Scott Alisoglu of Live 4 Metal recently conducted an interview with ANNIHILATOR mastermind Jeff Waters. An excerpt from the chat follows:
Live 4 Metal: I actually had a guy yesterday or the day before make the comment, "Oh, they're still around?" in reference to ANNIHILATOR.
Jeff Waters: "Yeah! There was a time when it really bugged me because who wouldn't be bugged about somebody calling you a dictator and an asshole that doesn't know you? And you're sitting here fighting to keep a metal band alive, and unless you're METALLICA or something, it's the absolute wrong way to have a secure income for your family [laughs] and have a normal job. You do it because you love it. I'm sitting here with my son and playing heavy metal music. There's no cooler life than that."
Live 4 Metal: That reminds me of that last big controversial comment, which I understand was maybe taken out of context…
Jeff Waters: "Oh, can I guess on that one?"
Live 4 Metal: Sure [laughs].
Jeff Waters: "Is it that the silly one that I said about the fastest jack-off or whatever…? I kind of did something silly. I figured I'd cause a little yapping and…not controversy because nobody gives a damn about it. I just did for fun. On my web site I kind of made a little joke… I was specific about what I was talkin' about. I said I kind of haven't really heard any heavy metal guitar players who pick with their picking hand as fast as I do in some of my songs, but also not as tight as I do. Now there's a difference here because it doesn't mean guitar solo gods like Malmsteen and that. There are so many players that are much faster and much more knowledgeable than me on the playing. I was specifically saying for rhythm guitar picking in heavy metal. I wasn't saying the fastest; I was saying the fastest-tightest. And honestly, it's debatable I'm sure, but from my perspective that's possibly a true statement, BUT the reality is it doesn't mean anything [laughs]. Malcolm Young [AC/DC] is one of my favorite guitar players and you can't tell me he's a fast guitar player; he's just a great player. And that's much more important to write a great song and play three chords well than some guy that's just playing at the speed of light; it doesn't mean anything to me.
"But I said it as a joke almost, but with a little bit of ego mixed in there — 'somebody come up with another guitar player in metal that IS able to do it just as fast and tight as I'm talking about,' and nobody could. It was taken immediately out of context, as I knew it would be, and all these players are like sending me stuff on my web site — 'No, check this guy out! He's faster than you!' And I'm like, 'That wasn't even what I meant.' [laughs]. And then you got guys, actual name guitar players that are really good players come out publicly and say, 'What!? That claim about being the fastest guitar player…what an asshole!' They didn't even read what I said. They just heard it and then they'd go on record saying stupid things, and I'm like, 'Jeez you guys, come on.'"
Live 4 Metal: Well, some say that there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Jeff Waters: "Well, I didn't need it because I never had it here anyway for so long. It was just something I did for fun [laughs]. I'm not trying to play with anybody on that. It was just something I said on my web site. I didn't realize that guys like Jeff Loomis [NEVERMORE] would call me an asshole."
Live 4 Metal: Oh, I forgot about that!
Jeff Waters: "Yeah, 'Waters deserves to be punched in the mouth!' That gave me some good press because they have a good record, they're a good band, and they were putting their new record out and it was kind like, 'Oh, OK, that'll give me a little bit of press.' It was funny because we toured with NEVERMORE a couple of years ago in Europe and we were co-headlining with 'em, but we'd go on last, and a lot of the crowd was there for us at that time. We shared a bus with these guys for a month and a half, and we had a great time. We had a fantastic time. Loomis and I got along great, Warrel and I got along great, it was just a great tour. After the tour their guitar player [Curran Murphy] quit the band and joined my band right away, just because he wasn't happy with what was going on with the tour with him personally. He was a hired guy and he wasn't happy with the way it was going. He saw our band and thought, 'Hey, these guys are nice guys, they're Canadians!' [Laughs]. He wanted to have fun too. He was going to leave them anyway I think. I think ever since then, for some reason, Loomis has not been happy with me. I guess because his guitar player left and joined my band there were some bad feelings there, but there sure wasn't for me. Then I'd get other guys saying stuff, and there'd be some really good players going, 'No, no, no, you guys didn't listen to what Waters said; he might just be the tightest-fastest rhythm picker.'"
Read the entire interview at www.live4metal.com.