Marc Debus of Promo-Portal Germany conducted an interview with former MANOWAR guitarist Ross "The Boss" Friedman prior to his solo band's April 18 show at Mannheim Connexion in Mannheim, Germany. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On his new solo album, "By Blood Sworn":
Ross: "We worked really hard on it. I mean, everyone works hard on their records, but I think this was a special recording. I didn't want to do a regular typical 'thing,' I wanted it to be old school, yet new school as well. I wanted it to be the old way of recording, but with the new sound and with an organic sound. That's the word I wanted. It had to have an organic sound to it and I think it does have an organic sound. We're all really pleased with it."
On sticking to his old-school metal roots:
Ross: "You can obviously tell the band is passionate for music on it, the way we sound and the way we play. There's just no way it wasn't going to come out great. We have too many new things about the band and the bandmembers. It's too exciting. We're way too excited to make a band recording."
On vocalist Marc Lopes:
Ross: "Mr. Lopes has been nothing but a breath of fresh air for the whole thing. I was thinking to myself, 'Is this singer as good as he is? How will he be when writing new music?' The true test is always writing new music, coming up with metal hooks the way I like them to be and he answered the call. What he came up with in the studio was fantastic. His layering, the lyrics, I think it's just tremendous."
On how Lopes handles classic MANOWAR material:
Ross: "It's hard following [MANOWAR vocalist] Eric Adams. It's impossible because Eric is Eric and Marc is Marc. It's like apples and oranges. Marc has nothing but great respect and love for Eric and he goes up and does an amazing, respectful job playing that music. He adds his own style, his own stuff to the music. He doesn't add anything extra already because the template, the MANOWAR stuff, is iconic. You can't change it. You can't make it any different than it really is, although we did it on our new record. We have three bonus tracks and they came out fantastic. But, I think the way the band plays live, I think it's just the way we do it is totally stripped down, there's no bullshit, there's no extra stuff in the set, there's no tapes. I've been saying that a lot with bands, every band plays with tapes and recordings. What is that? We don't even have an intro tape. If what everyone else is doing, we do the opposite."
On the excitement surrounding the release of "By Blood Sworn":
Ross: "I hope everyone really enjoys the record. I think that it is a great record and only time will tell if it's great. But, I have a really good feeling about it and I think that it will stand the test of time, 'By Blood Sworn'. I know it will. We had a great producer, Dean Rispler, who was in the DICTACTORS NYC for seven years and he's a very smart guy, a really great guy. He got the best out of me, got the best out of Marc. Mike LePond, just forget it. No one has to get the best out of him because he's the best already as a bass player. And our rhythm section was just fantastic. I don't know what to say? We're two days away from the release and so far, everything has been really positive. I think people will really like it."
On whether he'll always do full MANOWAR setlists live:
Ross: "People ask me, 'Are you going to be doing that MANOWAR stuff forever?' 'No.' But, I'll always be playing MANOWAR songs in my set because they're such great songs. I think that people want to hear it. As long as they want to hear it, they're going to get it. Last year, we did the complete thing and now finally, we have our record."
On the possibility of fans thinking ROSS THE BOSS songs are really MANOWAR songs:
Ross: "They think, 'That's a great MANOWAR song. That song sounds great!' 'No, it's not a MANOWAR song.' [Laughs] People know this and the fans are so smart. So many people, nothing gets by these people because our fans are so smart and so great, the biggest hearts in the world. It's like, I'm at the point of being more happy than I have been in such a long time. Is it un-metal to be happy? It's not metal to be happy, right? I think so, but I feel like I'm in really a great place."
"By Blood Sworn" was released April 20 via AFM Records.