DeMaio – Irish Manowar gigs ‘fantastic value for money’
Manowar are on the road back to Ireland for the first time in over twenty years.
The group are legends in their own right and have a divisive power rivalled by no other band of their era – provoking fanatical devotion or total cringing depending on what metal fan you might happen to ask.
Unrepentant in regards to leather, chains and spikes, their more recent forays into symphonic bombast may not be to the critics’ taste, but it hasn’t stopped the growth of their legions of fans worldwide. Theirs is fanbase that’s renowned for its passion and dedication, and the group have a reputation that far proceeds them.
One thing that can’t be denied is the power of their massive 1981 debut album, ‘Battle Hymns’, the record that started it all and which will be performed in it’s entirety in November. The group recently took the decision to re-record that record, hence the naming of the tour in its honour and the performance of the whole album.
Add to that the uncompromising showmanship of the group, as well as the comparative intimacy of the venues they’ll be playing, and you have a recipe for a what the band would term a night of total hell on Earth.
Metalireland grabbed a few minutes with Manowar bassist and figurehead Joey DeMaio to get his thoughts on the upcoming dates in Dublin and Belfast.
After the usual small talk, we thought it was important to ask him about what’s really on people’s lips – nope, not the set list.
We respect Joey DeMaio, and we respect Manowar. They’re idols of metal and no doubt about it.
At anywhere north of €50 for even the cheapest gig ticket though, fans’ eyes have been watering at what it’s costing to get to see the band. Is it really right for the music of rebellion? One can but ask.
MI – Hi Joey, thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
J – No problem man.
MI – How is preparation for the Battle Hymns 2011 tour going?
J – It’s going really good. We’re all ready to kick some ass and bring the fucking roof down on the place. It’s been a long time since we got back to the UK and Ireland. We specifically promised that we’d make it back, so here we are, ready to go over.
MI – This particular tour run in November is part of the Battle Hymns tour, where we can expect the entire of your classic debut album to be performed. What can fans expect?
J – We’re just going to lift the roof on the place, that’s the plan. We’re working with the same promoter that we worked with in Ireland way back in 1987, Dennis Desmond, who’s a good guy, so we’re happy to be back over. (In regards to the album having such a legacy) I don’t really know what the younger Joey Demaio would have thought about the album written almost three decades ago, I guess he would have hoped that it would have been successful and remembered. But we’re really all about the tour now and ready to kick some ass.
MI – Talk me through the decision to make the re-recorded version of Battle Hymns. Surely some people must have been cautious about the decision to re-record such a classic album?
J – To be honest, we’ve just got a really great response to it. It’s been received in a very good way, and people are just thrilled to hear this great record being played in such a strong way. That’s alI I want to say about that, this interview is really about the tour we’re doing.
MI – You’re doing two dates in Ireland, one in Dublin at the Academy and one in Belfast at the Mandella Hall. As you drive up the motorway from Dublin to Belfast, you’ll actually pass a small village in north Dublin that’s called Manowar. Have you ever come across another place that shares the name of the group you’ve been apart of for so long?
J – I never have. That’s very cool indeed, and I didn’t know that.
MI – Would you be tempted to get out and have a look around?
J – Maybe, if we had the chance and the time.
MI – On this tour, you’re playing slightly more intimate venues than the big arena shows that many people will have previously seen you at. What’s it like bringing it down to a more intimate level with the audience? Do you enjoy the buzz of it?
J – Yes, but I enjoy all types of show, big or small, I just want to get out there and rock and it doesn’t really matter to me the size of the venue, but a small place is cool. We particularly
MI – Manowar regularly rank up there as one of the classic metal bands, but is there any other bands out there at the moment that you really like to listen to? Any other metal bands that you yourself put on to enjoy?
J – To be honest, I don’t really comment on other bands. Things get around and it’s not really worth it, because we’re all about just one single band, and that’s Manowar. We’ve poured our blood and heart into this group so that’s what we’re concentrating on.
MI – That being said, you’re represented by the Magic Circle record label, which has it’s own group of bands. Do you have anyone in particular on the label that people should be watching out for in the near future?
J – Yes we do, there’s a band by the name of Holy Hell, which is a female fronted metal band with a sort of superstar line-up. I think people should watch out for that group.
MI – As you may well know, Ireland has been heavily hit economically at the moment, with a recession in full swing, and with people losing their jobs and having less money to spend on things like music. It’s a hefty price for a show here, converting to about $77. What can people expect for what’s quite a big price to pay for a show?
J – Well first off I think it’s a very low price, and it represents an extremely great deal. We’ve been assured by the promoter that this is a price in line with the other big bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica, so I do believe that it represents fantastic value for money.
I really think people who come are going to have their faces melted, and they’ll get their moneys worth. I think I’m just about done and out of time here, so I’d like to thank you for taking the time to interview me.
MI – No problem Joey, see you at the Academy in Dublin in November.
J – Take it easy brother.
Maybe it is in line with Metallica and Iron Maiden. But are Manowar?
Then again, a legion of Irish fans have lapped up the chance to see the band in what are intimate venues, at least as far as typical gigs by the Kings Of Metal are concerned. Dublin has sold out. So it seems that many think the price is fair enough.
Still, if this is the way classic metal is going, then the questions need asked.
Manowar play The Academy in Dublin on November 9th and the Mandela Hall in Belfast on November 10th.
- Interview by Lorcan Archer ::: 20/10/11