Acclaimed music video director Neil Johnson (MANOWAR, RHAPSODY) recently gave an exclusive interview to Metal Temple magazine's Chiara Pelegrini. Johnson spoke about his longtime involvement with MANOWAR as well as his upcoming projects, such as the first-ever live DVD of Italian power metallers RHAPSODY, among other subjects. Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
Metal Temple: How did get involved with MANOWAR?
Neil Johnson: "I was a MANOWAR fan since 1992 and always wanted to work for them. My friend Steve Ravic, who does music videos in Melbourne, had some contact with them and recommended me to them. I was very excited and started work on the 'Fire and Blood' DVD. I didn't really like the first DVD and wanted to do something different, it took a while and when 'Fire and Blood' came out, the sales doubled. I have worked with the band since 1999. We are all still friends. That says a lot about the personality of the guys!"
Metal Temple: Can you tell us a funny story concerning you and the band?
Neil Johnson: "There are hundreds. One time when we almost split our sides with laughter was when Joey DeMaio [bass] and I were making a small bonus piece for 'Hell On Earth Part III'. If you go to the bonus page of the second DVD and leave it there for 30 seconds, a small documentary appears on the historical accuracy of MANOWAR. It all started when I was with Joey and we were watching the 'Gloves of Metal' music video. I questioned him as to what the exact time period this took place in. Let's be honest, it is not historically accurate!!! You can see the underwear of one of the cavemen. So we decided to build a documentary around this. I did the voice-over, and my alter ego, John Neilson did the British voice over. We were laughing all the way. I have met people who actually think this is a real historical exposition.
"The other funny moment is when Joey and I were doing the commentary track for the bonus stuff on 'Hell On Earth Part IV'. The phone rings and the voice of one of our former employees was on the answering machine. We left that in the commentary. There is a lot of humor also hidden on 'Hell On Earth Part IV'. If you go to Disc 2, go to the first 'Behind The Scenes' menu page, navigate down the DVD page until the 'M' in MANOWAR highlights. Press enter and you get a new menu page including some bloopers. These are some of the funniest moments captured on tape."
Metal Temple: Which was your best work with the band?
Neil Johnson: "The thing I am most proud of is doing the 'Warriors of the World' music video. We had a very small budget compared to most things these days, yet we won the award for 'Best Music Video' in Hammer magazine in Germany. The hardship paid off. Watch the 'making of' on 'Hell On Earth Part III' and see what went on!!!"
Metal Temple: Are you a MANOWAR fan?
Neil Johnson: "They were my favorite band since 1992. When I recorded an album in 1995, (kind of a black metal crossed with MANOWAR thing), I put 'Hail Manowar' at the top of the liner notes. I even dedicated a song to them which is called 'A Conquering Force'. You can download part of the music video for this at my website (www.morphiusfilm.com). A record company in the U.S. is about to put out a 55-minute DVD of all of the music videos I have performed in. Details will be on my website soon."
Read the entire interview at www.metal-temple.com.