does one do when you're the uncrowned metalking, touring the USA,
and have to do promotion for your upcomming cd? Exactly, you ask
the journalist in question to call you in your hotel-room. That
was how it came that I picked up the phone on a cold Thursday night
(remember, the time difference Europe-States is about eight hours)
for a phonecall to the Phoenix Hotel in San Fransisco for an interview
with guitarplayer Karl Logan.
You're currently touring the US with Immortal. Some people think
that it is strange to see Manowar touring with a Norwegian Black
Well, I think that it is okay. It's true that they are a different
band then us, but they're great guys. I don't mind to have bands
from a different genre to open for us. And on this tour we've been
attracting mixed crowds. There are Black/Death Metal-fans showing
up, there are Manowar fans showing up, so there's a lot of exposure
to people who might not have heard about the band. And Immortal
is a good group. Yesterday evening I saw their show for the first
time, and I was impressed by what they did. After all, it's still
metal. And what Immortal is doing is real. It's hard, it's metal.
There's no bullshit in their music. It's not made for the radio,
they play what they love. And I don't think that Metal-fans care
a lot about these genres. Metal-fans just want to go to a show,
drink beer, get their heads blown off and fuck a woman afterwards.
The new album is called Warriors Of The World.
Who are the warriors referred to in the title?
The warriors in the album's title are our fans who have not lost
faith in heavy metal and have been loyal to the band throughout
the years. And Manowar has the greatest fans in the world. Without
fans we would be nothing. Face it, radio and TV ignore us, they
think that we are too loud for them. That's fine, so fuck them.
Our fans, THOSE are the ones who keep us going. The album-title
is a tribute to them. We salute our fans, we salute the people we
are uniting through our music and concerts. Because everything we
do is done for the fans. Everything. What would a band be without
its fans? Without our fans you have nothing but empty seats and
a big ego.
Manowar cares more about its fans than any
other metalband I know. Why are your fans so important to you?
The people who buy the albums are our lifeblood. THEY are the ones
buying the records, THEY are going to our concerts, and THEY are
waiting at airports or at the exit of venues to shake our hands
and to get our autographs. I mean, yesterday this guy came up to
us. He had his back, all the way from his neck to the crack of his
ass, tattooed with the artwork of Kings Of Metal. Such dedication
of someone is unbelievable. To think that someone is dedicated enough
to the band that he wants to spend the rest of his life with our
image on his body is simply amazing. Those are the people we live
It's been a long while since you released
a studio-album. How does it feel to have a new album out?
It feels great. I has been a long time. After our last record we
toured for four years. We went to places we'd never been before,
we played large arena's and small clubs. We have remastered three
of the older albums, released two double live-cd's, compiled three
parts of the Hell On Earth DVD and a fourth DVD with our full show
of the Monsters Of Rock in Brazil, done with twelve camera's and
no cuts in between the songs. So it took a long time before we could
work on an album. It's not like we've been sitting on our asses
all time. Now that we're on the road again we hear from people who
say that they can't wait for our album, and nothing pleases us more.
We're on tour now, and we're playing the title-track each night
and people act like crazy when they hear it. They sing along to
the song. Either they got it from the internet or they ordered our
single from our website. The dedication of our fans is huge.
What do you think about the new album yourself?
I am extremely proud of it. It's a true Manowar CD. Lots of variety.
For every light there's a dark, for each defeat there's a victory.
We're not blowing people's heads off on each song, we also take
a step back and show the majestic side of the band. This album is
more than loud, it's also bright, dynamic and epic.
What I like most about it is the combination
of different aspects on this album. There's lots of variety.
Exactly! That's something we deliberately worked on. When we did
Triumph Of Steel we wrote a straightforward rock/metal album. This
time we took things in a different way, and wanted to show people
this rich side of the band. And we've heard people say it reminds
them of albums like Kings Of Metal or Into Glory ride. That's great.
Did it take you long to record this album?
No, on the contrary. This one came together very quickly, all in
all we spend less than a year and a half to write, record, mix and
master the CD. We recorded this CD in our own, new studio, and digital
technique made it a breeze. You know, in the past when you wanted
to try things out you had to physically adjust the music. You had
to rewind the track, play a certain part again and try how it sounds.
That took a lot of time. This time we could play a certain part,
put it in the computer, and edit it all we want. Composing music
suddenly became like writing a letter using a word-processor. If
we wanted to find out how a certain bit would sound if we shortened
it, we could just load the track and chop a bit off. This made us
record it really fast. The final mastering was done in the Galaxy
Studio, and that helped a lot too. I believe that this album is
the BEST sounding Manowar-CD to date.
Did you feel a lot of pressure when you worked
on this cd, because the previous one was released such a long time
No, because we never stopped working. After the last CD, fans were
asking us: 'when will you guys release a live-album?', because all
they had were shitty bootlegs. So we decided we wanted to make a
live-album. But because a single CD wouldn't be, we released a double-album.
After we released it, people asked why certain songs were missing.
They were right, it missed out on a lot of classics, so we had to
release another double live-album. After that people asked for a
live-video, so we put together the Hell On Earth DVDs. There has
been a lot going on. Only when the time was right could we begin
working on the new album.
What exctly is your relationship with The
Well, I personally had a fiance there for two years. She lived in
Rotterdam, and I spend a lot of time in that city. So I've been
in Holland quite a lot.
The Netherlands is a country whose Metal-scene
has always been dominated by more extreme kinds of metal, and a
lot of people here seem to hate Manowar. Our biggest heavy metal
magazine, Aardschok, seems to write a negative article for every
positive one. Don't you have a love/hate relationship with this
country by now?
Man, we have a love-hate relationship with EVERY country! Everywhere
we go people ask us 'why are you doing this, why are you doing that?'
But let me tell you, it is easy to take impressions and not look
any deeper. Take this new record: some people might say that it's
this same old Manowar again. But that's bullshit. There are (of
course) the typical Manowar-songs, but also very sensitive songs.
Songs that show the feminine side of this band. But people don't
look at those things, they look at the thing that first catches
their eye and base their judgment on it.
You guys get a lot of criticism for your image,
music and lyrics. Do bad reviews bother you?
No, not at all. We are Manowar, we don't live to please the critics.
We only care about the fans, and journalists don't mean a thing
to us. If the fans would, for example, write on their website that
they don't like something that we're doing, well, then we would
have a genuine reason to have a meeting with the rest of the band
to find out what we've been doing wrong. But the journalists who
write about us.. you know… if you'd ask me to write about some of
the bands that are around, I would murder them. I would fucking
slaughter them in my review. But it doesn't matter. When you're
creating your music as a musician, you're giving your interpretation
of life. You're describing your vision of the world. And once you
do that you're inevitably exposing yourself and making yourself
vulnerable. But you can't let the criticism get to you and let it
change you. That would be letting them win! Do you know how many
record companies have tried to change Manowar? About twenty! They
all said something like: "couldn't you play less heavy, less loud,
make a hitsingle etcetera?". And that's bullshit. We are Manowar,
we're not gonna fucking change! Some people don't realize that what
we are doing is real. It's real to us, it's real to our fans, and
THAT'S why we're not gonna change it. But some people don't want
to look any further than the obvious, and that's why they never
get to see the real side of us.
Back to the album. One of the most interesting
songs on the album is Nessun Dorma.
That song is a tribute to our fans in Italy. We played it on Gods
Of Metal a couple of years ago, and the response was overwhelming.
People were holding their lighteners and cell phones in the air,
male metal-fans were crying for joy. You know, Manowar has always
tried to be different from the rest. I know that a lot of bands
try to imitate what we are doing, and we recorded this track as
a challenge to the metal-world. It's a message to all these bands:
'dare to be different'. Anyway, the day after we played it live,
some fucker put the song on the internet. It was a crap bootleg,
it sounded awful. But our Italian fans wrote on our website, 'We
can't believe that you did it, we love the song, please put it on
your next CD.' So we said to each other: 'look, the fans ask for
it. We've got to record it.' So we did.
And what is the song about? I listened to
the song, the vocals are beautiful but I haven't got a clue what
the fuck Eric is singing about.
Hehehe, I understand. Well, the CD will have the English translation
in the liner notes. Nessun Dorma is a love-song. It's about a guy
who is so deeply in love with a girl that he's willing to do everything
for her. It's a very dramatic and emotional song.
That's not the kind of theme that you would
normally associate with Manowar.
That's right, but we're not out there to be predictable. We follow
our own ideals and this song seemed to fit in with the rest of the
material, especially because there are a lot of other epic songs
on the album. I don't know if Manowar could write a song like that
themselves, you would have to ask Joey that question. But as this
is a cover we decided that it's okay. We've always wanted to record
something classical, and perform it with style.
Manowar has indeed always been influenced
by classical music and opera.
That's true. I consider Wagner to be the granddad of heavy metal.
He was the first one to triple the orchestra and increase the emotions.
Classical music is very emotional, dynamic and powerful - exactly
the same thing that heavy metal is supposed to be. Heavy metal is
full of power and beauty, so is classical music. That's a comparison
you can't ignore. If Bach or Mozart would've been alive today, what
do you think they would have played? Why, heavy metal of course!
They would have wanted to utilize all the newest technology to push
their music even further and make it more powerful. And what's more
powerful than an amplified instrument? Nothing! Heavy metal and
classical music have more in common with eachother than some people
Another ear catcher is the song An American
Trilogy, a song that is most known for being one of Elvis' great
You know, we've always admired Elvis had this whole heavy metal
attitude years before the style was born. Everyone told him: do
not to play your guitar so loud, do not to shake your hips and do
not to make the girls scream during every concert. And Elvis had
the balls to stand up to that and, did those things anyway. This
particular song is really special. It's a song that he always saved
for the encores, because it was a really emotional song. The song
is divided in three parts. The first part 'Dixy' is the hymn to
the southern states, the second part 'Battle Hymn Of The Republic'
is a hymn to the northern states, and the last part is a hymn to
America. It's a very patriotic song, which by the way isn't the
same as nationalistic. It deals with people who are fighting in
various wars, real men who are dying for what they believe in.
Was your choice for this song perhaps inspired
by the 9/11 attacks?
Actually, no. We wanted to record these songs for years, but it
never seemed to fit the concept of the CDs. This time it did. However
there is one other song on the new CD that IS dedicated to the victims,
heroes and survivors of the 9/11 attacks. That song is called Fight
For Freedom. It was actually written before the attacks, but when
we watched the plains crashing down we knew that we HAD to dedicate
this song to those people.
Heavy metal is on the rise, especially here
in Europe. A lot of new bands are feeling influenced by Manowar.
What does Manowar think of this, and what would you say to these
Well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And I'm not saying
that to be cocky: it's nice to know that people are influenced by
the things that we do. I mean, there are quite a few guitar players
from the 70s and the 80s that I feel influenced by, and I wouldn't
be surprised if they felt flattered if they knew that I feel inspired
by them. There's one thing that I'm a bit worried about, though.
I like it when young bands appreciate us, but I hope that they won't
just copy us. That wouldn't work well for them, because the audience
isn't stupid and knows when they hear a rip-off. And no matter what
happens, Manowar will always be one step ahead of everything else.
So I would advise young bands: listen to our music, let it inspire
you, and then try to do your own thing.
Do you listen to a lot of the new bands yourself?
I've got to be honest with you: no, not really. Most of the stuff
that I hear are CDs that people give to me, and the bands that we
play with. You know, when you've just rocked the crowd and have
been playing in front of an entire row of speakers that are all
blowing 120 decibels into your ears, then the last thing you want
to hear is a Heavy Metal CD. I mainly listen to soundtracks and
classical music. A lot of contemporary artists too. Good music,
that you wouldn't usually hear on the radio. I try to avoid listening
to other metalbands when we are writing a record, because it distracts
me from creating my own, original music.
The American Metal-scene is currently dominated
by shit like Deftones, Limp Bizkit and Slipknot. What do you think
of the movement of this so-called nu-Metal?
I resent it. I like many different styles of music, but the thing
that I hate most is rap and hip hop. The worst thing that any band
could do is mix those things with Heavy Metal, that's completely
horrible. Adding Rap to Rock is like taking the most beautiful girl
you've ever seen to a plastic surgeon, and ask him to put a penis
on her. I don't even call those bands metal, that's an insult to
everybody who works with this music. It's a downright shame, that
some people are confusing that shit with metal. The only reason
I could figure out why people would call those bands metal is because
there are teenage journalists who have never heard REAL metal before.
I consider it an insult to us and our fans. It's degrading.
What does Heavy Metal mean to you?
It is about being authentic. You know, before you had MTV there
were bands like Led Zeppelin and Alice Cooper. They were making
a statement with their music. That statement didn't last for four
or five minutes. No, that statement lasted for 45 minutes. It was
a work of art. Nowadays you have bands writing their music and wondering
'is this short enough to be plaid on the radio? Should we throw
in more raps or hiphop-beats?' That's not Metal! Metal is about
believing in yourself, and taking people along in the world you
Okay. This brings me to my last question.
In 1988, Manowar released the album Kings Of Metal. It's 2002 now.
The world has changed, heavy metal has changed. Band come and go,
but Manowar is still here. Are Manowar still the Kings Of Metal?
Let me put it this way... that is up to the fans to say. Kings Of
Metal is a title that the fans gave to us. People came up to the
band and said 'guys, you are the true kings of Metal'. So it's not
a title that Manowar slapped onto itself, that would be arrogant.
But years have passed, and people are still telling us that we are
their kings of Metal. Some people come up to me after the show and
say Karl, you're true king of Metal. They do that, despite that
they know I didn't even play on that record. That's flattering,
they hail me as the same king that Ross was. So, as long as the
fans think so, Manowar will be the one and only Metal Kings.