something comparable to the invention of the wheel for everybody else – but it is definite that “Louder Than Hell” will drive every metal maniac, who is not into mainstream, nuts. We visited Joey DeMaio in Orlando to find out how he made this masterpiece.

Interviewer: It is a masterpiece compared to their last album “Triumph Of Steel” which in itself was really a great effort, although it had the technical aspect more in mind. “Louder Than Hell” is a more raw and back to the roots album.

Joey: “David and Rhino were always fixed on what the musicians in the crowd would have had in mind although they only make up a small part of the crowd. And that’s not what it's about, it’s the true fans that eat metal, live, breathe, shit, what counts. People like us. You got to understand the both of them, though: it was their first album and they wanted it to be as perfect as possible. Perfection by the book and perfection in the meaning of a rock ‘n’ roll band is something completely different. The situation was totally different. Karl’s the only new member, and he’s a kinda easy going guy, who can intensely get the feeling of a song. He doesn’t work with his head, but more out of his stomach – so I think the record sounds much more relaxed.“

Interviewer: The band's getting back to hymns, although that may only be one part of the answer - an element which wasn’t considered that much on “Triumph Of Steel”. For me “Louder Than Hell” sounds like a mixture of “Sign Of The Hammer“ and “Kings Of Metal“.

Joey: “That’s an interesting point of view. I know what you mean, but we didn’t approach the record with that in mind. We’re proud of every single record we made, but we don’t try to reanimate anything. We just kicked ass and let everything roll. Doing a new song, we only ask ourselves one question: “Is the crowd gonna shit their pants because it drives them wild? If I have to answer that question with no, than the song is killed.”

Interviewer: You got two songs on the album, “Number One” and Courage”, whose bottom idea is over ten years old...

Joey: “That’s right. The first versions are from the Summer ’84. But now they’re much more powerful – we did a lot of work on them. They were not ready for recording up until now. They were strong but not perfect – just not good enough for MANOWAR!“

Interviewer: It is known that MANOWAR completely finishes their songs before going to the studio. It is also known that the Kings take an immense time in getting the album ready. So what do you actually do in the studio for such a long time?

Joey: “Good question. Look at it this way. Even a three minute song has so many notes in it. And even if there’s only one wrong, we have to correct it. So sometimes it’ll take you three months for three minutes.”

Interviewer: How do you work on it? With overdubs? Our do you re-record the whole song?

Joey: “Well, we listen to the song – first of all the most important parts, being the drums and bass. If these two parts aren’t absolutely perfect, we don’t even start with the other stuff. It’s like backing a cake. A lot of musicians don’t mind having sloppy parts in their songs, because they believe that nobody will notice anyway. That’s bullshit. The song “King” for example: if every note wouldn’t fit in, than the groove would go to hell and you’d lose the drive. The notes can’t just come and go, they have to hit the spot razor sharp.”

Interviewer: That sounds like it takes an immense part of patience...

Joey: “That depends on what you’re satisfied with. We’ve always orientated us looking after great bands. If I listen to an old Deep Purple record, I know it isn’t some kind of shit. Stuff that sounded good back than, still sounds good today, because these guys had the ear for it. They were professionals, they listened hard and didn’t let any bullshit get through.”

Interviewer: Even the lyrics set an exclamation mark, although they are definitely MANOWAR like. Songs such as “Return Of The Warlord“, “Brothers Of Metal Part I“ and of course “The Gods Made Heavy Metal“ are all going in the same direction. Is this a wanted contribution to the subject of “Is metal dead?”

Joey: Well, with “The Gods Made Heavy Metal” we just wanted to put things right: “Hey, you goddamn assholes, heavy metal will never die!” MTV tried it, the radio tried it – not to forget all the bad bands that didn’t stop trying to kill heavy metal’s reputation. But the fans won’t let metal die. There’s only one kind of music, where you can scream, shout and go crazy – only heavy metal will give you this feeling. The only thing you can compare that feeling with, is a good fuck or a good beer, ha-ha. I mean it’s a feeling you can’t replace. “Return Of the Warlord” is a tribute to the coming back of Scott. It’s a really good feeling to have him back. It’s very important for the fans to know, that we are a band who will never forget their roots.”

Interviewer: Everybody is always waiting for something powerful to come from you...

Joey: “Yeah sure, but the expectations from the outside aren’t really important. Our fans know that we are the defenders of the faith. And that there’s only one band that’s never turned their backs on them because they wanted to do something artificial. Metal is not only power, it is also beauty, such as the music of Richard Wagner. If you’ve heard something from Wagner you don’t have to listen to any other composers because his music is eternal: beauty, darkness, color – everything. And that’s the way it is with MANOWAR: melody, power, feeling, reliability – everything that makes metal what it is.”

Interviewer: „Louder Than Hell“ is definitely MANOWAR’S grooviest album. Is this because of Scott or did Karl put in his part as well? It seems he has more abilities than the past members...

Joey: That was Scott all by himself. But you’re definitely right about Karl. Scott’s strong point is that he can play a song after just hearing it – he doesn’t have to think about what he could play. You actually have to force him to do something special. He just wants to get the rhythm and drum your head away.”

Interviewer: What’s your next set list gonna look like? Recently, you guys didn’t really play a lot of old classics, besides from the obligatory opener “Manowar”...

Joey: “Well it didn’t really make much sense to play tracks from “Into Glory Ride” or “Hail To England” with Rhino and Dave – it would have been almost impossible for them to get that feeling. It seems to make sense with the line up right now – Karl would be able to get that right.”

Interviewer: And how is that supposed to work? A MANOWAR concert doesn’t last much longer than 75 minutes. How are you gonna put these songs that definitely have to be played into it and still do all the indispensable classics...

Joey: “I actually don’t know. But there are songs that have definitely got to be played, such as “Kings O f Metal”, “Fighting The World”, “Metal Warriors”, just as you said...”

Interviewer: Yeah, and you guys finally want to play “Army Of Immortals”!

Joey: „Yeah, that’s what we promised...“

Interviewer: So you’ll have to extend the show...

Joey: “Fundamentally, I don’t think that a show gets better if it lasts longer. Sometimes you’ll even bore the audience.”

Interviewer: That shouldn’t be a problem of yours...

Joey: “It actually isn’t. And I do believe that we’ll be playing a longer set on the next tour.”

Interviewer: How are you guys doing in the States at the moment? You’ve really had a bad relationship with your native country up to date...

Joey: “I don’t really care. It wouldn’t mean much to me to get on stage in America.”

Interviewer: Because the Europeans have more feeling towards you – because they understand you better?

Joey: That’s the point – it’s something special. It’s like this: we’ve always played in Europe. It’s almost like we belong here – it’s a kind of home for us. That’s where we got our ideas, thoughts, dreams, actually everything. This band has not been inspired by American music, but by European composers and European metal bands. Our instinctive home is Europe. It’s like you have a girlfriend from Thailand. If she was your woman of love, you’d goddamn get your ass over to Thailand. And we love Europe!”

Interviewer: Another thing you’re known for is your unbelievable live loudness, although it doesn’t hurt. You have a perfectly balanced sound. Is there still any possibility of improving that?

Joey: Yeah, I believe that. I was thinking about setting up a couple more subwoofers, after I heard of this terminator thing yesterday - to get our sound deeper, more intense, not higher or sharper. So that you can feel it with your body, not to give you a pain in your ears. Man, yesterday with that explosion, that was a crazy feeling: real loud, but not painful. That’s heavy metal! There’s always something to improve – if we can work that out, it’ll be exactly what we want!”