Interview With Jeff Waters – A Special Episode on Tour
By Keith Clement
Hey man, doing wonderful, good to hear from you, Where are you calling from
I’m from India Jeff.
Wow that’s amazing, a great country, really happy to hear from the other side.
Ballistic, Saddistic, is scheduled for January 24, 2020, how is it all coming up?
It’s a great record, fans are loving it, and everyone says, hey Annihilator is back again, they seem to loving the new record and im so happy about it.
What are some of the songs you played from Ballistic, Saddistic in your recent tours?
People knows a lot of songs from the new record, We mostly played the first song from the album, “Armed To The Teeth” and “Psycho Ward” Fans love this song and they seem to love it when we play it and its quite impressed the fans.
What are your plans for the release date?
A tour here and then on a world tour.
When and where was the First tour of Annihilator and what do you feel about it?
Our First tour was opening up for Testament and Onslaught in the US and Canada, it was an amazing tour and it was after the release of our debut Alice In Hell, its a big hit for us the band in our debut and not every band will get this, we are so proud to make it big.
What is the most amazing thing, that has ever happened in the life of Annihilator on the road?
Sometimes the tours are amazing, for example When we toured in Europe with Pantera, nobody knew much about them at that time, and it was after the release of Cowboys from Hell, it was a tour alongside Judas Priest, and everyone loved it, it was an amazing tour with Judas Priest. We always be the best on the stage, after the show its party and drinking in early days and it was crazy wild wild days of our lives. When we were touring for our album Never, Neverland, I was sleeping in the bus and I was tossed over from the bed, man it was crazy and in another instance, we were on the road in our bus and suddenly the bus went off the road and came in the farmland on the sideways in the fields, hahaha scary man, We had some dangerous instances in our travel and lots of scary things, these are not amazing but fun to think about, we have played with great bands in the last 30 years and amazing tours.
What is the most special tour for Annihilator?
That would be Judas Priest, that was the most amazing tour to perform with the Metal Gods, I was only 24 years old when i first toured with them, as a kid i grew up listening to them and i always look up to them and it is amazing to play with your heroes, Glenn Tipton is my hero and Rob Halford is the most amazing singer, they are really incredible that was the year 1991, that is the coolest thing i did on that year. Later Rob Halford left Judas Priest and rejoined in 2004, and they asked me if Annihilator would like to tour with them, and I said yes, its always a connection we had with Judas Priest and being on the road with them is amazing.
How do you prepare yourself for the tour?
There are a lot of things involved, especially setting up the equipment, and then shipping the equipment and its a stressful thing to handle the management works. And paying taxes and getting things setup with the Government and make everything possible is another big thing. and have to keep the band ready, and need to select which songs to play in a particular tour, rehearse them, and I have to practice myself before the show hahaha, I usually go for a voice rehearsal for about 20 minutes and then another 10 minutes for the guitar, and then a 2-3 minutes of stretching and some coffee before the show.
It’s pretty intense as we usually rehearse for 10 days before we go on a world tour, in our last tour it took 14 days on the rehearsal, it was really required and so we are ready for it.
What are the 2020 plans for the band?
We had two months of a big tour on the road, now back home for the holidays and more over, I have a dental thing that needs to be taken care of. I have this tooth problem which needs to be taken care of, I will not be speaking for two weeks at this time I will writing some more songs for 2020, and maybe some more tour and probably to your country.
What would be the one country that you want to tour that you have never toured before?
Everywhere, Why not your country, at times people say when we talk about a country to go, Oh don’t go there, its not safe to go there, but you know something, maybe the Government will not be good, but people are always good, People stay in this country good and strong, its’ really nice to go out and play for these people as i feel they deserve to see us as they don’t happen to see bands that often.
What are some of the bad times you have faced?
Every band has problems, but we don’t stick to it rather we keep moving on and do what we are supposed to do, to talk about some specific things, We were touring Romania, we had about 43 shows, and we did only 42, it was an amazing thing to perform for the fans in Romania. We are ready to move the equipment to the other city in Romania where we are planned to play the last show, suddenly the boss of the venue started screaming, no show, leave the arena. We really don’t know what the problem was and we had to get outside, sometimes its scary and we really don’t know what is going on. Man we are lucky we haven’t cancelled that many shows.
Do you prefer doing studio shows or on a live tour?
They are both great, but entirely two different things. Studio is always great for me, I could always work in the studio, Right now I’m talking to you from my studio, I love to work there and its a dream place for any musicians to be there.
I can’t wait to work again in the studio hahaha. Making an album, making an Annihilator album is stressful and there is a lot of pressure involved. It’s a lot of fun as well, But when you finish an album, it is the best feeling you can ever get, it’s a great thing from nothing, and from nothing to the best thing in the world.
We don’t like to be a band to come stage just for the money, we want to give the best to the fans, we want to run around the stage, Smile at fans who come for the show, talk to people, shake hands with people, Annihilator is a different band, a happy sweaty old school heavy metal band.
Do you do everything by yourself, what is the role of other band mates?
It’s always more like a solo project for me, when we go on a tour it is more of a band, When in studio its more of a Jeff Waters Project. There were lot of line up changes over the years, but i didn’t wanted to change this last line up, as the band of 3 boys are getting along real good, and its amazing to me, and im happy about it. It just seems right.
There are many modern day Thrash metal bands, but we from the 80s we can’t get out the old school, what do you think about it?
I Love new bands like Trivium and Children of Bodom, I was happy that Bodom and Trivium learned out of guitar players of early years. Its good to see kids coming up and playing guitar, and they keep the metal alive, and guitar alive and if they keep the metal guitar alive it would be amazing hahaha.
What would you like to say to your fans around the world?
Hope to see you live someday, that would be the main thing. Our new album is the best and I’m not going to say that. Lots of people will be pretty much impressed by the new album, people feel its more like Never, Neverland days, if that makes them happy, Im happy about it, some say finally Jeff Waters is going back to the Neverland kind of style. I like to make people smile and im sure everyone is going to love this.
Thanks Jeff for your time and its a pleasure talking to you?
Same here my friend, see you soon somewhere.
Some Photographs from their Live Shows Below (Courtesy Chelf)
MHF Magazine/Keith Clement