MusicMight





In Association with Amazon.com
Musicians | Biography | Discography | Links

MANOWAR

Current Members

Past Members

Live Session Members

Biography

Barbarian bedecked MANOWAR is noted for being amongst the pinnacle of true unwavering out and out Heavy Metal bands. Over a lengthy career MANOWAR, having held the Guinness Book of World Records honour of "World's loudest band" being captured at a mind numbing 129.5 dB, have steadfastly refused to compromise and as such have built up a staunch fanbase. Bassist and band leader Joey DeMaio had first had a stab at creating a Metal band when he formed a power trio with ex-ELF vocalist / guitarist David Feinstein and drummer Carl Canedy dubbed DAVID FEINSTEIN'S THUNDER. This formative band contributed a track, 'Slippin' And Slidin'', to a BUDDY HOLLY tribute EP but in spite of achieving a heavy sound the triumvirate could not gel and Feinstein and Canedy quickly assembled THE RODS whilst DeMaio worked with Ronnie James Dio in ELF.

MANOWAR was founded when De Maio was working as a stagehand to BLACK SABBATH. French act SHAKIN' STREET was the support band for the UK tour and, at the Newcastle upon Tyne City Hall concert on May 18th 1980, DeMaio struck up a strong alliance with their American guitarist Ross 'The Boss' Friedman, a fellow New Yorker whose other credentials included noted Punk Metal act THE DICTATORS and New Yorkers LYRE. With so much in common, upon their return to the States the pair jammed together and immediately set the wheels in motion to piece together the ideal Metal band, an idea that had originally been formulated backstage at the BLACK SABBATH show at Newcastle City Hall. Adding ex-THE KIDS and HARLEQUIN vocalist Eric Adams (real name Louis Marullo) and finally drummer Karl Kennedy, MANOWAR was born.

After recording a crude demo tape at Vision Studios in Auburn for a mere $250, comprising two songs 'Battle Hymn' and 'Shellshock', produced by THE RODS drummer Carl Canedy, MANOWAR was, nevertheless, able to attract label attention from EMI America. The company gave the quartet the opportunity to record a better quality demo and soon signed the group.

Whilst recording their debut album 'Battle Hymns' with new drummer Donnie Hamzik, MANOWAR also gained backing from Bill Aucoin at Aucoin Management. Aucoin had been greatly instrumental in putting KISS on the map back in the 70's.

Crafted in Florida, 'Battle Hymns' featured none other than the legendary Orson Welles appearing in a narrator's role on the track 'Dark Avenger'. Ambitiously, and successfully it must be added, De Maio re-sculpted Rossini's 'William Tell Overture' into a bass solo piece 'William's Tale'. Triggered by the roar of motorbike engines, 'Battle Hymns' aspirations. Launched upon the masses in August 1982, were dampened by a less than flattering production, this sonic undervaluing unfortunately thwarting Manowar's initial attempt to impress upon the world. The album's release prompted a wave of hype surrounding the group, their macho image and belief in 'true Heavy Metal', a form of music the group passionately described as being the most glorious form of music in the world. It wasn't enough to save them from being unceremoniously dropped from EMI America's roster and also parting company with Aucoin when a new deal wasn't immediately forthcoming. The loss of the EMI America deal prevented MANOWAR from making a planned appearance at the Reading Festival in Britain during August 1982.

Drummer Hamzik was dispensed with in early 1983 and MANOWAR unveiled the new man behind the skins, Scott Columbus, at two gigs in New York opened by VIRGIN STEELE. The shows marked the band's first live appearances in their home city, although the quartet had previously played headlining gigs in Chicago and a short tour in the South East opening for TED NUGENT.

Taking monies owed to them by EMI America for breach of contract, MANOWAR retreated upstate and recorded a brand new album 'Into Glory Ride', their first with Scott Columbus. The drummer had reportedly been discovered by a female fan of the band beating aluminium in a local foundry.

By the Summer of 1983 MANOWAR had inked a new deal (in blood!) with Jonny Zazula's Megaforce label. The 'Into Glory Ride' album appeared around the same time as a second recording with Orson Welles, 'Defender', materialized on a 12" single release backed with 'Gloves Of Metal'. Welles had recorded this piece at the same time as 'Dark Avenger', but the song had not made the 'Battle Hymns' album. The record closed in bombastic with the eight and a half minute stage favourite 'March For Revenge (By The Soldiers Of Death)'.

During early 1984 MANOWAR issued the 'Hail To England' album, a record titled as a tribute to their British fanbase. Recorded in 12 days and costing an estimated $20,000 in Toronto's Phase One Studios, the Jack Richardson produced album included Joey DeMaio's legendary 'Black Arrows' Piccolo bass solo and the St. Mary's Cathedral choir gracing the title track.

The group finally debuted in Britain during March 1984 with a brace of shows and by June the quartet announced that they had signed to Virgin's Ten Records and intended to record with Jack Richardson again to create an album tentatively titled 'Sign Of The Hammer'.

The album was released in September and preceded with the aptly anthemic 'All Men Play On 10' single as the New York outfit announced further British and European dates for October the same year. 'Sign Of The Hammer' showed signs of growth in subject matter beyond the realms of fantasy as 'Guyana (Cult Of The Damned)' tackled the Jonestown massacre whilst 'Mountains' drew from the Vietnam conflict.

However, 1986 had the band maintaining a low profile as MANOWAR split away from their record label. Following a support jaunt to Europe during Easter opening for MOTÖRHEAD in Europe as part of the 'Easter Metal Blast' festivals it was announced that MANOWAR had inked a deal with major label Atlantic Records.

Pre-production was handled by Eddie Kramer but come final recording the band were to produce themselves. The resulting album 'Fighting The World', released in March 1987, gave MANOWAR access to the necessary studio time and budget in which to truly capture their awesome sound. Live work in the USA that Autumn saw German band VICTORY as support act.

Atlantic Records put out 'Kings Of Metal' in 1988, this album a significant marker in the band's career by first brandishing the clarion call of "Other bands play, Manowar kills". Once again DeMaio demonstrated his bass skills with Rimsky-Korsakov's 'Flight Of The Bumblebee' re-branded 'Sting Of The Bumblebee'. On the eve of the release of 'Kings Of Metal' album in 1988, MANOWAR were hit with the inconceivable as Ross the Boss quit, the guitarist quickly announcing a liaison with his ex-THE DICTATORS colleague Dick Manitoba in his new act WILD KINGDOM. He would then put THE PACK together in 1989 with vocalist Frank Vestry, bassist Ronnie G., keyboard player Larry Soc and drummer Rich Fazio before recording an album with HEYDAY.

MANOWAR added Chicago-ite Dave 'The Death Dealer' Shankle to the group almost immediately, having met the guitarist whilst recording the new album at Universal Recording Studios.

September 1989 brought with it the announcement that Scott Columbus had been forced to quit the group due to personal business away from the group, but he was back at the tubs for a European trek in December. However, MANOWAR would ultimately replace Scott with the enigmatic Rhino, whose first act as a member of the band would be to torch his own drum kit after the outgoing Columbus presented him with a new set! The band's standing in Europe would be confirmed in 1992 when 'The Triumph Of Steel' album landed on the German national chart at no. 8. If anyone ever doubted the band's commitment to the cause, 'The Triumph Of Steel' brazen opener, the staggering, 28 minute 'Achilles, Agony, and Ecstasy in Eight Parts', soon put paid to any such concerns. Touring across Europe throughout October and November would see British Folk Metal band SKYCLAD as support.

Karl Logan was drafted into the ranks during the summer of 1994 as Shankle opted out to create his own DAVE SHANKLE GROUP.

The band scored again in Germany during 1996 with the 'Louder Than Hell' opus reaching no.7 in the charts. MANOWAR visited Brazil in November 1996 before touring Europe once more during April 1997, culminating in a massive show at the Forest National in Brussels, a 7'000 or so capacity venue. The shows were being filmed and recorded for a live album and video. Universal Records picked up the double concert album 'Hell On Wheels'.

The group's standing in Europe was at an unprecedented high. Fortune truly had favoured the brave and the group found itself not only with an enviable redoubt of hardened and resolute fan support but also elevated to the echelons of the revered in the new power metal stakes. Previously mocked, MANOWAR now basked in the vocal appreciation of the bands forming up the European power metal wave. Ignoring convention as was their tradition, MANOWAR capitalised the live 'Hell On Wheels' with another twin blast of concert recordings with 'Hell On Stage'.

For this outing the band signed to the aggressive Nuclear Blast label, this partnership undoubtedly taking MANOWAR to new heights. 'Hell On Stage' exceeded all expectations in Germany when it went on to sell in excess of 40'000 copies on the first day of release. The DVD format would later break into the national top ten.

During 2001 German Metal band POWERGOD would cover 'Kill With Power' on their 'Bleed For The Gods' album. MANOWAR themselves would break their silence in April of 2002 with a new single 'Warriors Of The World United'. This single would not only enter the German national charts high but rise over the next two weeks to number 15- the highest chart placing ever for a Nuclear Blast act, selling over 80'000 copies in the process.

The band also pleased their fanbase by announcing a North American 'Gods Of War' tour. Initial dates saw HAVOCHATE and USURPER as support with Norwegian Black Metal act IMMORTAL and American Death Metal unit CATASTROPHIC added for a second leg. Select supports also came from Chicago's BLUDGEON, a Thrash Metal act signed to MANOWAR's own newly founded Magic Circle Music label.

'Warriors Of The World' would prove to be the most bombastic MANOWAR release to date. Included would be a grandiose interpretation of the Puccini Opera standard 'Nessun Dorma' alongside a patriotic 'An American Trilogy', an amalgam of U.S. Civil War anthems and the band's 25th anniversary homage to none other than ELVIS PRESLEY. Japanese versions of the 'Warriors Of The World' album came complete with an extra track, a live version of 'Kill With Power'.

The advent of the album would prompt near hysteria in Germany, with 'Warriors Of The World' at one stage outselling EMINEM's latest release and being tipped for no. 1 album status. The record eventually bowed in at a highly respectable number 2 position. The band put in an in store performance with a difference at the Saturn record branch in Hamburg, foregoing the usual acoustic or playback norm and blasting the audience with a full P.A. powered live set. Another first for the band, and one which amply displayed their determination to deliver only true Metal, was an appearance on the British Pop TV show 'Top Of The Pops'. MANOWAR naturally insisted on playing live! The resurgence of interest in MANOWAR would be confirmed when the band's 1992 album 'The Triumph Of Steel' was certified gold in Germany for sales in excess of 250,000 copies.

The band would capitalise on their recent success by releasing a double A side single of 'An American Trilogy' / 'The Fight For Freedom' on August 19th, the 25th anniversary of ELVIS PRESLEY's death. The single not only put the band back into the national charts in Germany but re-invigourated album sales, pushing 'Warriors Of The World' back into the upper reaches of the album chart. An extensive tour of major German venues would be scheduled for December.

A third single from 'Warriors Of The World' in 'Call To Arms' would add brand new studio tracks 'The Dawn Of Battle' and 'I Believe'. It too entered the national German singles charts, debuting at no. 44, pushing 'Warriors Of The World' back into the album charts for a second time. Shortly after the album landed a gold sales award in the territory for sales in excess of 150'000 copies. It would also be revealed that Joey De Maio had become manager of leading Italian Symphonic Metal band RHAPSODY.

In August 2004 MANOWAR revealed they had split from Nuclear Blast Records. Fans received a pleasant, though rather bizarre, surprise in November when it was learned that anyone buying more than $150.00 worth of merchandise from the band's official webstore was to receive a complimentary MANOWAR chocolate fudge ingot.

MANOWAR's return in 2005 would be marked by US dates in North America as a touring partnership with RHAPSODY. The band then announced an appearance at the Rainer Hansel promoted 'Earthshaker Fest' held in July at Geiselwind, Germany. Not only would the band debut their new single but the event also signalled the first MANOWAR Mega Fan Convention, organised by World Wide Web Warriors, the band's 230,000-strong fan club. The event took on more epic proportions when it was announced that former band members Ross the Boss, David Shankle, Rhino and Donnie Hamzik had all been invited to perform. Actor Christopher Lee would narrate the original parts recorded by Orson Welles for the songs 'Dark Avenger' and 'Defender' live on stage whilst the group would also be backed by a 100 piece choir and full orchestra. Naturally, the monumental scale of the proceedings would be captured on film for future release. As if that was not enough, one lucky MANOWAR fand would win a custom made chopper to be presented on stage. MANOWAR would also confirm a headline show at the 'Masters of Rock' festival on 16th July in Vizovice, Czech Republic.

The band teamed up with RHAPSODY and HOLYHELL for US dates commencing 2nd June in Cleveland, Ohio. This same combination of road partners made an announcement that they were to accompany MANOWAR on the 'Demons, Dragons And Warriors' tour into Europe in the Spring of 2006, backed by a new single 'The Sons Of Odin'. However, Karl Logan was sustained severe injuries to his left arm in a motorbike accident on 24th January, putting plans on hold.

Meantime, former MANOWAR guitarist Ross the Boss was announced as performing a set of "early MANOWAR" backed by tribute band MEN OF WAR, at the 'Keep It True VI' festival on 8th April at the Tauberfrankenhalle in Lauda-Königshofen. The DVD 'Live At Earthshaker Fest 2005' emerged in November. The album 'Gods Of War' charted in both Greece and Germany at number 2, also scoring high positions in Austria, Finland, Sweden and Norway.

MANOWAR's continental European dates were re-scheduled for March 2007, still retaining RHAPSODY and HOLYHELL as opening acts. The band set up a unique event for the April 4th 'March Metal Day' festival, taking place at the Fencing Olympic Complex at Hellinicon in Athens, Greece, by announcing they were to perform a song in Greek. Fans were asked to vote for their favourite song online.

The 'Magic Circle Festival Volume II' DVD, issued on 27th November 2008, featured two discs packed with previously unseen footage of songs from the first six MANOWAR albums and included the first-ever live performance of the epic 'The Crown And The Ring'. It also hosted live festival performances by HOLYHELL, METALFORCE, JACK STARR'S BURNING STAR, TITANIUM BLACK and K.O.B.U.S.

In a surprise move it was revealed in April 2009 that MANOWAR's original drummer, Donnie Hamzik, had rejoined the band.The group's 'Death To Infidels' tour saw headliners at 'Provinssirock' in Seinajoki, Finland on 13th June, 'Hellfest' in Clisson, France on 21st June, the 'Metalway' festival in Zaragoza, Spain on 27th June, the 'B'estfest Aftershock' in Bucharest, Romania on 5th July, and the 'Norway Rock' festival in Kvindesal on 10th July.

The world premiere of the fantasy collaboration, based on the Norse god of thunder Thor, between MANOWAR and Wolfgang Hohlbein entitled 'The Asgard Saga' was conducted at the 'Magic Circle Festival III' held at the Loreley on the Rhine River in Germany on 18th July 2009.

An EP, 'An EP, 'Thunder In The Sky', hosted two discs with the second CD featuring the song 'Father' sung in multiple language versions including German, Italian, Romanian, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Norwegian, Spanish, French, Greek, Turkish, Polish, Japanese, Croatian, Portuguese and Finnish.

Copyright Musicdetector Websites 2009