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W.Tsamis & M.Zonder & J.Cans (Warlord)

Interview with W.Tsamis & M.Zonder & J.Cans from Warlord
by Stathis Giannakopoulos at 23 July 2001, 1:00 AM

After so many years the legendary Warlord are officially back with Joacim Cans on vocals. We all missed them so much that's why Metal Temple run to ask William J. Tsamis, Mark Zonder and Joacim Cans a few questions about the past, the present and the future of Warlord. Some Interviews you can't afford to miss! Don't forget to visit their official website: www.Warlord.ws

William J. Tsamis

Hello Bill! How are you?

I’m doing fine. Happy to be doing an interview with Metal Temple.  

All those years people keep on asking you about a Warlord re union. What made you to come up with this decision this period of time and say Yes, I’ll make Warlord again.  

Well, first of all, let me just clarify that this is a project, not really a reunion in the usual sense of the word. The idea of a Warlord reunion has come up a few times. Mark and I have talked about it a couple times, but the timing was never right. The fans have always expressed their desire to hear more music in the Warlord tradition, and when Mark called me around February/March, I thought, What the hell, let’s do it. We talked about a singer, which was always the main problem for Warlord, and Joacim Cans immediately came to mind. I am a big HammerFall fan, as I am a Fates Warning fan – but Joacim’s voice is perfectly tailored for Warlord. So, everything kind of just mysteriously happened. This project wasn’t planned out by a record label or anything. I think Mark and I really just want to hear what Warlord would sound like if Warlord was produced properly. Although Mark and I went in different directions, we were both always very fond of Warlord, and we always knew that it had great potential.  

Which of the original members of Warlord are in the band now?

Well, Mark and I are really the only original members. Diane Arens, who had her band Sahara, always played keyboards for us when we needed keyboard parts, but Mark and I have always been the heart of Warlord.  

Why did you pick Joacim as the lead singer? Can you compare him with your previous frontmans? Where can you spot his strong points and where his weak points.  

I think Joacim Cans is the perfect heavy metal singer, plain and simple. He has metal flowing in his veins, he has perfect pitch, he has attitude in his voice, he can sing high, low, soft, and powerful. Essentially, that is the definition of an instrument. Joacim is not just a singer, he is a instrument, in the same way that other great metal singers are instruments. I think Joacim is right up there with the great metal vocalists. When I first heard him, I was immediately struck by the fact that he seemed to have integrated many of the styles of the great metal vocalists, yet at the same time, he had an original voice. He has great influences, that’s for sure. If I listen to the Metal Age, The Dragon Lies Bleeding, Dreamland, Champion, A Legend Reborn, where do you want me to stop – I am awestruck by Joacim, and HammerFall in general. When I first heard HammerFall, I knew immediately that they were going to make it big. Ask Joacim. I told him. And it’s not because they did Child of the Damned. Many bands have done Child of the Damned and other Warlord songs. Joacim, Oscar, and the rest of the guys are a phenomenal metal band, combining all of the components of classic metal. Joacim’s weak points? He doesn’t have any. He is complete as he is, and I’m honored that he would do a project with Warlord. The difference between Joacim and the Damien Kings, and I have said this many times, is that the Damien Kings were just puppets. They didn’t have a metal bone in their body. They were hard rock singers who just repeated every melody line I threw their way, like a parrot. In fact, many of the Warlord songs were put together one verse at a time. They were just good studio singers, not creative artistic individuals like Joacim. Joacim is an artist, a deep thinker, a sensitive person with artistic integrity. He’s not just a singer, he’s an artist, and through the instrument of his voice, he creates art. That is what Mark and I were always looking for, because we feel that we do the same with our instruments. We always had very high expectations, and that’s one of the reasons we could never find a vocalist of that stature, especially in the glam rock days of the early 80s in Hollywood. Joacim has stature!  

Why do you return as a project band and not as a full time band? Is that because Joacim and Mark have two very successful bands ( in terms of sales and stuff) ? If this re union works out, do you have in mind to make this band full time again?  

Fates Warning and HammerFall are two very successful bands. Nowadays, with technological advances in recording, it is more common for musicians to have side projects. But the Warlord project will in no way interfere with either Fates Warning or HammerFall. As far as everything is concerned, we are just taking it one step at a time. The project will be successful in the sense that Warlord fans will love it - that doesn’t mean it’s going to sell a lot, because Warlord was always an underground cult band. But the music is designed for Warlord fans - after all, it’s Warlord, plain and simple.  

Do you think that the fans still remember Warlord?  

Well, my mail sure tells me so. Anyone who was a true fan of Warlord could never forget Warlord. Could I ever forget Uli Roth/Scorpions’ Fly to the Rainbow. Could I ever forget Kevin Heybourne and Angel Witch’s Atlantis? A true fan does not forget, and my experience in metal is that most headbangers are seriously into certain groups - especially in the underground. Warlord fans were, and are, very serious, devoted fans. I even get mail from 20 year old Warlord fans who were babies when we were cranking out Lucifer’s Hammer and Mrs. Victoria.  

Are you afraid of those who’ll tell  They are doing it for money. What is your answer to them?  

Money? Who says we’re going to make money? I think it’s very simple. Mark and I always knew that if Warlord was produced properly, that it would sound incredible. We recorded Deliver Us for $500, and I’ve had people write me and tell me that they bought a copy of Deliver Us for $100. It’s amazing. But this project is aimed at those who are fans of Warlord, and that doesn’t comprise a lot of people, but it comprises one of the most seriously devoted fan bases in all of metal. In other words, there may not be many Warlord fans, but Warlord fans are among the most devoted. We only recorded 14 songs, and Stathis, you and I are doing an interview 18 years later. That’s amazing that people continue to remember those fourteen songs after all those years. So, Mark and I just want to hear Warlord produced properly, and I think the Warlord fan base wants the same thing. Joacim will fill the void, we will have excellent songs and production – it will be the ultimate Warlord.  

What do you think of your past works with Warlord? What’s your opinion about them nowadays?  

Well, I think they were great, especially in the sense that we didn’t have any money for recordings or anything. I listen to some of the stuff occasionally, or watch the Warlord video, and I feel like a fan. Lucifer’s Hammer, Aliens, Lost and Lonely Days, Black Mass, etc. It’s great stuff. And to some extent I think we were ahead of the pack.

Bill, Can you really tell after all those years.. What was the deep reason that Warlord broke up back then? The fact that you couldn’t find a proper singer was the main reason?  

Well, the fact that we couldn’t find a singer was at the root of the frustration. You move to LA, you starve, you audition all these terrible musicians, you save up some dimes to record a demo tape, you do a record on a small label, you end up getting major radio play in some areas, and even do major radio interviews and radio spots, and the whole time you’re knocking on every major label’s door (Warner, Epic, etc.), and you get rejected time after time – all they want is New Wave music and glam rock. So, frustration builds up, you are only 20 so you’re fairly immature, tensions begin to arise due to the frustration, and who would ever know that there would be a sort of a metal revolution in Europe? If we knew that in the late 80s there would be another wave of heavy metal in Europe, we would have stayed together - perhaps gone to Europe to find a singer and a band, and start touring. But how could we know? There were a lot of reasons, and anyone who has been in a band for a long time, knows just how difficult it is to keep things together.  

On an interview you said that when Warlord came out they were a little bit ahead of the Heavy Metal trend. How do you feel that nowadays bands who are really inspired by you ( Like Hammerfall for example ) are very successful and they sell very good.  

I don’t know if we inspired anyone. I hear plenty of metal bands who are good in their own right, and they deserve all the credit. I have a lot of bands send me recordings of Warlord covers – that makes me feel good. I like to hear Warlord covers, even if the songs are interpreted and played differently. But when I say that we we’re ahead of the trend, essentially what I mean is that there weren’t too many bands thinking power/epic metal in 1980. We had our entire concept with pseudonymns like Destroyer, Thunder Child, etc., we had a great stage show planned, which of course demanded a lot of money, so you don’t see that on the video . . . but it was all medieval and epic. That’s one reason why I like HammerFall a lot. They remind me of Warlord, although they have taken those concepts much further - the whole Templar thing, and metal revolution. I joke with Joacim . . . recently they had to stop in the middle of a show because the fans broke through the barricades. And he tells me that he was upset at the promoter and stuff. And I tell him, Well Joacim, you wanted a metal revolution – now you have one! It was on television and in the print media!  

When should we expect a new release from Warlord? Have you signed in any record company?  

I’m not sure when the new project will be released, although it will be in 2002. And we haven’t signed with a label yet, although are not really concerned about that. I think we’re in a strong position, so we first want to present a few recorded tracks to several labels, and see what they have to say. The news on our website at www.Warlord.ws should keep everyone posted on how everything is progressing.  

Are there any songs written so far and do you plan to release any lost material from the past?  

Oh yes, we have already started recording.  

What was the reaction of the band mates of Mark and Joacim when they heard about this new project? Do they have any troubles with their record companies?  

I don’t think there are any problems. I certainly hope not. This is secondary to Fates Warning and HammerFall, so there shouldn’t be any worry. And several members in these bands have their own side projects as well.  

The production on Warlord’s releases is not the best in the world. However it’s very dark and that made your albums really special. Do you think that the modern recording process might wash away the amazing feeling of Warlord and throw them into the trap of Modern Heavy Metal which sounds really weak and with out any feeling sometimes?  

The dark sound actually comes from the style of the music which is very minor. The production quality was weak because we didn’t have any kind of big production budget or anything. But the darkness will still be very present, perhaps even more.  

If Bill Tsamis could find a time machine and turn back in the 80’s by the time Warlord was still an unprofessional band. What would he change? Do you think you made mistakes back then? If yes tell me some of them.  

Well, I wasn’t a very nice person to other people, unless they were friends. And I got caught up in the whole Hollywood scene as well - you know, parties, drugs, and all that. Also, I was an idealist. Mark was more pragmatic about things. I always dreamed for the skies. Kind of like Icarus. I wanted to fly so high, that I was burnt by the sun. I can’t change the past, but I am pretty much the exact opposite than I was then, except for music. I’m still a big heavy metal fan. A lot of metal musicians don’t listen to heavy metal. Well, I always did, and I still do - although in the late ’80s I was focused on learning how to play the piano. Now I get in the car and I’m listening to Stratovarius or Rhapsody or Gamma Ray or whatever I like. There is so much good metal today. When I was in my teens, it was very difficult to find a good metal band. You had Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Scorpions, UFO, Y & T, and then Iron Maiden and Angel Witch (some Saxon was okay) – and there was always Rush, but they weren’t really heavy metal in the strict sense. Nowadays, there are too many heavy metal bands. Most of the bands are awful, but there are a lot of great bands and I love listening to them.  

Now let’s talk about Lordian Guard for a while. Why is so hard for the fans to find your albums? Why you never signed on a major record label?  

Lordian Guard is on the edge of the metal scene, you know with female vocals and stuff. Some people don’t like it at all (especially in Greece). But then there are many die-hard Lordian Guard fans from Russia to Brazil. It’s very strange. Personally, I love the Lordian Guard material, like Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Some people say, well, The female vocals don’t fit. Fine, listen to early Geddy Lee, or Halford. Some vocalists take a while to get used to. However, Vidonne has suffered very much from three failed spinal fusions, to repair her spine from a car accident. If you knew the story, you would be shocked to know what kind of medical hell she’s been through. It’s very sad . . . Right now she’s getting ready for a massive abdominal surgery to correct an complication from an 11 hour spinal fusion done by one of the leading spinal surgeons in the United States. She’s going through hell. Anyway, there is a pretty good-sized Lordian Guard fan-base, and most of them are Warlord fans, but they don’t want me to stop Lordian Guard with the female vocals. I don’t know. I’m getting tired too. You know, I’m a college lecturer in Philosophy, I’m a father to a beautiful 7 year old girl - I want to be there as she grows up. I’ll always play music though . . . Lordian Guard, though, depends on how my wife recovers. It is kind of nice to be able to do something musical with your wife. She’s easy to work with in the studio, and although her natural voice is more of a renaissance style, I think she adapts well. And she loves metal, whether it’s Rhapsody, Kamelot, Nightwish, HammerFall, Fates Warning (Parallels is her favorite), and she loves Hall of the Mountain King (the old Savatage days). So, we never have an argument about what music to listen to. She even loves Greek Orthodox Byzantine liturgical music, renaissance, etc. Same as me. The other day she was playing Rebellion in Dreamland by Gamma Ray and I was like, that’s pretty cool. Anyway, I work with Jurgen Hegewald from Hellion Records because he is one of the best individuals I’ve met in the metal world. All the Lordian Guard material is available from Hellion Records. Just e mail them at Hellion-Juergen@gmx.de; Lordian Guard is in the underground scene, and I like working in the underground. You can be a little bit more creative in you songwriting - take more chances, if you know what I mean. And you’re not so big that you get so much fan mail that you can’t correspond with the fans. I get a lot of mail, but in many cases, I am able to correspond with certain fans numerous times, and I have been able to develop friendships with some of them, to the point where they even call me on the telephone to talk with me. So, in that sense I really like it because you can talk to them about the songs and the music . . .  

Will we ever see you live with Warlord? Do you have in mind to do any live shows? I think Wacken is the perfect place for re unions ’cause many people go there etc. What do you think?  

Listen, I’ve learned that anything is possible. I never thought of getting a fan base for Lordian Guard, I never thought that Warlord would ever do a project again, the first time I saw AC/DC open for Ronnie Montrose, I said, These guys will never make it. I said the same thing about Cheap Trick when they opened for KISS in 1976. So, anything is possible. We’re just going to take things step by step. I think that’s the best way.

That’s it! Sorry If I forced you to stay for a long time in front of your pc for this interview! I wish you the best for Warlord and For Lordian Guard. Give a message to the fans of Warlord around the world and that’s it!  

I just want to thank all the Warlord and Lordian Guard fans everywhere. I feel very grateful that there are people out there who are interested in listening to my music. And I can assure you that this new Warlord project will fulfill your expectations. It will be excellent, I promise. God bless you, and thank you Stathis for this interview. Good luck to you in all your endeavors, and give my best to all at Metal Temple.

Mark Zonder

Hello ThunderChild.. err Mark! How does it feel to be back with Warlord?

It feels great I am having a great time working on the songs.

Did you ever believe that Warlord will come back to life?  

I figured that sooner or later it might happen. It was one of those things that if it was going to happen, it would. Things do change over time.

How was your relationship with Bill and the other Warlord members after the end of Warlord?  

I still talk to Diane, but never talked to anyone else except Rick Cunningham would come an see Fates play when we were in Dallas.

I asked Bill but I’d like your answer too. Many people might say they do it only for money. What’s your answer to them.  

WHAT MONEY? We don’t even have a record deal.Warlord was never about the money. You don’t struggle and sacrifice the way we did for the money. But, if that is what someone wants to believe, so be it.

Will your cooperation with Warlord affect Fates Warning?


Warlord is a side project. It will not affect FW at all.

OK, can you compare your drum skills when you used to play with Warlord and your drum skills today? Of course you are a better drummer now but my question goes a little bit deeper. You used to play pretty technical with Warlord back then - in comparison with other Heavy Metal drummers - but with Fates Warning you play even more technical. Will you try to play more simple with Warlord?  

I will be playing what I feel fits the music.Warlord is different than Fates. Each band has a certain sound and a certain style that is required to give it its individual sound. Things have been coming very easy for the Warlord stuff. It has a certain feel and power structure to it. Also it is very song oriented and features a more traditional song structure with plenty of vocals.

What do you think of your past works with Warlord? What’s your opinion about them nowadays?  

When I listen back, somethings are a bit sloppy drum wise. I was not as mature of a player and sometimes it got a little crazed. But, I think that is what some people really liked about it.

Will you use your Warlord nickname again?  

I am not sure. Everyone knows our real names so it is really not a big deal either way.

Tell me your favorite Warlord tracks and which of them you’d like to play live.  

I know it sounds funny, but I like them all. I would love to play all of them live. Here are a few that comes to mind: Lucifer’s Hammer, Winter Tears, Child of the Damned.

Have you heard the Child Of The Damned cover by Hammerfall? What do you think of it?  

I heard it once and it sounded very good. Needless to say this is one of the reasons we wanted Joacim to sing. He proved he could do it.

Send a message to the fans of Warlord around the world! Thank you very much Mark! Not only for your answers but also because you and Bill will bring the legendary Warlord back to life! DELIVER US some good music guys. We need it! We cried a lot of Winter Tears but thank god we meet again! Oh, and if you ever decide to do a live album come in Greece will ya? We love you guys here. Warlord is a true legend.

To all of the fans, thanks for waiting around and we hope this will be the album you have all waited for. Thanks for all of your support.

Joacim Cans

How do you feel now that you have the chance to be a member of one of the most legendary metal bands of the 80’s?

Well, first and foremost I’m very proud and honored to be a member of one of my all-time favorite bands and to be able to work with two of my favorite musicians. When they asked me to join the band I was blown away. I’ve been, just like any other Warlord fan, waiting for a reunion for quite a while and never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be part of the return of the Warlord.

How did you react when they first come in touch with you?  

I still remember when I got the e-mail from William. It’s kind of a funny story cause we hadn’t talked for quite a while, more or less a year, and I sent him a mail just to tell him what was going on in my life and with HammerFall. The same day he was about to send me the proposal to join the band. I guess we could sense something on a higher level, and had to get in touch. I remember that I sat there with a stupid smile on my face when I read his mail over and over again. The decision was easy to make.  

I know that Warlord is one of your influences, did you ever believe that you’ll become their singer?

I used to play around with the thought when I was a kid, back in the early 80’s, what it would be like to sing with the band. I knew all the songs by heart and I used to scream them like a maniac in my bedroom. But I guess that was only a kid’s dream, just like a young soccer player want’s to be a pro. To answer your question: No, I never believed that I would be the chosen one.

Will your cooperation with Warlord affect Hammerfall?

No, not at all. HammerFall is, and will always be, my first priority. HammerFall took me to the position I’m at today and without HF I would never have met William and Mark.

Tell me your top 5 Warlord songs?

That’s a tough one: I guess I’ll pick 5 old songs, eventhou there/s some really strong new songs in progress.Child of the Damned, Lucifer’s Hammer, Deliver us…, Winter Tears, Lost and Lonely Days, etc.There are no weak songs recorded by Warlord ever, so I guess I cold go on putting all the songs here.

And which ones you’d like to sing live?

Child is a song that I love to sing live. On the first HammerFall tour we used to open the shows with that songs. Lucifer/s Hammer and Deliver us are two other songs I’d like to try out live.  

What do you think of the former Warlord singers?

I had very big problems when I was a kid to tell them apart. They all had something that I liked, but in the end the compositions were the strong side of Warlord together with Mark/s excellent drumming and William/s ability to make the guitar sing.Rick was my favorite Damien King. Just like Sean Connery is my favorite Bond :-)

Tell me a few things about Bill, how does it feel to work with one of your idols?

William is one of the nicest, most honest persons I’ve ever met. There are no evil bones in that body.I really look up to him when it comes to his way of dealing with life. In my opinion he is a true Templar of Steel. I worked with him already back in 1998 when we did the Legacy of Kings album, with a solo on At the End of the Rainbow. To work with him once again at a higher level feels great and I/m very anxious to enter the studio and give the world another masterpiece by Warlord.

You did a cover with Hammerfall on Child Of The Damned. Why didn’t you make the opening scream. Still after 4 years I wonder why.

I’m not a screamer and I have never been. My vocal character is not built to do these very high pitched screams, and if I can/t do it properly I just don/t do it. I just sang the song the way I should’ve done it if I sang it back in the 80’s.

Now a funny question. Is Oscar a little bit jealous? I mean he loves Warlord too right? He’d love to be a part of it too.

Why should he be jelous? Oscar and I are very close friends and we support each other in any decision we make. Indeed he loves Warlord, and this will give him the chance to get a brand new album after almost 20 years of waiting. He supports me in my decision of doing this project, because he knows that I will always stay true to HammerFall.  

This interview is not about Hammerfall but can you tell me only a few words about them? Do you work on something this period of time? A new album? A new video?  

At the moment we are have a nice little break from the festival season, that will end in August. A new album will most likely see the light of day the second half of 2002. We are working at the moment on a follow up to The First Crusade that hopefully will be out for Xmas or early next year. The rest of this year is devoted to write new songs for the 4:th album. We aim to enter the studio around March/April next year.

Thank you very much and be proud Joacim! You are now a part of Warlord a band that at least in Greece is one of the biggest Heavy Metal bands despite the fact that they have only a few releases and even fewer are available here . Send a message to the fans of Warlord around the world and that’s it!

Dear Warlord fans all over the world!It’s very hard to write something to you when I am one of you.The fact that I am now part of one of my favorite bands won/t change a thing, I am and I always will be a true fan of Warlord.Just stay true to yourselves and keep the flame burning for the Heavy Metal Revolution…which is stronger than all!



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