Annihilator: "To me it’s not about the image, the hair, the tatoos, the earrings and stuff. To me as all about the music."

  • Spanish version.

  • We had the opportunity to speak to the mind and soul of Annihilator, Jeff Waters. A truly talented musician, committed with his music, his fans and his life. We talked about his last Cd “Annihilator” and the upcoming tour in Europe as headliners.
    Thank you so much for attending us, we feel honoured that you are taking time to speak to us.
    It’s always good to be able to talk to people from other countries every year and keep coming back and playing and putting out albums, for sure.

    We think “Annihiator” is one of your best albums so far if not the best, what do you think about it? Are you happy with the result?
    Yeah, as a musician, sometimes, especially with us that we already have thirteen studio Cd's, can be difficult to come up with ideas and you have to really work hard to come up with something a little new, a little different cause it can be easy to repeat yourself.
    You’ve got bands like Slayer, Judas Priest, Metallica, Testament, and I am a fan of all of them, but none of them have had perfect Cd's every time they make a Cd. I don’t listen to everyone of their Cd's although I owe all of them.
    It is the same with Annihilator, some people will like some songs and not like another songs.
    As an artist, sometimes you get a bit more inspiration, sometimes a better record and sometimes it is not as good.
    This time I think we got a bit lucky that people think that we have made a much better album this time.

    And where do you find that inspiration? What does inspire you?
    I just go down to my studio or the back of the bus, but mostly in my studio. I start in the morning like a nine to five job, I grab a cup of coffee, I open the windows to let the light in and I sat there and jam riffs.
    I mean it is a very easy, stress free, fun job.
    I don’t try to write songs, I try to write riffs, with the drum kit, after I get a lot of riffs I trough the bad ones to the garbage and keep the good ones and then from there on I just put it together with other riffs, with the bass guitar, the rhythm guitar and the drum machine on and maybe I sing over but I usually get the music finished and then the lyrics are done by Dave Padden and me.
    It’s basically the same process each time pretty well.
    And sometimes you come up with really good stuff and sometimes not as good.
    You just have to get lucky sometimes.

    As you said earlier from other bands you have favorite albums and other that you don’t listen that much, what would be your favorite Annihilator album?
    Yeah, I guess “Never, Neverland” would be my favorite album of all times, and then “King of the Kill” and also “Schizo Deluxe” and the new one.
    There are others that you feel you could have done it better or spend more time on it.
    “Remains” 1997 I wish I had been more inspired in that album.
    You know It happens the same with Metallica. I owe all of their albums but I just listen to “Master of Puppets”, “Kill’em all” and the new one, I bought “Load” and “Reload” but I don’t listen to them.
    The same again with Judas Priest, there’s some albums that I love and some others that not that much. And they are still my favorite bands.

    In the new album you have made a cover by Van Halen’s “Romeo Delight” that we think is fantastic. Are you going to play it in the shows?
    No, probably not. After thirteen studio Cd’s, there are many songs of our own.
    A lot of the fans will not want to see a cover song in a headline show.

    From the new album is there any track that you particularly like and will be playing it?
    “The Trend”, that’s my favorite one because it’s very difficult to play, it’s very challenging for me. I guess that’s why I like it.

    How are the new members fitting in Annihilator’s live shows?
    Only for the last seven years it’s been Dave Padden and me. So what we do is that we hire the drummer and the bass player. And we hire a drummer also to do the album, so when we record, it’s three of us. the drummer, Dave singing and me playing all the instruments.
    But the touring that we did this summer, we got an Italian drummer and a south Canadian bass, Carlos and Alberto.
    They were guys we were going to have for the tour and then if they were OK get them for the next tour and it worked out so well that Dave and I thought that we may have found a full band now and it is good because it has been just Dave and I project since 2003.
    It might not happen but it would be nice to keep the same people for the rest of the career .

    This album is totally different from the previous one “Metal” and Padden sounds more aggressive, what do you think of this?
    Yeah, the disappointing thing about the last album “Metal” 2007 is that for some reason , maybe the writing, it wasn’t one of those great albums, the music and the writing. But also Dave was coming into the studio recording but he wasn’t really motivated. For some reason he wasn’t really on and he didn’t do it well either. But we were really lucky because we had a bunch of guests in the Cd. That really saved us because even though the Cd wasn’t that good, we had amazing musicians on there and a lot of those bands and those musicians bought the Cd.
    Obviously you don't’ know that when you write an album it ‘s later on time you can look back and you have to be honest with it but with the new record it is a little more aggressive, the guitars more distorted so I think it is a really good mix of sound, mastering and mixing.
    Dave Padden’s voice was very angry and I had to tell him some times to not be so angry in some songs (lol), but that is also a good thing cause it gives attitude.

    How do you feel after all this years of good records, are you happy about all that you have achieved?
    Oh yeah, it’ s like everything, we wish we could do more things.
    Most of the time is involving record companies, people lying to you, trying to rip you off.
    Music business is a shitty and dirty business. Most people are assholes, I’m talking about publishers, labels and bullshitters, right?
    I’m not saying that they are all bad people but we all know that the whole music business is set up to studio artists.
    So if you get a bunch of drunken musicians going on tour you are going to get managers who will try to get all their money when they are not looking, when they are partying on the tour. That’s the only side of this that I don’t like.
    It is still hard to deal with it because sometimes companies promise you that they are going to do all this work in promotion and it is just to get you to sing what they want and it all ends up that they lied to you.
    It is disappointing especially if you are an honest person and you want to be honest with everybody who work with you.

    But you have been honest with your principles, with your music and that is what it matters and that’s why you have got all these fans backing you and supporting you for all this years.
    I think that is probably true because we haven’t had any real label support from 2002, in almost eight years we had no real promotion, no posters, no advertising in the magazines.
    That is exactly what you and I are talking about, the only thing that keep us going are the fans. If you are not nice to them, people start talking and.....

    Changing subject. Do you have any hobby outside music?
    Uff, the thing is music for me is everything in my life except my family because if i’m not working with Annihiliator, I have a recording studio and some times I am mixing other’s bands albums or playing guitar on someone’s albums or mastering someone’s record.
    Sometimes I write songs for other people but always related with music.
    I mean I like doing things like watching movies, watching TV on my big TV when everybodyelse is sleeping, going with my son to shoot laser guns, my son likes that....
    But outside of music I don’t do much. There is always fun things to do in music.

    Do you do anything special, a ritual or something, before going on stage?
    No, I get like one hour and fifteen minutes before the show. Go to the dressing room, be quiet and relaxed, stretch the muscles, jump around a bit, warm the voice, play guitar a bit and then you go on stage.
    One hour before the show I start to get really nervous, sick on my stomach and in every single show, after the first minute of the first song the nerves go away and turns into having fun.

    I think you show that you have fun.
    Yeah, it is a lot of fun.
    To me it’s not about the image, the hair, the tattoos, the earrings and stuff. To me as all about the music.

    What do you thing of the Spanish fans?
    I have always liked Italians and Spanish fans, and I don’t know what that is.
    Many years ago I started getting emails from Barcelona, Madrid, The Basque Country and also Italians and I don’t know what it is about me or Annihilator that they wanted me play solos in their records. It seems that a lot of Spanish are really aggressive when it comes to ask you to do something, almost forceful “Can you play a solo now?” (lol)
    At first I didn’t like it but then I realize that they are such a fans of what you do that you realize you have changed something in their lives and their music.
    They are such a dedicated fans that when they become musicians and they ask me to play a solo, I have to, you know what I mean?

    What advice would you give to guitar players who are starting?
    For guitar players or musicians in general I would say don’t listen to just one or two musicians cause I think you should listen to many.
    Try to listen to different styles of music.
    If you only listen to one kind of music that is exactly what your music is going to sound like.
    I like the idea f listening everything, from pop, rock, blues, trash metal, heavy metal, there’s something you can learn from all kinds of music, be open-minded.
    Now is more open-minded than it was back in the eighties. Then if you liked Guns’n’Roses you couldn’t like Slayer. I also think if you want to have a real career you should move and go to Spain if you want to learn Spanish music, learn different languages.
    And the main thing stay away from drugs and heavy drinking. Even if you are a great musician, the next Eddie Van Halen or the next Metallica. If you are a drug addict or an alcoholic you will not be able to succeed.
    Guys like Steven Addler or Ozzy Osbourne who are rich and successful are one in a billion and look what drugs have made to them.

    Finally, a curiosity, do you like Spanish food?
    Yeah, but I have this strange condition, I have all this food allergies so I can’t adventure to eat where I want and when I find a restaurant where I can eat I stay there (lol)
    My girlfriend, she is German, but loves Spanish food and when she cooks Spanish food -she likes cooking- I know that is safe and love it.
    It is sad cause in this tour we will be visiting 20 countries and I am not going to be able to eat in many of them...
    I can always go to McDonald’s! (lol)

    Thank you so much again for your time we are so excited to see you as headliners, we can’t wait till November!
    Yes, we are also exited, we’ll see you in Spain!

    Texto: Zumeitor Pitrusmai/Traducción:Arancha R.