Translation of an article by Sergi Ramos in The Metal Circus, Spain
Translation by Manowarrior Lorena Yusta
Joey DeMaio talks about the MANOWAR show at Rock Fest Barcelona 2021 and the future of the band
Seven years will have passed since their last show in Spain, when the legendary North American band MANOWAR return to Spain in July 2021 for an exclusive show in our country.
Seven years in which MANOWAR have suffered multiple changes in their lineup but have also kept on preaching to their followers; an undisputed fan army known, especially in Europe, as one of the most devoted. Seven years in which there has been not so many news on the musical front, except The Final Battle EP, released last year, that may imply two more parts in the future.
But MANOWAR did not stop: They kept on touring and will bring in 2021 the 40th Anniversary Tour, celebrating once more the history of one of the most orthodox and unique bands of classic heavy metal. That metal that is almost gone, except for the true classics. Whimps and posers, leave the hall!
MANOWAR resist to fly away from their music style and their fans, indeed, celebrate it. If heavy metal is a religion, MANOWAR are archbishops.
“MANOWAR are a unique band; we do not play every country every year, we are not the McDonalds of Heavy Metal”, explains the band leader and bassist, Joey DeMaio in an exclusive interview with TheMetal Circus. “When we play it is an event that brings the strongest and best fans from all over the world to the place we play to meet with the greatest fans in that country.”
“We are the band that started Rock Fest Barcelona and it is time to return bigger and stronger than ever.
I can assure you the Spanish Manowarriors will once again show the whole world their power as the most important part of an epic show!”, emphasizes DeMaio. Never scarce in spreading his message, the bass player has accepted a last minute interview in order to underline that this is not just a regular chance.
“Rock Fest Barcelona is our only scheduled performance in Spain”, he replies when asked if this will be a unique show in Europe. “The set list will be a mix of fan favorites but also include songs that the fans will vote for on the internet”, he explains.
This has not been a smooth sailing. Last year, in 2019, DeMaio uploaded a popular video calling the promoters to “have the balls” to book the band. Fans were screaming out loud for the return of MANOWAR after a long absence and finally Rock Fest Barcelona has reached the miracle.
“Rock Fest Barcelona is one of the most important festivals, not only in Spain but also in the world. They know metal and they know what the fans love”, he explains. And points out: “They have the ability and are prepared to meet the very high quality standards of MANOWAR so the fans get the very best.”.
Within these standards, the band includes the technical requirements for the special stage set of MANOWAR. “We’re bringing a massive stage set”, explains the bass player. “The set is part of an overall concept; we have physical props, massive high-resolution video screens with complex animations, and we have Viking reenactors, to name just a few of the components. All this supports the music and the lyrics and will transport you into the MANOWAR KINGDOM OF STEEL”.
A special country for MANOWAR
The band has already played 47 times on Spanish ground. From headlining great festivals to promotional shows on small venues like El Sol, in Madrid. Recently their visits have been more rare, like it often happens with all great bands, but MANOWAR still think that “Spain is and always has been a great and amazing place not just a good place” for them. “The Spanish Manowarriors are the greatest, strongest and most loyal fans”, he assures. “I have nothing but great memories, I truly can’t single one out and I can’t wait to return to create more next year!”
With a 40th anniversary tour on the table, MANOWAR shows keep on being as powerful as could be expected, especially since guitar player E.V. Martel and veteran drummer Anders Johansson joined the band. It has recovered the energy on live shows and in Joey’s words “MANOWAR is bigger and more popular than ever. That means more trucks, busses, speakers, lights, sound, people and on and on.” he points out. “So, naturally there is more work to do just getting on stage to play. That requires years of planning before touring. The days are longer with more to do in all areas, but it is a blessing to have to deal with these things. I am living a dream that I had at 10 years old. It’s all worth it for the time on stage, to see the power and joy on the faces of our fans.”
Even when the number of festivals all around the world doesn’t stop increasing, MANOWAR play less and less in this kind of macro events, chosing carefully where to perform. Serious controversies have shown up in this regard recently, but the band sees this point very clear: “Festivals are a chance for bands to look and sound like shit. When that happens, the fans get fucked and I will not allow that to happen under any conditions. Small festivals usually have lots of heart and hope from the organizers but are sometimes understaffed and underfunded, so that can cause safety concerns and other issues, all of which can make not only for a bad experience for the fans but danger as well. We have all read about stages collapsing etc.
So naturally, we have to be very selective of where we play and who we work with to protect the fans”, says the bass player.
No lack of projects
The band is full of projects even though they haven’t released a new complete studio album with original footage since “The Lord Of Steel” back in 2012. But this doesn’t mean they are not working.
“We are currently completing a DVD and Blu-ray of our first-ever show in Mexico with an amazing 8k video production,”, reveals DeMaio. “We’re in the studio recording songs for the next EP, The Final Battle II and we are already preparing the massive production for our 40th anniversary tour that will kick off in spring 2021!”
The band has gone down a nostalgic path with the first pictorial book – “The Blood Of The Kings Vol I” which narrates the story of the band through various memories and documents, as well as texts and explanations to add context. “I have personally curated every single photo used in that book. I literally went through thousands and thousands of photos and slides. It was great fun to go through our archives and be reminded of so many incredible moments. In addition to rare photos our vaults also contain audio and video recordings of most of our shows, amazing gifts we received from our fans over the years like drawings, flags, and so many other things.” DeMaio already let us know there will be a second part. “Can’t wait to get back to this project for Volume II of our history!”
Already in 2005, prior to the almighty show on Earthshaker Festival in Germany, the band organized a mega fan convention with different expos about the band’s history. DeMaio assures that “our vaults burst of material and each item triggers so many memories and stories.”
“I’ll admit, it wasn’t easy to make the selection because so many other items had to be left out.”
The book includes memories of so many MANOWAR family members that have passed away. “Seeing photos of many of our fallen brothers, the unforgettable Scott Columbus, equipment builder and Chief Technician John “Dawk” Stillwell, our Head Of Security for many years, Dan Lee and the late, great Ronnie James Dio, to name just a few. We miss them all but will never forget them!”
The fact that MANOWAR keep on living in their own parallel universe, different from the rest of the bands, is well known. “We are focused on our music and our fans”, says DeMaio. “To be quite honest, I don’t care what other bands are doing.”
In a recent post on the band’s website, an old artice from the magazine Hit Parader was published, in which the bass player explained that “You either totally love us or totally hate us”. There is no middle ground with MANOWAR and this almost religious polarization is the basis of their longevity.
“This is and always will be true”, says Joey. “To me, a strong opinion that someone stands by shows character and integrity, so I prefer hate over ass kissers. The only thing that truly matters is that the fans see, feel and know that the band have given them our best in the process.”
Despite an attemp of farewell, now the band is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and truth be told, it hard to imagine Joey DeMaio and Eric Adams doing anything else than being on stage for the next years. Can Joey imagine a 50th MANOWAR anniversary tour? If Judas Priest and Scorpions can…
“No one can say what the future will bring”, he predicts. “nor can we relive the past. I only know we are here now, and we are ready and willing and when this next tour starts we will once again kick ass all over the world!”
Even in such a complex context as the one we live in.
“Nobody would of course ever ask or want a worldwide crisis, but these challenging times are what bring out the best in all of us and make us stronger as individuals and the whole of the human race. We all have to focus on the things in our control”, concludes the bass player in a message with a look of hope into the future.
All photos: Foto: Sebastian Konopka (c) Magic Circle Entertainment