In 2010, Manowar bassist and bandleader Joey DeMaio decided to re-record the band’s 1982 debut Battle Hymns. Then in 2014, he re-recorded the band’s 1988 release Kings of Metal. Now, founding guitarist Ross “Ross the Boss” Friedman has come out calling Joey a “tyrant” and dunking on him for trying to remake those classics.
“It is obviously an iconic record that has pretty much started power metal. We pretty much put power metal on the map with that record. ‘Cause there really wasn’t power metal before that. I mean, [Ronnie James] Dio did some things amazingly, and Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, of course, but I think ‘Battle Hymns’ was the first real, true power metal record. That was my baby.”
Asked if there are any plans to reissue “Battle Hymns” for its 40th anniversary, Ross said: “That record has been reissued so many times. I was asked to leave Manowar in 1988, right after the release of ‘Kings Of Metal’. And [Joey] has repackaged everything up so many times… He re-recorded ‘Battle Hymns’; he re-recorded ‘Kings Of Metal’. Both suck. ‘Cause you can’t re-record a record; you can’t redo it. It’s like Twisted Sister redoing ‘Stay Hungry’; you just can’t do it. Especially, he did it without me. I mean, I could see if he had the original lineup playing ‘Battle Hymns’ and the original lineup playing ‘Kings Of Metal’, with just [drummer] Donnie [Hamzik] instead of Scott [Columbus]; Scott’s not with us no more. But without me? And you tune down those songs. They were written in standard pitch. And then Manowar’s tuning ’em down for [singer] Eric [Adams]. Those songs lose all their energy. No. Nah nah nah nah nah nah. You’ve gotta leave genius alone, leave greatness alone. They’re untouchable.”
As for the chances of a Manowar reunion tour, Ross put them to rest:
“You wouldn’t say that I don’t have a good relationship with my old partner, but it’s just not there. I’m not saying things can’t magically patch up. But [Joey] doesn’t want any part of me telling him what he should be doing. And it’s okay. I’m happy with my band, I’m happy with Death Dealer, I’m happy with the Dictators. Hopefully I’m gonna be very, very busy. I don’t have to be in a band with a tyrant.”
Check out the full interview below: