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Joey DeMaio, Scott Columbus (Manowar)

Interview with Joey DeMaio, Scott Columbus from Manowar
by Makis Kirkos at 15 April 2002, 8:34 PM

When it's time to interview your all time favorite band and you know that you have to face in personal the bandmembers your tongue start making tricks, your legs start weighing and a tremble goes through your body. This is exactly how I felt when I met Joey DeMaio and Scott Columbus from Manowar in order to ask them about the bands new record, Warriors Of The World. This interview is separated in two pieces. First, Scott Columbus talk to us about the new record and second Joey DeMaio, talk to us about anything we need to know and answering mostly questions made by fans. Dimitris A. ( thanks mate ) and I went at Park hotel in Athens / Greece, at the 12th of April in order to interview the Kings Of Metal and here you can read what they told us. Ride…

Hi Scott, nice meeting you. How are you?

Scott: Hey guys, very good thanks for asking.

Let’s start Scott. So you have just started your US tour. Would you like to tell us the first reactions of the world?

Scott: Yes, we already gave 6 shows. We started in North Carolina then we played Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo NY, Cleavelant and then New Jersey where we played the New Jersey metal fest in Saturday I think. After that we were supposed to drive back to NY in order to fly here and our bus broke down. So, we were scrambling around and we almost missed this press tour. We took a special flight to NY, from New Jersey which is as far as you can get, than to Atlanta, than to Madrid, Spain, where we started with the press tour. We went to Paris, France, Milan, Italy and today is Athens. Very busy…

And you have more shows to come in the US…

Scott: In the US yes. We have 10 more days for promotion in Europe, promoting the new record and then we fly back to the States where we have a couple of days off and then we go straight back to road for like another month. We’re starting in Philadelphia. The dates are filling in as we speak, so we don’t have any specific dates but we are touring for another month in the States.

So, what’s your first impressions from this tour until now?

Scott: Great. It’s great to be back on the road again with all these people and the fans. Cool, very cool.

Ok, let’s speak about your new record Warriors Of The World. Why did you choose this title?

Scott: Well as you guys all know, one of the main thing that keeps Manowar going year after year, album after album is the fans. You are the best, if it wasn’t the Manowar fans we wouldn’t be here. So it is appropriate, you know, a) that we create and wrote the songs for the fans and b) about the fans. It’s also appropriate that we title the record Warriors Of The World to show the fans all over the world how much they mean to the band.

The songs sounds more epic, remind us of Into Glory Ride and Hail To England ages and, you know, some people said that Louder Than Hell is crap and things like this…

Scott: Ah ? What are you saying? Who ? (laughs)

Well some people did, so don’t you be afraid that now with this CD those people will say that you returned back to your roots because of that fact?

Scott: Well are those bastards happy now? (laughs) Anyway it is interesting you have this stance because, you know, we are doing many many interviews and some people say  Well it sounds like a bit more like Sign Of The Hammer or it sounds a lot like Sign Of The Hammer or it sounds more like Into Glory Ride , like you said, and every fan has a favorite album, every fan has a favorite song so it’s interesting to hear for example with what you compare it. Well, when we started writing this record we didn’t come out and say  Well, Louder Than Hell sounds more like rock, let’s try to do something like Triumph Of Steel or let’s try to do something like that . You know we didn’t actually say we are gone to write something like our earlier stuff, we just started writing the songs and as the songs start to take a shape of their own the album came. Once the songs started coming together ,you know, we had 3 songs, 4 songs, 5 , 6 , 7 songs and when we get them all together than the album start to takes shape and that’s all. You know , we don’t really say  We need a slow in here or we need something like a classical tune here or we need a fast song here  we don’t do that. We just write the songs and the record start taking shape itself and start taking form as we are writing it. So, really it’s just the next natural evolution for Manowar, it’s the next step forward. We are trying to do something a little bit better, a little more metal.  

Do you write and record music all together or separately?

Scott: Oh whatever comes out. Sometimes we go 1,2,3,4 bang and pretty much it comes all at once. Othertimes we are having our keyboards helping us with our parts. Maybe it’s drums first and bass then keyboards or maybe someone comes with a part and we play and fill this part with another part or something else, it’s different everytime.

Ok, this time you did something really special and strange in a way because none of us could ever expect something like this. You record the song An American Trilogy, why? Tell us something about this song, it’s like a tribute to Elvis?

Scott: Exactly. I mean, you know, in studio we never done a copy or a version of someone elses song. This particular song is the one we were flirting with the idea doing it for the last 10 years. So, as the album started to take shape and we collected the songs together you are getting a feeling of how the record going to sounds and we thought this song will fit right there perfectly. You know, we said this is the perfect time to do this and we said fuck it let’s do it, Elvis was a big influence for the band while he was doing whatever he wanted during his time on stage. We liked his attitude and his way of doing things and he was the King Of Rock n’ Roll, you know, the fans call us the Kings Of Metal so it’s like a tribute. Of course it’s a great song, a great track. Actually it’s 3 independent songs put together as a medley or trilogy. It was from the civil war period as you know. The first part of it , Dixxie, is actually the thing for the troops of the south. The last part, the third, is about the republic which is actually the theme for the north forces and they are connected in the middle part by all the tragedies by a hymn for the death so , it’s brilliant the way they put it together.

Now could you tell us something about The March? It’s an instrumental song…

Scott: Right. It’s another thing that we kinda always wanted to do. It’s kind of, you know, the musical interlude like in Drums Of Doom or like ah.. I forgot the name of the track.. ah.. a little bit before Karl’s guitar solo in the last record…

Ehm… you mean Today Is A Good Day To Die…

Scott: Yes, Today Is A Good Day To Die thank you. But yes it’s like the same thing, a musical interlude that takes you from one place to another. We always wanted to do something that was only instrumental classical. This song starts so quietly, you almost have to put your ear near the speaker to listen to the beginning. And then once it gets into the motion it’s so dynamic and it has a lot of emotion. To me, where that track is placed is like start up a launch for the rest of the album to go right through the roof because Hand Of Doom approach and than House Of Death, you know.

Ok, we would like to ask you something about your new recording studio Hell…

Scott: Right, welcome to hell… (laughs)

Was there any recording done in  Haus wahnfried  ? Or it’s all recorded in Hell ?

Scott: Ah, most of the album it was recorded right there in NY. Actually Eric did some work in the Gallaxy Studios in Belgium, when he was there, but other than that all the album was recorded in NY.

Do you think that originality in songs is something hard to find in our days?

Scott: Ah yeah definitely. I mean as you guys know I am sure you are listening to a lot of different kinds of music that they are calling heavy metal these days which to me is nothing more than some rap music in heavy metal wrap and they call this shit heavy metal. So, when it comes to originality yeah I think it’s tough to find a band or bands which sounds original and unique. It’s hard to write original music and that’s one of the things that lead me to Manowar when I first join the band in 1983. Even I didn’t had heard anything of them when I listen to Battle Hymns I said  man these guys have a sound of their own , the sound of the guitars, the bass mixes with the guitar is a unique sound that really stuck in my head, it was something truly one of a kind. That’s one thing that really impressed me and the vocals which are tremendous and it’s so hard to come up with something so original. That’s what I love with Manowar because you know if you play 2 seconds of a song from Battle Hymns you know it’s Manowar, if you play 2 seconds of a song from Sign Of The Hammer you know it’s Manowar and so on the band has such a unique sound.

Do you think that you still write original music, music that cannot easily be found in other bands?

Scott: Yeah. I think the new album it says it all.

Some fans think that this will be your last CD, as this year will be your 20st anniversary and as you’re planning a big world tour after the release. What can you say about this ?

Scott: Fuck no (laughs). We are not going to stop writing music. As a matter of fact as I said we are doing a lot of interviews and I was talking to a journalist from, I think it was, Germany. It was a phone interview and he asked  What do you see your self doing in 10 years from today ?   and I said  Well , hopefully I will talking to you from the phone doing another interview for another Manowar record . (laughs)

Manowar exists for 20 years now. What do you think is to be done next?

Scott: What’s to be next? Oh well you know put out the best records we possibly can and bring on music to people all over the world. And there are places we haven’t been there yet and we have a huge bunch of fans that they haven’t seen us live like in Mexico, in Asia you know places all over the world that I am sure there are Manowar fans which want to see us.

So, do you think they are out there, bands that play good metal music, they are original e.t.c.

Scott: Yeah I think they are a few bands out there. But I am not here to promote other bands (laughs)

No, we just ask your opinion about the metal scene nowadays…

Scott: Yeah I think they are some good bands among so many. I think metal is very strong these days, I mean sometimes is not there but it always coming back stronger. Hard and heavy music in all forms it’s like classical music. I mean classical music it’s hundreds of years old and it’s strong today as it was back then so, I think heavy metal is the same way, it will always be around in some form or another.

What’s your opinion about, you know, those Nu-Metal bands?

Scott: It’s hard to say I mean everybody…

Ok, let me ask you this question a bit different…

Scott: Ok…

Tell us what kind of metal your son likes to hear…

Scott: (laughs) Oh see? You stopped me but I was about to say this. Honestly, everybody is free to listen any kind of music and has an opinion. You know if there was only 1 cd in the whole world , one cd in the whole world, everybody would listen to it. But everybody is different, everybody looks different, everybody is from a different place, everybody has different opinions and ideas so, even if these type of bands may not be my favorite they exists. And because you are asking about my son which he is very much into metal, he is like every teenager , you know, he likes anything new and rebellious and full of energy and some bands are like that and of course yeah he loves Manowar. He is one of the biggest Manowar fans.

Don’t you think that a lot of things nowadays that have to do with bands, mostly have to do with money? I mean, what sells through MTV and stuff like that. How do you feel about this?

Scott: Especially, yeah you got a point there, especially, to be honest, in the US because you know it seems to me that bands which are popular in America are only that way because their record company spends money to put them there with all the promotion and all the magazines and the tv has a rotation where they play certain bands or radio stations have a certain playlist that they are hear to and that’s what they promote. Let’s face it, bands in America are pretty much brain-washed into like what is presenting by media. I mean it’s like here it is, here it is, here it is, in your face, in your face, in your face and here it is on the radio. So, they think I guess I like it because here it is. In Europe from what I see all these years, European fans are more dedicated and more true to whatever they chose for the time. I mean I know fans they are years with the band and they still do it , I mean they love the band and the follow the band through years and they do that. They say I love this band and I will follow it and they do it, they are not saying Oh here is a new band, I think I like that, they stay true to what they believe.

How do you feel about the World Wide Web Warriors so far?

Scott: It’s fantastic. I think is great you know, as long as everybody works together and everybody is true to heavy metal I think it’s great to communicate with the world through the internet about heavy metal and Manowar, it’s fantastic. A great job.

What’s your opinion on MP3s and the whole Napster thing? You know, the whole thing going on. Fans trading tracks and stealing in a way the bands.

Scott: Ah, mp3 is a new technology. I mean I am a techno-junkie just look ( and he points his laptop computer ) I love it. The technology of mp3’s is new. You know, it’s a lot of music in a little space which is cool. But the Napster thing that’s different. I think it’s bullshit because stealing it’s steal. You know, it hurts the bands, it hurts the record labels and from that point of view I think it really sucks. However if it could be a way that maybe upcoming new bands could control this and let the people hear their music would be cool. But stealing is something different. I mean you can trade 1 song between friends in order to have a first opinion about a record so you can decide if you want to buy it or not, that’s ok. I mean if someone hasn’t heard of Manowar at all this would be a good idea to give him hear 1 song like a sample. Or there is a website called CD-NOW which has millions of records and if you click to a record they provide you with 30 seconds of a song, this is good. Because that way you have a chance to hear either you like it or not.

Ok, let us ask you some personal questions right now. How much do you practice?

Scott: As much as possible. I really do. Sometimes I play 4 hours per day.

Could you describe us your drum-kit?

Scott: Ok, right now I am using a 7 piece set up. Two 24’’ bass drums, one 14’’ snare drum, the rack toms are first 14’’ , then 15’’ , then the floor toms are 16’’ and then 18’’. I use a blend of acoustic sounds also. Ah… it’s Premier drums ( forgive me I can’t understand the mark of the electronics ) and Paiste cymbals which is very very good company. ( I didn’t catch the name of the drumsticks either). Yeah I think we covered everything.

Well, thank you very much for the interview Scott. Would you like to say a word to your fans?

Scott: You Manowar fans are the best fans in the fucking world, we are coming out, we are gone to hit your country and we are bring this new record to you live and we will blow people heads off. We will see you on the road.

Nice talking with you Scott, wish you the best.

After a long waiting finally we met The Man, Joey DeMaio himself. Hi Joey, how is life?

Joey: Hi brothers, life is good.

Ok, we know you are extremely busy and we don’t want to tire you much so we are gone to start right away.

Joey: Thank you very much brothers.

So, first of all tell us how do you feel about the WWWW so far?

Joey: Wonderful. I think everybody is doing a very good job. I think all the webmasters really care about the fans and that is what’s important to Manowar, that there are people care about the fans.

Ok, we have here a lot questions from fans and I would like you to answer them.

Joey: Ok, no problem.

Joey could explain us the way you compose your songs. Is it an idea that slowly becomes music? You begin writing a song without having in your mind what it is going to be? You intent to make a song about something and then you try to realise it? ( Aris Lakafosis )

Joey: You know, it’s different everytime. Sometimes I can hear a word and I think what is that word sounds like? Or what should the word sound. Othertimes I play something and I think that sounds like something, how can I describe the feeling? It’s different everytime.

I would like to know what inspire Joey DeMaio to write the music, if there is a book in special , a movie that inspired him to write their songs at the moment? ( Mabel Qd )

Joey: No, actually not. The only movie I watched recently and I like it and I recommend to everybody is a movie called Brothers. It’s about the Japanese yakuza and the name of the star in the movie is a guy called Beat Takeshi. So, go watch this movie, it kicks ass.

Ok, we will. Let’s move on to another question. Is Manowar going to play in Wacken this year or other German festivals? ( Anne Moris )

Joey: I am not sure right now. Right now we are just playing a few festivals and few shows but really are focus is the following tour. We are gone to go out and play, everywhere.

When will the second part of Hell on Earth be released? (Camillo Cuppok)

Joey: Maybe December.

Is there any chance that Manowar release on dvd all their promo videos , early footage from the band, Manowar rehearsing in the studio,etc? ( Mabel Qd )

Joey: Oh yes , yeah for sure. Absolutely. That’s my dream to put together some early footage from the band, you know year by year. Maybe Best of Manowar or something like Best of Battle Hymn, Best Of Into Glory Ride. Definitely.

Will there ever be official tablatures as a book or in internet? ( Pekka Sauri )

Joey: Maybe. It takes a long time to put that tablature together and I know a lot of people want this. So, we’ ll see what happens.

Do you think that the music of Manowar contributed to the history of heavy metal music ? ( Riki Castillo )

Joey: Well I hope so. I hope people will remember us.

Who is the perfect illustrater of Manowar logo and Sign Of The Hammer? ( Yigit )

Joey: Oh you mean who did the logo? Yeah I think some guy from England from the record company and he did a nice job.

When theres time to play Gods Made Heavy Metal the band usually gets a fan on stage who plays guitar with the Kings. What would you do if the fan is left-handed like me? ( Lars Broßmann )

Joey: Well I guess we have to find a left-hand guitar. Or maybe he brings his own, that’s probably a better idea (laughs)

I would like to ask the band if they could choose one warrior, god e.t.c. (Thor, Dark Avenger, Achilles e.t.c.) that describe the best way the band ,who would it be? ( Pasha Pavel )

Joey: Maybe Zeus because he was the father of all gods.

Did Manowar ever think to have 2 guitar players? ( Micha )

Joey: Ah no, not really. It’s just as guitar, bass, drums and vocals. It’s the most basic instrumentation.

How much the band practice with their instruments? ( Mabel Qd )

Joey: A lot. We really care about what we are doing for the band.

Has some of Manowar members taken lessons on their instrument? ( Pekka Sauri )

Joey: I took a few lessons but I am basicaly self-taught and so is everybody in the band.

Does Manowar use earplugs in concerts? ( Pekka Sauri )

Joey: Yeah, fuck yeah. We have to, we would be dead if we didn’t. It’s so fucking loud on stage, it’s like being in the eye of a tornado. That’s how I got the nickname Black Wind, because that’s what it is. That’s exactly how it is in the middle of the stage. Because you have sound coming from behind you, from the amplifiers, from the drum field , from the side and from the floor monitors. So, we are in the middle of the tornado, it’s like standing in hell. You will see it next time we play, I ‘ll bring you on the stage and I’ll show you during our sound check. It will blow your head off.

Ok, just give me a pair of earplugs too…

Joey: Oh yeah sure. (laughs)

Have you read the Lord Of The Rings trilogy? ( Marcus Davidzon )

Joey: No, I have never read it in my life but I know it’s very nice. Never saw the movie yet.

Which music do you like? Is it Wagner or any other bands that you like? ( André Kaschkow )

Joey: I love all classical music, I really do I love it. But if I had to pick one composer it would be Wagner.

Have you ever thought to write music for movies? You know like soundtracks?

Joey: Yeah for sure, as soon as I can find the right movie. It would be something epic, very beautiful.

Can you tell us anything about your childhood?

Joey: Ah, my father is a policeman and that’s the only reason I am not in prison today (laughs). Because I got into lot of troubles when I was in school, I cause a lot of problems. I drove my motorcycle through the fucking school, I ‘ve done a lot of crazy shit in my life. School never meant much to me, I always fucked up, I was crazy. I am still crazy but my moto is heavy metal and rock, drink and fuck. That’s my whole life, heavy metal is my whole life.

Which was the most crazy sexual adventure you had with a woman? ( Gustavo Sket )

Joey: Oh I don’t know it’s been a lot of them. I think one was… she wanted to drink my blood. That was pretty heavy (laughs). It’s been a lot I can’t remember them believe me.

When will there be information about your music gear? ( Pekka Sauri )

Joey: All of my stuff basicaly, even my guitars, are custom made because I can’t find things in the stores that it can stand, everything that buy from stores blows up. So I have to build them myself and of course I have Dawk.

What would you describe as a bad show? Or a good show? ( Pekka Sauri )

Joey: A bad show to me would mean the lighting wasn’t right and the sound wasn’t right so the fans didn’t get the best.

How did you came in contact with Black Sabbath?  

Joey: Oh , through Dawk. He was building their equipment and he needed my help, I wasn’t playing in a band and he asked if I could help him. I said sure.

I would like to know for how long Joey DeMaio is already playing bass. Did he take lessons? And how did he get the idea with the piccolo-bass? ( Bendikt K )

Joey: Well, a long time but it’s my life you know. The guitar is my love, is my life, is my wife.

Do you have any special name for your bass?

Joey: Oh yeah, well I call my main guitar  The Demon  and I call my piccolo-bass  The Little Demon . The idea I heard about years ago from Stanley Clark, a famous jazz bass player, he was playing a piccolo-bass and I liked the idea, I liked to be able to let people hear exactly what I am playing. Sometimes with my regular bass it’s hard because of the frequency. The piccolo-bass is different, it’s more like a 4 string guitar, really.

As we can see there is an over-productivity concerning the band… new DVD, new album, new record label, world tour follows. How can you combine all of this ?

Joey: Because heavy metal is my whole life, it’s my whole world. That’s what I do 24 hours per day.

Did any other bandmembers than you did some writing for the songs ?

Joey: Yeah , Karl contribute to this but you know we are all a band. Whenever we do something everybody contributes. We are a band from brothers that we love eachother and that’s what’s the most important thing.

Could you tell us something about your new recording studio  Hell  ?

Joey: It was hell to put it together (laughs). All digital and it’s all set up for me like this ( he did a move like he is showing me a circle with machines and in the middle his chair ). So, I only have to sit here, if I need something I just turn my chair, it’s all right here. And that’s very convenient because it’s all around me and all I have to do it’s sitting on my chair. A lot of work.

How are you thinking to promote your new cd apart from your upcoming world tour and of course interviews. I mean are you going to do a videoclip or something?

Joey: Yes. We just did a new video for Warriors Of The World, it’s released.

Why did you record The March? It’s like a tribure to Wagner?

Joey: Well, yeah a tribute to Wagner but also because we wanted to show the people that one day Manowar are going to write music for movies and kick everybody’s ass.

Ok Joey we know you are busy and you have to wake up early in the morning so we won’t hold you off anymore, thank you for this interview.

Joey: Thank you brothers, take care and I ‘ll see you next time.



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