Annihilator – The Demented Check In Part 2Monday, 13th November 2017
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve always been as much a ‘fan’ of the metal genre as you are a musician. Who has been impressing you the most as far as recordings and live show presence – either in the old guard or of the new brigade of acts?
Waters: 99% of what I hear these days is old school- I know that’s a boring answer. When you are doing what I’m doing, you don’t get the time to listen to new music. I listen to Liquid Metal on Sirius XM, and unless it’s the old school guard or I am friends with the band at some level- Testament, Overkill, Exodus, their new records are killer. I barely listen to anything- I tour with other bands every summer. I go to Europe from May to August with Annihilator, and all those festivals I get to stand on the side of the stage to see everything from Accept to Slayer to AC/DC to Rammstein, Megadeth, Alice in Chains, Kreator, Destruction. Every band I can think of that I like, I get to stand on the side of the stage and hang out with, the last thing you want to do when you get home from that is crank music. Your whole life is music going on in your brain all the time.
I thought I found a really awesome new band- and then I found out they are an old band. Byzantine – I was on Facebook a few weeks ago, hit their Youtube video from the new album, it was very raw, real, it has all these different styles to it. Very talented, I cranked their whole new album- these guys are good. A friend laughed at me, they have been around for a long time. So now I am downloading their albums, I bought a shirt off one of the guys in the band as I want to wear it on the upcoming European tour.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ll be engaging in quite a blockbuster European tour with Testament and Death Angel to support the new record – what can the fans expect on this triple package?
Waters: First of all, I wish this type of package would be coming to the United States, but that’s another story. This is a tour straight out of the late 80’s for me. Brings me back to the first tour I ever did in the states- Testament on the Practice What You Preach album as we were supporting Alice In Hell. Over the years I’ve gotten to know both bands at festivals- Testament we have done festivals and boat cruise together, so we see each other almost every year. Eric (Peterson) and I got together and finally decided to tour together – they did one run to Europe and our album came out at the same time, but we usually do our own headlining run first. He gave us a special guest thing for this run, and that got all worked out – so we will do this tour, and then later on we will do another headlining run to support the new album. I found out Death Angel was going to be on this, I know it will be good. It’s like the second wave of thrash – right after that these bands came out. The next quick wave, a lot of great bands- we came at the end of the 80’s too, rather than the middle of that decade.
Dead Rhetoric: Would you say your views on success for Annihilator differ today than say the 80’s and 90’s?
Waters: It’s weird. My original goal at the beginning as a teenager when I started, 1984, was to write songs. Then to get a band together. Then I wanted a record deal, but I didn’t even know what a record deal was. I knew your music went on an album, but I didn’t know what was involved. Once this whole Alice in Hell album took off, which was the biggest selling independent album on an independent label for Roadrunner at the time– it was the biggest release for that year worldwide. We were thrown up from being starving and extremely sick and skinny from lack of food and money to being on these tours, Testament in the USA, Judas Priest on the Painkiller tour in Europe. My only thing was I finished that cycle and the manager called me into his office and said, ‘okay- let’s talk about the next record.’ It hit me then I had no goal beyond the first record- if it ended there, I think I would have been able to deal with it.
Since then it’s always been about getting to the next record and being able to have the fans, press, and label like it enough wherever people in the world will like it to sign us and want to see us. That’s the only goal I’ve ever had- I’ve done a whole list of things to prove I’m not doing this for the fame and attention, and money even. Image is not important, changing singers is not important, styles of metal and production- not sticking to one thing and getting the big financial backing from the label. I’ve shied away from these things and turned them down, because I’ve been able to stick to what I’ve wanted to do. I hit this perfect point where you can make a living at it, and still do whatever you want- the only thing is if I had that ego or drive to be bigger or better, more popular, or with more money, I’m definitely not doing it the right way.
Dead Rhetoric: Does it surprise you that your guitar playing has been an influence on not just metal artists but musicians within bands like Nickelback, 3 Doors Down, and H.I.M. as an example?
Waters: (laughs). That’s a little outside the realm of metal I guess, but yes I’ve been amazed to find out- especially a lot of American bands. I grew up liking 50-60 different guitar players and probably 70-80 different bands. Every one of them in some way influenced what I’m doing. After 2007 we toured with Trivium in Europe and I was amazed to hear stories from Corey (Beaulieu) and Matt (Heafy) around the time of their The Crusade record- they said that many of the riffs were influenced by our Never, Neverland album. Joey from Slipknot would tell me that when he was in high school, Alice in Hell and Never, Neverland were some of their favorite albums- and I would be in total shock that they had heard of me or the songs.
One of the highlights of my life was to go down to the Roadrunner United thing that they had in New York. It was where they brought back a lot of people associated with the label, Robb Flynn, Dino from Fear Factory- they put together songs and made an album, I was invited to do a guest solo. To make a long story short, I was very nervous as there were a lot of people there that I thought were awesome. Musicians from bands, I’m a Canadian up here who doesn’t socialize, and I’ve never met most of these guys, so they are probably going to wonder who I am.
I remember going into the artist room- a big room with coffee and catering. I looked over and saw these people: Slipknot, Anthrax, and I looked away. By the time I finished my coffee, I looked and there was lineup of US musicians telling me their stories about which albums and songs of mine they liked when they were younger. It was the turning point of my life in one aspect, where I realized that I did some good stuff. I got social after that and came out of my shell, so to speak.
Dead Rhetoric: What are the plans for Annihilator over the next year in support of the record?
Waters: Every time, every year, I say the same thing and it doesn’t happen – I’d like to tour the United States. We are doing the Testament tour in Europe, the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise, we’ve got another big tour, maybe two of them in 2018 with two awesome big bands that we would dream of going on tour with, and it looks like that’s going to happen. Summer festivals in 2018, I keep saying Europe- we will try like hell to get back to the states and do some more shows in Canada again.
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